A New Zealand man has successfully obtained a judgement for over USD8000 from Emirates after he successfully argued that the Dubai-based carrier falsely advertised a business class product that largely does not serve the New Zealand market and instead offers an inferior product, thereby constituting deceptive adverting.
Emirates Hit With $8,000 Judgement Over Inferior Business Class Seat In New Zealand
Mark Morgan, who lives in Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island, splurged for business class tickets on his trip to England with his wife. Morgan claims what pushed him to book business class was adverting from Emirates directed toward the New Zealand market that showed plush seats that were fully lie-flat when reclined.
But when Morgan stepped onboard his 17-hour flight from Auckland to Dubai, he found his cabin featured the older 777-300 seats that are not even horizontally lie-flat. Furthemore, the seats were not well-padded and the in-flight-entertainment system was broken. Upon further investigation, he found that Emirates does not even use its newer business class seats on flights to New Zealand.
He filed a complaint with the Disputes Tribunal, which is akin to a small claims court. Emirates responded that it had not violated New Zealand’s Fair Trading Act because the small print in its advertisements warned that the equipment may vary.
But Laura Mueller, who is a “referee” within the Disputes Tribunal (like a judge), did not buy Emirates’ claim.
“Emirates advertised a business class service that consumers were very unlikely to receive. This was the result of advertising a service that they were rarely delivering, not due to an occasional or one-off change of aircraft due to operational requirements.
“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 NZ. The Fair Trading Act 1986 prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct in trade. The advertising of a service that Emirates knew would unlikely be delivered is misleading and deceptive.”
Interestingly, Emirates argued that it was running its New Zealand service at a loss and could not use its latest planes. It also said that Morgan’s seat reclined to 166.1º
“To the ordinary air-traveller the seat made available is equivalent to a lie-flat seat.”
Editor’s view: I can assure you this is false. I’ve flown on that seat (coincidentally to Auckland) and it is hard and certainly not fully-life flat. There’s a huge difference. Emirates’ defense is laughable.
Emirates was ordered to pay Morgan NZD13,555 (which reflects both some compensatory damages and also the difference he paid to upgrade to first class on one leg so he could actually have a true lie-flat seat.
Emirates owes a New Zealand man over 8,000USD after selling him on a business class seat that never was in the schedule to fly to Auckland in the first place. Morgan successfully argued that Emirate’s adverting consisted a deceptive business practice. His case may set a precedent for other claimants in New Zealand.
image: Emirates’ “new” business class – similar to what EK advertised in New Zealand…but did not deliver.
United advertises “fly the friendly skies”. Do I have a case?
United CEO says they are the best airline in the world. LOL!!!!
they only say “friendly skies” not “friendly airline”
Time to take on Qatar for similar hyping of Q-Suites but still substituting 777s with 2-2-2 seating as well as other business seating.
Agreed. Interesting precedent indeed.
I had the same thing 5 times flying back and forth to Auckland. It’s not even for business class, but the economy class also! Always getting the crappy old 777s with super old Interiors and crappy service. Planes like A6-EBY or A6-EBW for a 17-hour flight. We pay soo much money for these tickets and still get scammed. Absolutely unfair.
It’s about time this gets recognized. It’s not just EK, But their inconsistency with seats is one the most glaring. I will say that in the U.S., for all the faults of the carriers here, at least the hard product is fairly uniform. I think this case is exactly the reason. They know full well this would turn to law suits otherwise in the highly contentious consumer market here.
How about equipment swap? I am pretty sure there is somewhere in the fine prints of the contract that allows airlines to offer a product that is not what you paid for and there nothing you can do about it. For example, last summer, I was supposed to fly back home from Europe on Delta One with the private cabin configuration. Due to an aircraft swap, we ended up getting an older plane with the older configuration with no doors, etc… Well, it was still a business class but inferior from what I had paid for. Would I have any chance to get a money back in that case? I doubt it.
I think the main issue here is that Emirates has never flown a 777 with true lie flat Biz to NZ. So any Emirates ads in NZ that show the newer business class are misleading. That’s what I took from this, in any event.
So what are the consequences here? Emirates now has to put the “airline experience May vary” closer to the top of the advertising?
You’d think if you were paying $13k or whatever for a seat you’d google what you may be getting?
I’ve seen plenty of Aussies “splurge” for the 777 yuck
I splurged at checkin for an upgrade for the family of five using points on emirates for Dubai to Saigon in December. I knew it was the old 777… big time regret lollll
Now do Delta, do Delta.
Good to read that the man “won” his lawsuit. Sadly Emirates apparently has no hustling creative engineers and technicians who could have fixed the broken entertainment system and seat before the flight’s positioning at the departure gate.