Bright Stove

Reflecting information risk journey

Yet another flight delay :-(

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February 9, 2007 – This is the third trip in a row over the last five weeks that I have on a Silkair flight. The first was to Trivandrum, which was delayed by an hour at the Changi Int’l airport. Then it was from Kochi to Singapore, for another few hours, after I had traveled for five hours on the road from Trivandrum to Kochi in southern India. And today, again, from Langkawi to Singapore, at the Langkawi airport, for more than three hours. for the long wait, Silkair provided a dinner coupon with a value of RM 10. I went to the restaurant and ordered a plate of Mee Goreng (fried noodle in Malay style), and a glass of orange juice (more precisely, orange syrup), and they cost RM 11.50. After waiting for two hours, I bought a bottle of mineral water, and there goes another RM 1.50. What makes them think that RM 10 is sufficient for a dinner for three hours wait in this airport? Should they have a system for actual reimbursement given the frequency of such delays nowadays?
Such a problem is not just Silkair’s perhaps. Not too recently, I was scheduled to board an United Airline’s flight at the Seattle-Tacoma Int’l airport at 1230hrs. The airline again cited mechanical problem and postponed it for 20 hours, till 0930hrs the next day. Two reasons they mentioned. One is the time required to get the replacement parts, and the other is that the crew will be illegal to fly after N hours of delay. But it is not illegal to just keep a few hundred passengers on hold in their life journey. Again, the delay was announced at around 11am, and the compensation, even for business and first class passengers, included one night stay at an airport motel-like hotel, and two meals–dinner and breakfast, but no lunch. There was no contact person to ask about lunch or means to claim it once we were sent to the hotel (to get there on our own actually.)
There isn’t seems to be anything, regulation or otherwise, that will penalize the carrier for such delays. Passengers, like me, who need to travel frequently for our livelihood, can only sigh and wait, and even spend extra, whenever someone working on a flight caused the flight to be delayed. The reasons were often “mechanical”. If there’s so many mechanical errors, are these aircraft still safe to fly? If they are minor problems, the many instances in just these few weeks seems to say that someone is not paying attention. Are there quality issues or management issues? If they are minor, why can’t they be prevented in the first place? What’s happening to this industry? Three hours per passenger. For a flight of say 100 passengers, that’s 300 man hours, a big waste of resources. I think maybe the regulators for this industry should start to step up their scrutiny and make sure that the customers are not wasting their resources waiting, waiting, and waiting all the time. When we wait and waste, the airliner should be paying for our losses.

Written by mengchow

February 11, 2007 at 2:31 am

Posted in Travel

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