A few days ago, I received an sms from Air Asia to inform me that a flght I had booked a month ago is "re-timed" - that's their cute way of saying flight delayed. In my case, it is going to be delayed by 4 hours. If us passengers want to delay our flight by 4 hours and take the next flight, we either outright can't do it or we have to pay through our nose for it. But if the airlines want to do it, they just tell you 'sorry'. Doesn't matter if it greatly inconveniences you or totally spoils all your plans.

Reminds me of my dad's MAS flight from KL to Kuching in late May this year. We had all gone to KL together during the school hols. The rest of us were going on to Bangkok while he and my maid were to fly back to Kuching after spending 4 days in KL. We had their tickets booked, seats assigned and even requested for special assistance for my dad as an elderly passenger. We all arrived at KLIA punctually at 5.30pm (his flight was scheduled for 6.30pm).

When we fronted up at the check in counter, we were shocked to be told by the girl there that the flight was already full. It turned out that MAS had overbooked the flight and no matter how we argued, they flatly refused to allow a very elderly passenger to board his booked flight. The only recompense they provided was a meal at the airport and a seat on the next flight at 8.45pm. We all had to sit around the airport for the next 3 hours. Needless to say, that was a very stressful experience.

How could a airline that is supposedly efficient and 5-star have made such a boo-boo like overbooking? Or is it a deliberate policy to overbook to cater for some last minute cancellations or 'no-shows'? We were not the only ones affected. Another couple who were flying to Sibu via Kuching had to miss their connecting flight. When the girl at the check-in counter insisted that the flight was overbooked, I asked her "Mana Ada Sistem?". She really coudn't disagree with me.




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