Emirates Passenger Self-Upgrades to First Class, Then Allegedly Sexually Assaults Crew
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Self-upgrading — the rare but often disruptive case of passengers who decide to go sit in a higher class of service without permission — can lead to disturbing scenes. In one recent case on Emirates, it landed the passenger responsible in court. A flight attendant he had allegedly sexually assaulted said the airline had suspended her in the wake of the incident, an account that Emirates disputes.
According to a report in the Emirati newspaper Khaleej Times, the case was debated at the Dubai Court of First Instance last Sunday, when the flight attendant who was allegedly assaulted and harassed by the self-upgrading passenger testified about the incident. The longtime Emirates crew member told the prosecutor that she was in charge of the flight attendants aboard an Airbus A380 from Los Angeles to Dubai on April 13. The 31-year-old man, who is now facing multiple charges, took it upon himself to move from his economy seat to an upper-deck premium seat. The man didn’t just self-upgrade; he self-upgraded twice, in the crew member’s description of events.
“We faced a problem with one passenger — the defendant — who was traveling in the economy class and moved on his own to the business class,” she said in court. “He would not want to listen to me as I tried to explain to him about the airline’s regulations. He then moved to the first class and put the earpiece on while insulting me.”
The passenger’s father then approached the flight attendant to defuse the situation, however, the passenger would call on her again later in the flight. “He then called me names and followed me to the upper floor,” said the flight attendant. “He twisted my arm and groped me for a few seconds. The man damaged my work card as I screamed at him to let go of me. During the police interrogation, he said that I was not his type.”
The defendant also allegedly told the victim that he would “get her sacked” along with her supervisor, who witnessed the assault. He also claimed that “he had connections in the Dubai Police.”
The plaintiff had been working as a flight attendant for Emirates for 12 years. She said that this was the first time she had ever dealt with something of this nature aboard a flight. She said that the airline ultimately decided to suspend her, which the airline denies.
“I was suspended and did not receive my salary for one month pending my mental evaluation by a psychiatrist,” she said in a tearful testimony. She had apparently been deemed unfit to deal with passengers, according to the report by the Khaleej Times.
Emirates denied that the suspension ever happened.
The trial will resume on September 10.
Edit: This story was updated with a statement from Emirates Airline.
Featured image of an Emirates first-class suite on the A380 by TPG
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees