Captain Ravi kept shouting, "Roger. Roger! Apply the £"$%!# brakes." How was I supposed to know he was talking to me?? Look, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry!!
Here's one for all the aspiring writers out there. Submit the funnist caption to accompany these photographs of Air Asia's embarrassing runway getoff and win a return flight - as opposed to one-way off the end of the runway journey - between any two Air Asia destinations. Submit them via email and the best will be submitted for voting on the poll below. Invite your friends to vote for you by forwarding them this site via the link at the top of the blog. Photos courtesy of Kay and thanks to http://mymalaysia.wordpress.com/2007/03/19/air-asia-plane-crash/
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Posted by A.Horribilis at 10/11/2007 03:50:00 p.m.
WE LOWLY PEDESTRIANS HAVEN'T GOT THE BUDGET FOR VACUOUS TELEVISION CAMPAIGNS AND EXPENSIVE PR AGENCIES - BUT WE DO HAVE THE #1 SPIN DOCTOR OF THEM ALL, KING INTERNET II. SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE AAA'S. SHARE YOUR AIR ASIA EXPERIENCES - OR ANY NO-FRILLS FREIGHTER - WITH THE WORLD!! PRIZES INCLUDE 2 FREE TICKETS TO ANY AIR ASIA DESTINATION - INCLUDING OVALTINE AND DONUTS FOR TWO. WINNERS WILL BE DECIDED BY POPULARITY ON THE VOTING PLATFORM BELOW. ENTRIES MUST BE SUBMITTED BEFORE DECEMBER 12TH. BE CREATIVE - BUT TELL THE TRUTH! Drop us a line! My own case is one of the most LAUGHABLE attempts to get airborne since Howard Hughes built the the Spruce Goose. I'll opt out of the prize draw - because I don't believe anyone can top my story. To use a classic advertising practice, we'd like to say in this tiny font, we're not 100% the photo is of an Air Asia stewardess
- but it sure looks like it.
Posted by A.Horribilis at 10/11/2007 03:45:00 p.m.
Once upon a time, I booked a flight with Air Asia
In my particular case -
A] Book multiple promo flights on Air Asia. Too good to be true!
B] Credit card 'declined' - Air Asia finally admits technical error.
C] Get right royally shafted, robbed in Air Asia's inimitable way.
D] Don't get angry, get even - and start warts & all Air Asia blog.
E] Air Asia send out mean hit-men to kill me [Nah, not really].
F] Retract E] Air Asia send stupid PR people to utterly annoy me.
G] Wish Air Asia had sent hit-man instead. Maybe they will.
Regrets! I've had a few, but then again too few to grumble. In Air Asia's case, I'll readily make an exception. Generally, I'm pretty easy going and unmoved by average service from outfits like Air Asia. You get what you pay for, yes? Well, in my case, apparently not. I would be floored if this story doesn't end up as a case study in communications and public relations text books way into the future.
In a nutshell, I was able to prove to Air Asia that I had booked half a dozen 1THB flights that were part of a promotion. Due to technical failure of Air Asia's online booking system, my credit card was repeatedly declined. In spite of offering proof of my 'purchases' immediately after, I was effectively told this was my tough luck. To add insult to injury, in spite of repeated requests to be issued an itinerary on regular flights I had booked at about the same time - is that too much to ask of even a cut-price carrier? - I was forced to abort my annual holiday because this was obviously beyond Air Asia. To their credit, air Asia did manage to send aforementioned itinerary AFTER the flight departed. To this day I have not received anything approaching adequate compensation for this misadventure.
Here's what went down. I was awake in the early hours of the morning as I booked an Air Asia flight to Cambodia from Bangkok. WHAM! - the new Air Asia 'Airbus' promotion came online. Get this! 1 THB [US$o.32] flights to virtually anywhere in Asia - and I was probably the only person awake in Asia!!! Now, for those of you familiar with such promotions, you will know that the limited seats that are allocated get snapped up in minutes. I calculated that Singapore would be waking up in an hour.
Anyone who has lived in Singapore has most certainly heard the phrase 'Kiasu' - this was not the time for my credit card to be declined - the ensuing feeding frenzy would make the Australia vs England rugby match look like a friendly. The only thing that might approach it for ugliness is the scenes you so often experience waiting to board an Air Asia flight.
As you'll see in the screen grab above, that's precisely what happened. A genuinely panicked call to the 24/7 Citibank helpline in Singapore made it clear that my card was not being declined by them. I asked them to confirm via email. Citibank's service is outstanding and a letter arrived minutes later.
I set about buying tickets to Lankawi, Hanoi, Singapore and Krabi. Each time my card was 'declined', I took another screen grab. I predicted that Air Asia would blame Citibank, so I was pleased to have the confirmation from the bank and the screen-grab software to make my case in the morning - Air Asia's 'helplines' being strictly 9-6. As I knew they would, Air Asia immediately tried to pass the buck.
Encountering Air Asia's 'Customer Support' team is the most bewildering experience I have ever had . It is bizarre what motivates people to start a blog. I am compelled to document the most appalling and laughable example of customer service I've ever encountered. I've got absolutely nowhere with Air Asia - actually things were going backwards from the start - hence the website.
