PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines has apologised for a few delayed or cancelled flights out of Japan in the first two days of the new year, but seemed to deny allegations it had not helped the affected passengers.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that the airline had confirmed yesterday that some of its flights had experienced “unavoidable delays”, due to technical issues as well as external factors such as a bird strike.
“In some cases, rectification work took longer than expected causing prolonged delays. The airline regrets these incidents and had deployed extra personnel to assist the affected stations in handling stranded passengers.
“Affected passengers were provided hotel accommodation and meal vouchers and where possible rebooked on to other flights. The airline also upgauged a couple of flights to accommodate the overflow of passengers,” Malaysia Airlines told the Singapore-based regional news broadcaster.
The explanation however, seemed to contradict personal accounts by three Singaporean passengers whom CNA spoke to.
Abigail Tee posted on Facebook that her flight from Narita Airport (Tokyo) to Kuala Lumpur was delayed for about 33 hours.
She wrote that she was originally scheduled to leave Narita Airport on flight MH89 on Tuesday at 10.20am, but it eventually departed the next day at 7pm after several delays and cancellations.
“Malaysia Airlines’s ground handlers, Swissport, announced that my flight was delayed till 1pm. Food vouchers were NOT explicitly given out. I had to ask for it.
“At around 12.30pm, another delay was announced. This time the plane was scheduled to fly at around 3pm. Many passengers were worried that they would miss their connecting flights but our worries were brushed off every time we approached the counter to ask for information. No one told us anything.
“At around 3pm, another announcement was made that the flight was cancelled. Procedures to check out and to claim our luggage were not smooth. We had to wait for close to three hours and I heard some of the passengers were not even given dinner vouchers or hotel stays,” Tee said on FB.
Sebastian Ang, who was on the same Tokyo-Kuala Lumpur flight as Tee, said that no explanation was given to the stranded passengers.
“We did not know what happened. They refused to let us take our luggage and refused to let us transfer. So we were stranded. They kept saying the luggage was already on the new plane so they could not take it out.
“They wouldn’t tell us what the issue was. Both days, no one knew what was going on,” he told CNA.
“I am not upset at the delays, I am upset at the lack of explanation. I’m upset that it felt like the staff didn’t care about our welfare. It was frustrating to wait and they did not allow us to make other arrangements that could have saved us a lot of time.”
Meanwhile, another Singaporean who was scheduled to leave Osaka at 9am on Jan 1, said she was eventually forced to take a Singapore Airlines flight back home on Jan 3.
“I was scheduled to fly out of Osaka to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur on MH53, but ended up being stranded for more than 48 hours after my flight was repeatedly delayed and eventually cancelled,” the passenger who gave her name as Yong, told CNA.
According to her, MH53 eventually departed Osaka on the same day at 5pm.