Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Most Unfortunate Event

I had to leave for Mukah last Thursday, simply because I had an OBE training to conduct at UiTM Mukah. What's OBE? That I will explain in another post. Having been to Mukah for a few times before, the last one being about three years back (prior to joining UiTM) I was kinda looking forward to my trip. Mukah is well known for its freshwater and saltwater produce (i.e. seafood) and me (being a well-known food-lover) would not want to miss out on an opportunity to savour those yummylicious scrumptious food. The best of the best food would be straight from the water to the wok, I'd say.

Mukah airport

Being a small town, there's only about three flights a day into and out of Mukah. As the flights are normally quite full, some may have to resort to flying via the nearest town, Sibu then driving from Sibu into Mukah (which takes about three hours). Luckily for me, there was one seat available from Kuching to Mukah on Thursday morning so I took that and flew into Mukah.
Entrance to the airport

As I said, Mukah is a small town. So it's quite understandable that flying into Mukah would be via a small plane. A twin otter to be exact. 13-seater but usually passengers would be less as the plane is very small, thus is unable to bear too heavy a weight. Flying in a twin otter is a very frightening experience. All the turbulence the movement of the plane seems to be exaggerated in every way. So, a tiny turbulence would make the plane jolt and being jolted in a tiny plane is not the most exciting experience, I must say.

Interior of the plane. Looks like we're sittin' in a bus, doesn't it?

My knees touching the seat in front of me. Yes, it's that super-tiny.

Tiny planes only needs tiny wings.

The plane-door cum ladder.

After completing my training session on Friday, I packed up and left for the airport on Saturday morning. Little did I know that I would miss the plane. My plane was due for 10.30 am and I arrived at the airport sharp at 10 am. A little late, I know, but the plane from Kuching was due to arrive at 10.15 am so I had ample time (or so I thought). When we arrived, it was quite a surprise to see the plane already parking at the tarmac. I rushed into the airport and waited in line for my turn. There were two other ladies in front of me. After dealing with those ladies, the lady behind the counter then left the counter and proceeded to the adjoining office. I was waiting in front of the counter to be served. To my surprise, the pilot and co-pilot started walking towards the plane and then the other passengers (who were already in the departure room) all walked towards the plane. I then knocked the window of the adjoining office,
informing the lady that I have not yet checked in and here was everybody leaving the airport. The lady told me that I am late and the check in counter is closed. Can you imagine, waiting in line only to be told that the check in counter is closed. What kind of service is that? I was absolutely horrified. I told them that I needed to board the plane and they told me that I could not, as I was late and the check in counter was already closed. Maybe they took pity on me or maybe they decided that they were in the wrong but they put me on standby for the next plane, which was scheduled at 1.15 pm.

The check in counter and next to it is the adjoining office (behind that clear glass).

The empty airport lounge once the plane flew at 10.20 am and I was the only one left waiting.

Having ample time to wait for the next plane (I wasn't going to go anywhere after that horrifying incident) I decided to compose and send a complaint to Malaysia Airlines and here it goes (with misspellings and all):

Dear MAS,

I am truly disappointed in the service that I received at Mukah airport. I was waiting in line to check in for my flight to
Kuching this morning (10.30am flight, 2 April). Little did I know that the other boarders for the flight had checked in and I waited for my turn as there were two other ladies in front of me. When it was my turn, I waited and waited for the officer to come back to the counter but she was still in the next office, presumably keying in the name if the passengers of the flight. To my horror I saw the captain walking to the plane. Only then I knocked at the window to ask the lady why is the captain walking to the plane whilst I have yet to check in. In that she replied that the check in time had already closed and I am unable to fly. I told that I am due on that flight and I have been standing all this while in front of the check in counter waiting for my turn. She seemed amused by my plight to which she replied, why did you not call for me? I have never met a more obnoxious treatment in my life and I wish to hope that something should be done upon this matter.

I think you should also know tht the flight left early. It left at 10.20am even though the stated time is supposed to be 10.30am. When I asked the man in charged (I presume that he is in charge as he ws the one who told me that my case was hopeless and the captain had ordered for the plane to fly right away) he told me that the captain is in a hurry to catch the next flight to Miri and he needs to arrive in Kuching early to catch that flight.

I am saddened that a great organization like yours is managed on the whims of hooligans like these. I wish on some action to be taken as I am sure that I am not the only person to have been treated like this. When noticing my distress, the lady even jested to me not to cry as they do not have any tissue to give to me. I then told them that I had no other means to leave Mukah and I would not want to walk back to Kuching should I be left here. She even had the gall to jest, would you like to walk to Kuching then? After seeing my humorless expression, she then put me on standby on the 1.15pm flight and here I am, the only one waiting in the airport.

It is extremely saddening to receive such appalling treatment in my own homeland Sarawak. I will hope to obtain the names of the staff to you soon so that I am able to furnish you the details. It us however up to you to take action or not as I do not have any say in that matter. But it is a shame that an international organization like yours receiving so many recognition accolades on exceptional service to tarnish its own reputation in the same country of origin.

Should you need to contact me, I can be contacted at

Fareiny M.

What irked me was not that I was left behind by the plane. It really did not matter that much to me as I have been left behind by airplanes before and I acknowledge that it is also my fault to be at the airport only 30 minutes prior to flying time. What really saddened me is the way I was treated and I do think that I am not the first one to be treated that way. And as my fiance puts it, so much for Malaysian Hospitality and in this part of the country, I fear his words do ring true.

I really hope that MAS would look into this and lets hope that future trips to and fro from Mukah would lead in a better service from the ground staff.

xoxo Fashionista in Action xoxo

p/s: I did board the 1.15 pm flight and guess what time did we check in? 12.50 noon. Only 25 minutes prior to the flight. Interesting, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment