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Tag Archives: Malaysia Airlines

This morning I was annoyed reading about a male Exco member of a political group urging MAS (Malaysia Airlines) female flight attendants to compulsorily don the hijab (head covering ); for Muslim staff only presumably. Later the head of that group came out to say that female staffs should be given the choice to do so or not: a fairer statement.

The days of the beautifully coiffed hair of MAS female flight attendants are numbered .Prepare to hold your breath if they come to serve you at 4.30 am London time on that long haul flight.

The days of the beautifully coiffed hair of MAS female flight attendants are numbered. Prepare to hold your breath when they come around  to serve you  breakfast at 4.30 am London time on that long haul 12-hr flight. (net image)

I am not against this head covering stuff. What I cannot understand is why a blinking political group should dictate what the staff of a company should wear. For the man to do so in the mainstream media shows how arrogant he is. By the way, he is from a Youth Wing of a political party which is a dominant component of the ruling Coalition. It looks like he also wants to appear more religious than members of the Opposition which has in its fold an Islamist party.

Yet he is silent on the wearing of hijab for female flight attendants of Air Asia, Air Asia X and Malindo Air. I am tempted to  interpret this as his attempt to drive off international travellers from MAS so that they would go for Airasia X which doesn’t impose such practices. These days money really talks.

I have not come across this man’s name before but would hazard to guess that he must have been the product of over twenty-years of religion-friendly school system in this country. This system breeds an education milieu which is didactic and controlling in nature. It is also gradually becoming less tolerant of other faiths and other cultural practices.

I suppose that is why MAS has not been doing well all these years as there is much political and other interference in its operations on account of it being a government-linked company (GLC). It doesn’t have a life of its own as it is subject to government’s decisions and directives. Its precipitous downfall started when Air Asia was purchased by Tony Fernandes who was allowed to have his ways through the lifting of flight restrictions earlier put in place to protect MAS.

It is also common knowledge that some influential and  politically connected people and people who are linked to the hereditary heads abuse MAS by asking for upgrades to first class when their tickets are actually bought for business class.

The same group also urges MAS not to serve alcohol on board the aircraft. What are they thinking?  This is an international airline for God’s sake. Moreover the drinks are served to those who request for them and are usually accompanied by meals. It is not as if there is a drinking session going on in the cabin. Again this is yet another attempt to impose one’s values on others. They just cannot stand others indulging be it decorously as they are not able to do so due to their religious teaching.Their philosophy is “If I can’t have it, so can’t you”.

You can restructure, re-brand, re-invent, revamp or re-organise MAS, but if it is still being operated like a government agency, it can never  rebound, turnaround, rejuvenate and survive without taxpayers’ money in the present global air-travel industry.

MAS will be delisted soon from the Malaysian Stock Exchange (Bursa Malaysia) for the so-called restructuring exercise; it is interesting to see what major transformational strategy being implemented apart from the selling off its cargo and engineering departments and a proposed retrenchment of an estimated 5000 staff.

Why can’t they just privatise it and run like the Singapore Airlines with no interference from the government  or anyone else who feel that they are important and yet contribute nothing to MAS’s well being?

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Following the two disasters in the space of six months with the loss of 537 lives, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) have been advised by aviation analysts and all and sundry to undertake a rebranding exercise to overhaul its reputation. The drastic rebranding may include the change of name for the company.

I have, in effect, suggested that the airlines rename itself after the mysterious disappearance of its jetliner MH370 last March. It is yet to be found despite massive search mounted by the international community. My rationale  is the disaster should not have caused a bad image to the country and its people through the use of the country’s name.

During the Cadbury’s alleged  problem with porcine DNA, there were comments made in foreign online news portals about not trusting a country to find the elusive DNA in the chocolate because it could not even find its lost jetliner! Such a  degrading remark.

Now with the shooting down of MH17 on 17 July 2014, an unpleasant sense of foreboding struck the would be passengers who have the tendency to be superstitious. Malaysia Airlines? Oh no, book me on another airline please!

