(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): MAS management must show it is extremely sensitive to the crescendo of public dissatisfactions about the quality of its service, and failure to give top priority to passenger convenience and satisfaction, and not be like the traditional three monkeys – with eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouth that speaks not.
My statement yesterday expressing dissatisfaction at the latest instance of MAS failure to keep its passengers fully informed about flight delays elicited immediate responses when it was posted on Internet newsgroups, and I call on both the Transport Ministry and the MAS management to act on these grouses which explain why MAS is increasingly unpopular with Malaysians.
Five of the early complaints highlighting the failure of MAS to give proper attention to the importance of ensuring passenger convenience and satisfaction are as follows:
1. Years ago I travelled from Paris to New York. My flight arrived in Ny late because of bad winter. The counter Pan-Am serviceman asked me only two questions, "Sir, would you like to stay here overnight for the next morning flight or you can run for the next flight in 30 minutes? we would put you up in hotel if you wanna stay overnight".
Once I was put up in a hotel FOC and a lunch voucher by an airliner which sees the delay as their fault. The delay was merely two hours!!! This is just a sign of good service to passengers' comfort. Again once I was passing thru' Miami and my flight arrived late. I was put up in the hotel for one night including breakfast the next morning. All these "well reputed" airliners have made it an obligation to be responsible for the passengers' comfort if flights are delayed. And many of them are insured for these unexpected fallouts. MAS has to take up an insurance to back up its service if any insurance company is willing to take on a policy for MAS.
2. I have two children studying in the UK and they come back at least once every year and we also go visiting. Isn't it strange that for the last three years, none of us has flown MAS ? I would have love to, if only for escaping the inconvenience of tansitting in Changi since I live in KL; but MAS is about RM200 - 300 more expensive than SIA
3. I heard the Air Ticket for MAS to UK is much more expensive than the Royal Brunei.
So, why the waste?
Of course, go for the cheaper one.
4. I have two personal experiences to share in this respect....
1) For a local flight to Alor Setar from Kuala Lumpur, I arrived late at the airport due to flooding at the Hyatt Saujana area which had caused the mother of all traffic jams. This was despite leaving a good two hours earlier than the check in time stated. On arrival at the airport counter to check in (the plane had already left BTW), I was basically given a tongue lashing by the counter staff for being late and not anticipating the traffic jam !!! The counter staff kept saying that I should know that it had been raining and there would be a jam! OK, I know the situation in Subang but what if I had been from outstation, would I know the traffic situation? Anyway, being the humble Asian that I am, I did not create a ruckus although I was ready to punch this guys lights out! But they did put me on a later flight (about 4 hours later).
Next my experience with JAL a few years back...
I reached Narita Airport from Tokyo about 2 hours after my flight had departed. This was due to heavy snow which had caused the father of all traffic jams. I go to the JAL counter and there is this lady sounding as if SHE had made me missed my flight! "Sir, there are no flights immediately available for KL but I can put you on a flight to Singapore and you can connect to KL from there, if you don't mind the inconvenience of transiting through Changi." And you know what, they even put me in Business Class! How is that for customer service?
2) Coming back from Kota Kinabalu, I found that my bag was torn when I retrieved it from the luggage carousel. I go to this lady at the passenger service counter who is in the middle of an interesting conversation with her colleague. She gives me a look that says "Can't you see I am in the middle of an exciting story about TR, please go away" and then reluctantly says "What is the problem?" when she sees that I am not going to allow her to continue her chit chat. "Are you sure your bag wasn't torn before? You should not pack your bags too full." She actually said that. Yes, sure it was my fault my bag got torn. Sorry, maybe my bag damaged your aircraft when it got torn :-(. She also went on about how these things were difficult to resolve as there was no proof that the bag was not torn before, etc, etc, etc. Again my strict Asian values of not creating a fuss got the better of me and I walked away (you wimp, you).
Next my experience with SWISSAIR about 2 years back...
I arrive in Zurich in the wee hours of the morning. Everyone has collected their luggage except for yours truly....yep, luggage nowhere in sight. The plane has departed for Copenhagen, so bags probably have gone to visit Denmark! There I am ready to burst into tears (again, my soft wimpy Asian upbringing coming through), when this comes up to me and asks me to follow her to her office. There she efficiently asks me describe my.....luggage :-( and I did not even have to fill in a single form coz she is keying every detail into a PC connnected to two monitors so that I could verify all details as she keys it in. She also asks me for my hotel address and room number so that she can arrange for my luggage to be sent by taxi at Swissairs cost (of course) as soonas it gets in from Copenhagen. All this while looking and apologizing like SHE caused my luggage to go on a vacation without me (not to mention looking like a million bucks in the process ;-P). As I am about to leave, in comes a guy carrying...you guessed it, my errant bags. Seems it got unloaded kind of late, so they did not put it with the other luggage. Well, alls well that ends well
5. I have been working out of Malaysia for the last 8/9 years. During this period, I have made numerous flights (private and business) to various destinations which MAS also flies. I flew *exclusively* MAS my first two and a half years. With time and experience (bad ones!), I became wiser. Now, I fly "EXCLUDELY" (is there such a word?) MAS.
MAS Chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli should seriously consider my suggestion that MAS should set up an independent panel to have a wide-ranging review of public complaints and dissatisfactions with the quality of MAS service and to make recommendations so that MAS can restore the confidence and pride of Malaysians in the national airline.