Thursday, June 26, 2008

Malaysian Hospitality

Allow me to critically evaluate Malaysia Airlines flight MH 122 Sydney – KLIA flight on 21st June 2008.

Let me share with you my MAS trips for my Australia – KLIA travel. Please note that I have always flown MAS in my holiday trips overseas except when I do not have control over my airline choices. For your information, I have flown with Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and if I am not mistaken, Thai Airways too.

February 2006 : KLIA – Sydney (MAS)
June 2006 : Sydney – KLIA (MAS)
July 2006 : KLIA – Sydney (MAS)
November 2006 : Melbourne – KLIA (MAS)

February 2007 : KLIA – Melbourne (MAS)
June 2007 : Melbourne – KLIA (MAS)
July 2007 : KLIA – Sydney (MAS)
November 2007 : Sydney – KLIA (MAS)

January 2008 : KLIA – Melbourne (MAS)
February 2008 : Melbourne – KLIA (MAS)
March 2008 : KLIA – Sydney (MAS)
June 2008 : Sydney – KLIA (MAS)

I will be flying home to Australia with MAS in July also. There is a possibility I will be flying with MAS again in November and December. It will be another 4 more MAS trips for me most probably this year for the Australia – Malaysia route.

Now. On 21st of June 2008, I booked a Virgin Blue flight to fly from Canberra to Sydney. Upon arrival at around 11am, I had to wait for a bus to go from the domestic terminal to the international terminal.

They are not linked in any way except train, busses and cabs. When I reached the MAS check in row, there was only one staff working there. I checked the time and it was around 11.30 – 11.40 am.

There were more staff around 12pm onwards. When it was my turn next to check in, I was given a sheet of paper by a very senior looking staff who walks around like a chief there. She handed me the paper and advised me to read it.

I read it and was shocked to see that there will be a delay. I quickly browse for the time of departure expected and wasn’t interested in the reasons yet. There wasn’t any time stated there.

I read the letter and was shocked to read about some mechanical issues with the plane. Suddenly, I heard a lady calling me for check in. I took my luggage there and handed to her my documents. I asked for the estimated time of departure.

She said “8pm”. I thought I heard wrongly and I said “sorry, come again?”. She repeated the words “8pm”. I immediately glanced at my watch and it says about 12 plus noon.

MAS was kind enough to give us a AUD 20 meal voucher, which of course if you had read my blog entries, I spent it all on Starbucks. I had plenty of time to spare that day.

Thankfully I had my laptop and my MSN mobile on my 3 handset. I have to thank my pals in Australia, NZ and Fleur for keeping me company the whole day. Haha. I even called my mom and sis many times that day.

Sigh. So anyway, I waited till 7pm because that was the stated boarding time. Nope. I did not board at 7pm. In fact, the plane wasn’t even at the gate! The plane arrived at the gate at approximately 7.30pm.

Ground staff announced that loading was being carried out and it will be around 8pm for us to board.The MAS staff arrived at 8pm sadly and they had to announce again that we will be boarding in 15 minutes. So, we went onboard at around 8.15pm. And we left Sydney Airport at around 8.45pm.

With such a delay, and us passengers being tired and dirty, we needed comfort. And Malaysia Airlines should be praised for their new marketing that MH is not just a code but Malaysian Hospitality. That flight MH 122 wasn’t up to the mark. I did not feel any Malaysian Hospitality.

In fact, I believe it is the worst Malaysia Airlines flight out of all the above for the Australia – Malaysia route. For instance, when we were about to land in KLIA and were told to stow our seats, some of course did not. All the MH 122 and MH 123 flights I have gone on board, the crew will politely go on rounds to remind the passengers and guide them to push their seats back up.

In this MH 122 flight, there was a air steward who went past the rows in front of me and said “please lift your seats upright”. After saying that, he just used force to push the seat back up!! Right after he said those words!! He did not even allow time for the passengers to lift it up.

And even worst, he did not press the button at the armrest to ease the gear for lifting the seat up. He basically puts his hand at the back of the seat and pushed it up with all his might!

Is that what you call a polite, humble and friendly 5 star crew? He spoiled the MAS image that night I believe. The many crews I have flown with under MAS, the acts of this steward were not acceptable. Other crew members that I have seen, they handled cases like this way better. They will give a smile to the passenger concerned and guide him or her to lift it upright again.

Generally, there were not enough smiles and mannerism from all the members of the crew throughout the flight. MAS must not forget we boarded the plane after a 8 hour delay! Imagine how tired and unhappy we all were on that day!

We were delayed and treated without any “MH”. I hope Malaysia Airlines will be strong in maintaining their policy of Malaysian Hospitality.

Or else, MAS will enter into a 5 star “hospital” soon when customers begin to boycott them and demand that the KL-Australia route to be lifted from being monopolized by MAS as a full fare airline.

I hope Datuk Idris Jala can look into this matter. More and more of my friends are opting for SIA already. Are we to enrich SIA or MAS? The choice is yours, MAS and Government of Malaysia.

Personally, I do not wish to see a repeat of that incident. The other flights of MH 122 and MH 123 were fantastic, especially my January 2008 trip back to Australia via MH 123 (KLIA – Melbourne). I will still opt for MAS, no doubt. However, MAS will lose its reputation fast if their crew are not in line with the MH policy set by the upper management.

Perhaps attitude towards passengers are different and we are discriminated with classes of travel. MAS must not forget that the Economy Class sits the largest contributor to their flight revenues.

And their votes count more than the other classes. I hope MAS will also ensure that discrimination of classes on passengers do not exist and the same degree of mannerism is applied for all passengers in all flights, in line with the Malaysian Hospitality strategy.

Thank you!

Note : The double chocolate muffin in Starbucks wasn't that good.

Note : The Thai Chicken Curry Muffin is very nice though. I don't know why they served me with tomato sauce but .... generally it was worth my money :) The almond croissant was superb but I didnt take a picture of it. Try it if you are in Starbucks!

No comments: