Nee Sern is...

really really sleepy

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Air Asia Complaint (part 1)

As promised, here's the first original letter of complaint which we sent to Air Asia, reproduced in all its glory for all to see.

ATTENTION: Mr. Tony Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer of Air Asia

19 September 2006


We were the passengers of Air Asia flight AK6315, PEN-KUL, 14:55 on 17-Sep-06. We were not allowed to bring 2 guitars on board into the cabin, and we wish to make an official complaint, points raised as follows:

1.1 We have contacted Air Asia customer service hotline on 14-Sep-06 twice, between the times of 7.45pm and 8.15pm, and your customer service has confirmed that we are allowed to hand carry guitars into the cabin, provided they are in their casings.

1.2 We have confirmed again at KL LCCT that we are indeed allowed to carry guitars on board into the cabin.

1.3 We had no problems on our Air Asia flight AK6318, KUL-PEN, 11:10 on 16-Sep-06, where we were allowed to carry the guitars on board into the cabin.

1.4 During boarding for flight AK6315, PEN-KUL, 14:55 on 17-Sep-06, we were told last minute while boarding that we were not allowed to carry the guitars into the cabin, despite the earlier confirmations from your customer service that we are allowed to do so.

The following is a summary of the account of the incident which happened at Gate 13 in Penang International Airport during boarding for flight AK6315.

2.1 During boarding, we were approached at the last minute and told to place our guitars into the cargo bay, without further explanation of why we needed to do so.

2.2 We explained to your ground crew that we had already contacted the Air Asia customer service and confirmed that we are indeed allowed to bring our guitars into the cabin.

2.3 Your ground crew rudely replied that she was the customer service head, and did not provide any apology for the inconvenience whatsoever.

2.4 We then explained that we had carried the guitars on board our flight AK6318 KUL-PEN, and requested your ground crew to explain the inconsistency in policy.

2.5 Your ground crew responded that the policy for KL LCCT and the policy for Penang International Airport are different. We thought this to be ridiculous and unprofessional.

2.6 We then asked if this inconsistency showed lack of communication within Air Asia between the customer service and the operations crew.

2.7 Your ground crew diverted, provided a different excuse, and explained that it was so that our guitars don't block other passengers in the cabin.

2.8 We proposed a solution to allow all other passengers on board, and we were to board the plane last.

2.9 Your ground crew then diverted yet again, giving a different excuse that we did not declare our guitars during check in, and they did not know what size our guitars were.

2.10 We responded again that we had already obtained confirmation from Air Asia customer service, and reiterated that we had successfully brought the guitars on board AK6318, KUL-PEN. We then asked your ground crew if they had ever seen a guitar before.

2.11 Your ground crew then provided a different excuse, saying that it was because the plane was full.

2.12 We responded that this shouldn't have affected anything, as we had confirmed with Air Asia customer service that we are indeed allowed to do so.

2.13 Then, an old man emerged from the plane, and very sarcastically provided a different excuse. He said that it was because of Air Asia safety policy that disallowed us from bringing guitars on board.

2.14 Again, we reiterated that we had obtained confirmation from Air Asia customer service that we were indeed allowed to bring guitars into the cabin, and cited our experience in doing so on flight AK6318, KUL-PEN.

2.15 At this point, your ground crew were extremely defensive, rude and taking our dissatisfaction very personally. They continued to insist that we check in our guitars into the cargo bay, and they even threatened to close the gates on us if we did not comply.

2.16 We then asked the ground crew to take full responsibility on the 2 guitars which were forcefully placed into the cargo bay.

