Holiday’s over and people are coming home; unless the flight doesn’t allow them to. And that is exactly what happened to Malaysia Airlines passengers from Japan, Australia, and Kuala Lumpur a day after the New Year.
According to CNA, two Malaysia Airlines flights in Japan had stranded its passengers for 33 and 48 hours, whereas for domestic flights, one passenger reported that he had waited one day for flight reschedule and three days for baggage arrival.
One passenger took the ordeal to Facebook to vent out and demand for answers from Malaysia Airlines. Abigail Tee said her flight from Tokyo to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur transfer had suffered a total delay of 33 hours.
“This flight was supposed to commence at 10.20am, January 2 from Tokyo Narita Airport. Later that day, I was supposed to fly out of KLIA2 International Departure Hall to Singapore. Malaysia Airlines’s ground handlers, Swissport, announced that my flight was delayed till 1pm. Food vouchers were NOT explicitly given out. I had to ask for it.”
She continued that half an hour before 1pm, another delay was announced. It cycle kept rolling for a total of four times throughout the 33-hour delay where Tee approached the groundstaff for answers and be disappointed with delay announcement repeatedly.
“On 3rd of January, a long queue greeted me when I arrived at 9.30am. At around 12.30pm, there was no sign of boarding. When we approached the counter, no one could give us an answer and there was again another delay!”
Tee said that she had to repeatedly demand for food vouchers and her one-night accommodation every time delay was announced. Malaysia Airlines didn’t offer any compensation until passengers asked for it.
“I heard some of the passengers were not even given dinner vouchers or hotel stays
“Food vouchers were not explicitly given out. Passengers had to ask for them. When it was my turn, they even told me they had ran out of food vouchers?”
When she finally arrived Singapore on January 5, yes, three days after the supposed flight date, she was told that her luggage was left on the previous flight and she had to wait again.
Adding to Yee’s frustration, another passenger of the same flight said, “Passengers did not know what happened, they refused to let us take our luggage and refuse to let us transfer. So we were stranded. They kept saying the luggage was already on the new plane so they could not take it out.
“They wouldn’t tell us what the issue was. Both days, no one knew what was going on,
“I am not upset at the delays, I am upset at the lack of explanation. I’m upset that it felt like the staff didn’t care about our welfare. It was frustrating to wait and they did not allow us to make other arrangements that could have saved us a lot of time.”
In the Facebook post, Yee also mentioned that besides Japan-Malaysia flights, a few Malaysia-Australia flights also suffered the same fate.
In a separate report, CNA shared another passenger’s ordeal which had a different flight in Japan. Ms Yong was supposed to fly out of Osaka to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur transfer.
What’s even worse is that Ms Yong underwent more than 48 hours of delay. She only flew out on Japan on January 3 when her original departure date was January 1, 9.55am. We can only imagine her pain.
When you think it couldn’t get any worse, Malaysia Airlines domestic flight had caused a 23-year-old seafarer losing his job opportunity.
Mohd Rizuan was scheduled to fly on January 3 from Penang to Kuala Lumpur before transferring to his final destination at Labuan.
He had to arrive at Labuan to board a ship for work on the same day but due to his Penang to KL flight delay, he missed his connecting flight as well as his job opportunity.
When he arrived at KL, he then waited for another three days for baggage arrival because Malaysia Airlines had mishandled his belonging.
Three days for retrieving a bag that was flown within the country, Penang to KL specifically, where driving only takes 7 hours to cover the entire journey.
In response to hundreds of troubled passengers over the few days, Malaysia Airlines told CNS that many flights faced “unavoidable” circumstances such as technical issues and bird attacks.
“In some cases, rectification work took longer than expected causing prolonged delays. The airline regrets these incidents and had deployed extra personnel to assist the affected stations in handling stranded passengers.
“Affected passengers were provided hotel accommodation and meal vouchers and where possible rebooked on to other flights. The airline also upgauged a couple of flights to accommodate the overflow of passengers,” it said.
Malaysia Airline passengers surely didn’t get a good start in 2018 and the aviation company is fully up for blame for that. If there’s one thing we can take out from this story, that will be we should start considering buying travel insurance the next we fly.