Malaysiakini Opinion

Malaysia Airlines, MH3: The flight from hell

Mariam Mokhtar  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Malaysia Airlines, in particular, MH3 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Kuala Lumpur, should be renamed the airline from hell. Ask the passengers who were stranded at Heathrow on Friday, July 27.

They received an email at 0300 hours on Friday morning, to inform them that their flight, which should have departed at 10.45am London time, would be delayed till 12 noon.

Who reads emails at that ungodly hour? A few more hours in bed would have been appreciated. Some passengers had also flown in from Europe.

Some had purchased tickets the day before. If they had known, about the delays, they would have chosen another airline.

When the MAS passengers checked-in at Heathrow, they found “closed” check-in counters. When asked, the few unhelpful ground crew employees sitting behind their desks would point towards another area of the huge complex, and say “Go there”. No reason was forthcoming. “There” was apparently “Counter 1” of the MAS Customer Services desk, where a long queue was visible.

Whilst dragging his trolley towards “Counter 1”, a redirected passenger would pass around 70 people, in another queue. These MAS passengers had allegedly been told to gather for hotel bookings. Around the corner, was a third queue of 50, or more, passengers, who were told a different story.

These three queues did not appear to be moving. Only two ground crew employees were manning the front desks at Counter 1.

An Airbus A380 fits around 550 passengers. This is the summer holiday.

Why did MAS fail to communicate with the passengers? There was no warning about cancellation. The notice boards said the flight would depart at 12.30pm. Is grim silence the standard operating procedure (SOP) for cancellations?

Two MAS employees who appeared, beat a hasty retreat when passengers approached them for information. Another new SOP...?

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