Emirates, lemons, and lemonade


Ugh. That was my reaction when the announcement was finally made. “We regret to inform you that Emirates flight 305 to Dubai has been cancelled.” The good news is that they were able to get us all on another flight at 11:30pm. It was now almost noon, and my flight was supposed to have taken off at 6:15am. Since I had been in the Shanghai Pudong airport since 3:45 that morning, I clearly wasn’t so excited to park it in the airport until the next flight. But as I began to brace myself for how I would spend the rest of this day that hadn’t been going so well, that’s when it happened. Emirates Airlines began turning lemons into lemonade.

Soon after notifying us that the flight was cancelled, Emirates announced that they had booked us all in a hotel, and would transport us there via shuttle once they returned our bags to us. I was impressed. There were a lot of people to accommodate and to shuffle through a busy airport. But things seem to go very smoothly. And once we pulled up to the hotel, things got even better.

I fully expected the hotel that we would spend a few hours in to be an economy hotel for us to lay our heads and get freshened up. No no. Not Emirates. They put us up in the Qube Hotel, which was in a word – fabulous. They checked in each of the flight passengers into our own room where we were able to lay down in a bed (rather than an airport chair), and shower if needed. I considered mine quite fancy on the 16th floor, with a cool view of Shanghai. We were even provided with lunch and dinner buffets at the Qube restaurant. Not a bad deal, at all.

In your business, there may be things that don’t quite work out as you intend. And that can be especially frustrating when these things don’t work out through no fault of your own. But the key to making the most of your situation and delighting your customers in the process is to always turn lemons into lemonade. There is always a way to delight your customer, and make a gesture that shows them that yes, the situation isn’t ideal, but you will do something that at the very least makes the inconvenience a bit more bearable.

Emirates did that. And they did it in a big way. They showed me in their actions that they cared about me as a customer. They took an unfortunate situation, and added a whole lot of positivity to it. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. And I’m positive it wasn’t cheap. But as a traveler, I was grateful. And as a customer I was delighted!

Well done Emirates. Well done.