It’s gonna be a long rant, because it was what that caused my sleepless nights this week. I mean I slept, but I either woke up in the middle of the night thinking of the matter or woke up earlier than usual for few consecutive days. And the first thing on my mind was always – my flight.
So what happened was just when le birthday girl had been all excited for her upcoming Nihon trip, Malaysia Airlines screwed things up by changing my connecting flight timing. To make things easier to digest, I shall come up with a timeline.
1 Mar: Received an email saying that my connecting flight from KL-Osaka has been brought forward. At first I didn’t realise anything wrong with it, neither did Malaysia Airlines. But after I took a second look in the afternoon, I realised I am now only left with 5 minutes to transit at KL! Emailed every Malaysia Airlines email addresses I could find online but none replied.
4 Mar: Called up the airline and that’s when the staff realised the screw up. They said they will either arrange me on an earlier SG-KL flight, or I can email to firstname.lastname@example.org to alert them about this matter. I was told that they will reply within 48 working hours.
10 Mar: Sent in emails again because not a single reply after more than 96 working hours. Called in again and was told that I am now on the “waiting list“. I thought waiting list would mean they are trying to find me another flight arrangement and etc, which is actually equally fucked up because I am less than 3 weeks away from my trip and you are telling me you can’t even confirm my flight?!
Gotta repeat the whole situation twice because my line got cut off in the train halfway and they couldn’t track back my case nor the last spoken person. (The only time I can call is on the way to work and during lunch.) The second staff I spoke to was this rude lady named Annie, who likes to put me on hold without telling me. And she kept disappearing halfway through the phone call then coming back just to repeat stupid answers like my screwed up flight timings and etc which I already know! What I need is solution! So after all the phone calls, in the end the conclusion was…
“Sorry but we cannot help on our end. You have to email email@example.com”
“I already did but no one’s replying me! Do you have a contact number of them?”
“Sorry, but they are only contactable through email. Maybe you can send them an email again.”
13 Mar: Finally got my first reply from firstname.lastname@example.org, but it only stated that it will forward my case to email@example.com. No solution provided at all again. Time check: Almost 2 weeks left before my trip now.
I called in again because it’s getting closer and closer to my trip and I needed to get this settled! Used my entire lunch time just to make the call, but out of the 52mins phone call, I only managed to speak to the staff for like 2 mins.
Like the rude staff Annie, or maybe it was Annie again, this call centre staff put me on hold without warnings and only came back a few times to tell me answers that don’t help at all, like:
“The flight that you booked is now full.”
“What do you mean that it’s full? I booked a seat and paid for it.”
Then she would disappear again for like 5-10mins…
“Mam. The flight you booked has been cancelled.”
“Cancelled??? I did not receive any notification that it has been cancelled. I was only informed of the reschedule. Just now you said it’s full and now you are telling me it has been cancelled?”
*disappear all of a sudden again for another 15-20mins*
“Mam. The flight you booked has been cancelled.“
Like fuckkkk! You already said that! Are you an automated machine or what?! And each time she disappeared, I would be put on hold for a longer time. I suppose on purpose because she couldn’t/didn’t wanna clear the shit for Malaysia Airlines, so she was just waiting for me to hang up. I finally hung up after a 52 minutes useless phone call because I am on the verge of hanging myself now and my lunch is almost over _|_
But of course I wasn’t giving up; I had to settle this no matter what right?! So I called in again and thankfully, this time round another male staff – Simi.R assisted me. He was much more helpful than that lady and promised to help me highlight this issue to the relevant department to tell them that I need this flight that I have booked. Not that it helped eventually, but at least it wasn’t a call that was completely wasting my time waiting!
14 Mar: I called back to look for Mr Simi.R after 24 hours to check on the status as he had advised me to. I couldn’t reach him eventually because 1 staff told me Mr Simi is busy with a call the first time I called, then another staff told him he is on evening shift from 4pm onwards when I called again the second time. Then the third time I called to make sure they got the correct Simi.R (since staff 1 and staff 2 stories didn’t tally), I was now told that his shift only starts from 1am. Yea 3 different calls, 3 different stories, which I am not surprised by now because that’s how it has been with my flight status too – each time I called I got a different answer (will change flight for me, flight is full, flight has been cancelled and etc). Lots of bullshit in other words.
Anyway, this staff no.3 (Tony) that assisted me eventually, claims that he is the supervior. The final answer I got from him is that my KL-Osaka flight was put on hold (aka waiting list) previously because I won’t have enough time to transit within that 5 minutes (like it’s my damn fault?!) and my seat has hence been SOLD AWAY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.