And the story is now going around he world, I heard it from a doctor from Australia that Malaysia airlines was specially targeted that day in East Ukraine because of the country’s support of terrorism in the Middle East and Chechnya? Apparently there were airlines like Singapore Airlines and Indian Airlines traversing the same route over the conflict zone close to the Malaysia Airlines and yet the latter was the one hit. I find it hard to believe this conspiracy theory. To me it was more of a random event. Malaysia Airlines MH17 was just at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Anyway, conspiracy theory aside, Malaysia Airlines is suffering from a negative image internationally. It has been fraught with financial losses over the last decade since the introduction of budget airlines like AirAsia and the disasters so close to each other have brought it to its knees but for the government’s ownership of the airlines.

The problems faced by MAS are not only financial and management in nature but worse still it’s its reputation of being jinxed in the eye of the air-travelling public. And  a change in name of the airlines and the colour scheme of its design even the uniform of its cabin staff would help to bury the negative image of disaster. I suspect there would be opposition to this radical rebranding especially from MAS’s employee Union, supposedly quite influential.

The reality on the ground is what the people who oppose the rebranding fail to appreciate. Another reason is the fact that the airlines is owned by the government of Malaysia and so people have decided that it cannot fail as big brother (taxpayers) is always there to bail it out. The attitude is anathema to commercial success in the milieu of stiff competition. It should be operated as a business and not as a government service to enable it to rise to the occasion, unlike now.

Phoenix rising from the ashes.

MAS as a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

I have had a long association with MAS, from travelling extensively with it to being a minority shareholder of its current worthless stock  and have gone from being sad to being sceptical and cynical. I would nevertheless go along with the rebranding and pray to the power up there that the airlines would emulate the phoenix rising from the ashes.

 

I am getting jittery. Next month I am going  to travel overseas on business with Malaysia Airlines (MAS). Despite the unresolved scare of the missing MH370, I still decide to fly MAS.

This morning I read a Reuter’s report about a mechanical problem on MAS flight MH192 Boeing 737-800, with 166 people on board, from Kuala Lumpur  to Bangalore . The news has also been quickly picked up by the New York Times here and the other online news portals all over the internet. Burst tyre? Faulty landing gear? This is definitely not good news to frequent travellers like me.

Incidentally, this is the same flight that had technical glitches forcing it to turn back to India , MAS flight MH 193 Boeing 737-800 from India enroute to KLIA on Sunday 15 April 2012! Return journey. ( in my blog on MAS “Near Misses”). 

MH 192 turned back and abandoned journey to Bangalore, safely landed, thanks to the heroic pilot! (21 April 2014) -Photo courtesy TODAY

MH 192 turned back and abandoned journey to Bangalore, safely landed, thanks to the heroic pilot! (21 April 2014) -Photo courtesy TODAY

The other recent incident involving MAS  flight MH066 to Incheon, South Korea that was forced to land in Hong Kong on March 23 2014,  is still nagging me. And that fire in MAS maintenance workshop, destroying documents shortly after MH370’s disappearance  is also most disturbing. It doesn’t look  at all good on the company.

Already the whole world is putting its microscope on MAS following that “unprecedented aviation disaster” that is MH370;  now these mechanical problems are coming in quick succession. What is going on?

What is going on in the engineering/maintenance section of MAS? Have all the good engineers and mechanics who have been with MAS for years left MAS for AirAsia?? I remember reading about Tony Fernandes saying AirAsia would stop sending its aircrafts for maintenance by MAS: does he know something that we don’t? Or MAS’s planes are getting older and hence have problem being maintained? What about possible cost-cutting measures affecting maintenance schedules? Or have the work culture in that section changed and technical staff are getting lackadaisical? Or on the sinister side, could it be a sabotage? What is going on?

There were other cases like this in the past but due to that monstrous mystery, things are just not the same. We the Malaysian public demand that MAS puts its act back together and concentrate on safety of its aircraft passengers. MAS needs to do this even at the expense of calling for external experts to investigate its maintenance section. I have read about unpleasant going ons in MAS maintenance section from blogger Wee Chee Kiong who seems to have inside information and able to give us the latest on incidents involving MAS.

