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Rude And Lazy Cabin Crew On Malaysia Airlines

Posted in Cabin Crew Stories, Malaysian Airlines1 comment

I flew from LHR to KLIA on 17.8.06 on flight MH001 and was appalled by the level of service.
As soon as the seat belt sign went off after take off the cabin crew rushed the service, first bringing around a tray of beers (no other choices), swifty followed by a meal and then dashed along the aisles with duty free. Before long the window shutters were pulled (it was a night flight) but it was obvious that the crew just wanted to get whatever they needed to do done and for passengers to be settled for the night ASAP.
During the night (and I was awake for the vast majority of the flight, probably slept for 1 hour in total) the cabin crew were rarely seen. I was desperately thirsty as following security problems at LHR we were unable to bring our own drinks on board and the only soft drinks we were given were served in small cups. If you asked for 7up or coke the crew didn’t give you the can but poured some into a cup! I spotted a member of the cabin crew eventually and asked for a cup of water, I was given half a cup of warm tap water! The crew did not walk up and down the aisles with drinks until about an hour before they were due to serve the second meal of the flight.
Given the the risks of deep vein thrombosis to long haul passengers and the medical advise to drink plenty of water, this oversight was quite shocking as was the lack of any visible presence of cabin crew for a large part of the flight in the rear section of economy.
When the second meal was being served I was told that as all other meal options had already gone that I could only have some sort of fish dish. As this did not appeal and I was not very hungry I politely declined the offer of food. The young male flight attendant then moved on and didn’t offer me a drink at all. A couple of minutes later the Senior Stewardess (Vilma) was passing my seat and I mentioned to her that I had declined the meal but had not been offered a drink and asked if I could have a cup of tea.
Well, I was sorry I asked as she started to raise her voice at me saying that I should have asked and that it wasn’t their fault that the choices of food had run out (not that I had mentioned that). Naturally her agressive and defensive response to my simple request for a cup of tea rattled me a little and I calmy, in a low voice informed her that I was not happy with the level of service on the flight. This was like a red rag to a bull and her voice became even louder, to such an extent that other passengers who had been sleeping woke up and were looking over. She ranted about the fact that on Malaysia airlines that you had to ask for things as they are not automatically offered and basically blamed me for not asking for a cup of tea. I tried to explain to her that I was thirsty and had been for most of the flight and I mentioned that I had not seen any cabin crew walking along the aisles with drinks (this is the case on other airlines during long haul night flights). Again she continued to rant me and said that they had walked up and down with drinks all night but that it wasn’t their fault if passengers were asleep! She then continued to go on about how I should have asked and was very agressive, defensive and confrontational. Rather than engage in what could have potentially been an argument I did not respond to her. I then had a cup of tea slammed down in front of me! I must admit that I was also quite confusued as I had been reprimanded for not asking and yet when I did ask I was ranted and raved at!!
About 10 minutes later the young male flight attendant came over to me and began apologising for not offering me a drink. He seemed very flustered and gave the impression that he had been given a telling off. I thanked him for his apology but told him that I understood how he could have overlooked offering a drink to me as he had so many passengers to attend to. I explained to him that I was not annoyed with that but with the attitude and behaviour of his colleague. He asked me what she had said and seemed shocked when I told him.
About 30 minutes later I came out of the toilet at the rear of the plane to find this young male flight attendant waiting for me. He began apologising again and I told him that he should not keep aplogising to me for the actions of someone else. He asked me if he could go and get her so that I could talk to her but I said that given her attitude and agreesive manner and loud voice that this would not be fair on other passengers. I explained to him that I would instead make a complaint to Malaysia Airlines. He almost begged me not to do this as he would have to make a statement and could get into trouble! Once again I explained that he was in no way at fault but I suspect that his colleague had somewhow made him feel he was to blame for what had happened!
Just before landing I was appraoched yet again by this young man who was still apologising and even tried apologising on behalf of his colleague! I couldn’t believe that asking for a cup of tea could cause so much hassle!!
I have to say that I have flown all over the world on many airlines and this was by far the worst cabin crew I have ever experienced. Given that this was my first trip to Malaysia my exeperince of the national carrier was very poor. The cabin crew on national carriers are ambassadors for their country and quite often the first nationals of the country that travellers meet. First impressions do count and I have to admit that following this incident I was dreading landing in Malaysia as I began to think that this woman could be representative of other Malaysians. And as for ‘going beyond expectations’ my view of Malaysia Airlines following that flight was that it didn’t even come close to meeting my expectations.
Malaysia Airlines do appear to be cost cutting but I do think that they need to be aware that many people, and indeed many cultures, do not like to impose themselves by having to keep asking for things. Perhaps I should have been inconsiderate and kept pressing the button for cabin crew . But then that is not in my nature as I do not like to impose or seem greedy! Perhaps they could have communicated to passengers that the service would be minimal but that should feel free to press the button or approach the galley if they wanted anything to eat or drink during the flight. If you don’t commuincate people just don’t know! Or perhaps this is ploy to keep costs down, who knows!
Thankfully flight back from KLIA to LHR was great, different crew, no Vilma in sight and the service was superb. The cabin crew didn’t stop and were up and down the aisles all night with orange juice, water, snacks. The were very attentive and were warm and friendly. It was clear from my return flight that this was not perhaps not indicative of all Malaysia Airlines cabin crew and that I had been very unfortunate to travel out with a crew who were less than helpful, lazy, treated passengers as an inconvenience and had a particularly rude and agressive member of the senior cabin crew who did not set a good example to her peers and gave me a false and poor impression of Malaysian people. Thankfully I met many warm and friendly Malaysian people during my stay.
If Malaysia is to make a success of it’s campaign to visit Malaysia in 2007 it could do well to start by looking at poorly performing staff working for it’s national carrier. I would hate for anyone else to be treated as I was, I felt upset, embarassed and my trip to Malaysia got off to a bad start and all for simply asking for a cup of tea. Ridiculous!! Needless to say that now I am home I will be taking up my complaint with Malaysia Airlines to ensure that this member of staff is dealt with appropriately and to ensure that no other passengers are treated the same way.

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  1. well not to mention thier cabin crew interview coz i have to even wait for 12 hours just to get to thier FIRST interview!!!! They are so slow and inefficient and they are not looking for the best in all the candidate. I was there since 9am and receive a number and was ask to come back after 2pm. When i was back to wait for my batch…….NONE of the MAS crew was there to direct us on what to do next!!! and they didnt even follow the number, me from being one of the middle candidate to being the last just becoz i have been patient waiting outside for them outside coz i trust what the mas crew was saying….it just reminds me of my old days in local universiti where they are so rude and dont care attitude!!!!My first interview start at 10PM….yes ten in the evening!!!! and if youare an accountant……….when you reach there for the FIRST interview….they will only say…aiz….another ACCOUNTANT…….they would not like accounts ppl…..have they even tot about how tired we were and not bother about the other impatient candidates that cut line!!MAS HAVE THE WORST CABIN CREW I HAVE EVER MET…none of OTHER airways did this only MAS

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