Dec 29, 2009

Now everyone can lie?

Procedure trumps property – An AirAxia Experience.

Axia2.jpg image by dustyrhoads

Being a week abroad, I expected myself to start writing in about my adventures, but instead (probably a bit gloomy), I am penning my misadventure down.

I have always been a big fan of AirAxia, not because of the mediocre pricing, but instead of the proper planning of the charges. You pay for what you want. That itself is a brainy thing that some bigshot airlines were deprived of. Yeah, I know you know which airline I’m talking ‘bout.

Anyway, I was surprised, mostly utterly shocked when I was been taken a ride by the staff and cabin crew of AirAxia and I believe by the time this entry is out in my blog, my beloved handphone would have been already out of the horizon, long gone, in the Davy Jones’ locker, whatever.

Not only I suffered the agony of losing a priceless item, I had to struggle through yesterday on call without a proper line. I am sure every medical personnel know the detrimental consequences of being ‘uncontactable’.

Here’s what happened on Sunday December 27, 2009. I shall call it Black Sunday, because the same day, my sister lost something and a friend of mine had a car accident.

Sun rose beautifully on that day. The ever familiar morning breeze that had Claire and me frozen was absent in the LCCT Terminal.

We began to checked in our luggage and proceed early and immediately to Terminal 12, waiting tiredly for the plane to dock.

Claire reminded me to call my dad, to reconfirm the time of arrival.

We were bound to be on the flight from LCCT at 0830hours, reaching Penang at 0915hours.

Using my ever useful Sony Ericsson C902, I managed to spoke to my dad, confirming my arrival time. I slipped my phone into my right hand side pocket of my washed blue jeans.

My handphone not only comprised imperative information of my work and my personal data in codes, it was also of high sentimental value as it was a birthday gift from my dearest wife.

Soon after, my flight was ready for boarding. We strolled in together in a bee line and reached the designated seat which I had prepaid for. As I lifted our two hand luggages into the compartment above the seats, suddenly I felt my right hand side pocket EMPTY!!!

Immediately I told the airstewardess (If not mistaken, her name was Candy) at 0820hours “I lost my handphone. I probably had dropped it between Terminal 12 or the boarding pathway to the plane.”

The airstewardess immediately informed her colleagues, a much senior airstewardess and an airsteward.

I explained my situation to the airsteward and he couldn’t understand my Simple English. I almost fainted at that point, and I re-explained in plain Bahasa Melayu. And his reply was “Duduk dulu, Sir. Nanti saya beritahu kamu. Kena buat repot.”

*What report? By the time, I made any report, my handphone would be long lost*

I replied,”Give me just 5minutes, I can recover my phone. It is very important to me.Please.”

I kept looking at the watch. It was 0822hours. The senior airstewardess replied me,”Don’t worry, I already contacted the ground staff to look for your phone. Once they had got it, they will find a way to get to you.”

“Are you sure you’d contacted the ground staff.”

”YES, we had contacted the ground staff, please sit down, Sir.”

Putting my full confidence in the bright management of AirAxia, I sat down quietly in my seat, waiting for another 8 minutes before the lift off.

We reached Penang earlier than expected at 0910hours. It was probably a little something to be happy about. Except that it was overridden by the grief of my lost phone.

As I took down my hand luggages from the overhead compartment, I asked the group of airsteward and airstewardess about any news about my phone.

“Oh, Sir, you first need to make a report first in the Lost & Found Counter, and they will contact the KL ground staff, to start looking for your phone. It’s the PROCEDURE”

“What?!?!? You told me you contacted the ground staff 1 hour ago?!??”

“No, Sir, you first need to make a report first in the Lost & Found Counter, and they will contact the KL ground staff, to start looking for your phone. It’s the PROCEDURE”

* Repeating the statement as if I didn’t know English is really classical. Would have record it down if I had my phone with me *

“No, you promised to call the ground staff 1 hour ago, can you call them now? If I had to file report, I don’t know how much longer it would take. You all could have let me go and recover my handphone when there is 10more minutes left before departure”

“No, Sir, you first need to make a report first in the Lost & Found Counter, and they will contact the KL ground staff, to start looking for your phone. It’s the PROCEDURE”

* OMG *

A security officer stated to me, “Calling later and letting you down before departure doesn’t make a difference. The phone may have been taken by someone in 10 seconds time.”

* This is also another classical Malaysian common sense. If it were the airstewardess’ handphone dropped in the Terminal 12, would they have called the ground staff immediately to help them search OR wait until their whole shift is over then go make a report, then only search begin? *

I left the plane, in search of beings with some basic common sense at the Lost and Found counter.