Much as I want to help MAS by continuing flying with it, I am not going to risk my life knowing full well that the airline is having frequent mechanical issues with its aircrafts. If I feel this way, what about other air travellers who have no emotional connectivity with MAS at all? I bet more than 90% of these people are not going to fly with MAS anymore.

We the taxpayers are an important stakeholder of MAS, albeit faceless and mostly stricken with apathy, should wake up and demand the overhaul of MAS management. If the CEO of MAS has any dignity left, he  should resign over these frequent mishaps which one of these days will turn into another disaster. We don’t want another MH370.

Please PM Najib, step forward now  and be a leader for once and act on this national problem which can affect people’s lives and Malaysia’s good name.

Honestly, I don’t believe that the heroic efforts by the pilots could be sustained at 100% success rate if the mechanical failures keep recurring on their aircrafts. I have so far refrained from blogging about MAS Engineering/Maintenance section but I cannot take it anymore with this latest near miss.

In the meantime, I have emailed my assistant to change my MAS London flight booking in late May 2014 to another airline with a heavy heart.

There are many conspiracy theories being developed by people on the social media regarding MH370 disappearance. A couple of weeks ago a friend sent me through whatsApp a lengthy write up on the mysterious reciprocal turn back of the missing jetliner and its later disappearance. Apparently, the American got wind of the transportation of parts of their drones shot down by Taliban in Afghanistan, by MH370 to China. The plane was intercepted by American intelligence and made to disappear with all 329 souls on board.

According to the ghost writer, the technology to control planes in flight was developed after 9/11. The plane electronics were said to be reprogrammed remotely and that the pilots had no control over it from that point on. As to whether it had landed or crashed or kept hidden somewhere (US base Diego Garcia was mentioned), it could not be ascertained (lending some sort of credibility to the message).

Some of my colleagues and relatives also received the same on their smart phone. At the end of the message, there was a request to copy and paste and forward to as many people as possible. And to think that some people really believe in the theory and start cursing the Americans.

Then I came across another conspiracy theory written by a man who used to be a political secretary to our ex-long serving Prime Minister. Authoritatively entitled ” MH370: Questions for the US and its Intelligence Services“; this one is just as sinister accusing of United States’  covert involvement in the vanishing aircraft. I found the reasonings so darkly convoluted that I arrived at the conclusion  that the writer must’ve  possessed the most fertile of the imagination and could write a screenplay for a Hollywood movie. Coming from someone who was in the circle of a once powerful man, I wonder whether this person is still suffering from a kind of paranoia often seen in such political circles.

Looking at the amount of efforts,time and expenses spent by the international community to search/hunt  for MH370, one would have to be really non-objective in believing in all those conspiracy theories which accuse another nation unfairly. The use of high-tech and sophisticated assets by the Americans to help in the search are seen as insincere. So as the the admission by their politicians that this unprecedented Boeing 777 disaster would affect the sales of their new Boeing 777X and could result in the loss of thousands of American jobs. That is why they need to get to the bottom of this mystery. And so far they have spent a few million US dollars in doing so.

US Navy -under water search begins for MH370's black box before   it "dies" and seals forever the full mystery of the jetliner's disappearance on 8 March 2014

US Navy -under water hunt has begun for MH370’s black box before it soon  “dies” and seals forever the full mystery of the jetliner’s disappearance on 8 March 2014

Sadly, people who are fixed in their belief in the conspiracy cover-ups will not budge from their stance and, in fact, are  mocking these efforts as pulling wool over their eyes. I suppose even if the black box were found today, these people will still accuse the Americans of  hiding or deleting  the true recordings of what transpired on the ill-fated plane’s cockpit, transcribed by the machine.

As is true of any statistical occurrences, a certain percentage ( about 5 to 10% ) of a normal population, are in effect not right in their mind. And Nature, after all, loves varieties.

 

 

For the last two weeks we have been hearing and reading about “credible leads” of signs of possible wreckage of MH370 now believed crashed in the vast Indian Ocean. We have American, Canadian,French,Japanese,Chinese and even Thai satellites telling us that they have spotted the debris which could be that of Boeing-777 MAS flight MH370 in the areas where it is said, using satellites’ data, aircraft speed and direction etc  that the jetliner to have gone down.

