THERE IN SPIRIT

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - INBOX YOUR LETTERS -

I am a reg­u­lar reader of Busi­ness Trav­eller Asia-Pa­cific and al­ways en­joy read­ing the Let­ters sec­tion of the magazine to see what has hap­pened to trav­ellers in the re­gion and how the air­lines have dealt with the var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions.

In my case I trav­elled from Colombo (CMB) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on Novem­ber 11, 2017 on MH178, be­fore con­nect­ing to my on­ward flight to Jakarta (CGK) on MH711. My bags were checked through in Colombo and I re­ceived my board­ing pass for the sec­ond leg MH711, though there was no gate num­ber on the board­ing pass.

At KUL I checked the de­par­ture gate and ac­cord­ingly pro­ceeded to Gate 8 and 10 (which have the same en­trance) around 8.30am. I saw my Jakarta flight was de­part­ing from Gate 8 so pro­ceeded to the wait­ing area, which was crowded be­cause an­other flight was de­part­ing to Yangon also from Gate 8.

I started read­ing my book; the Yangon flight was called. I then no­ticed that most peo­ple in the de­par­ture lounge had left. I went to the counter and asked when the Jakarta flight would be called – she checked my board­ing pass and told me my flight to Jakarta was al­ready board­ing from Gate 10.

I im­me­di­ately went up to Gate 10 but the door was closed and the plane was about to de­part. The staff told me my bag had been taken off the plane and I had to go to the ticket counter at the satel­lite ter­mi­nal to be re-booked on MH 721 to Jakarta at 1355.

I was told that ac­cord­ing to the sys­tem I was a “no show” and would have to pay RM473 (US$122) to con­tinue my jour­ney.

I was not a “no show”, as that term is used to de­scribe some­one who sim­ply does not turn up for a flight. At worst I made a mis­take in very con­fus­ing cir­cum­stances by go­ing to the ad­join­ing gate from which an MH flight de­part­ing for Jakarta was on the sign­board both out­side and in­side the gate.

As you can imag­ine I was se­ri­ously in­con­ve­nienced by what hap­pened and had to can­cel meet­ings in Jakarta. As a busi­ness class pas­sen­ger I do not feel that I should be pe­nalised for this sort of er­ror.

I wrote to MH to re­quest that my RM473 be re­funded, but the rote re­sponse I re­ceived re­it­er­at­ing that I was a no show only served to ir­ri­tate me fur­ther. One would rea­son­ably ex­pect that MH would be more ac­com­mo­dat­ing to its pre­mium pas­sen­gers when some­thing like this goes wrong. I think there is a point of gen­eral in­ter­est for all trav­ellers in what hap­pened here and also that MH should be taken to task as to how they deal with cus­tomer is­sues.

Nick Stone, Jakarta

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