Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Emirates online check-in

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I use the Web 9 to 10 hours a day, for work and for pleasure and I get highly irked by crap websites. As catharsis, I document the worst usability atrocities.

With Emirates, you can check in online a day before the flight and choose your seat. I like to be by the bulkhead, for the smidgeon of extra leg room.

So, exactly 24 hours before the flight time I did just this, and was asked to enter details such as passport number etc. The form also asked for “Nationality as it appears in passport”, but the drop down didn’t have an entry for Great Britain, my nationality as it appears in the passport.

form asking for nationality as shown on passport

After a few phone calls, I was passed to the web team who told me that I should select “United Kingdom” – different from my passport – because “they mean the same thing”.

By the time I’d done this, the seats I wanted were gone. Thanks Emirates.

(On the flight back from India, a greater usability atrocity occurred when they fed all the vegetarian Indian passengers meat by mistake.)

10 Responses to “ Emirates online check-in ”

Comment by Mike Thomas

Same happened to me with the online checkin. Why tell you “as it appears in passport”?.

Emirates used to be quite a good airline, but recently their standards have started to slip. Presumably they’re cutting corners in order to stay afloat (aloft?) in the current economic climate.

Comment by Pete

Suprising, as this is the World’s best airline. I have never heard a complaint about EK and I have worked in aviation for over 20 years. Things must be slipping.

Comment by Home Business Coach

Hi Bruce, I am not surprised at all, Great airline, very good service as well, BUT depends where you are traveling, I have traveled with EK on both European and M/East – Asia Sectors. Found a very distinct difference in the level of service. I just choose not to travel with them anymore

Comment by Asif

I agree that the website doesn’t have British in the list and has United Kingdom instead, but does it really matter? Isn’t it obvious, that you would need to choose United Kingdom.

As for booking the required seat, you can do that as soon as you make your booking. I have booked my seats 2 months before I am flying.

Comment by Kiran


As a point of note , not to be rude , but the fact tha you actually got in touch with the web check in team just to prove that GREAT britian is not there in the list essentially proves your mindset to me. The country is on a double dip recession please dont tell me that its GREAT britian anymore , its after all britons who voted for the current ruling party isnt. So be happy and carry on with your life mate , its a small thing , after all differences based on countries , your passport and your dientity and language was all made by us humans we are bound to make mistakes.

Comment by Bruce


not to be rude but I have no idea what you’re talking about. I was told my Emirates to enter my nationality *exactly* as it is in my passport. I couldn’t. I called them. They told me to enter something different. In that time, I lost the fare I wanted.

What does that show about my mindset (except being pissed off at crap web forms)?

Comment by Stan

I also was booking and found no listing in Nationality for British Citizen as marked in my passport my official iD document. I am some what mystified that even after 7 years Emirates has not rectified the error or the missing Nationality. They clearly dont care any longer about High standards.

Comment by Tom

Is it still the same web check process? Is there still an option to add in your middle name in the advanced passenger information? Have a booking without middle name on it but obviously need to add it in so that name exactly matches passport at check in. Just wondering as this post is about 10 years old.

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