Condolences to loved ones of all on board MH17.
Tragedy strikes Malaysian Airlines(MAS) again, even though this time, for no fault of the airline. After this incident, there have been discussions on how hard it would be for MAS to be back on track financially and to reach the profit side of operations. When I do a quick Google news search for Malaysian airlines, this sad little Forbes article trying to comprehend the future of the airlines, comes up first.
I had a recent experience with MAS which I am obliged to share, at this point of time.
It was after the shocking disappearance of MH370, that we boarded a Malaysian airlines flight to Kathmandu. We had made our flight bookings before the incident and the reason for booking was that MAS offered the best price and the best time schedule we were looking for. Before our trip, our friends jokingly warned us not to disappear and to be safe. As we waited at the gates, I noticed the extremely strained faces of the airlines staff. They knew that probably most passengers had booked tickets before the MH370 incident and weren't confident about the choice they had made. The airline staff had to be extra careful to boost and keep up the confidence of the passengers. When the captain and co-pilot walked in to board the flight, most of the passengers did take a good look at them and I felt it was to gauge if the pilot would fly us to the right destination. That is when I felt so ashamed for even having second thoughts about taking the flight. I imagined being in the captain’s or crew’s position and the tough times they have been going through, because of one incident. Well, that wake-up call turned out to be good for me and I enjoyed the uneventful flight to Kathmandu.
At the end of our wonderful Nepal trip, I checked in online and was looked forward to the home-bound flight. Something terrible happened before we reached the airport and we had to reschedule our flights and urgently go to India. We were a bit unsure of when our return trip to Singapore would be. I called the MAS call center and informed them about the situation and told them that I will keep them posted on the development.
A week later, when we were contemplating our flight out of my hometown to Singapore, I wrote an email to Malaysian airlines explaining our situation and to check if we could get a sector and date change of the missed flight and I also indicated that our travel dates weren't confirmed yet.
The reply I received, surprised the hell out of me!
As a gesture of goodwill, they granted us change of tickets with a penalty of $50 and fare difference for the new sector (which was also minimal). And most importantly, since our dates were undecided, they gave us an open ticket for multiple flight dates, with an option to re-book. Eventually, instead of buying an expensive last minute international ticket with an airline, we ended up boarding one of the allocated MAS flights, which we could choose according to our convenience. I know that it would not be possible for the airlines to be generous to everybody, all the time; but here they saved us a lot of trouble, time and money. And for that, I am grateful to the excellent staff and services of MAS.
I hope some reader, looking for re-assurance on the airlines would stumble across this, and choose Malaysian Airlines. I know for a fact that, I will choose MAS without second thoughts, if they are serving the destination.
PS: Both our flights were more than 75% occupied and so the return flight they granted us were genuinely out of good will.