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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stories on board - MAS flight

I wanted to blog about this earlier; but I decided to went on ahead with the news which plunged at my screen this morning. So the auspicious date today actually stole the limelight from this post.
Well, it's not outdated yet anyway.

If you read my blog, you will know that previously I have posted my dissatisfaction on my business trip on MAS flight. As if that is not enough, right now, I have an unexpected sequel to this on my recent flight.

(Lets out a big SIGH first!)
Well, let's see, I was on this domestic flight to KL; and of course, I am not expecting any jumbo jet or 747.
What I had in mind was the normal 737 but little did I expect the condition of the plane which welcomed me.
The flight stewards and stewardesses were of course, as usual, very friendly and greeted us boarding passengers with a great smile and showing you the way.

Incident #1 (departing flight) - Help myself
I was lugging my little luggage bag and it was really those type which were sizable enough to be your cabin luggage. But as I was lugging it along the little alley to get to my seat, I couldn't understand why it kept hitting some of the seats! It was definitely not so when I was on SIA (*scratches head)
(It didn't hit me then that the plane was definitely much smaller than even Air Asia - this bag can even go through on Air Asia flight!)

Okay, I finally found my seat; and I needed help to heave my luggage bag into the cabin. I sought help from one of the male steward; and he was a pretty cheerful guy who greeted me in a rather ladylike manner (erm, excuse the description).
Anyway, he smiled graciously at my request
"Oh by the way, I need your help as well to help me to heave this luggage of yours up into the cabin"
(*smiles politely but with an arched eyebrow)
(What??? The reason I asked for your help in the first place was because I know I couldn't possibly heave this...I don't even have the strength! call me a brat, I don't care:p)

But since he was so nice, I didn't mind...but I was truly disappointed that a male steward cannot assist a brat like me who can barely lift her own bag:(
Aren't male stewards supposed to be strong; don't they have to go through some tests to enable them to be a steward??
Not that I discriminate, but seriously, as passengers, we do really appreciate kind assistance when we are on board and I personally do not ask for help unless I really need it...

Incident #2 - Air ventilation
I finally settled down in my seat and strapped on my seat belt. It was a bit stuffy, and I thought it was due to the afternoon sun (I secretly vowed to never take afternoon flights anymore - if I can help it!)
But then, it was starting to become more and more stuffy even when the plane is starting to take off.
As I mentioned, I have always liked the moments when the plane take off and I couldn't resist looking out the window at the bright scene that laid in front of me when we were taking off, although I will still be flying back in 2 days.
After we took off, I still continued to look at the scene below...the manufacturing and the high rise apartments and condominiums...and that was then, that I felt myself getting giddy and nauseous.
It could be the staring out of the window in the midday sun; or it could be the air-conditioning which was clearly sweating me out.
I seldom complained about a/c but I am surprised at the temperature MAS set in their small little plane...is this their way of cost cutting?

That was the first 2 incidents/experiences on the departing flight....and I prayed that my returning flight will be much better. Well, I guessed right - 50% of it anyway.
The fact that it was night flight, I could dismiss the stuffy part altogether right? And provided I do not look out the window to look down to make myself giddy....but half right..
My returning flight was again in the 737 jet and the a/c was set at the same temperature (I think) as it didn't feel that much cooler. (At the same time, it didn't feel that hot probably due to the fact that it was at night - compared to the afternoon)

The a/c part didn't bother me the 2nd round though....but the following did:

Incident #3 - Cabin luggage (again)
This time, I still asked for the assistance of a male steward. This male steward didn't have any trouble to heave it up but he found that he couldn't fit it into the cabin.
Like I've said, this is always the cabin luggage used and it never had any problem going into any of the cabins. But now, this male steward couldn't fit it in and insisted that I remove some of my stuffs.
Now, frankly, the bag was not overstuffed and I was pretty confident that it could fit into the cabin if I were to have a go at it but due to the fact that there were waiting passengers, and the male steward ushered me to the back of the plane to remove my stuffs (at his insistence!).
To make him happier, I removed 1-2 stuffs from the front compartment of the bag into my handbag. Mind you, the size of the bag remains the same (there is no difference whether with or without the 2 items I removed)
Somehow, I was too tired to see how he fit it in and got into my window seat at the back of the plane.
(It fits in when I looked up after I have buckled on my belt)

Incident #4 - the SMELL
At this point, I was sitting with 2 elderly ladies who seemed to be fidgeting about something. Typically I smiled at people but they didn't return my smile and looked rather hostile so I just let them be.
Anyway, they were exchanging words in Cantonese and at one point it got a little annoying as they seemed to think that I do not understand them.
Well, I realized they wanted to change their seats and were pretty sure that the plane is gonna have vacancies and not fully booked. I do not what is the reason but they mentioned something about smell or something like that and they got rather restless and was trying to stand up to get a good view of the vacant seats while the steward was trying to assure them to be at their seats and they will get the chance to change their seats once everyone's settled down.
Urmmm...don't think it works, coz the minute the steward disappeared into the back of the plane, the 2 ladies got up and walked toward the vacant seats in front.
I could see the look on the steward when he caught sight of them walking along the alley and he just shook his head and mumbled a few words to his colleagues.
I was still pretty ignorant and since I had a good book, I settled down to read my book.
After a few minutes, the smell got to me.
Yeah, I smelt it....it was more of a stench to me....it wasn't pleasant, mind you, and it was disturbing. Now I know why they were so stubborn about changing their seats!
It was too late for me; but I did hear the stewardesses flushing the toilets a few times and they sprayed something - not that it helped, but it did minimize the stench.
I practically stuffed my nose with my little hanky!~

I don't know whether it's me or MAS was just not up to the standard.
If you think I am writing a post to bash our own airlines, boy are you wrong.
I have been a frequent flyer on SIA previously and have always stood by SIA as my preferred airline but at the same time, I have always wondered about our very own MAS which had their own share of awards as one of the world's best airlines and also the best cabin staff.

I was thinking; why not support my own airline but my first flight with them went very wrong and.... my following flights? Sighs!~
Read my previous post - my business trip on MAS was delayed without any explanation nor compensation.
My complaints went un-replied and they didn't even bother to at least explain to me!~
I must say I really changed my views on them since then...

But I still decided to give them another chance and another...and what did I get?
Cancelled flights and no explanation....

And they still wonder why they lost to SIA? (here)
I don't wonder at all....

Am I still gonna take MAS? Ermmm.....