Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Airport Mess

There were 2 theories I heard - about the problems with flight delays at KLIA, or for that matters, International airport.

One was - due to typhoon. Because of that, the connecting flight needs to be rescheduled, and thus cause the delay. Another theory was because MAS wants to save some costs by maximizing on the plane usage. Don't know which is true or if neither was true.

Ever since I took on this new job a little over a year ago, I've been traveling around Malaysia, on MAS at least once, every month. Almost all of the international airports in Malaysia - Johor, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and finally, Penang - I've gone through, on a domestic flight.

Last week was the first time that I had flight delay on both ways. Destination was Penang. The budget airport taxi driver told me that there was once he had work inside the airport to ward off the "ulat" attack and most of the time, he saw that flight to and from Penang was frequently delayed. Of course, I wasn't paying much attention then. But true enough, I was scheduled to fly off at 0910am and without warning or announcement, I found out at the boarding gate that it has been delayed to 1040am and the gate has changed. No reason given. There is another flight to Penang at 1045am - imagine that! I met an acquaintance in front of the new gate - that's how I know.

I booked my return flight on the next day at 08:40pm but with the intention of catching the earlier flight if we (my colleague and I) can finish our work early. We made it, got onto the 5:25pm flight which was a little bit late, probably due to some high level Indonesian guests - there were special welcoming committee it seems at the departure/arrival gate. We only get to board the plane at 5:25pm. I was happy to be able to get home early, the flight was full and I was lucky to be fast enough to get in - there were only 5 seats left according to officer at the check-in counter. My friend, whose ticket was class W due to the mistake made by the incompetent girl at the travel agent had to pay a fee of RM100 to change to earlier flight. So we board the plane, the plane reverse and getting ready to move on and then, nothing happen. Then, we heard the announcement from the pilot that the plane could not take off and right now is being pulled back to the base due to one engine could not start up. Alhamdulillah, it happen while we're still on the ground. After spending about 10 minutes inside the aircond-less airplane, the pilot asked us to leave the plance and take our valuable belongings.

I got down, wait at the rows of chairs in front of the departure gate. There were no instruction whatsoever given to me on what's next. No announcement - I was watching for it. So, I just sat and wait. Then I saw people started to swarm the counter at the gate - thinking that these are people who wants to get on transfer, I just ignore. After about half an hour and no further news, I join the crowd and the line and found out that one of the line is the queue for a meal coupon. That's bad news, that means its gonna be longer before we can get on the plane. I asked the counter lady on what plane are we supposed to take. She just told me to come back by 8pm. I think they must want to put us on the 8:40pm flight. Back to the original plan but with my colleague wasting RM100 of company's money - technical error is not covered, no refund!

We were given a meal coupon to be used at Coffee Bean outside the departure gate. Found out later at Coffee Bean that its only worth RM23. RM23 at Coffee Bean - not much of a meal that you can get. Enough to cover one coffee and a muffin, a cake would make it more than RM23. They don't have the set meal deal. Anyway, coming back to the real issue - I went back to the counter before 8pm and was re-assigned to the 8:40pm flight. The seat number was just scribbled onto my boarding pass. Went to the new counter and waited. Again, I didn't hear any announcement about boarding in the plane, but there were huge commotion at the gate. You couldn't really determine which line you're supposed to take to board the plane. There were these 2 guys from the same flight I was in just now, scolding the staffs about how they were not told anything at the previous counter and were just asked to go to this gate that we're at and then, only to be told that they could not get on that flight because it was already full. And he goes on and on while I just second guess on the realy line that I had to follow to get on the plane.

Once I get through the line and into the plane, I heard another not so nice thing. Somebody had her seat taken. Double seating. And one of the boarding pass is holding a seat number scribbled in pen. I was getting worried for a moment. Oh no, please don't let that happen to me too - I want to go home. Alhamdulillah, it didn't happen to me but to another guy who were on the same row with me - tough luck! So, there's 2 cases of double seating that I heard off. The plane then, could not take off on time - another 20 minutes delay because of this "unforeseen" circumstances. Oh wow, what a fiasco going in and coming out from Penang. This is the first in the one year that I had started traveling with MAS on domestic flight. I had experienced similar delay with international flight, thought that domestic is much more organized from this one year experience.

Anyway, I finally got home about 11pm. The budget airport taxi driver whom I had booked to pick me up at home (rather he booked himself and I let him be) had to reschedule his trip to KLIA twice because of the delay but he still have to wait for me because he has already registered in the system that he'll pick me up and has already been charged RM6 because of that booking. Its an automatic thing according to him. Well, it was a loong long day for me and I was dead tired when I reach home. I heard from my other colleague that it seems MAS has been having this flight delay thing for the last 2 weeks. And I learn that the daily 6:40pm flight Penang-KLIA that was published had never happened - it was probably gimmick and the passenger had to re-arrange either go into the 5:25p flight or the 7:30pm flight. Why bother putting it on schedule? Things people do for business....
You guys know how to conclude the story ...:)

1 comment:

  1. With all the delays and waiting, sometimes I wonder if it's eeasier to drive. KL-Penang 3.5 hours je kan.