Hussein Dajani is like any other Lebanese expat who feels a belonging to home. His airline of choice is to go and see his land and family is non-other than his country’s own Middle East Airlines (MEA). Why not support your country’s company that’s supposedly among the world’s top airliners?
Once he boarded flight number 427, taking him from Dubai to Beirut, Dajani felt something was wrong. The scorching heat of Dubai was blowing full force inside the plane. There was no AC. He figured it was a glitch. But when the AC refused to start, he knew something was wrong. As the plane took off, his attention turned to other things. Some of the tables were broken. The entertainment system in the plane was all messed up. He looked around and noticed the plane was seriously dirty. Looking in front of him, he saw a safety leaflet. He opened the safety leaflet and there was a chewing gum sticking it together.
Dajani was outraged. He called for the hostess to see what was wrong. Instead of being calming and reassuring, the hostess was patronizing in typical Lebanese ways “ya 7ayete, ya albe….” So he decided to take it into his own hands. He went around and started to interview people on the airplane. He wasn’t the only one who was suffering on the flight. In business class, he met with minister Jihad Azour who also thought the flight was all kinds of wrong. They exchanged contact information to pursue the matter.
Once he landed, Dajani took it to MEA’s Facebook page. Even though he found response from people who shared his ordeal, MEA ignored him. They eventually deleted his Facebook posts and banned him from their page.
Today, Marcel Ghanem’s Kalem el Neis and MTV’s Enta 7or are interested in pursuing the matter. I’ve decided to help Dajani as well. Why do I want to do that? Because Lebanese companies trampling on their customers needs to stop. We, as people, have become used to horrible customer service that we take it as part of the package. This shouldn’t be acceptable. Buying a product or a service doesn’t mean you need to put up with typical Lebanese mentality of “dabber 7alak” as soon as the purchase is fulfilled.
If MEA didn’t know the plane was in bad condition, the least they can do is issue an apology and a refund. If MEA knew about the plane’s condition, then that’s way worse.
Sure, other airlines experience such problems as well. It is not out of the ordinary. But other airlines assume responsibility as well. I don’t judge MEA based on that flight – after all, they are rated very well. But I judge them on how they handled it afterwards. You cannot simply ban a person who’s complaining from your Facebook page and expect no response whatsoever. You simply can’t offer such horrible service to people and expect them not to talk back.
It gets worse. While interviewing people, someone told Dajani he overheard the crew saying this plane should have been put out of service a while back for repairs and maintenance. Then why wasn’t it? Why was it still used for transporting people if they knew it was in bad shape? Or do the lives of people not matter in front of a money? Or are we seeking another national tragedy to feel relevant?
MEA might have lots of good publicity. But it takes one scandal to put it way back. I’m already reconsidering using MEA for my flight this summer. And no, that doesn’t make me unpatriotic.
I’ll leave you with a few videos and pictures.
This is not the first time this has happened on MEA and won’t be the last time. The Lebanese people who think that they work in hospitality, offices, whether government or not and retail should go to a Special School that teaches ‘how to respect a customer, always and forever’. These people do not know the value of a customer or client and as long as they stay this way Lebanon will never improve.
I agree that very few Lebanese companies are really good at customer care. I intend to highlight one of the better ones soon.
Two words: Turkish Airlines (Or Emirates if you’re armenian)
Tried Turkish Airlines when I went to France and Spain last summer. I really liked them. Haven’t traveled anywhere else but Emirates is a 5-star airline supposedly. But way too expensive.
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Why did you delete the videos?!
I didn’t delete anything. Check again.
This message goes out to our proud Lebanese National Airline, Middle East Airlines – Air Liban, and to media, bloggers, social media fanatics, Lebanese nationals in and out of Lebanon, and friends who supported me with my cause.
1- Thank you. Thank you for listening and for acting.
2- The posts which I put on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, and Google+) on May 3rd, 2012 and became a “campaign” later on taking into consideration the hype they took, were not for any political / religious / or personal agenda. They were simply because of personal frustration. I envisioned doing what I did as the best way to bring MEA’s attention to the drawbacks that were taking place (especially that I have addressed them on several occasions via calls and emails to MEA).
Being Lebanese and proud of our Lebanese National Airline gave me the right to do what I did. Instead of talking, I decided to put my nagging words into action. And time proved that what I did worked.
Be it luck, I don’t know, but what matters is that:
– My / people’s voices were heard,
– MEA proved to be a responsible and caring brand because they acted upon it. And this is something NEW in Lebanon and the Arab world! RESPECT for that! Well done!
I am motivated by pride, to regain pride in my country and its gems. I am motivated because I see other countries climb faster than Lebanon and go farther than Lebanon. And these countries do not have half the natural and human resources we, Lebanese, have. They do not have half the education and culture that we have. But what they have is motivation, inspiration, and dedication.
Taking into consideration MEA’s positive and supporting response and action (yes, for those of you who care and have been asking me, MEA did unblock me from accessing their FB page) and as a show of good will and faith, all posts which have comprised my “awareness campaign” of MEA’s lack of quality and consistency have been taken down on May 9, 2012.
But I do hope MEA will build on this faith and not let us, its loyal customers and fans, down.
like everything else we suffer from in this country being the blatant arrogant attitude of ‘we know best and no one else matters’… that will never change if there is no serious noise made about it….