This is just one of the strange questions callers have been asking staff at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affair (GDRFA) in Dubai.
Calls made to the GDRFA’s Amer call centre number 8005111 include one from a man asking for the fastest airline to India. Another caller wanted to know if his parents were on board a flight.
One of the strangest calls was from a man asking for his relatives’ address in Dubai; another wanted to know the road speed limits.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Anissa Khalifa Bin Dabawi, who is the director of Customers Information Centre at GDRFA in Dubai, said the Amer service received thousands of calls this year which also included strange requests.
“Despite the strange and funny nature of the calls, we answer them professionally,” Anissa said, adding that the call centre received about 10,000 such calls from January to September.
“We received calls about the fastest airline to India or some people calling us asking to book an airline ticket to their country. A man even called us asking about procedures to get Egyptian citizenship.”
Around 35 employees in Amer call centres received a total of 826,000 calls this year. They work round the clock, taking an average of only three seconds to answer a call.
Employees also received calls inquiring about lost items or how to apply for a driving licence.
“We deal seriously with all calls even if they are out of our jurisdiction. If the caller needs an emergency service, like contacting police or ambulance, we transfer the call immediately to the concerned authority,” she said. Anissa said most callers were new in the UAE and they didn’t know the number of the entities they wanted to communicate with.
“Our employees went through training workshops to develop their skills and know how to answer the calls in both Arabic and English.”
She urged callers to be patient as some customers blame the employees and speak rudely.