Man awarded $11,000, accuses Emirates of falsely advertising business-class seats
Emirates found itself in the hot seat when the airline was forced to pay up after a passenger claimed that his business-class seats were not as advertised.
The Dubai-based airline is often lauded for its luxurious first and business-class experiences and that’s exactly why Mark Morgan, a surgeon from New Zealand, chose the airline for a flight from Auckland to London. According to Daily Mail, Morgan paid NZD$13,000 (CND$11,023) for two business-class seats for himself and his partner for the August 2022 flight.
According to the surgeon, Emirates had advertised fully reclining leather seats. But when they boarded their flight, they were forced to sit in “worn out” business-class seats. To make matters worse, the in-flight entertainment system wasn’t working properly.
Business Traveler magazine states that Emirates had used business-class cabins on its Boeing 777-200LR and Airbus A380s for its promotional materials. Instead, Morgan and his partner found themselves in an outdated cabin onboard a Boeing 777-300ERs. The seats did recline but only to 166.1 degrees.
Morgan filed a lawsuit against the airline and New Zealand’s Disputes Tribunal ruled that the advertising was deceptive. According to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), Emirates was ordered to pay Morgan NZD$13,555 (CND$11,499).
The airline argued that its fine print states it “cannot guarantee any particular aircraft will be used.” In-flight entertainment or advertised meals can’t be guaranteed either.
However, Disputes Tribunal referee Laura Mueller stated that an airline’s choice to use planes with outdated cabins wasn’t due to “an occasional or one-off change of aircraft.” Instead, Mueller pointed out that it was standard practice on its New Zealand flights.
“The promotional materials were based on an updated/new business-class seat and service that is not in place in the older aircraft that Emirates flies to New Zealand,” she said.
The airline has until March 27 to pay the amount.