Having patiently waited for three months for a reply to my complaint sent online to Silk Air, a full service short haul company under Singapore Airlines to no avail, I now wish to share my disappointing experience which was the first and certainly will be the last with this airline.
Last December 2011 a group of us decided to visit Singapore. For a change I thought we would try Silk Air, a Singapore airline and savour its advertised hospitality. The short flight to Singapore was uneventful, though I must say I missed MAS’s (Malaysia Airlines) friendlier cabin crew, but it was on the way back to Kuala Lumpur that we experienced an unexpected and rather brash treatment.
Our one-week holiday was marred by the attitude and action of Silk Air ground staff at the boarding lounge at Changi Airport. There were a few people with hand luggage ahead of us in the queue and one of them a Caucasian even had three pieces of hand luggage with him. They went through with no problem. When came to one of my friend’s turn, a Silk Air ground staff suddenly stepped forward and lifted his trolley bag and then pronounced that the bag was heavy and needed to be put in the cargo section.
We were of course surprised as that was the same bag with no change in content, that our friend brought as a cabin luggage from Kuala Lumpur the week before with no problem.
Seeing my friend David’s predicament,I offered to offload some of the content to my heavy duty paper bag which only had a box of chocolate in it so as to reduce the “weight” of that trolley bag but the staff robotically refused. I supposed the staffs at this level are only doing their “job” with no discretionary power or gift of reasoning, kind of imbecilic.
What we were rather disappointed was the manner the bag was “weighed” that is by subjective hand lifting and not by a weighing machine.
I have gone through many international airports such as Brisbane in Australia where they weighed every passenger’s hand luggage and those exceeding the weight allowance are taken to the cargo section. This is a fair system where everyone is subject to the same treatment. Silk Air staff’s action wreaked of discrimination.
When I inquired why the Caucasian gentleman with three pieces of luggage that looked heavy, was not even stopped for checking, the younger woman was speechless but another older staff who had been busy writing retorted that the gentleman was carrying medical items! Since when did she check the content of that passenger’s three bags? We were there all the time and did not witness this older lady ever stood to check any of the passenger’s luggage. Undoubtedly, she was a liar.
Then the older staff, again with the sourest of faces and without even looking at me said that “You are only entitled to one cabin bag” and when I pointed out that my friend’s second bag was a computer bag, she pouted her lips, looking irritated, glum and ugly and acted dumb.
I don’t mind if we were fairly and reasonably treated. I am trained to accept that.
What I am concerned about is the older female staff who was not only a liar but someone with a chip on her shoulders. She brought shame to Silk Air and to Singapore. She seemed to think that we, as customers,were causing problems to her (a mere employee!). This is not the attitude that one expects of a hospitality industry, more so for Singapore which depends on tourism to bring in revenue.
Silk Air ground staff attitude is but image tarnishing.
And by not checking all passengers’ cabin luggage objectively (using a weighing machine) but instead ‘determine’ the weight of cabin bags of only selected passengers by using hands, customers cannot help but assume that there is an ongoing discriminatory practice in the airline. They treated Caucasians better than their own kind, a form of inverted racism.
Silk Air also fails to respond to the complaint that we made and so what do you expect from such an organisation? They have a nice looking website with a complaint/feedback section which is only for show. It crosses our mind that the ground staffs are reflecting the attitude of Silk Air management.
That was the first and last time we would ever fly with Silk Air.
Unfair practices are loathsome.