Emirates - Worst hunting airline experience ever

TTundra

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While I do apologize for making a complaint post so early in my AH career, I do not want what happened to me happen to another hunter. I know there may be an audience of readers whom have had OK deals with Emirates, but please read through these occurrences and make your decision more carefully as Emirates nearly ruined my plains game hunt. Without a doubt, its worth spending the $200-$300 more to fly with Delta.

That being said, I did have a fantastic time in country with Matwetwe safaris and cannot wait to go back! Hendrik put on an excellent camp and I will be writing up another review in another post to give him and his staff the credit due.

So, i arrive in OR Tambo by way of Dubai. Retrieve my rifles from SAPS and dont notice anything wrong, but I'm always a little tired after that long of a travel and wanted to get to the car for the drive ahead. Upon arrival to the camp we resighted our rifles to confirm zero. My fathers rifle, perfect, mine....shooting 12" high off the bat. Shoot again, 11" high. No problem, I'll just pull the turret cap of my Leupold VX-6 3-18x44 and adjust. cap....wont....budge. The elevation turret cap was smashed down so hard we needed pliers to finally remove it.

The rifles were packed in a Pelican 1750 rifle case with pick N Pluck foam. I've sold these cases for over 10 years with my profession (hunting industry) and traveled with them across the US, and UPS'd (shipped) them all over as well and have never had a problem. Judging from the issue, the case must have been dropped from a height of a few meters, probably from the baggage compartment doors, deliberately. This caused the 1 rifle to smash down and compress the pelican foam and hit my elevation turret. Its the only logical reason, the baggage, the rifles...were deliberately damaged. I spoke to a few PH's and they all say the same thing, that they see deliberate damage all the time. One even saw tire tracks over one rifle case with a broken stock.

Once the cap was removed I adjusted the scope and fired a few more times. It wasn't the groups I was used to, but I was tired from the travel and dismissed it as such. That was my mistake, I should have shot more. The trip went on and I shot a Kudu from 75 yards of so, warthog from 30 yards. No issues. It wasn't until I took a shot at a Gemsbok at 150 yards that I noticed the issue. 2 feet right and low. I thought it must have been me. Next day, shoot an impala at 100 yards, low and very left.

Go back to camp, resight in, sure enough, scope is throwing shots. 2 people confirmed. Not a Leupold problem, its an Emirates problem. Once again, the force it takes to smash down a turret cover to jump the threads and push out the gasket is immense. Any hunting scope would have had issues. Thank the lord I had a back up scope, a Tract Toric 2-10x42. remounted while sitting on my bed, then sighted in. next day, shoot a Blesbok at 200, damn near perfect shot.

So, at this point, emirates airlines damaged my rifle scope, $1600, caused a bad shot on a Gemsbok. And a shoulder shot on the impala, but recovered. Next to the Kudu, the Gemsbok was my other main goal in this hunt.

So, on the way home, we depart Tambo for Dubai. We leave 30 minutes late due to the plane deboarding a sick passenger. We land in Dubai 1 hour before our connection. Economy connections are not allowed to deboard until business gets off, no preference for connecting flights is given either. I'm not worried, still 45 minutes to get to the next gate. We get off, run thru security, and then are stopped by emirates personnel who are there to 'help' us. they take our tickets and say they are calling in the boarding passes for us. Great, right? No.....

We get to the gate 20 minutes before departure...that's when emirates personnel said the gates closed, and we cant board. Gate closes 20 minutes before departure. Well, we were held by an emirates employee who said they were calling us in and we should have been good. Not the case, and we cant argue. we had to go to the ticket desk to get rebooked on the flight for the next day. While there, we watched our plane from the window not leave the gate for another 30 minutes.

I firmly believe from speaking to various passengers who use emirates, they had no desire to get us on that flight. they knew we were slightly delayed so they gave our seats to stand by passengers to avoid having to dig thru the baggage hold for our luggage. At that point, we just wanted to get home, and now we were delayed 24 more hours. This now is costing the four of us each 1 day of work, my $1600 scope, and a missed gemsbok, and some aggravation on the trip.

lastly, I submit a report for damaged baggage 6 days after we get home, within the 7 day emirates policy and I'm sent an emails stating because I didn't send it 7 days from arrival in Africa my claim was void. Because I couldn't send an email from way out in marble hall, the bush, no cell service, no computer, etc. furthermore, they are denying the delay was unavoidable but admit we were stopped by emirates personnel.


ladies and gentleman, I'm sorry for the rant, and I know I should have been more diligent when I first thought something was wrong with the first scope, but I did get 2 animals on it. I have learned life lessons:

1-never fly emirates
2-bring a back up scope


but most of all, that I love Africa and cant wait to go back!!!! even with this horrible treatment from Emirates, I can't wait to return to the dark continent, hopefully 2018, and I will by flying Delta!
 

