Emirates Airways Saga Part 2!

Hello ChoiceCommunity. Back with part 2 of our terrible travel experience with Emirates!
Before I start I admit there is an element of payback to this deplorable airline but I am mainly motivated to make fellow travellers aware of the yawning pitfalls one can experience in this era of super cheap air travel.
We flew home from Barcelona to Singapore for a one night stopover before flying on to Australia. In Singapore I came down with a really bad stomach virus.I had to get the hotel to call a doctor at 3am in the morning. The doctor and hotel were marvellous by the way.
The doctor advised to take an extra day to recover and gave me a medical certificate to that effect.
We had to change flights so my partner went to Emirates ,with the medical certificate, at Changi but they refused to have anything to do with her!They said we had to call our travel company in Australia to get the flights changed.
We promptly did so and we’re charged $200 each for the change of flight!
Hard to believe “service” could get much more callous than this !
SO people I strongly suggest you do not just take price into consideration when buying airline tickets!
I do suggest you use a reputable travel agency and double check the ticket conditions.
Happy travelling!


Was that charge from Emirates, the travel agent, or both?

Most airlines charge fees when changing airline tickets…Emirates are no different. Fees vary between airlines, but what Emirates charged appears to around the norm for international flights. There are also usually no exceptions to fees associated with changing flights…with exception possibly of flights cancelled by an airline.

This is also why it is important that all passenger information is 100% correct at time of booking. Correcting a misspelt name or date of birth to match pooassport details attracts fees.

Such costs may be reimbursable through ones travel insurance, depending of the amount of the excess attached with the policy. Check the T&Cs with travel insurance and the excess associated before making a claim.

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Oops! I should have said the charge was from Emirates . .cheers

You might grumble with Emirates in this instance, but I’m not sure any other airline would be any different. I assume you flew with Emirates because they were the cheapest…

We flew Emirates not because they were the cheapest but because they were recommended by our travel agent.
My main complaint is not the extra charge to change the fare ( although that does seem exorbitant ) but that the airline refused to deal with us in Singapore. . .

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You may find that staff at Changi Airport don’t have the authority to make such changes, especially if they didn’t organise the original ticket. This is possibly why you were directed back to your original booking agent to make the change. Many T&C I have read of travel agents require changes to be made back through them so the staff in Changi have the right to refer you back to the agent for the changes. I wonder if this is to reduce roll on impacts of a change (e.g. missing a connection for the next leg if there is one for example).

It is worth noting that the T&Cs for Flight Centre for example are here. They nominate a $300 international change fee which is higher than Emirates. Webjets is here.

It would be worth checking the T&Cs of your agent/where you purchased the ticket through and read about making flight changes and additional fees that may be incurred.


Hi @buddytess thanks for your update! So sorry you were very ill on your trip, luckily it was at the end and not the beginning, as it sounds like you didn’t miss any of the good bits of a holiday (I certainly don’t like coming home from holidays!).

As some people have noted above, these kinds of change or cancellation fees are common across airlines. We’ve addressed them in our Fare Play report which was sent to the ACCC in December. In some cases, especially for people who change or cancel some time out from the flight (we found some people paying upwards of $550 months out from their flight) we think that the cost of the change should reflect a reasonable cost. As yours was a very last minute change, Emirates may not have been able to fill that seat while they moved you on to the flight the next day (which then occupies a seat they could have sold!). Having said that, some airlines do have compassionate policies, for deaths/illness so it’s worth doing a quick google to see if Emirates does have such a policy.

As for doing that change through your agent, this is a whole other kettle of fish. When booking through any bricks and motar and online travel agent travellers need to be aware that the agent will need to make any changes. This includes booking on websites like Expedia, Webjet etc. It can be a very frustrating process if you’re trying to change things at the last minute, so usually we recommend booking direct through the airline unless you have a good reason to book through an agent (package deal, you can’t find cheaper flights yourself, complex itinerary that’s difficult to book yourself).


Thanks for your feedback ,Tilley.
All points noted for next time!

The other way round this is make sure you have bought a ticket that actually allows changes to be made. These are usually more expensive but you wouldn’t have to pay the change fees. And book yourself directly with the airline otherwise as others have said (and you discovered) you will have to contact the agent you booked through to make changes. Sometimes this can be fraught with some of the on-line agencies who themselves use a third party to book tickets. I once thought I was dealing with an on-line company in QLD when in fact the tickets were booked through a Swedish company. Now that is another story!

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Thanks for the update and sorry to hear about your illness. It’s that old adage, we get what we pay for. The comments relating to change fees are spot on, even with a travel agent doing the changes, especially on sales fares. As an aside, I fly Emirates frequently, in fact as a Qantas frequent flyer I now choose the Emirates code share flight over the Qantas plane, I just find the on board experience that much better, especially on long haul. I recently tried Etihad to Europe, big mistake. Having said that it comes down to personal experience, on that occasion mine was a shocker. Good luck with your future travels.