Raikes Family Holiday
For the entire year, the Raikes family couldn’t stop thinking about their upcoming holiday. Months of planning went into it, and they couldn’t wait to get on the flight to their dream destination.
Little did they know that a petty airport employee would threaten to ruin their plans. It seemed that this employee’s goal was to spoil someone else’s holiday.
Manchester To Florida
Emma Raikes and her loving family had booked their tickets from Manchester airport to Florida months in advance.
Emma was about to embark on a fantastic holiday with her 2-year-old niece, Quinn, her mother, and five other family members. Their plan was to visit Disneyworld in Orlando and to stay there for two whole weeks. But they had no idea how easily their plans could get ruined.
Ready To Go
On the day of their flight, they had printed their passes, packed their bags, gotten to the airport, and checked their bags in. They were all set up and ready to go. None of them could stop fantasizing about their holiday. They had always wanted to see Disneyworld, and now they were about to.
They had no suspicions that one of the airport’s employees could ruin their plans.
The trip had been planned for months. It was the first time in years that their extended family was able to spend a few days together. It was also Quinn’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than to go to Disneyworld?
They put a lot of time and effort into their planning. They even made a few custom Minnie Mouse T-shirts! They decided to wear them to the airport. They didn’t know it at the time, but these shirts would start their troubles.
It all started right after they checked their luggage in. They had a few hours to spare before takeoff. That was why they decided to book tickets that would grant them access to the airport lounge.
They had a long flight ahead of them. They needed this chance to rest. But they wouldn’t get much rest.
Time To Relax
The lounge reservations cost Emma $1000. When they got to the entrance, Emma handed over their tickets to the receptionist.
They wanted to spend a few hours in the lounge to chill and relax before their flight, but that was when the trouble started.
Proof Of Identity
The receptionist stared at the tickets before looking up at Emma. She then asked for Emma’s proof of identity. Emma didn’t think much of it, she assumed it was just a formality. She got her driving license from her wallet and handed it over to the receptionist.
But the receptionist had other plans.
The receptionist then said, “Sorry, madam, but the name on the tickets isn’t yours. We can’t let you in.”
Emma couldn’t believe what she was hearing. The tickets were under her mother’s name, but it was well within the rules of the airport lounge. Emma had checked and they never mentioned anything about showing your proof of identity. It seemed as if the receptionist was trying to anger her.
But luckily, Emma’s mom was there with her. She took a step forward and showed the receptionist her passport, hoping she would let them in.
But the receptionist shook her head and thought of another excuse to deny them entry.
She cleared her throat and stuck her nose in the air as she said, “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.”
That was ridiculous! Now they weren’t allowed to enter because of their graphic T-shirts? Emma wasted no time as she pulled her phone out and looked up the lounge’s dress policy. What she found 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.