TTundra

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I'll feel good to write a great review for Matwetwe that's for sure! I hope many hunters think twice or steer clear of them.
 

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Sorry to hear that, but glad you had a good time and enjoyed your hunt/outfitter. Look forward to the hunt report
 

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Are you sure that Emirate employees caused the problem with your rifle ?

On the delay question, you are probably right.

I will not fly Emirates, but that is my personal choice ;)
 

TTundra

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Are you sure that Emirate employees caused the problem with your rifle ?

Very sure. Ive dropped this same case from my pickup for years and never had an issue. It took a drop of 3+ meters which is about right for a 777 baggage area, or possibly even a purposeful throwing of the case. Either way, it was in their care when the damage happened, at the very list they could have issued a voucher. I know Leupold will do right and take care of me on it, that's their warranty and level of CS, Emirates should take note...
 

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@TTundra, can you share what your flight itinerary was? By that I mean which airports you flew through.
 

TTundra

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@TTundra, can you share what your flight itinerary was? By that I mean which airports you flew through.

Sure thing. Originated at O'hare in Chicago, IL. Flew Emirates to Dubai on to Johannesburg.
Departed Johannesburg and flew Emirates to Dubai on to O'hare Chicago, IL
 

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Sounds like a cluster, but it is almost expected from airlines now days.

I know that last year my aluminum rifle case had the piece bent on it in such a way that they only thing that could of done it was a hammer. You just never know when you let the baggage gorillas handle your luggage no matter what airline.

As for your Leupold scope just go onto Leupold's web site and download their warranty return paper work and ship it off. I would be willing to bet that you have a new scope within 3 weeks.
 

TTundra

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Sounds like a cluster, but it is almost expected from airlines now days.

I know that last year my aluminum rifle case had the piece bent on it in such a way that they only thing that could of done it was a hammer. You just never know when you let the baggage gorillas handle your luggage no matter what airline.

As for your Leupold scope just go onto Leupold's web site and download their warranty return paper work and ship it off. I would be willing to bet that you have a new scope within 3 weeks.

I've had some damage before, and I know it does sadly happen, but a company should stand behind their service, and sadly they are not.

As for Leupold I'm squared away. I work in the industry and the scope is luckily being hand carried by a buddy visiting them later this month.

Thanks!
 

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Sorry you had a bad experience. I have mostly heard good things about Emirates. But this is an example of why I fly Delta
 

TTundra

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Sorry you had a bad experience. I have mostly heard good things about Emirates. But this is an example of why I fly Delta

I had heard good things so. But, its best to judge a company by how they react when things go wrong rather than when they go right. I've learned, and when a expensive hunt is on the line, best not to chance it.
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I have flow Delta for more control of things.
 

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To damage something inside a Pelican case takes some doing.
Sorry to hear about the epic fail with your rifle and getting any satisfaction.
 

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Sorry to hear about your rifle, and it's horrible to be treated like that. All this is Not what I wanted to hear.... We are flying Emerites in Sept and I am not getting the warm and fuzzy. @RolandtheHeadless is over there now and he is also traveling Emerites. Will be interesting to hear also was he has to say when he gets back.
 

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I've flown Emirates twice lately to Joburg with a Pelican gun box. Emirates did lose two of my TSA locks. Strange. Seems they would want to keep the box locked. I have a couple 'FRAGILE' and South African flag decals on the box hoping to prevent brutal handling. Maybe they have helped. I'm probably just lucky. I should and will try to write a letter of complaint to Emirates based on this forum. They should better respect their hunter client base.
 

TTundra

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To damage something inside a Pelican case takes some doing.
Sorry to hear about the epic fail with your rifle and getting any satisfaction.

I've tried to induce failures for pelican cases when I worked at opticsplanet.com and was unable to. It's still mind boggling the force it must have taken.
 

TTundra

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Sorry to hear about your rifle, and it's horrible to be treated like that. All this is Not what I wanted to hear.... We are flying Emerites in Sept and I am not getting the warm and fuzzy. @RolandtheHeadless is over there now and he is also traveling Emerites. Will be interesting to hear also was he has to say when he gets back.

I'm sure many have had ok experiences and hope that he has a great one. As I mentioned above, I judge a company on how they handle the aftermath as I know things like this happen. Just very unnerving at the lack of care and attention.
 

TTundra

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I've flown Emirates twice lately to Joburg with a Pelican gun box. Emirates did lose two of my TSA locks. Strange. Seems they would want to keep the box locked. I have a couple 'FRAGILE' and South African flag decals on the box hoping to prevent brutal handling. Maybe they have helped. I'm probably just lucky. I should and will try to write a letter of complaint to Emirates based on this forum. They should better respect their hunter client base.

Interesting that they would keep/lose the locks. Glad you had a better experience. I must say, the price was right, just can't put myself in that position again for a few hundred dollars. I would appreciate citing this forum in your letter. May help them out a formal response and apology together.
 

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