I spoke to a guy in the counter about my mishap in details.

“So can you call the ground staff in KL to look for it now?”

”No we can’t, Sir. But we will promise to call by today, but not now. Maybe evening”

“Today?!? Can I see the person-in-charge?”

“I am sorry, Sir. My in-charged person is not around. She is very busy, handling 3 flights. She will be available after 20minutes. Or will call you back later. I will need to photocopy your IC and boarding pass.”

I handed the necessary to him and he photocopied them. I gave him 3 numbers – housephone, my dad’s handphone and my wife’s handphone.

“Can I have your contact, just in case, you didn’t call me back?”

“Don’t worry, Sir. We will call you back.”

“I really need to have your number.”

He started to make some kind of funny faces, a good blend of grumpy and lost look, and went to the back room and came out with a number after few minutes.

I was utterly surprised a staff doesn’t even know their office number by heart. Probably, they lost their phones recently, too.

He scribbled down the contact and gave me.

The sun was up above high at 1200hours. The 3 numbers which I had given did not yield any calls from AirAxia.

I called back the number. I got to a lady, presumedly Malay.

“Oh, yes. Mr xxx. I know your condition. The cabin crew already searched the whole airplane and we couldn’t find your handphones.”

“No, I probably lost it in Terminal 12 last seat row or on the path to board airplane. NOT on the airplane.”

“Okay, Sir, IF YOU LOST your phone in the Terminal, you’ll need to make a police report in LCCT and they will hand you back if the handphone was recovered.”

“Err. Miss. How do you expect me to make a report in KL if I am already in Penang?”

* Not so bright *

“We had done everything we can. We can’t make the report on your behalf and I don’t have the phone number of the police station there. Goodbye, Sir”

Conversation ended abruptly.

After around 30minutes, I received a call from AirAxia.

“Hi, is this Mr. XXX. I am XXX, Operation manager from Penang. When I saw your name, I think I know you. I follow your blog regularly. Your latest blog titled xxx, right? I called up the police there in KL, but so far no handphones recovered. But you see, the police I called may be different from the Terminal’s police. I will call again and contact you back later, latest by this evening”

“Latest by this evening?”

“Yes, by this evening. You have a nice blog. Latest blog titled xxx, right?”

* Follow? Unlikely. My blog is superduper lame and unpopular. Really unlikely. *

“Ya. OK, I will wait for your call.”

Another conversation ended.

I quickly went online to my blog immediately and checked my “Feedjit” and I discovered few minutes ago, someone came to my blog after googling my full name.

I don’t know why but suddenly a catchphrase “Now everyone can lie” crossed my mind.

Till date, I have not received any calls from anyone pertaining to my handphone, except for concern from my colleagues about my lost.

Anyway, losing a phone is solely my own carelessness and believing whatever people tell me is another stupidity that I hope to correct before the next big crisis strikes.

Whether AirAxia’s overdependence on procedure and probably subquality staff’s training is to be partially be blamed for my unrecoverable beloved handphone will depend on their own judgement and reflection, mostly their own will to uphold their prestige and reputation for the future well-being of an airlines, reputable for awards which contains the word ‘Best’.

Personally, after recollection of the whole incident, I believe the best way to go about my calamity is to go down to Terminal 12 immediately and recover my phone. Even if I missed the flight and had to take a bus home, I would suffer a lesser loss.

Or maybe someone can give me a much better sound advice in the event of such mishap.

I am willing to give a small reward and deeply grateful to anyone who can recover my phone for me.


EinsamSoldat said...

Wow, it proves that with procedure it makes us less human. In crisis, I see the danger and opportunity. In this crisis, the danger is you need to fork out some $$$ to make an opportunity to get a new phone that you may have wanted to buy.

wayway said...

We almost share the same experience and the end of 2009..My brother left my camera in the flight on Monday when he is on his way back to Hangzhou. And i have been calling AA for 1 whole and the only advice i got is:you have to contact the lost & found team, But the number that they give was not picked up for the whole day. I call AA again,, they gave me another no, Again,is a cnt reach u ae "lucky" coz you made your report,,,mine,,,stil duo where to

Tigrrr said...

Good luck! AA 'delayed' my luggage from Kuala Terengganu to KL on the 22nd of Dec. Took them 2 days to get it to my friend's apartment in KL, but I am already in Melbourne. It's been a week, and still no luggage! Perhaps it's due to the holiday season, but come on laa...from KT to KL also can overlook my luggage? Thanks AA for ruining my holiday!!!

pilocarpine said...

wow, can't even get to lodge a report. that's really original.

almost like you put up a dustbin disguised as 'comment box'...