Sunday, January 11, 2009

AirAsia oooo everyone can fly??

An experience to remember.........

I was travelling via Airasia flying back from KUL to Hangzhou. I had to changed my flight schedule from 05th Jan to 09th Jan due to my sickness and the children was not feeling well.

Goosshhh ...never came across in my mind that journey will be my first bad experience in 2009. I woke up 4:30am that Friday morning and got ready to catch my morning flight. After kissing the kids goodbye while they were still asleep, I woke Yong up to say goodbye and as usual say a few words to her. She send me off at the gate and this time Rozi drove me to the airport instead of my regular cab driver Rahim.

All went smoothly during checking in except the person at the gate of the departure hall stopped me because I have an extra 3 kgs (which are all books and some companies documents!!). So I made a u turn to check in the luggage and pay RM 120. I am not worried of the money since I can raise a claim for that, but I don't really like the way the AirAsia personnel stopped me at the gate (a bit hush and he made some kind of face after I explain to him that its just books.....). Anyway, the guy at the counter, Syed Mahathir (see I make sure I get his name since he treated me well) was very nice to me and he serve me gently. In fact, he was a bit concern that I have to pay for the extra kgs. But, I said its ok to pay since my company will reimburse me for that. He is definately fit to work for Customer Service.

Then, I went through all the safety procedure before reaching the waiting area. We started to board the plane about 750am and the flight took off approximately at the schedule departure. As usual, I started reciting the prayer right before I set foot in the plane until it safely took off..The plane was ready to take off at the runway when Capt Mazlan, suddenly pull the brake (I guess...) and the all of us a bit jerking goddness....I was really scared and started to pray harder.....all I can see was all the children faces at that time!!. Then, Capt Mazlan made an announcement that one of the engine was having a technical problem. So, made a u turn and all of us were asked to disembark. We we asked to wait until further notice.

Then, we went down and walked back to the terminal building. It was announced that the flight will be delay for 4 hours. I started to figure out by the time I reach Hangzhou it was already at night. So I switch on my laptop started to book the hotel online. I can't get the internet connection on my laptop. Goosshhh......Then, I called Rozi and explained, asked him to book the hotel for me. Airasia compensated us by serving a piece of Burger (from McDonald Breakfast Menu with a bottle of mineral water). Then, waited again before I noticed something burning nearby. Suddenly I can see the smoke at the construction area nearby the waiting area. Having been working in the manufacturing industry before, I was being trained to be alert whenever you smell smoke or something burning....I grabbed my laptop and straight away to an AirAsia personnel asked where is the evacuation assembly point. I was shocked NOT to hear any FIRE ALARM sound at all........and the way the airport personnel faced the situation.....they did not even asked the passenger to move out of the building until all the passengers realised by themselves. All of us were then ask to evacuate at the tarmac outside the building. A few minutes later, the fire brigade came with a few MAB was a bit chaotic.....all the passengers scattered everywhere, busy taking pictures........I wonder whether these people (Airasia/airport employees) were really trained to face such an emergency reality, no one really in charge of controlling the scattered passenger let alone our safety well being as we are a few meters away from parked aircraft and some moving airports transports........

I managed to snap a few pictures on that day.....

The spot which was on fire
09 th Jan 2009

The passengers outside the fire assembly area.....

The Airasia personnel started to ask the passenger to assemble by destination. Since maybe it was during an emergency and they do not have hailer to organize the passenger, I can see them shouting here and there calling for destination (sound familiar in Malaysia if you took cab at the taxi station...LOL). So lesson learnt from this incident, Airasia should have a dry run in case of emergency like this, ensure that hailer is available to managed the situation or at least there is a place card for the staff to carry so that passenger knows which direction to go (Mr Tony Fernandes - I hope you take this as a positive input!!)....all in all I think the AirAsia staffs are not really prepared for such situation, however, some of them remained very calm and try their best to managed the situation.

I was already hungry by then and the worst part was we were not allowed to come into the building. Furthermore, all the shops were asked to close due to the fire. At about 1pm we were allowed to board the same airplane. My heart really pounding so hard, all the mixed feeling came into my just imagine flying in the same airplane which you already know that it has been detected earlier having some technical problem. At first I wanted to reschedule my trip back, but knowing that I need to be in the office by Monday, I got to assured myself to be calm and keep on praying for good thing to come. Then, the kapten made an announcement that we are ready to fly. It was Capt Fong or Foo (I guess that was the 2nd or 3rd time I took the flight navigated by him during my flight back and forth between KUL-Hzhou). I remember the last trip back he made a smooth touched down which impressed me (that was why I still remember his name!!). I made a point whenever I took a flight to remember the Captain and the chief steward/stewardess. So that when something good happen I can write about them. I try to tell myself that I am at a good hand!!. As we took off, the ride was a bit bumpy I guess due to the strong wind. But it was all ok once we reach the right mode of flying.

We reached Hangzhou about 6pm, the touched down was smooth and I had no problem as usual at the immigration check point. I met a family of 5 who came for a tour on their own and was not prepared at all for the misfortunate. I offered my help and took them to the hotel so that they can have the same rate as I do. En Sideli and his family asked me to take them to Shanghai to show them around, I felt bad that I can't really join them since I need to be back to Jinhua. However, I promised to take them around Hangzhou and took the last bas at 7pm to Jinhua. I believe its my obligation to help since I have been getting lots of helps from strangers mainly Chinese here in China. Then, I briefed them how to get to Shanghai via train from Hanzghou. Which subway line to take as soon as they reach Shanghai South Station. I also booked them the hotel in Shanghai. I was a bit worried when I board my last bus, thinking about them so much...whether they managed to get the train ticket and boarded the train safely. I was relieved when I called them that they managed to get through smoothly. I told them to make sure to call me in case they need my help while in Shanghai. I made a call again to ensure that they had reached the hotel safely with the direction that I gave them. Sometimes I felt that I worried too much.......but thankfully, they have returned safety to Malaysia now....

I was really dissapointed that we were not being serve for food we ordered online, reason given was the flight was delayed. However, we can purchased the food if we want to but the food supply was limited. OMG....that means I wont be able to eat anything until 8pm (approximate time of reaching my hotel!). I bought 2 bread earlier at the shop near the waiting area, so I took a piece and went to have a nap. Having been flying with AirAsia before, I never had a very bad experience except this one. I hope the next trip back I will get a cleaner aircraft with all the toilet are in working condition and most importantly no bad smell from the working toilet. I guess that's what you get if you pay peanuts! (No more complaints!). Being a regular AirAsia passenger, this is the common smell on flight between KUL-HZ-KUL (I had asked a few of my colleagues who always travel on AirAsia and he agreed with my observation - Mr Tony please take note to improve this!!)

I will be travelling back again on 24th January to KL for Spring holidays. I had my bad experience stranded at Hangzhou last year for 4 days due to the winter blizzard. That was the most frightening experience I ever had throughout my travelling alone, miss my flight to Guangzhou , overnight at the airport for one night with crowded passenger all over places at the airport at the rush hour of Spring holidays in China, running out of prepaid on my mobile phone and there were no shop selling prepaid card, no taxi willing to take me back to the city, making last minute hotel reservation with almost dead battery on my lap top (just because I had forgotten my plug in coverter), admitted to the hospital for a day care treatment, treated by a doctor and nurses who can't even speak one single English goodness that was really an experienced!!!! For the past few days, I have been checking 10 days weather forecast looks ok ...cross my finger that the travelling will be smooth......less worry this time around since there will be 4 more guys travelling in case I am stranded again....there are some people I know accompanying me.....

Gotta go...will have an update on my stitching soon.... (hopefully!!). Thanks for reading.


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