Let’s rewind back to your last days of winter break. Imagine that you are in a foreign country, excited for a transit home after weeks abroad. Mishaps are not part of your itinerary when envisioning your trip home. A simple 14 hour plane ride full of Hollywood films, banal food, and sleep within the cramped quarters of your economy class seat. This was my ideal situation when boarding Malaysian Airlines flight 094 service from TPE to LAX.
All went well through the first three hours of flight, right as we were passing Tokyo, Japan. The captain monotonous announcement of “technical difficulties” forebodes disaster, but luckily a minor hiccup compared to other potential outcomes. A three-hour double back resulted from these difficulties, but it was a start of the longest delay and worst first time experience with a single airline.
The experience on land amplified the hate toward the Malaysian Hospitality motto that was associated with this specific airline. I had no sense of hospitality the second I stepped back onto foreign territory. This was due to being informed that a hotel has been scheduled for an overnight stay, and a flight that would leave in only 28 hours after the original departure time.
Customers were scrambling in complete chaos to make sure they would make the connections that were supposedly scheduled for their final destination. Surely the staff promised that all flights would be changed and set to accommodate the inconvenience that had already arose. Little did we know, this would only further the complications when finally on domestic soil.
With the already exhausting day continuing to bring in unfortunate news and the day being drawn out to the very last second, a “short” transport was required to arrive at our resting place. Instead of this promised “short” transport, which I thought would be a hotel within the airport proximity, we ended up travelling another 30 minutes to downtown of TaoYuan, Taiwan.
Passports were confiscated for passes that allowed bus rides and rooms at our destination. It is scary enough to be in a foreign environment, but being without a passport added additional anxiety. With the passports out of our possession, a rule was enforced to place all customers on “hotel arrest.”
The hotel guests were not allowed to leave the hotel premises, if a guest was found trying to “escape,” they would be immediately transported back to the terminal and placed on the watch list. This meant that we were not allowed to do anything but vegetate in our rooms for the 20 or so hours prior to our departure.
Checked in baggage was not allowed to be taken out, forcing guests to live with the clothes and commodities off of their back. Hunger and thirst could not be responded to, with a lack of money and potential of being caught. I ended up sleeping with my contacts and street clothes still on, waking up even more disgusted then when I did going to bed. Cotton mouth and cotton “eyes” could be wonderful ways of describing my condition that morning.
Arriving back at TPE, after the extended stay at the hotel and one book read, I was hopeful for a more productive day. But that idea was short lived with the news that Malaysian Airlines was not going to help accommodate my misfortunes of a missed connection. Instead everyone was not notified of any changes and was told that it could only be solved upon our arrival at LAX.
The frustration also translated when finally arriving in Los Angeles. I had no checked baggage so I was able to be the first in line to figure out which connections were possible. But line priority did not matter, I was still forced to wait 3 hours with the no change.
Instead of having Malaysian Airlines solve the problem, I finally found good customer service in the form of Air Tran. They were gladly there to help and assist by giving me a standby ticket for the next flight that night. This was opposite with the other customers that were forced to miss work, meetings and time by spending an extra night in LA with non direct flights to their destination.
Malaysian hospitality cannot be placed anywhere within the vocabulary of this horrid airline. If you are ever thinking of travelling the pacific islands, I deplore you to not support the “budget” airline and instead pay the extra few dollars for the added relief and support.