Newer and refined data based on indicated faster speed of  MH370 has now shifted the focus of the search nearer to Perth and more satellites’ credible leads are noted in the new area of the Indian ocean.

Location of the "first credible leads" near Perth , Australia

Location of the “first credible leads” detected by US-AU satellites on 15 March 2014, near Perth , Australia

Most of the  first week (8-14 March 2014)  was wasted on the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea until that Malaysian Air Force Radar revealed, more than five days later, the detection of turn around path of MH370 over the Peninsular and westwards. This delay is definitely one of the gravest concerns of the search and rescue efforts (SAR) : without doubts, causing so much distress to the relatives of those 239 passengers on board. It is water under the bridge now though it should not be left uninvestigated.

We are confronted with daily informations now on the satellites’ sightings of  possible debris of the aircraft but so far not a single piece has been recovered despite the massive international search using ships and all types of aircraft in the lonely part of that deep ocean.

We pray hard that something, anything that can be connected to MH370 would be fished out so that our great uncertainties could be cleared. At least some signs of what had happened to the plane could be explained while waiting for that “black box” to be found to sum up the rest of the story albeit and probably, not the mystery.

We will follow  the “credible leads”  indefinitely.

In the meantime, the incredible reactions we are getting from the relatives of the “perished” 153 Chinese passengers in Beijing is beginning to wear us down.

After three days’ of its disappearance, my gut feeling was, due to mechanical failure,  the plane and its passengers had already crashed somewhere in the seas following loss of contact with ATC. However my outlook on the disaster has since changed as more information are being gleaned by experts in air-crash investigation. All the same, my heart went out to the relatives. Tears welled up my eyes when I saw on TV and read online about the grieving relatives as I thought of how it was if it were my loved ones on board that ill-fated plane.

I thought it was good and healthy for the relatives to pour out their griefs as that will eventually ease their mental pain of loss.  I saw on video footages how the men and women wailed and threw themselves about in frustration and anger at not knowing where their loved ones let alone their remains are.

I empathise with them, I feel their pain.

The angry and sorrowful reactions have now, after nearly three weeks, turned into an  incredible show of fury against all that are Malaysian. They call us names and cast aspersions on our SAR efforts.

Other nationalities including our own Malaysian passengers perished too in this unprecedented air disaster and have we heard of such nasty reactions towards our country and its people from these groups? The Chinese reactions are just incredible to the point of being unacceptable like venting their anger on all Malaysians. What have we done? No one in Malaysia wants this to happen.Please have a little bit of control. Malaysians are also in utter despair.

Malaysia Airlines have gone out of its way to help the relatives but putting them all in one place and this gesture seems to be not a good idea, say what you like. When people are cooped-up in one place they tend to reinforce each others’ thoughts, feelings, suspicions, conspiracy theories, what have you;  and the sum total is tremendously herd-like as we are witnessing now. I really pity those Malaysian officials sent to Beijing to explain and answer  relatives’ questions which have yet to have answers,  fuelling more anger and hurtful remarks.

The aftermath of MH370’s fatal disaster provide  a lesson to all countries as well. If it were in my power, I would not name the government-linked airline the country’s name because this kind of an exceptional disaster gives such a bad name to the whole country and its people.  Names like Singapore Airlines, Royal Brunei, Thai Airways and Emirates look risky to me now.

eng_remembering-mh370

Against all odds, we continue to pray that the credible leads would lead to credible discovery of MH370 and that the incredible reactions to the plane disaster by the Chinese in Beijing would eventually die down for everyone to mourn MH370 in peace.

Mystery of MH370

Vanished  MH370: The Truth Is Out There Where Evil Reigns in The Heart of Man

As the CNN aviation investigation journalist, Richard Quest said, with the increasing availability of data on the missing Boeing 777-200ER, things are beginning to shape up. And what is becoming clearer now,  after ten days of Malaysia airlines flight MH370 ( Boeing 777-200ER)  jetliner’s  disappearance, is too much to bear in its perceived evil madness.

I realise that the following sentiment could be treated as another speculation much to my distaste as I have promised in my earlier posting not to dwell on it but new evidences are too technical to ignore by my sense of curiosity , call it if you will.

