Ticked off for long flight delays, AirAsia to give feedback to domestic trade ministry within 24 hours
PUTRAJAYA: AirAsia will provide feedback on a number of consumer issues, including flight delays and rescheduling, to the Malaysian Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry within 24 hours.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday (May 10), minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said the ministry had made a preliminary study based on consumers’ grievances and complaints and contacted AirAsia's management for feedback.
“Among the issues (revolving around the consumers’ interests) highlighted in the initial engagement with AirAsia were flight delays, review of flight schedule of up to six hours.
“Also raised was consumers’ eligibility to receive compensation in the event of such flight delays,” Mr Nanta Linggi added.
The minister’s comments came after reports of complaints from the airline’s passengers who were affected by long delays during last week’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Labour Day holidays.
On Sunday, Sabah’s Tuaran MP Wilfred Madius Tangau wrote on Twitter that his 8pm flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu had been rescheduled to 10pm and then 12.30am. “It’s simply crazy,” he wrote.
He was put on an 11.10pm flight after speaking to an officer, but the new flight was delayed as well, he said.
“Now everyone can fly but AirAsia can reschedule your flight at will!” he wrote, referring to the low-cost airline’s slogan.
According to media reports, passengers have complained that their respective AirAsia flights were delayed last week.
Two passengers said their flights to Kuala Lumpur from Penang and Kuching, respectively, were retimed to nine hours later, reported Malaysiakini.
They also experienced further delays upon arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2), the report added.
In a statement issued last Friday, AirAsia said it apologised to the passengers affected by the delays.
"As always, we did everything we could to minimise any disruption for our guests and to ensure everyone was able to get to where they are going as soon as possible during this important time of travel," it added, according to Malaysiakini.
Mr Nanta Linggi, the consumer affairs minister, said on Tuesday that for the convenience of consumers, he had asked AirAsia to provide a flowchart on the process of filing a formal complaint for compensation, subject to the guidelines set by Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) as the regulatory agency on the issue.
He said although the aviation industry is under the purview of the Transport Ministry, he, as the minister dealing with consumer issues, would step in if it was related to consumer rights.
"There is no empty talk, conducting investigation upon investigation or just doing nothing about the issue.
“The interest of consumers is my responsibility as the minister,” said Mr Nanta Linggi.
“I was informed that AirAsia will provide comprehensive feedback on the issues raised by the consumers through the ministry within 24 hours,” he added.
AIRLINES INSTRUCTED TO MONITOR TECHNICAL ISSUES
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Transport Ministry said that it had instructed airlines to better monitor technical issues and provide timely information to passengers.
In a statement on Tuesday, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said his ministry and various related agencies, including the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority (CAAM) and MAVCOM, have received and investigated passenger reports on their experiences using airline services.
“After conducting consultations and investigations, the airlines involved were instructed to immediately resolve the technical issues as experienced by the passengers,” said Dr Wee.
Without naming any specific airlines, he said most of the complaints received could be attributed to higher-than-usual passenger traffic during the festive season, which forced airlines to maximise the use of their aircraft to meet demand.
Aircraft facing technical problems have also been “rested” from service for more thorough maintenance, he added.
According to Dr Wee, as of May 10, all complaints related to rescheduling and flight delays have been resolved.
“The Ministry of Transport and the agencies under it will continue to monitor each airline service to ensure maintenance procedures and technical issues are adhered to without compromise,” he said.
He also said that it is important for airlines to improve their communication channels with passengers and customers to ensure that they receive information on the status of their flights.