For months the Raikes family had been planning their trip. They were beside themselves with excitement, all they could think about was their upcoming trip.
But they never could have guessed that the pettiness of one airport employee could threaten their chances of going on their dream holiday. So, what did this employee do?
It Took Place In The Manchester Airport
The story was shared and brought to the public eye by Emma Raikes. Emma and her family had booked a flight from Manchester airport to Florida.
It was Emma, her 2-year-old niece Quinn, her mom, and five other family members. They were going for a two-week vacation at Disneyworld in Orlando. They were so excited! If only they could imagine how their plans would be so close to getting ruined.
They Were So Excited
The family had already printed their passes, packed their things, arrived at the airport, and checked their bags. Now the only thing on their mind was what would they do when they arrived at Disneyworld.
They couldn’t imagine that their vacation would be so close to getting ruined by the whims of one member of the airport staff.
It Was Emma’s Niece Birthday
They had been planning that trip for months; for the first time in a very long time, all the extended family had the chance to spend a few days together; it was also a chance to celebrate Quinn’s second birthday properly.
They had even made some custom T-shirts with the image of Minnie Mouse celebrating the trip. They were wearing them to the airport. Little did they know that this innocent gesture of celebration would become their biggest problem later on.
The Problems Start
The trouble started right after checking their luggage. There were still a few hours left until their plane opened the doors for the passengers. So they had booked some tickets in advance granting them access to the airport lounge.
It was going to be a long flight, so the least they could ask for was a little rest before it. But the last thing they would get is rest.
The Airport’s Lounge
Emma had spent almost $1,000 on the lounge reservations. They arrived at the door and Emma brought out their tickets to show them to the receptionist.
They were expecting to spend a few hours there, just waiting and chilling out in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. But that was when their problems started.
The Receptionist Wasn’t Feeling It
The receptionist took a long look at the tickets, then stared at Emma and asked her for proof of identity. Emma thought that this was just a formality. She showed her driving license and waited for the receptionist to let them in.
But the receptionist had other plans. This is what she said.
Wrong Name On The Tickets!
“Sorry, madam, but the name on the tickets isn’t yours. We can’t let you in.”
Emma couldn’t believe her ears. True, the tickets were under her mother’s name. But she had checked the rules and regulations of the airport lounge and they said nothing about having to show proof of identity. It almost seemed like the receptionist was trying to cross them.
Fortunately enough, her mom was there too. So she stepped forward and showed her passport. Hopefully, this time everything would be fine.
But for some reason, the receptionist had it in her mind to not let them in, and she came up with another reason to deny them entry.
“Sorry, madam, but the T-shirts that you’re wearing don’t conform to the lounge’s prescribed dress code. We’re going to have to ask you to cover up with a jumper or we can’t give you access to the lounge.”
Now, this was incredible. They couldn’t enter the lounge just because they were wearing graphic T-shirts? Emma brought out her phone and looked up the lounge’s dress policy. What she read left her baffled.
It Was Unfair
There was no mention of graphic T-shirts at all on the lounge’s dress policy. They did mention costumes, sportswear, and sleeveless T-shirts as clothing items that were not allowed at the lounge, and recommended casual-smart style; but there was nothing on the lounge’s website that could be used as a justification for denying them entry.
Emma tried to give that argument to the receptionist, but the latter wasn’t caving in. Would they really have to stay outside the lounge, regardless of having paid more than $1,000, just because of what they were wearing?
They Managed To Get In
Luckily enough, they had brought some sweaters and jumpers with them, just in case. But it was summertime and they were flying to Florida; had their vacations been shorter than two weeks, they might not have brought any sweaters with them, and they wouldn’t have been able to enter the lounge.
This was outrageous to Emma and her family. But once inside the lounge, they saw something that made them even more enraged.
Had Been An Arbitrary Decision
Inside the lounge, there was a group of young men wearing soccer T-shirts. To be specific, the official Manchester United T-shirts. And the lounge’s website explicitly prohibited sportswear!
Emma was furious when she saw this. It almost seemed like the lounge receptionist had decided that she just didn’t like the Raikes. So she decided to share her experience on social media and file a complaint on the lounge’s website.
Emma Shares The Story
Quickly, Emma’s story went viral and she was even contacted by the media. “We were extremely disappointed at the hassle we faced when trying to enter the lounge we had booked,” Emma told to the Manchester Evening News. “It’s not like we were a stag or hen party.”
So the airport’s lounge had no other option than to speak up on the matter.
Not What She Expected
Some days after the incident, the airport’s lounge representatives responded to Emma’s complaint by post. Emma was relieved to get a reaction out of them finally.
