THERE IN SPIRIT
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