Wednesday, September 28, 2005

MAS lost RM 280 million last year. Now I know why...

I am again guilty of not posting for a long long time. Now that I am back in Notts and have embarked on my Master's course, I finally have something to write and rant about.

I left Malaysia on the 17th of September. I was on First Class and thoroughly enjoyed the flight. The service was impeccable and the reclining seat cum bed was really very comfortable. Even the headphones and the TV screen were extra large. I really had the kind of service you see on airline advertisements. When you leave your seat, the stewardess will make the bed for you and once you return she will cover you with a nice and warm silk blanket. The toilet on board was of course much bigger than the business or economy class ones and the tap was not the normal ones where you press and only a tiny stream of water flows down. Instead, you only need to press them once and a heavy flow of water showers onto your hands which can be softened later with their full range of hand and body care moisturizers. Food was good; much better than business class. As usual, the appetizer served for the night was Satay and there were even pralines and Haagen Daz ice-cream for dessert. Fancy some fruit? Just tell the stewardess what you would like on your fruit platter.

I really don't have anything to complain about the service on board. The crew's manners were great. They were so polite to the extent that I found it slightly irritating for them to keep calling me Miss Lai. There were 11 other people enjoying the wonderful service with me. One of them was Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay himself. He came with his wife and daughter. I think they must have been so familiar with workings of the seat and it's multitude of buttons. The crew were also extra friendly to them as I'm sure they must have served them at least a dozen times before. Sitting in the middle row were 2 young Malay ladies dressed in Versace and had Fendi bags. They looked like they were going to London for a shopping spree on their rich Datuk husband's money. The rest of the passengers were businessmen and businesswomen. I was the only student and looked like the youngest of the lot.

The plane took off late because of some irresponsible idiot who turned up late for the flight. We waited for him for 15 minutes and then the captain decided that it was too long a wait and so had his bags unloaded. But as the ground staff were getting his bags off the cargo, he turned up. However, we couldn't take off yet because of air traffic. Thus, we took off 50 minutes later. We could have arrived 50 minutes earlier then scheduled but we arrived on time instead.

Once the plane touched down at Heathrow airport and the cabin door opened, I rushed out as I wanted to catch the 7am bus back to Nottingham. We arrived at 6am sharp. Immigration check was done in less than 5 minutes as I was the first person to request clearance. However, my bags which were supposed to be tagged with FRCL were tagged with EYCL instead and it took exactly and hour for them to be out on the baggage carousle. My First class counterparts got their bags in less than 15 minutes and the other Business Class passengers got theirs in no more than 30 minutes. I was fuming mad and knew that I wouldn't make it for the 7am bus.

How could MAS make such a mistake? Why were my bags tagged with EYCL instead of FRCL? I was given a First Class boarding card, a First Class lounge coupon and was seated in the First Class cabin. I also checked in at the First Class counter. What happend? What went wrong?

These were the questions I threw to the MAS personnel at the baggage carousel. They were very apologetic and told me that they will telex my complain back to KLIA immediately. They also advised me to write in to MAS personally to express my grievance. One of their staff pushed my bags all the way to the Central Bus Station in the hope that the bus was still there due to a delay in departure. Unfortunately, it wasn't. I had to get another ticket for the 8.15am one which stopped at London for 50 minutes. Luckily I did not have to pay for the ticket because I was delayed due to flight problems.

On arriving at London Victoria Bus Station, I encountered yet another difficulty. There were no trolleys at the arrival hall and I had to get from there to the departure hall for a bus change back to Notts. As it was a Sunday, the porter was not there to help passengers. Almost all of the passengers on board the same bus as me travelled with at least one companion so dragging and carrying their luggage was no problem. I stood there for a moment and a Chinese girl I recognised at the airport came up to me. She is also from Malaysia and travelling alone. She had more bags than me and she suggested that we take turns to watch our bags and carry them over to the departure hall. And so that was how I managed to not miss my bus back and lose my luggages.

I was fuming mad about the MAS incident until I cooled down while waiting for the bus to Notts. I remembered that I prayed for God's will to be done and not mine. It was God's will for me to miss the bus and stop in London instead of going back straight. If I wasn't at London Victoria at that time, what would have happend to the first year girl? I believe I was sent by God to help her and that made me not angry about the whole bag fiasco at the airport.

I told my parents and my dad insisted that he write to MAS a letter of complaint. We did not ask for any compensation but just a letter to let the MAS personnel and check in staff know that what they did was completely wrong and unprofessional. They have yet to reply but I hope they will pretty soon.

MAS lost RM 280 million last year. Now I know why...