What the Press doesn't tell you about Malaysia Airlines' 'World's Best Cabin Staff' Award

 Flying into the sunset: The tip of an Airbus A-330 wing against the crimson sun
SkyTrax, a UK-based research-consultancy company on commercial airlines, has awarded Malaysia Airlines the 'World's Best Cabin Staff' Award for 2009. MAS is winning this the sixth time since 2001 and in my personal books I have no doubt on the service quality of MAS cabin crew. My complain on MAS is mainly is MAS chief Idris Jala's target to reduce operating costs by RM700m to RM1b in 2009. It's eating into my flight experience with the following points:
- Size of meals on return flights have been reduced by half. Satay-rice is being normally served, the rice portion halved and mini satay sticks cram in to the other half of the cheapo lunch box. Busy business travelers mostly have to hit the ground running to attend to a busy schedule upon landing- the only time they have is on board the plane. Hence that onboard meal is a very important meal indeed.
- Meal quality has also dropped. Items served are more sweet, I mean sometimes they are really, really sweet. This includes cheap fruitcakes, chocolates, jam, biscuits, etc. Buns are as hard as rock at most times.
- My Enrich points have not been updated in the MAS system since September 2008. I do round trips overseas from 1 to 3 times per month, hence can you imagine the amount of flight miles I've collected.
- I called in several times to the Enrich phone number regarding my Enrich points but each time I'm transferred to a line which is not answered at all.
- I try to redeem my Enrich points but each time it is '...sorry sir, we are fully booked..' at any given time of the year. My points normally end up expired as a result of this.
- If you are flying to a destination below two hours' duration, MAS uses its small and old aircraft (the aging Boeing B-737s or Airbus A-330s). Aircraft are old and have this musty smell. I try to avoid this airline but because of aviation rules, short flights normally have transits if you are flying foreign airlines making the flight longer than it is.
A quick check on Skytrax's website shows the following results for its World Airline Awards 2009:

Now, MAS is not very high up for the best airline contest isn't it.
It's correct MAS has the 'best' airline crew, but it is probably  these aircrew who are saving the day, compensating for the lack of quality in other aspects of its customers' flight experience. MAS talks publicly about freezing staff recruitment and so on, but MAS is still hiring- hiring more process re-engineering people such as Six Sigma and Lean practicioners.
I just hope these people know what they are doing.


  1. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you with regards to your Enrich membership.

    Please do call our Enrich call centre at 1300 88 3000 and choose "Enrich" if you need quick assistance. I am also channeling your complaint to our Enrich representative at enrich@malaysiairlines.com to look into this matter.

    Once again we apologize for the inconveniences caused and thank you for the feedback.

    Best regards,
    On behalf of

    Raja Dato’ Diana
    General Manager, Corporate Marketing and Loyalty Programme

  2. John, thank you for taking the liberty to respond to my grouses. I will be indeed calling in the number above.

    You are most welcome for the feedback.

  3. It's always intrigued me how MAS wins all those awards. The MAS cabin crew are good but in my experience they are by no means the best. Just as I will never know how KLIA, a cold and unfriendly airport can win best airport titles.

  4. I have the same experience and I have informed that on numerous occassions. The cabin crew is great but the ground and back room service is anything but good. One thing about their site, it has an icon "contact us' and they take it literally. I have also reminded them many times that "contact us" means MAS also has to respond la. They actually mean you contact them la, but they dont need to contact you; thats MAS's meaning of contact us. Just look at how MAs has performed after so many years. After the split in MSA, SIA was left to die but SIA has grown. MAS on the other hand has been raped by professionals/govt so much so that it is now a prostitute waiting for another customer to come have a go again. It has been slow in coming after Taj Ramli as there is noting much to be had. Just you wait for it to be fair and beautiful again,. another customer will come for sure; maybe even "invited" by the govt to do so.....this time MAS may just be cleaned out for good.

  5. You just reminded me of corporate governance in the 'heydays' of 80's and 90's. 22 years of cowboy town.