Birmingham Airport, England. Birmingham airport serves over 40 different airlines and offers thousands of direct and indirect services for more than 9 million passengers a year – Birmingham Airport Guide
Chaos in the Emirates queue. A huge winding snake of people waiting to check in – bags, boxes, wide screen TV’s – people taking anything and everything they can. After one hour of watching many well prepared people breezing up to the desk in the express lane after checking in on-line (along with the business class people), I finally make it to the front of the queue.
I’m greeted by a friendly, cute, young woman at the check in desk, we begin to chat as she takes my passport.
‘I’m sorry, but the only seats left are in the middle of the row.’
It was understandable, this flight is busy. Dubai is an international hub, and there is a cricket team all checked in, sitting on the floor there, for crying out loud! I should have been more prepared, and checked in on-line. I’m 6 foot 2, so I do generally prefer aisle seats, so guess she has assumed this from my height. The young woman keeps looking for other seats and apologising. It’s not her fault, but I appreciate how friendly she is – great customer service from Emirates!
‘That’s ok’, I reply. ‘But if I’m in the middle of the family from hell, I’m blaming you!’
She laughs, and gives me my boarding cards. I thank her for her help, dispose of my rucksack in the oversize luggage section, praying that it will find its way via three flights to Phuket and head upstairs to meet my parents and sister. We’ve planned to have a meal before I go and there aren’t many places to choose from this side of the security gate. So I predict Weatherspoons or maybe Frankie & Benny’s…
The escalator slowly brings me upstairs and I see nothing. Total darkness. Well that’s an exaggeration, but everything to my right is out of action. No lights in Frankie & Benny’s, pitch black in Boots, and Weatherspoons is shut down. There is a power cut, so my goodbye meal is in Burger King. It doesn’t matter of course, it’s a fun time eating with my family no matter where we are.
It’s soon time to go through security and settle in departures. I navigate security without setting off the machine (I didn’t wear a belt) and I manage to purchase a bottle of water, and use the toilet without missing my flight. The screen changes and shows my departure gate. I embark upon a much longer journey to the gate than anticipated and arrive to a pretty lengthy queue.
I finally reach the front, passport and boarding card in hand, ready for my adventure to begin. I’m greeted by two Emirates employees, one of which is the friendly woman from the check in desk.
‘Oh, I’ve been looking for you!’ she says to me. ‘I’ve got you a new seat, here’s your new boarding pass.’
It turns out she had found me an aisle seat after all. Now THAT is customer service, and maybe a little flirtation too…