As she read the response, it started well. The tone was professional, and it seemed like the family would be vindicated for their terrible experience. As Emma read on, her jaw dropped, and she squashed the letter in a fury.
They Doubled Down
While the company was “sincerely” sorry that Emma and her family had such an upsetting experience at the lounge, the lounge refused to take ownership for their mistake.
Instead, they doubled down and insisted that there was no fault on their employee’s part and that their rules were always fairly applied to all guests. Emma was beside herself now.
By now, the family was in full swing with their holiday. Trying not to let everything bother her too much, Emma carried on as usual and enjoyed the trip with everyone.
By the time it was over, she had held back her frustration at the lounge for too long. As the family all returned home, everyone had put the incident behind them, but Emma just could not let it go.
It Was Personal Now
Emma was even more enraged by the lounge’s attitude toward the incident. She had never been the type to go on unnecessary crusades, but she firmly believed in the concept of justice.
It appeared that the lounge did not know what Emma’s profession was. As it was her job to fight for justice, this time, she vowed to use her skills to get justice against the lounge.
Friends In High Places
Emma was no pushover. During the course of her career, she had made many contacts. Among her personal friends, she could think of many high-ranking officials that could be called on.
This was a personal issue, so she wondered if it would be appropriate. Mulling it over, Emma found herself becoming more and more annoyed by the lounge’s behavior. She decided they had to pay.
The lounge and the company that owned it had underestimated Emma at their own peril. Emma realized this wasn’t a small issue. Carefully drafting a letter, she chose her words carefully as she always did with such matters.
When it was done, she reviewed it with a smile. She knew they’d take things seriously now as she ended the letter with, “Yours sincerely: Emma Raike, Attorney at law.
Emma wasn’t usually the type of person that flashed her credentials around. This time, though, she knew drastic action had to be taken.
As a personal injury lawyer with over 15 years of experience, she had seen first-hand how often people were taken advantage of for not standing up for themselves. Having placed the lounge “on terms” to respond by a specific date, now all she could do was wait.
Not Everyone Agreed
Once the story had become viral, not all members of Emma’s family were pleased. It was a trying time for some, and they were not comfortable with being questioned by outsiders.
When Emma informed them of her letter, she was not expecting the pushback. Most of her family were against the idea. They wanted her to just “leave it alone,” but Emma was not accustomed to backing down.
The Days Ticked By
Despite giving the airport lounge a deadline by which to respond, the days ticked on by. Soon the last day loomed ahead, and Emma became more curious about what they were planning.
When it was starting to seem like there would be no response, Emma finally received one. This time, the communication was from the company’s lawyers.
She Found It Funny
If the company’s plan was to scare Emma off by sending a response letter through their own lawyers, they had done a poor job. Emma had come up against far more powerful law firms
Far from intimidating, she found their response laughable. While denying everything, the company made it clear that they “regretted the incident and did not desire further litigation but would defend themselves if necessary.”
A New Dilemma
Emma had enough experience with litigation to know when the other side was on the backfoot. The fact that they “did not desire further litigation” already told her that the prospect of it spooked them.
Emma now had a new decision to make. She had carefully weighed the merits of the case. She knew that she had enough grounds for a suit but couldn’t decide if it was worth it to pursue.
She Played The Game
Emma’s cases at the office were already more than enough. She knew pushing this further would require time and expense on her part. She had no doubt that she would win but no longer had the desire to take it that far.
Realizing that the company did not know this and still deserved some kind of punishment for their actions, Emma decided to “play the game” a little longer.
Just A Little Longer
After all her anger and frustration initially, Emma was actually starting to enjoy herself. Since she’d progressed in her career, she seldom ever got the opportunity to litigate directly anymore.
Realizing how much she missed the chess game that civil litigation often became, she decided to push it just a little longer. She knew she had them on the back foot. It was time to turn the screw just a little more.
Deciding to play just one more hand, Emma responded to the letter stating that the matter was out of her hands now and it was being handed over to her law firm.
This time the response didn’t take long. After two days of silence, Emma received a response that finally satisfied her. Not only was the company finally willing to admit fault, they now proposed a “settlement offer.”
In the end, realizing that their backs were up against the wall, Emma and the lounge company settled the issue amicably. The family was given a full refund.
They were also awarded lifelong complimentary passes to utilize any of the company’s 15 most luxurious lounges worldwide. Their only condition was that Emma drops any further litigation against them.
Her Instincts Were Right
Emma’s family now finally understood why she had not let the matter go. Given her expertise, she knew that sometimes people had to fight for justice.
With another successful matter put to bed, Emma looked forward to her family’s next holiday. This time, something told them their airport lounge experience was going to be a whole lot better.