2.17 Your crew then said it was not possible, and insisted we signed the indemnity condition.

2.18 On the same flight AK6315, PEN-KUL, a foreign gentleman had also brought his large guitar casing into the cabin. He was allowed into the cabin without much fuss and rudeness. His guitar was not checked and he was not asked to sign the indemnity document even though he was in front of the queue while boarding as compared to the rest of us. When we pointed this out to your ground crew and reminded them to be consistent, we were assured that checks will be conducted on this foreign gentlemen as he was already on his way to the cabin. Later, when we were forced to surrender our guitars, we took upon your words in good faith that this policy is to be applied consistently to all passengers. However, when the flight touched down in Kuala Lumpur, we discovered that the foreign gentleman’s guitar casing was nicely rested in the overhead compartment. In fact, your cabin crew had also helped this gentleman to place his guitar into the overhead compartment. This speaks of double standards and outright discrimination.

2.19 Nowhere in the whole process did your ground crew or cabin crew offer any apologies:
2.19.1 They were rude and kept on asserting their power to place our guitars into the cargo bay.
2.19.2 They threatened to close the gates on us if we did not comply with their request.

2.20 Nowhere in the whole process did your ground crew or cabin crew offer any satisfactory explanation. Specifically they could not explain:
2.20.1 Why there were inconsistencies between the Air Asia customer service and the ground crew operating that flight?
2.20.2 Why was it possible for us to bring the guitars into the cabin on flight AK6318, but not AK6315?
2.20.3 Why was there double standard and open discrimination when they allowed a foreign gentleman to bring in the guitar but not us?

This incident clearly shows the lack of basic courtesy and totally unprofessional conduct on the part of the ground crew. They were rude to us and only knew how to assert their authority, without giving us credible and reasonable explanations.

Your ground crew and cabin crew's rudeness, arrogance and unwillingness to help your customers have forced us to place our guitars into the cargo bay below. You know very well our apprehension toward this, as we had witnessed inappropriate handling of such fragile items upon loading and unloading. Furthermore, extreme temperature changes may have caused damages to the construction of the guitars.

Thus, we demand a full investigation and satisfactory explanation from Air Asia regarding the above incident, specifically on the following:

3.1 Full record of your Customer Service hotline, schedules of your ground crew and cabin crew who were on duty during the incident and a full explanation of the incident.

3.2 The sheer inconsistencies in policy and lack of coordinated knowledge of such policies amongst all your operating departments.

3.3 Full explanation on why the foreign gentleman with his guitar was not checked first and was allowed to the cabin without further checking although he was way in front of the queue. Further, reasons as to why he was allowed to place his guitar on the overhead compartment while the rest of us are rudely forced to surrender ours. For your information, his guitar casing was much larger and occupied much more space than our 2 guitars.

3.4 Explanation on the outright lack of basic courtesy of your ground and cabin crew, such as offering apologies and flexibility on how to handle such situations.

3.5 Formal apology from your Management and the crew for the rude treatment to all of us. When we were in the cabin, other fellow passengers told us that they were really shocked and disgusted by the rude behavior of your ground crew. This does not augur well for Air Asia as a regional airline.

In addition, we demand compensation for the following:

4.1 General damages for the inconvenience and inconsistency of your policy.

4.2 Damages to 2 guitars due to extreme temperature changes which affects the construction of the guitars, effects of which can only be evaluated in the long term.

4.3 Emotional distress for time wasted reasoning with your illogical and outright rude ground and cabin crew.

You are hereby given three days from the date of this letter to provide a satisfactory response to us, failing which subsequent action will be taken.


The Undersigned

(This letter carries 12 signatures)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Air Asia X-(

On 17th September 2006, there was an incident involving Air Asia flight AK6315, PEN-KUL, 14:55pm.

Mainly there were 2 issues:
1) Rude and unprofessional customer service
2) Inconsistency and misrepresentation in the execution of hand luggage policy

We encountered very rude and ill-trained ground crew, and were also subjected to discriminatory actions from Air Asia regarding our fragile luggage. There seemed to be inconsistencies and no communication among all their operating departments, from the customer service hotline to their operations crew.

In our letter of complaint, we mentioned that subsequent action will be taken if we do not receive a satisfactory response from them. And while there was a response, it was hardly satisfactory.

Therefore, the next step will be to go public with this.

The details will be uploaded shortly.