International aircrash investigators and analysts are coming to the conclusion that the satellite and radar data  point to a deliberate act to hijack or seize the plane and render it invisible on air and now ensuring that it is hard to be found as well. According to the Wall Street Journal, If multiple communication systems aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were manually disabled, as investigators increasingly suspect happened, it would have required detailed knowledge of the long-range Boeing Co. 777’s inner workings“. This is an ominous indication that an experienced hand was at work. That recorded sudden climb of the jet to 45,000 ft on flight diversion  is stupefying, way out of the recommended height of flying; what does this tell us? Truly we cannot escape from making speculations.

Hijacking, seizure or sabotage could be in play here and focus is now on the two pilots of the jetliner.

By the way, to be fair, could any other passengers on board that are skilled in manoeuvring the modern aircraft after sequentially switching off the security system? I hope the authorities  with the help of the passengers’ countries and terrorist experts will examine each one of them and start eliminating the innocents and zero in on the “evil culprit (s)”. A fair conclusion of this exercise may take a long time.

Turning now to Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the 53 year -old, long- serving MAS pilot with more than 18,000 flight hours and who have been reported to have  interesting passions like building and keeping a plane simulator in his house. He is apparently an avid political activist and known supporter of the opposition . He was claimed (unverified) to have attended Anwar Ibrahim’s court case where the latter (Leader of the Opposition Coalition)  was found guilty and sentenced to five-year imprisonment for sodomy the day (o7 March 2014)  before his flight to Beijing. Could he have been so profoundly affected by the verdict that he  was driven to so-called ” insanity” after the last “game” on his personal simulator?

And that FB photo of him brandishing a chopper with an exultant expression on his face is disturbing. Everything about this man is being scrutinised and analysed including his disdainful postings on the current government.  He is also claimed to have been divorced from his wife: another unsettling side of him (if true). And that YouTube tribute for him uploaded by his family members on 12 March 2014,  is looking at just “one window” of his character. We all have several “windows” to our character depending on circumstances and who we interact with. No normal human beings can read what’s on our mind.

Showing off, broadcasting and putting yourself in the social media for the world to see your  worldly antics  requires a certain personality: a subconscious need to be recognised. I have successful friends who would be loathed to have FB accounts and upon analysis of their personality , I can broadly conclude  that these people do not have  the words “self-promotion” and “publicity” in their vocabulary. No issues with the need to be recognised in that manner.

Zaharie is now globally recognised as the pilot of the missing MH370 which is shrouded in mystery and labelled as “an unprecedented aviation disaster”.

Now consider the first officer of MH370, the playboy pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid who joined MAS in 2007 and at 27 years old he was transitioning to piloting Boeing 777.  Not much is known about him apart from the breach of cockpit security in 2011 and that his father is a senior Selangor State civil servant. Apparently he is contemplating marriage  to his sweetheart, a pilot of a budget airline, and looks like he has so much to look forward to. But he too has character “windows”.

Could one of them be the skilled hijacker? Consider the balance of probabilities.

It would be best if the black box could be found as it would have recorded the going ons in the cockpit though some expert poured cold water on it by stating that if  pilots were involved, little audio would be recorded by the “dumb” box. Having said that the possibility of finding the plane and the passengers alive, let alone the black box, in the near term, is looking remote as the clock ticks away.

At least some passengers in the hijacked United Airlines plane in the 9/11 incidence were able to call their loved ones from the plane before it was crashed by the suicide hijackers, but those in MH370 had no chance at all to do so. Think again about this scenario and relate it to that recorded 45,000 ft climb.

The truth is out there, the truth will free us, the truth maybe too painful to accept and yet, the truth may never be found.

Today we are entering the sixth day of the sudden disappearance of our Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A lot of heartache ,anger , frustration, drama ,confusion , accusation, you name it,  have been hurled upon us as the missing aircraft with 239 people on board have yet to be found.

