Emirates

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Sebastian's complaint against Emirates

Sebastian Ford

19/10/2016

Clothes ruined by chemical damage from plane seat

Complaint against Emirates

During an flight to Dubai my partner and I noticed significant damage to the back of my shirt around 4 or 5 hours into the flight. It wasn't just slightly ripped, but absolutely shredded. I notified the air staff and suggested that something sharp must have caused the damage. Possibly the seat mechanism. However there was no pain or tug on my clothes and no sound of tearing at any point. I put a pillow behind me to stop it happening again just in case. By the time we had landed the damage had worsened (how?) and in the light we were able to see the staining around the damaged area. In the airport it continued to worsten, and noticed that my trousers and undershirt were suffering too. The fabric was brittle in the stained area and pulled away in pieces with almost no effort. Now concerned that that the damage was chemical we rushed to find a clothes shop before our connecting flight to get out of the ones that could be harming my skin. Fortunately no further damage occurred once in new clothes and on a different flight. I complained to Emirates as soon as I landed and heard nothing for a further 33 days. They said the damage was from the seat mechanism as reported by the flight attendant, which was just a guess at the time, as we couldn't see the chemical damage in the low light of night flying. They offered to pay for the emergency clothes I purchased in Dubai airport, but not for the original damaged clothes. Further, they have made no effort to explain why the material appears to have suffered chemical damage and tried to justify the stains as grease from the seat mechanism. They have offered no compensation for the distress, or the humiliation of walking around an airport with my clothes literally falling off my back. When I asked if I need to be concerned about the chemical that did this, I was met with silence every time. I still have the damaged clothes and have not accepted their offer to pay for only the emergency clothes. It put a real stress on an expensive holiday that my partner and I had been very much looking forward to. I have reached out to a forensics lab to see if it is possible to identify the culprit chemical and apparently it is possible.

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