In other words, when they first told me they would arrange me another flight with enough transit time and etc, what they simply did was to cancel my booking without my consent and free my seat to others. But they either forgot to, or was busy lepak-ing to bother to arrange me another flight. So by now, all they could tell me is all the flights from the day before to the day after my flight are FULL, and I am only left with 1 choice – file for refund, which can take up to 3 weeks to 3 MONTHS to get back my money, according to Mr Tony.
I swear that I was on the verge of crying during this call! It’s just plain ridiculous that after going through so much trying to solve a problem, not only was the problem not solved, but Malaysia Airlines had created another bigger problem for me – no flight for my trip after booking all my accommodation and etc! So so so disappointing and demoralising! Definitely ruined my excitement for this trip entirely.
While holding back my tears in office, I kept ranting to Mr Tony that this is very irresponsible and how unfair this is to me, but all he could do was to repeatedly apologise and say there’s nothing he can do to help me. In other words, it boils down to a self-slap of “who asked you to book Malaysia Airlines“.
I had no choice but to seek help from the MAVCOM (Malaysia Aviation Commission). Of course I wasn’t pinning much hope by now, but they actually replied to my email within 24 hours! FINALLY SOMEONE THAT IS WORKING OMFG.
15 Mar: They managed to get Malaysia Airlines to find me another flight but it’s 1 day later than what I had booked, and they ain’t compensating me anything for the 1 night accommodation loss. It’s funny how I was told by the staff that all the flights the day before till after my initial departure date are full (even for first class and business class), but now they managed to find me something. Yea so I had to choose between that replacement flight or a full refund, which MAVCOM will assist me in getting back within 30 days (instead of up to 3 months).
16 Mar: Called up Malaysia Airlines again to clarify on that replacement flight. But guess what? I was told that it will take up to another 48 hours for the relevant department to issue my ticket and confirm my seat and etc. I didn’t wanna risk having no seat again, so I finally decided not to trust Malaysia Airlines anymore and opted for the full refund (which is still in the midst of processing now). I have read online that there are people who did not manage to get their money back, so I really really hope Malaysia Airlines would give me back my full refund and end this nightmare for me.
Spent the remaining week trying to find a flight that doesn’t require me to top up much. Tough luck, of course, since it’s only less than 2 weeks away and all the air fares have surged. It’s definitely unfair for me even with a full refund cause I will definitely have to top up to get another ticket from another airline. Scoot is now double the price of what I had paid for Malaysia Airlines, and by double I mean topping up another $400+. I know friends around me would have just gone ahead and spend that money. 破财消灾, they call it. But I really couldn’t bear to spend another 400 bucks just to clear up this mess cause I had already spent so much for this trip!
I am the kind that would rather walk a few streets down to check on the prices of other shops than to just settle for what I first saw. I like to be convinced tht the choice I make is the best option of all. So likewise, I spent all day trying to find the most economical way to fly to Osaka from Singapore. Trust me, whether it’s Thai Airway, China Airline, China Eastern, Vietnam Airline, Vanilla Airline, Peach Airline, I have tried them all. I was almost on the verge of giving up and settling for Airasia already, cause that’s the cheapest option that only required me to top up around $200.
Did my usual coin spin to see if I should really just go ahead and book Airasia, or to wait for better promo, and it was 3 straight flower – Do Not Book First! But of course I felt uneasy inside, cause with each passing day, I am 1 day nearer to my trip. I didn’t have much time to wait for promo. And for the past few days, every night before my sleep, I would be so bothered by this matter. I just wanted to get it over and done with!
Then one fine night, I suddenly thought of Philippines somehow. So I checked whether there are possibilities there and guess what, Jetstar flies from Manila to Osaka at a pretty reasonable price! Then I checked on flights from Singapore to Manila and I managed to find one under Scoot’s 50 million passengers promo 😀 I booked the flights right away cause somehow I know that’s gonna be the best option for me already – I only need to top up less than S$100 (if I managed to get my refund)!
So the nightmare was finally over and I had a really good sleep at last. After posting this incident on Facebook, I actually received a few private messages from strangers saying that they are caught in the same situation; waiting list and all. My advice to them was to call up Malaysia Airlines to check immediately because once you are on that “waiting list“, most likely your seat has been sold too.
It is my first (and I hope last) time encountering such suay-ness for my trip, but I also received lots of concern from friends after the Facebook rant. Friends who tried to help me share the post; friends whose friends/colleagues/cousins tried to help me by giving me some solutions or advice; friends whom I have not contacted for some time messaging me offering help with their connections and suggestions. Really appreciate all of these! 😊
Yea so moral of the story + lesson learned: NEVER EVER BOOK MALAYSIA AIRLINES AGAIN UNLESS YOU WANNA SCREW YOURSELF UP.