Despite the distracting issues on security and terrorism, something is nagging me about the way the jetliner vanished. I am not convinced that there was an attack on the aircraft though there is that problem between China and its restive  Uyghurs ethnic minority who are mainly Muslim. Nope, Malaysia with our warts and all is a friendly country, gentle as a mouse such that people of all kinds come to our country and doing all sorts of business, legal and illegal with lax restrictions.

I am more into the mechanical failure of the plane. There was something catastrophic that overwhelmed the pilots, crippling , catapulting  the aircraft ; sending it into smithereens: mid-air disintegration ( I choke up when I am writing this word!). Yes, a bomb could do that as well. But my unsubstantiated and non-scientific gut feeling favours mechanical failure.

Surfing the internet on Boeing 777, I found this report of American regulators’ warning on crack and erosion on this kind of aircraft before the current disaster. My only hope is that the plane wreckage and the black box would be found to unravel the cause of the crash which could take  a few years. The same aircraft has been reported to have been repaired following an accident in Singapore whence its wing was clipped. I found this history rather disturbing having loyally followed a series of Aircrash investigations on TV. Repaired minor cracks combined with potential cracks and corrosion: wouldn’t that spook you?

The jetliner MUST BE FOUND at all cost  to help the grieving friends and relatives find closure and the living find the cause of its currently presumed  “mysterious crash”  and come out with ways to make air-travel safer.

Let’s hope it is finally found following the detection by satellites of images which appear like a plane wreckage  within the suspected crash site in this latest CNN report here.

In a shocking revelation to the whole world and adding to our pain is this report here in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

I am speechless, disappointed and angry at the unprofessional behaviour of our MAS pilots on that flight in 2011 as claimed by one of the girls involved in the cockpit’s incidence. The claim is supported by photos as well! It doesn’t, I believe, have any major bearing on the missing Malaysia airlines flight MH370 but it adds a lot of fodder for the increasingly impatient world and hungry press to point fingers at our National Carrier and our country on international air travel safety and security issues. And most unfortunately one of the pilots involved in this case is the first officer of the ill-fated Boeing 777-200ER jetliner.

It appears that MAS is slacking on pilots’ conduct. The revelation by the passenger who sounded genuine and spoke in an apparent sincerity  should shake up Malaysia Airlines and please do not give excuse that you’re too tied up with the present problem by not quickly investigating the incident. Remember, the other pilot in the photo is alive and well. Get him.

There could well be something wrong with our education system. While it focusses on religious teaching and virtually forcing women of a certain religious persuasion to cover themselves and be modest, we have this kind of professional Malay (Muslim) men behaving atrociously while on the job. Conduct that is dangerous and contravening the religious teaching. And yet the missing first officer is described as “pious” by his family member.

Letting passengers into the cockpit! A grave security lapse indeed because terrorists do not have typical features one can identify with.

Some people talk about professionalism and yet they don’t understand what the term means and entails. This is a form of corruption when one abuses his position to carry on doing things against the rules and the crew who were with the two errant pilots when this safety-related incident occurred are equally corrupt because they did not report the security-lapse.

We Malaysians are deeply embarrassed by this breach of security revelation during these difficult times.

What else can I say?

Early Saturday morning, 08 March 2014,  I received news of the sudden disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to Beijing about 40 minutes after taking off from KLIA at about midnight and scheduled for arrival at the Chinese capital at 6.30am local time. It was reported that there was no distress call from the pilots prompting speculation that it could have been a catastrophic decompression leaving no time for the crew to act like communicating with the  air traffic control tower.

The presence of two passengers travelling on stolen passports doesn’t help in fact an act of terrorism is said to be a possibility. Unless the plane is found, the authorities would not be able to confirm anything at this stage. There are 239 people including 12 crew members in that flight.

Catastrophic decompression is a big red flag for the following:

  • mechanical/electronic failure/airplane stall  and pilot factors
  • bomb explosion ( no evidence of this so far)/ terrorism
  • pilot suicide ( unlikely in this case)/ pilot’s sudden sickness?

A similar disaster in 2009 when Air France flight 447 went down suddenly in the Atlantic Ocean also around midnight has been quoted. All passengers and crew in that Airbus perished and the plane wreckage was only found about two years later.

