The rarity of a double-post blog in a day for My Flavour calls for a champagne celebration. I’ve been feeling slightly melancholy of late – not sure if its the dreaded Christmas season – only dreaded because of the overbearing lights, shimmer, action, ginormous pine trees in shopping centers and the somewhat-nauseating “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells” tormenting my ears in the background.
I was quite tickled to note that our very own MH/Malaysian Hospitality/Malaysian Airlines/MAS has bagged the “coveted” Best Cabin Crew Award title for 2009. The heading blazed across the pages of The Star last week, which plied my already-saturated brain with questions about the suspicious and dubious rating agency which is Skytraxx.
I am/was a loyal passenger of our home airline (NOTE: wishing that SQ was our home airline would never ever come to fruition, so the wish was buried long ago). As for us, taking MH is convenient – no unnecessary transit time lost in either HK, SG or Bangkok. Well, this just about sums up the main reason we take MH “loyally”.
I was even skipping and leaping with joy when I received my Enrich Silver. I am proud that MH has been awarded Best Cabin Crew award – yes our very own! But how they could have managed that feat is truly beyond me. Before you threaten to beat the sh*t out of my unpatriotic a$$, I just want to add that any bones I have to pick with MH is based on my direct experiences only.
I am fortunate enough to be travelling on business class (“BC”) a few times a year. Yes, most trips on BC are rated between “good – tolerable – satisfactory” but the value derived out of it largely mismatches the amount of moolah you have to fork out for a BC class ticket. The satay and nasi lemak on BC are excellent and you get your Star Newspaper and selection of great magazines (including my favourites National Geographic and Vanity Fair) fairly easily. Anddddd….thats just about IT.
And my experience of MH Cabin Crew service on Economy Class (“EC”) – well, suffice to say, you are truly, truly the 2nd class citizen. Let me narrate just 2 examples:
Once I was seated in EC for my night flight back to Melbourne. I asked for the eye shades and was told by the cabin crew (lady) that “there is no eye shades ‘back here’ and you have to wait for me to check at the front (meaning BC).” I thought she wasn’t coming back so I closed my eyes hoping sleep will take over. 10 minutes later I felt someone tapping rudely on my knee. The same stewardess thrust the eye shades wordlessly at me and walked away. (I guess you might say I should give her SOME credit for coming back to me, but a “Excuse me Miss” wouldn’t have hurt!)
Once I was again on EC, also going or coming from Melbourne. I had reclined my seat and closed my eyes to sleep, but the scheduled ‘feeding time’ had arrived and I felt someone tapping me impatiently on my shoulder. “Bring your chair up!” says the Cabin Crew. I cannot remember if there was a “please” in that command, but it would probably have been lost in his irritable tone.
Hey what happened to the general “Excuse me” or “Miss” or “Ma’am” (OK, this one takes it way too far for hopes)? I’m not expecting 5 star luxury service – JUST regular courtesy. Not rude and irritable tapping on shoulders or knees, at least!
To be frank, even service on MH Business Class sometimes leaves more to be desired.
The cabin crew team on BC are usually a mix of “experienced” crew (translated into: stern-looking matrons) coupled with one or two friendly male crew and one or two friendly young crew. Don’t play the fool with the matrons, they sometimes look like they are capable of biting off heads – meeting requests sometimes feels like you’re being done a favour. (OK so they know your name, but so do they on SQ BC).
Now on first class, things are slightly better than Business Class – maybe it’s largely due to the nice flat beds you get. (Note: On the newer Cathay planes, Business Class seats are already flat beds). I have only had the fortune to get a free upgrade to First Class once ever in my life so not much comparison can be made. I only remember my first class experience to be ‘Good’. Maybe I was wow’ed by the satin duvets, free pajama sets and extra nice toiletry sets – service wise – nothing extra impressive. Maybe I was also busy sleeping on the flat beds as MH BC seats are at a 40 degree angle, fully reclined and there tends to be a slight balancing act between your bum and your feet whilst falling asleep).
The Food on MH BC is satisfactory, variety is good. However, compared to other world class airlines, I’m sure this is stock standard.
OK, my ranting turned out to be longer than expected. Now, I’m not one of those passengers who whinges behind the scenes. I always faithfully complete the customer satisfaction surveys honestly, truthfully, and sometimes tone down on the brutality of my bluntness lest I hurt someone’s feelings. I truly want to help. But I guess my help is unneeded. After all, MH is No. 1 World Best Cabin Crew!
I am keen to try out the sky suites on the new A380 (for review purposes ONLY) which is probably akin to the EURO 1 billion dollar a piece seats on the arks in the movie 2012. Anyone feeling remotely charitable towards my worthy cause? I promise to write a fair review from the comfort of the queen size beds, sipping bubbly and wearing silken pajamas!!!!