I guarantee that you will become totally engrossed in this 'truth is stranger than fiction' account. I will include an entirely unedited script of the back and forth email thread between myself and half a dozen Air Asia staff - because you wouldn't believe it if you didn't see it with your own eyes. What transpires is truly Monty Python's Flying Circus, as I'm bounced between Bangkok and KL offices. I contacted Air Asia for a comment for my press release - as this will also form a magazine article - but I did not receive a response from their Marketing Director. They are welcome to add to this blog if they choose. It will certainly add to the hilarity.
In the coming days, you'll read about Air Asia's representative sending me a written confirmation that the guilt lay firmly at the airline's feet - apologising - yet I wasn't going to get any of the flights I had booked [This lady even invited me to book with Air Asia in future.] You'll read how my idyllic romantic getaway to Singapore, Bintam and Krabi ended up in my canning the entire trip due to Air Asia's abysmal customer service - and you'll hear what 'compensation' was offered by Air Asia - which will leave you in stitches. After my being unceremoniously and unapologetically 'robbed' of half a dozen promotional flights, plus having to dump 10K THB odd worth of travel due to the fact that Air Asia was incapable of issuing a simple email itinerary - the 'fruit basket' style 'we're sorry' is just too funny.
A.Horribilis is (they know who I am), a brand strategist based in Singapore . I have never worked with Air Asia, otherwise I would be hanging my head in shame at their appalling PR. In my numerous polite attempts to have AA staff sort out this case, I was passed hand to hand - via 5-6 staff - and worse off in the end than at the beginning of the nightmare. As I've mentioned, feel free to add your own Air Asia account. Please provide your full name and contact telephone number for verification - plus include any supporting evidence by email email@example.com. The screen-caps shown are 100% legitimate and are in evidence at the bottom of the lengthy and ridiculous exchange of emails between Air Asia staff and myself on Yahoo.com email. The 'declined' screen-cap was taken on Monday 24th September while purchasing said flights from Air Asia and taken to assist the airline in their investigations. A pointless exercise. Assuming you wish to cheat, wade through the email thread - but you'll miss the best parts of the story! Start at the bottom. Please take into account that I have actually 'lived' this; while I attempt to be polite at all times, I cannot apologise for my patience deteriorating to the point that I simply gave up reasonable negotiations. If you would like to attempt to book your next flight with Thai Air Asia, by all means go to http://www.airasia.com
Posted by A.Horribilis at 10/11/2007 03:30:00 p.m.
Before we go on with the story, let's consider what I lost in financial terms alone versus what Air Asia offered by way of compensating me for the 'inconvenience' attributable to that airline: I had booked a return flight for two to Singapore from Bangkok; I canceled this trip because I couldn't even wrangle a confirmation on the flight that I had requested on three occasions [it finally arrived after the flight had lifted off! Seriously.] The Singapore leg was 7,700 THB. Further to that I also 'booked' Krabi, Singapore, Lankawi and Hanoi at the promotional price of 1THB - so consider the opportunity cost - which went the same way.
There I was under the impression I had procured a number of promotional fares from Air Asia, but 'lost' them due to technical difficulties in Air Asia's IT system. In spite of having screen caps of each purchase - not to mention the evidence on their own servers - I was basically told it was simply my bad luck. I didn't see it as being quite that simple.
You can't put a price on the holiday that went up in flames - not to mention the look on your girlfriend's face when you both decide Air Asia isn't able to even send a confirmation - I'm still at a loss as to why - and your dream ten-day holiday is sacrificed rather than risk ending up stranded. As I write this, I am supposed to be having a massage at Banyan Tree resort with my girlfriend, followed by an afternoon's sailing. So, you can probably imagine my reaction when some PR guru at Air Asia offers me two [yes, 2] tickets on Air Asia - to any destination - by way of an apology for screwing my vacation. As if it isn't bad enough purchasing Air Asia 'food' at ludicrous prices.
Large photograph courtesy of web designer and fellow blogger http://www.ekobana.com/public/home/
http://ekobana.com/blog/htsrv/trackback.php?tb_id=37 Small photograph courtesy airlinemeals.com
Posted by A.Horribilis at 10/11/2007 02:00:00 a.m.
Make sure your life-jacket is where it should be. While a duty-free inflatable head rest would probably offer comparable buoyancy in the event of the aircraft plummeting into the sea, many people find the jacket makes a very good toilet seat cover. On certain routes, which I'll not mention, a good handful of the previous occupants will not be familiar with a modern sit down arrangement and will have climbed atop the convenience, letting drop from a squatting position a foot above the tin. If you should discover that the toilet paper is missing, the emergency whistle and light is quite invaluable in summoning a flight attendant. [Next week: Convert hand held luggage into a life raft]
Cartoon borrowed from the extremely ludicrous http://www.airtoons.com/
Posted by A.Horribilis at 10/11/2007 01:50:00 a.m.
It's not all that Thai. Perhaps the airline should be more accurately renamed Singapore-Malaysia Air Asia
"Nearly two years ago, 10 months or so before AirAsia’s IPO in late 2004, Temasek Holdings came within a whisker of taking a stake in the region’s largest and most successful low-cost carrier (LCC). Or so AirAsia CEO Datuk Tony Fernandes likes to claim. Since then, however, combative Fernandes has wasted few opportunities for a dig at what he claims are
[ED: THAI'S - GRAB YOUR AIRSICK BAG ...]
Exerpts - for the full-article by Audrina Gan of TheEdge Singapore - go here:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=119604 - purchase by Thailand investors, still leaving balance of power in Malaysian hands and coffers.
Posted by A.Horribilis at 10/11/2007 01:00:00 a.m.