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Airasia Berhad / change of flights not handled properly

1 Malaysia Review updated:
Contact information:

I am writing on behalf of my sister and many other guests scheduled to travel on AirAsia X FLIGHT D72702 bound from Kuala Lumpur to Gold Coast today 31st August 2008 at 10.20am. I was informed by a friend that AirAsia has been experiencing technical problems with its vessel traveling this long haul route for the past week or so and that they are directing its passengers to board a different flight from KLIA instead of LCCT. Her husband went through the same problem a few days back and has advised me to check my sister's flight arrangement with AirAsia since she is traveling soon.

I acknowledge the fact that when it comes to technical problems of an aircraft, that there is not much that can be done. It is fully understandable and i congratulate AirAsia for taking prompt action by diverting its services using another airline's fleet. Nevertheless, did I speak too soon?

My main disappointment that has led to the intention of writing this letter is the way things are communicated to its passengers with regards to this issue. Being a communication practitioner myself, it is devastated my to see that AirAsia does not take the very essence of communication seriously, especially in times of crisis like this. Rule of Thumb, KEEP STAKEHOLDERS INFORMED.

My sister has been booked on this flight to Gold Coast. One week prior to this date, AirAsia X has sent a reminder via email of the confirmation of this flight and its details. For that, I thank you. However, 1 day before date of departure, she receives a simple SMS on her mobile that reads the following:

"FLIGHT D72707 to GoldCoast on Sun 31AUG08 Will Operated From Main Terminal KLIA (Not Low Cost Terminal). Pls Proceed To AirAsia Sales Counter in KLIA By 4.30PM Sun." Here's some communication "gaps" that I was able to pick up instantly from the first sight of this problem. Listed also are my complaints with regards to this situation.

* Firstly, there was a simple grammatical error in the message as underlined. (Please proof read. It may sound tiny, but it isn't)

* Secondly, I personally feel that this SMS has no sufficient details that is much needed for passengers bound to travel on the said carrier. Shouldn't it include the following?

1. The date and time of the new flight
2. Which airport it will arrive in (Brisbane Airport or Gold Coast Airport?

* Thirdly, why was this SMS sent only 1 day prior to the flight when AirAsia knew for quite sometime that passengers will be diverted to use another service? If notification was sent earlier, passengers could have ample time to make adjustments to their travel plans (i.e airport pickup, connecting flights, accommodation etc).

* Fourthly, wouldn't a courteous email be an easier way to communicate clear and concise details instead of only sending this inadequate SMS? Emails would give AirAsia room to explain the situation and give proper details of the situation and also refer passengers to the designated person(s) or department that is in-charge of handling this specific case. I was surprised that AirAsia did not choose this excellent communication tool which is FREE but rather subscribe to send instant text message that I believe would incur cost to the company.

* No information what so ever was made available through AirAsia's website. No announcement, no press release and no proper links. This is the fastest way to reach stakeholders involved, in this case the passengers. Furthermore, when I tried to check the status of this flight using the service provided on the website, it still states the previous bookings with no alteration at all. I am aware that this might be a computer generated information system BUT it could have been altered given that this problem have been going on for a week or so. IF under any circumstances that passengers' mobile phone were missing or they had problems receiving SMS, what is then AirAsia's contingency plans?

* My sister reached KLIA airport by 3.30pm today and made her way to the AirAsia counter. When she got there, the ground staff told her that she had to wait for the arrival of a certain AirAsia personnel, whom will turn up only at 5pm to brief passengers about their flight journey. Another 1 and a half hour of the day gone just like that!

* To make matters worse, she only got details of her flight at 6.30pm! We might not have paid a lot for the flight, but our time must mean something, right?

* Not enough with all that, she is then directed on a flight to Sydney, departing at 10pm Malaysian time, arriving Sydney at 7.50am Australian time, where she has to check her self out, go to another airline counter and arrange for the next flight out to Gold Coast. It didn't stop here, she has to now wait for 4 hours in Sydney Airport before the flight departs to Gold Coast at 12pm.How ridiculous is this? So much for a first experience on AirAsia.

I would greatly appreciate that AirAsia look into this matter seriously at the soonest. This may seem like just another letter of complaint but this also is an opportunity for AirAsia to see itself from an outsider's point of view. In this case, a communication practitioner's point of view. I may not be a professional in this field yet, but if I as a "nobody" could see into these tiny little details, why can't an international airline giant who has an army of professionals working for them see this coming?

Once again, I must stress that it is not the technical problem of the vessel that has led to this mail but rather the "crisis communication management" that this company puts into resolving this matter.

I'd appreciate a feedback on this matter as I, myself is a frequent flyer on AirAsia. It is things like these that hinders AirAsia's reputation, and this is what is at stake at the moment.


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  • De
      2nd of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hi, I faced the same problem like your sister but the different is I and my family were the victims from flight D72703 from Gold Coast to KL on 30th August 2008. Air Asia only sms us less than 24 hours before the flight date. When we receive the message and tried to call their hotline in Australia. But we wait more than 30 minutes and still not managed to get somebody respond. Until we have to call back direct to Malaysia line just able to get the their respond. And do you know what is the reason they provided? They only feedback like your case, technical problem. This is what kind of reason!! So we checked with them again what they can do for us. Terrible!! Do you know what options their only can provide to me? Wait until 6th September 2008 to get the next air asia flight without provide us accommodation or refund the return amount to us. Do you see, there is no any consumer protection at all. So due to we not able to wait the next flight so my wife decided to take the refund. Lastly, we still need to paid more for return flight from other airline. When we came back to Malaysia, we thought that we can claim it from air asia GoInsurance. Unfortunately, the insurance only cover if we cancel the flight by ourselve and not the air line cancel the flight. This is a very worst of insurance that provide by air asia. So I and my wife and other passengers which we met at air port and faced the same problem like us still going to fight for our compensation with air asia.

  • Ji
      3rd of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    today im facing almost the same problem, mine is, they call me at 10pm last nite just to tell me than my flight change from 2pm to 5pm, due to "Personal from Management" how can that be? personal from management?? it only to me not to others passenger. when i ask what personal? he sound hesitating and just said the same reason. he even force me to accept the changes.. that i have no choice. when i ask him that did he change my time so that others may take it, he hesitate.. so its like he simply change my time for his benefit.

    after few argument with him, he told me there is a flight around 12pm & if im interested, i said i prefer not to change my flight. anyway i've paid. i've read their terms & cond. none mentioning that AirAsia can change our flight just like that.
    so i told me ok i will take 12pm but not the 5pm flight and that he will email me. this morning when i check my flight, he change it to 5pm no 12pm as he promise.

    i cant believe they keep a dishonest staff there.

    i plan to bring this up.. have contacted some ppl today who may know how to get directly to the big guy over there.

    hope to get some result...

  • Ji
      3rd of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    actually i agree with u all

  • Ta
      16th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hey Jie, if you do have a way to get their attention, please let me know... I have been trying to contact Air Asia for a week but only to receive "Sorry all our agents are busy due to overwhelming response from our promotions... " Tried the email but was unsuccessful. In fact, all I got was only an auto email reply.

    Air Asia sux... Never gonna try another booking with them.

    Btw, do let us know what was your outcome too... Thanks!

  • Fr
      15th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes
    Airasia Berhad - No Refund for Cancelled Flights
    AirAsia Berhad

    I booked my tickets (for 6 pax) to Jogjakarta. But unfortunately the flight has been cancelled due to volcano errruption (mount Merapi) . until now i still have not recieved my refund. had writen numerous complaints and emails but no feedback . what can we do to get back the moneY?

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