Counting stars…

Five stars, they say…but based on what I experienced when I flew to Kuching with my daughter last weekend, I don’t think I would give them one even.

Let’s look at the boarding…

MAS boarding

…to start with. People always say that MAS is short for “Mana Ada System?” (Where got system?) and looking at how they handled the boarding of the passengers for the flight, I simply could not disagree.

They certainly have a thing or two to learn from that budget airline. Prior to boarding the aircraft, they would call for those travelling with children and passengers over 65 years old and they would get them to queue in front…along with those in the hot seats and then the passengers in the back rows of the aircraft followed by those in the front. When it is time to board. they would get everybody to do so in a very systematic manner. I find that this works very well despite the fact that there are some passengers (sitting at the back) who would use the front staircase even though they have been specifically told to use the one at the back. Ah well! That is no fault of the airline staff, obviously.

In comparison, that morning, even before any announcement was made, the moment it was indicated on the TV monitor that boarding would commence, everyone rushed to the door…and nothing was done to rectify the chaotic situation and the ground staff looked so unfriendly that I did not even dare to voice my discontent for fear of being bashed in the face by that female officer on duty.

I finally got my turn to board and as I approached the plane, I was quite disgusted by the sight of the stewardess happily flirting chatting with the pilot or co-pilot who was standing at the door leading to the cockpit…when she was supposed to greet everyone who came on board with a smile and a greeting. Gee!!! Is this the world’s No. 1 cabin crew? All right…I guess the people voting would be those on the international routes and these domestic flights are mere training grounds for the newbies…though some of them looked quite old, clearly too old to be new brooms, I’m sure.

As I proceeded down the aisle…

MAS Boeing 737-800

…to my seat, No. 26 at the back, cold stone-faced statues stood by the side as I walked past, not a smile nor a greeting, nothing at all. I was beginning to wonder whether I had caught them on a bad day and they just had a good ticking off from their superior, hence, the foul faces? Just as I was about to get to my seat, the stewardess nearest to it smiled at me and said, “Good morning, sir. Welcome aboard!” Lo and behold!!! A miracle! She speaks!!! Ok…ok…let’s be fair! At least, ONE of them was friendly and courteous enough…but it was just too bad that she was grossly outnumbered and that would not be enough to save the day.

Drinks were served on the flight…but we were not given any peanuts, not that I wanted any – I used to love the ones from Tong Garden but the current ones are simply too hard for my liking. I saw one passenger asking and he was given ONE packet, Considering that it was a full flight, they would have saved quite a number of packets of those that I hear one can buy quite cheap at some shop somewhere in Kuching. Thankfully, the flight home was quite empty and the crew members were a lot friendlier…and yes, we were given peanuts with our drinks.

Now, some of you may have noticed that we were flying on their pretty new aircrafts, the Boeing 737-800…equipped with the tv monitor at the back of every seat, thank God for small mercies! The safety briefing was pre-recorded so we were spared from having to endure their horrendous command of English that stuck out like a sore thumb in the announcements they made. The briefing is in Malay though so I wonder how those not proficient in the language would be able to understand what is being said. Perhaps they should consider including some English subtitles in the video presentation for the benefit of visitors from abroad.

Incidentally, you can watch a movie if you like but of course, a 35-minute flight is way too short to watch anything…and besides, it would have to be a “silent movie”, I’m afraid, as you will not be given any headphones to use. LOL!!! Using the remote control, I did manage to get a movie started…

MAS - movie

…and before we got to the opening credits, it was time to land.  Can anyone guess what movie that was? Come, let’s have a bit of fun! If you’re the first one to give the correct answer, I will send a prize down your way.

Anyway, getting back to the post proper, I do think that the airline people should pull up their socks and work on improving themselves in any way they can for it is quite obvious that there are things that are not quite right and need to be rectified before they get any worse. Considering especially that they claim to be a five-star airline and THE national career some more and yet they do not live up to the name, ain’t that a miserable shame, an utter disgrace to our nation, don’t you think?