Disappointment With Mas Services & Performance

When Malaysia Airline System (MAS) ventured on its own after splitting from Malayan Singapore Airlines more than two decades ago, "Mana Ada Sistem" was an apt description of the then MAS because its apparent inefficiency and poor service. However, slowly but surely, it matured into one of the finest airlines in this region and soon "Mana Ada Sistem" syndrome disappeared.

A couple of years ago, MAS was privatised and the public expected the new management to take it to greater heights. But, my recent experiences with MAS were nothing except disappointment and "Mana Ada Sistem" now seems apt to describe the airline for its inefficiency and poor management.

On 14 Dec.1996, the flight to London by MH004 was supposed to depart KL at 1040 hours. However, due to a mechanical problem in one of the engines, the departure was twice delayed until 1300 hours. However, at 1400 hours and after all the passengers had boarded the plane we were asked to disembark and wait in the departure lounge.

For a long while no announcement was made through the PA system regarding the status of the flight. News soon spread, through information obtained from some airline's ground staff, that the flight would be re-timed to 0330 hours the next day and that arrangement would be made to accommodate all passengers in hotels. It was not until about 1530 that an announcement was made that gave the passengers nothing more than what little they already knew.

The passengers would not mind at all if the delay was caused by some engine problems because every one realised that it was better to be safe than sorry. What clearly annoyed the passengers was the lack of timely and clear announcements of exactly what was going on and a precise direction the passengers had to do next. The passengers should not be left in a lurch and fend for themselves.

It must be realised that not many passengers have had experiences of this nature and they would require assurance from the airline to ease their concerns and worries. Many had connecting flights after arriving at Heathrow while others had made hotel reservations or arranged for relatives and friends to meet them at the airport upon arrival. It is the duty of the airline to provide satisfactory answers to queries relating to these issues.

As if the above episode was not enough to frustrate the passengers. What happened next, when passengers reassembled at the departure lunge waiting to board the aircraft at 0330 hours on 15 Dec. 1996, was the last straw that broke the camel's back.

After all the delay and the hassle the passengers had gone through earlier, many were weary and anxious to board the aircraft and settle down for the long journey ahead. At 0330 hours no boarding announcement was made. Many passengers were getting restless and some approached the few airport / airline officers at the departure lounge to inquire about the situation. It was then made known to them that there would be another delay; this time not because of any engine problem but because the cabin crew for the flight was not available! Word passed around and soon all passengers came to know about it and some even became furious and abusive. It was totally inconceivable and inexcusable that the airline could not assemble a set of cabin crew in over 12 hours!

An announcement of the delay was subsequently made at 0400 hours. Soon after the cabin crew began to trickle in to the "cheers" of the passengers. It was not until close to 0500 hours that the plane finally took off, a delay of nearly 18 hours!

The majority of the passengers were foreigners. Such a episode would have no doubt given them a very bad impression of Malaysia in general and MAS in particular.

The above unpleasant episode is certainly not an isolated experience which I have encountered within the last 18 months while flying with MAS. From my experience, I am of the opinion that the services and efficiency of MAS have undoubtedly gone downhill. If no positive action is taken soon to check the slide, the apt description of MAS as "Mana Ada Sistem" would soon be a household word again!

nakedeyeview.com.my 2008