After 48 hours of flight MH370’s vanishing, its fate is still unknown. Indeed we are all expecting the worst. It would have been a miracle if any of the passengers and crew were to be found alive. My heart really goes out to those grieving relatives. Their grief is indescribable.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record

To think that our Danny had just returned to Australia on 21 Feb 2014 on the same kind of aircraft, Boeing 777-200 and yes, it was a MAS flight (MH139). In fact, our family’s prefered airlines is MAS. And so this tragedy is deeply felt by us all particularly yours truly who have travelled umpteeth time on MAS in the course of my work.

I am not ashamed to admit that everytime I fly at night to Europe and London especially , I really pray hard and imploring God that  my loved ones and my country still need me. I usually refuse to acknowledge that I am flying over a vast ocean. And to make myself settled down and enjoy the flight is by accepting that my life is in God’s hands. And that one could die just about anywhere.

A couple of weeks ago I watched a  Discovery Channel’s documentary  on the Japanese Airlines crash that was attributed to metal fatigue along the lines of “welding” following an earlier damage to part of the aircraft. There was nothing really could have been done by the pilots of the ill-fated flight when the structural weakness shattered the repaired section and cut through the tail of the plane causing deadly instability and loss of control.

A month before that I read a novel entitled “The Flight” written by MR Hall, a British author. The cause of the plane crash was frightening but the preview says “it is plausible” when pilots have to follow certain management policy to the letter during times of financial constraints. Well, it was just a story which I kept thinking about a number of days after I finished reading it.

As I am writing this, there is still no news of the fate of flight MH370 whose 53 year-old Captain is said to be an experienced and long-serving officer who is passionate about his work. His first officer is reported to be 27-year old.

I hope the investigation into Malaysia Airlines MH370’s crash will shed light on its cause so that flying can continue to be made safer.

During this holiday season, air travels are often the only option. Despite all the promotion by the various airlines budget and full-service, when you actually want to book you would find that you would, most of the times, not get the coveted low priced-tickets. Apparently, a lot of the time, the tickets are all snapped up.

This was what happened to my nephew who is on holiday from Australia and wanted to visit his university friends in Sabah. He went online and I advised him to look at the Malindo Air offer as I had experienced once their service and found it not too bad. I told him to skip Air Asia as he would have to brave the elements both in LCCT Sepang and again at Kota Kinabalu airport as the budget airline does not use aerobridge. Moreover,  the current weather conditions have not been the best with frequent rain and wind.

So Danny happily went online to book his ticket. After going through all the “hidden charges” typical of any budget airlines, he found that he would be better off buying MAS ticket online. For Malindo Air, now no longer on promotion drive, the ticket, after factoring in advanced seat booking, meal,extra baggage weight, on top of the free 15kg allowance, the price is above MAS, in his case, by RM60.00. And yet MAS gives 30kg free baggage allowance. For excess 15kg baggage on Melindo Air, for both ways, the extra cost would be RM 40 x 3 x 2 = RM 240 ( RM40 for an excess of 5Kg). Gosh, that is way, way higher than MAS’s ticket! Definitely MAS offer a better value.

For economy travel, it is better to do your maths and be smart when choosing your ticket online. Most of the time, our perception of full service airline like MAS is expensive. But a smart traveller will always compare the areas of charges the airlines apply to the cost of their ticket.

There are actually no first class solutions on budget airlines in economy class!

There are actually no first class solutions on budget airlines in economy class!

So these budget airlines are actually okay for people who travel light, don’t care where they sit, don’t take meals on board, physically fit, not OKU ( for Air Asia and its X outfit), don’t care whether there is entertainment or not and who generally just want to fly with the real “no-frills”. It is not advisable for family travel because you might end up sitting everywhere and not together. To sit together and book in advance, you have to fork out RM15 per seat one way! ( for MAS, surprise, surprise , it is RM10 per seat one way)

"Laughter is the best medicine"

“Laughter is the best medicine”

Melindo Air is good at the moment for business-class travel but certainly not for economy travel and for those who are frequent travellers, MAS offers a better value for your travels. For MAS Silver Enrich card holder, you can still check in at business class counter despite flying on economy and my nephew is such a passenger and so Malaysia Airlines it is!