I consider myself not a frequent traveller, but certainly one with reasonable experience. Having lived and worked in Ireland from 1995-2006, during that time of my life, I travelled by flight much, both long haul and short haul, and yes, like all air travellers I have experienced delays, overnights at the hotel due to delayed flights, missing luggage, and other unpredictable events peculiar to air travel.
Most of it, like the rest of the planet, we take in our stride. There was one instance, when I was travelling with my 6 month old baby alone, from Ireland back to Kuala Lumpur, that I had a really awful experience of missing one piece of luggage, out of more than one piece checked in, and I waited and waited until all the other passengers had got their bags and left, and then went to see the staff on site about it.
He looked at the paper board in his hand and said something like “oh, this piece of luggage, actually we knew that it had not arrived, but we did not want to announce it because we were afraid that if we did that, you would leave without picking up the other bag”.
At that point in time, if I had the energy, I would have been very angry. But I had just spent about 18-24 hours travelling time, including transit in London from Dublin, plus I had a small baby to attend to and no one to help me, so I just picked up my bag that actually arrived, and left.
When I was over my jet lag, I wrote a letter of complaint to the New Straits Times. There was swift action, within less then 2-3 weeks, before I flew back to Dublin, I received a card stating an apology from Malaysia Airlines, plus some toys for my baby son. Well, that was that, 2004, more than a decade ago.
So here we are and some weeks ago, I accompanied my husband on a working visit to Singapore. We flew via Air Asia for the cheaper priced tickets compared to other airlines. If my husband had travelled alone, he would have been using Malaysia Airlines.
Flight from Kota Bharu to KLIA was fine. In fact, everything went reasonably smoothly from KB – KL – Changi and back a few days later via the same route. Apart from one incident.
After we have boarded the flight to Changi Airport from KLIA2, we were sitting happily in our seats when the stewardess came to us and demanded our tickets. The way she asked and the intonation of her voice was, as if we were standard one students who came late to school or had broken some other rule. There was another elderly lady passenger with her.
You would have expected a decent “May I see your tickets please?”
But instead it was like “Where’s your tickets?”, as if we deliberately sat at the wrong place.
After handing over our tickets to her, she then noted that the passenger (whose ticket was the disputed seat 21F) had the wrong flight on her ticket stub, I heard the stewardess say to her “Your flight is 3pm”.
So clearly it wasn’t our fault. Don’t ask me how a person who is supposed to be on a 3pm flight was allowed to board a 12noon flight, and then not be assigned seats correctly. But certainly it was no fault of ours, and I had expected the stewardess to say, “Sorry about that, our mistake” or “My mistake, sorry”.
Some acknowledgement that she was sorry for the mix up. But no, she just gave back our tickets and asked the other passenger to follow her. Not even a thank you for handing over the tickets.
My husband even asked “Is everything ok?”, hoping to hear some feedback or explanation, but there was no response.
Then later, just before disembarking, we noticed that the elderly passenger from the earlier incident was sitting a few rows ahead of us.
After coming back and settling down to routine life, I decided to write an official complaint. I expected a simple email apology for the rudeness of their staff, but none so far. It’s almost April, and since I came across the ticket stubs while de-cluttering, I’m going to leave this blog post until I get a response.