Whenever we have boarded a flight for a vacation or to go back home from one, we expect pleasant smiling faces to welcome us on-board, and a wonderful experience thereafter. But of late, more and more instances of misdemeanours by airline staff have been coming to light, thanks to social media. The latest to catch people’s attention is a horrific narration of a mother of two that is going viral on Facebook. Calling it the worst 30 hours of her life, Mohana Ray, a resident of the United States, was stranded at the Abu Dhabi airport with her two little daughters, because of the Etihad Airways’ insensitivity.
After her five-year-old daughter threw up on a flight back home from Kolkata, they were made to deboard at Abu Dhabi airport, where the doctor said her daughter threw up because of extreme motion sickness and exhaustion would have caused the fever. They were not allowed to get on the flight to US that took off at 3:30am because her daughter was running a fever. While they were made to wait again, they were offered care of transportation, hotel and another medical checkups, and they did not even get a lounge to relax at. Ray wrote that they slept on the airport floor with her daughter, whose exhaustion increased as a result of all the trauma they were going through. After walking from one desk to the other, dealing with unruly and rude officials till she finally got to the 10:15am flight, Ray even thought she will be stranded in the strange city with her children on her own. But her problems did not end even then. Her daughter’s condition worsened after they boarded the flight. “I was not sure if we will make the 14 long hours of flight to NYC with Olita. … Somehow we survived the flight,” she wrote.
Read the Facebook post here.
ETIHAD AIRWAYS!!! Worst 30 hours of my life – terrible experience in Abu Dhabi Airport while returning back from Kolkata, India to JFK with my girls!! PLEASE SHARE!
I am usually the last person to vent on social media or complain about anything publicly. But can’t help it!!
All my Facebook friends and others, this is a request from a mom with 2 kids to AVOID Etihad and Abu Dhabi Airport at any cost!! If you chose to fly with them you know what to expect if you land into situation like mine. Please read below.
Because of the insensitive Etihad airport stuffs and unexplained, inconsistent policies we were offloaded from our flight to US. We were made to wait in Abu Dhabi for 10 hours without any Hotel, or Lounge Access! WE slept on Airport floor with my 5 year old daughter who become sick and worse with this treatment!! We were even lied by Etihad stuff that we will get all amenities such as transport, hotel etc!!
Not only many of the Etihad Airport stuffs were rude, non-cooperative and irrational they were quite inhuman (except a few good people who have helped us)! I will never ever fly on Etihad in my life again!!!! I still dread the experience!
After our long & happy summer vacation in India we boarded our flight from Kolkata, India on Wednesday evening to Abu Dhabi returning back to our home in USA. Everything was so smooth. I was travelling alone with my kids as my husband returned back to USA earlier. Both our daughters were happy, and healthy. Our meals were served and there were some turbulence. Suddenly my 5 year old daughter Olita threw up. After sometimes I found her body was warm, she was having little fever. The flight attendant on board was helpful to provide me with some acetaminophen. Everything was good. We landed on Abu Dhabi.
Here comes the nightmare! Little did we know what was waiting for us next!!!
After getting down at Abu Dhabi Airport around 12:30 AM approx. (local time), Etihad personnel escorted us to the medical center not allowing us to board our connecting flight. Obviously deeply concerned, when I inquired about Olita’s health, the doctor told us that she threw up due to extreme motion sickness and the exhaustion would have caused the fever! I have copies of the medical reports.
Then we came back to the security checkpoint to catch the connecting flight to USA which would leave at 3:30 AM approx.
However, we were not allowed to access the immigration & Customs counters even though we had boarding pass and the medical clearance form.
The lady on duty (her name was Maricara not sure if we got the name right) told us we were offloaded from our flight as Olita is running fever. She does not care even if we got the medical clearance but had to get clearance from some mystery number in US. She was rude. I pleaded with them to allow us. She told me they won’t be able to help us. We have to go through another medical checkup in the morning to get to our next flight which is at 10:15 AM. If we fail that then we will need to go out of airport to the nearest hospital for checkups and clearance. It was not explained how we will do all that. I was panicked as I am with my two girls at a new country with no knowledge of the city. However, the Etihad Lady told us that Etihad will take care of transportation, hotel and another medical checkups which was totally not true as eventually we didn’t get anything, not even a lounge access at the airport.
We were sent back to transfer desk (quite a walk) to get our new boarding pass. Imagine already exhausted after a long flight, going with the all the agony in an unknown country anxious to get back home. At transfer desk we met another very rude person. He told us to wait for 2 hours to get our next boarding pass. In the meantime I called my husband. He is furious and called the Etihad office, blasting them. He was told we will get boarding passes to 10:15 Am flight and we will be given lounge access. He was shown online that we were checked in.
Not knowing the next steps, we returned back to the medical center to understand what’s going on. That was again quite a bit of walk. One of the doctor who treated Olita earlier was furious that we were sent back! He asked us why we were offloaded in spite of his clearance! Also I got the impression that we will never be given any hotel or transport or anything. Now I understood I was completely lied to.
We returned back to transfer desk to get back our boarding pass. By then hours passed by. I have lost count of time.
Another Etihad lady came on duty (Adeline was probably her name). She told us nothing is showing against our ticket even though it was showing to my husband online at the Etihad website. Adeline probably was the rudest we have ever seen!! She said that we have to wait another 2 hours till 6 AM. She told that she was not going to help me anymore and I have wait for the next person on duty to get my boarding pass and clearance. I asked Adeline about the hotel, she said she cannot help. Looking at her rude behavior when I asked if I can go to another helpdesk person, she said she will make sure that I won’t get any help there as well!! I was so upset and shocked! So rude, insensitive and inhuman!! At that point I was getting really anxious to go back home. Totally stressed out. We were not given any Hotel, nor even the lounge access!! All this time I was sitting on the floor of the airport taking my little one at my lap since it was not possible for me to carry her sitting on those airport chairs. Olita by then was so traumatized!! Her fever started rising due to all the exhaustions, trauma and unrest!! My other daughter Olivia sat straight for 4 hours on a chair all the time without any sleep!
I have given up all the hope to return to US. I thought we will be stuck in Abu Dhabi forever!! I called my husband to catch the earlies possible flight and rescue us from Abu Dhabi!! Yes I am not kidding!! I still dread the thought of being stuck there!!
After hours and hours of wait finally someone told us that we may get boarding pass for the 10:15 AM flight in the morning (our original flight was at ~ 3:15 AM which we were not allowed to board).
However, nothing happened!! Called my husband. He again reached out to the Etihad folks at US. He was told again that we will be issued boarding passes for the 10:15 AM flight shortly!!
By that time that rude lady Adeline was replaced by a guy in the morning shift. We repeated the whole story. He gave us boarding pass asked us to go for another medical checkup. I started running to rush towards the medical center. We found she has high fever 103 F now all due to the stress and agony! She was given ice packs & Motrin, and after sometime the fever came down. Still there were no signs of any major medical concerns. But her right ear was little red. The doctor prescribed Azithromycin for the ear.
It was getting very close to our boarding and we still did not clear the US immigration and customs at Abu Dhabi (yes they do it Abu Dhabi itself). I was totally freaked out!! I had to leave both my kids at the mercy of unknown people and run almost for 10 mins to rush to the pharmacy in the airport to get the medicine and run another 10 minutes back. I was told to mix the medicine myself which was in powder form in 51 ml of water!
When we reached the security clearance again, now a new man on shift in place of the lady (Maricara) we met last night. To our surprise, he was courteous & kind. He told us it was nothing. It’s a regular procedure. He told us that we will be boarding our flight. Promised my daughters that they will be able to see their dad again. Surprisingly Olita was far worse at that point with weakness and trauma compared to the first time when we were offloaded from our original flight.
We finally boarded our flight. Our nightmare did not end. Olita could not eat or drink anything, her head was exploding in pain, she was screaming! All because of rising fever due to tremendous agony, and the stress of long 30+ hours. All our fellow passengers came out to help. They all were shocked to hear our story. I was not sure if we will make the 14 long hours of flight to NYC with Olita. Totally ignoring my other daughter Olivia who by this time was not able to take any more. Somehow we survived the flight. But I still wonder what if anything major happened to Olita all because of unnecessary harassment and mistreatment in Abu Dhabi by Etihad. We felt an immediate difference in service after coming back to JFK. They provided wheelchair for Olita and a nice lady who carried her all the way to our car.
After coming back to USA, Olita improved a lot. She is doing better now and treated by her regular pediatrician here. Her pediatrician told us that she would be ok within couple of days.
It took me 2 days to recover for me to write this up. Still jetlagged and exhausted from the experience. But better late than never!!
Those 30+ hours of travel with Etihad were the worst in our life and still like the worst nightmare which would take a long time to forget. Things could have been worse. My other daughter Olivia was strong enough to bear the stress and mental agony. She was about to fall sick. We all could have had worse.
If they would have had us on the US bound flight in the first time itself Olita would have improved much earlier and saving us 7 more hours of agony and stress. Also we definitely deserved a hotel, least the lounge access in Airport. While I was sitting on floor with Olita who was in such high fever, not a single Etihad employee came for help or even asked about her conditions.
They were so inconsistent with their rules and policy and quite irrational to talk to (except the last person and the doctors in medical center). Every single person comes up with new rules or their own whims. Although, we were lucky & thankful that the last person on the shift helped us to get the clearance!
They should have had direct communication between right authorities and the medical support stuffs/doctors. We should not be at the mercy of an Airlines stuff who did not have medical credentials to refuse us the flight in spite of having got the clearance!!
My questions to Etihad –
Why this unnecessary drama and harassment? If things were so bad that we were not allowed to take our original flight, how could we take the next flight 7 hours later and how did our daughter recover so well after coming back to USA?
Why not talk directly to the doctors who were qualified and more than willing to provide clearance?
Do you ever train your customer service people in politeness and responding professionally to their customers?
I still dread those memories! We had our part in suffering. Do not want others to have the same experience!!
I do not know what is out next step. Will definitely not stop here. Would like to raise awareness and probably explore legal options.
To all friends and every users of Facebook, PLEASE TRY to AVOID ETIHAD & ABU DHABI airport even if you get a better deal!!! Please share this with as many friends you can! #NeverETIHAD #WorstCustomerExperienceinETIHAD #ShameonyouETIHAD #InhumanETIHAD #ETIHADAirlines #cnnireport #EtihadAirways
IATA U.S. Department of Transportation”
indianexpress.com has reached out to Ray as well as Etihad Airways’ Duty Media Officer and is awaiting a response from both parties.