On the wings of love…

My nephew and his girlfriend from New Zealand were in town for a few days and on Saturday, I sent them to the Sibu airport to catch a MASWings flight


…to Kuching on transit to Singapore. Upon arrival at the airport, their worst fears were confirmed. The 10.30 a.m. flight was cancelled and they would have to take the 11 something flight – via MAS/Boeing 737 instead.

Delays and cancellations seem to be the order of the day where MASWings is concerned. When Clare flew in one Friday morning from Kuching for the weekend, her 6 something flight was delayed till 7.00 a.m. and when I went to pick her up at the airport, I saw that the flight to Kuching at that same time had been cancelled.

Then, a couple of days later, a nephew of mine (another one) was flying back to Kuching that night after attending his aunt’s funeral in Sibu and the flight was cancelled too…and they put him up for the night at Kingwood Hotel here.

This time around, when I joined them at the counter, after parking my car, there seemed to be a bit of a problem. The MAS personnel, a young girl, was asking for their tickets…and they kept telling her they did not have any tickets. But don’t we all know that nobody uses tickets anymore? She could have been more specific and asked for the computer printout or in their technical term – the booking itinerary.

I confirmed with her that they would be able to catch the connecting MAS flight to Singapore and helped them with the checking-in. When it was all done, I said to her in my sweetest tone, “Thank you very much. Have a nice day!”

As we were walking away, my nephew’s girlfriend remarked, “She’s so unfriendly.”

I replied, “Why do you think I wished her a nice day? That was a very very broad hint!” She probably got the message as when she heard that, she did attempt to smile – in a sort of peculiar and embarrassed manner.

I have often heard of the double standards MAS employees would give to foreigners and locals – no prize for guessing who would be treated a lot better. But these two were from New Zealand and they certainly did not look anything like local Malaysians and yet, it was no better in any way. MAS had not done too well in the recent “World’s Best” awards…and if this is representative of the best they can do, you can imagine that it is going to be downhill all the way, this much I am pretty sure of.

Or is this part and parcel of the so-called “rural air services” exclusively for the very rural Sarawak and Sabah? I just wonder in what way the main towns – Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri would qualify as being rural…and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah as well. Well, as far as the  fares go, they are definitely in no way, rural. Sometime ago, I thought of hopping over to Kota Kinabalu one weekend on MASWings in one of those small aircrafts…and when I checked online, the airfare was over RM500 return. I could fly to KL via MAS on a Boeing 737 for half the price that same weekend and a lot less if I chose to go by Air Asia. Tsk! Tsk!

Rural air services, they call it? Gosh! All of us, rural people, must be very rich to be able to afford that kind of airfares…or should I just put all that down as outright exploitation since they have an absolute monopoly around these parts? As they say, “Power corrupts! Absolute power corrupts absolutely!”