Comments on Malaysia Airlines

We took a total of six Malaysia Airlines flights during our recent trip, and in every respect but one, Malaysia Airlines was a first-rate airline. The staff (reservation and ground and air) were very nice, service was prompt and good, the planes and gates and terminals were all clean and bright. Flights generally left and arrived on time without fuss or problem.

But I need to rant about one issue: the airline's collective lack of common sense when it comes to night flights and the basic human need for sleep.

Our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kansai International left at midnight, and lasted about six hours. I generally try to avoid redeyes, but have been on a few, and previously they've all run under a similar schedule: you get a light drink/snack right after takeoff, and then an announcement along the lines of:

We know most of you want to just sleep, so if you'd like any drink/food, feel free to call us or come back to the galley. We'll turn the lights off, so use your seat light if you'd like to read. We'll serve a snack an hour before landing.

Even so, periodically throughout the flight the attendants quietly walk the isles with trays of water and peanuts. It allows those that want to sleep to do so, yet still provides service to the rest.

Our Malaysia Airlines flight started out similarly. There was a light snack and then the lights were dimmed, and soon people were falling asleep. But an hour and fifteen minutes into the flight, everyone was jarred awake by the pilot loudly giving his welcome speech. “Thank you for flying with us” and “We'll be flying over....” blah blah blah blah. Why, I wondered, are you telling me what we'll fly over when it's pitch black outside, and anyway, why did you wake me up for this!?.

Two hours later I was awoken again by all kinds of noise in the central galley, which I was near. We were two and a half hours from landing, but they were already preparing for breakfast (it was 3:30am!). They turned on the lights and came through with a drink. I asked the stewardess why on earth are you waking people up for this at 4am? Don't you realize that people want to sleep? She said that they couldn't get through breakfast in time if they don't start now, as if ANYONE CARED ABOUT THAT. She was completely unapologetic, just a robot doing its job. I was shocked and angry (and very tired).

A half an hour later when they came through with the food, the stewardess actually WOKE ME UP to ask if I wanted to eat breakfast. I don't know whether it was the same one or not, as I didn't even look out from under my eyemask before waving her off.

In the end, they were completely done with their service more than an hour before we landed, so if they really felt the need to give a full breakfast (at 4:20am!), they could have started an hour later, giving their customers an hours extra sleep.

But they should have let people sleep from right after takeoff until just before landing. Note that this is a regularly-scheduled flight, so they deal with passengers wanting to sleep every day. I can't tell whether their entire lack of clue is due to inconsideration or just being stupid, but neither justify such an unforgivable corporate attitude.

At least one person could get some sleep:

Anthony sleeping on the flight home; click to see Exif data and map
(click to see Exif data and map)

All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

I’ve been following your blog since, and I’m terribly sorry to hear that. It must have been a hard flight (I truly hate it when someone bothers me while sleeping).

But if its a regularly-scheduled flight, it should’ve been stoped or complained by now (hope so).

Anyway, I’m from Malaysia, and its nice to hear that you’ve been to Malaysia. 🙂

— comment by MaWaisZ on March 22nd, 2010 at 5:58am JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I have the exact same opinion on what in your mind.. I have recent Dubai trip on Emirates. they manage the ‘time’ very well.. Board the aircraft on 02.10 am. After take off (reaching stable motion) they immidiately serve food and after 30 mins they done with full Boeing 777 and the crew manage to collect trays in 15 mins.. Immidiately light been dimmed to allow for sleep, about an hour to destination, wake up call [announcement] and light snack+cofee.. I found the base in customer studies and value in Emirates.

Meanwhile in Jet airways worst… Immidiate food, immidiate cofee, immidiate light off, immidiate hide of crew…

— comment by Danial on October 8th, 2010 at 5:56pm JST (7 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink
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