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12 January 2009

Inaugural flight to Perth: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

By Wai Kuang

Me and my family flew on the inaugural flight to Perth on the brand new Airbus A330-300. The flight was quite full. It took off 1 hour late but the pilot managed to make up some time as we landed in Perth about 30 min later than the scheduled arrival time. We had a good flight to Perth.

As this was the inaugural flight, the crew played some games and even had a singing competition during the flight and the winner of the singing competition won a pair of return air tickets to any AAX destinations. Congrats to the winner and I must admit she sang well :).

However on my flight back to M’sia, there was some teethering problem. When we checked in at the AAX counter, we were issued 1 boarding pass less, that of my nephew. This was quickly rectified. Then when it was time to board the plane, there was come confusion as somehow my brother in law was issued 2 boarding passes!! So he had to spend some time to sort out the confusion. And because of that, the boarding process was affected and there was some commotions. One of the staff had to stop the boarding process for a while and re-check some of the passengers boarding passes. This happened despite there were 6 or 7 staff at the boarding counter!!

Then when all the passengers were onboard, there was more problem as the headcount didn’t tally. So the crew had to do the count a few times. This again delayed the take off. We only took off 30 min later.

I also realized that the seats on the plane can be extended after we landed in LCCT and were about to disembark from the plane!! We were not informed of the seats feature by the crew. Maybe in the future if AAX is flying a new plane, the crew can make announcement of the features of the plane to the passengers.

When we landed in LCCT, there was a VERY LONG queue at the immigration clerance counter. The queue actually spilled out to the walkway. The queue is mainly for the foreign passport counters while the M’sian passport counters were quite clear. However since there was no proper and clear signages, me and my family had to push our way through the crowd to proceed to the M’sian passport immigration clearance counters. Perhaps proper signages or lanes should be put up to distinguish the different passports counters as I believed a lot of M’sians joined the LONG queue due to lack of proper signages.

After we cleared immigration clearance counter, we had to wait for AN HOUR for our luggage as there were only 2 conveyor belts for the luggage and there were 4 or 5 flights landing almost at the same time.

I must say that for foreign tourists who are visiting our country for the 1st time, the LCCT is definitely a RUDE SHOCK to their system for it is disorganized, chaotic, overcrowded and test even the most patient person.

After the initial shock of long queue at the immigration clearance counter, arriving passengers may have to wait an hour or more before the luggage emerges from the 2 miserable and slow conveyor belts. The on going renovation works create further chaos and delay.

May I suggest that AA & especially AAX consider utilizing another option for its passengers until the new LCCT is ready.

  • Azran

    Many thanks for your feedback, Wai Kuang.

    These airport related issues are top priority for us.

    Its issues like this that really drive us to build our own airport to have better control of our operations and be able to ensure a better experience for our passengers.

    The LCCT in KL is a clear example of slow expansion lagging behind passenger growth that we had been warning the airport operator for the years.

    Since your flight, the new international expansion terminal wing has opened and there’s a much bigger arrival space with many more immigration counters and more baggage carousels. However, we’ve been told that international departures will only be ready next month.

    At least this should alleviate near-term congestion. However, that’s why we need the bigger airport, i.e., KLIA East @ Labu, to deal with future passenger growth in 2011 and beyond.

    The manual check-ins in Perth and Melbourne airports also continue to affect the check-in time for our passengers – something that we’re racing to fix. Again, the root cause inevitably is a ‘monopoly’ type arrangement where we were not offered a choice to use our own check-in system, but to use the system at the airport.

    Competition always breeds Performance.

    Even tiny Gold Coast airport understands this and performs much better than any of the bigger established airports.

    Thanks again for your feedback and support. Rest assured we are aggressively pursuing better airport solutions for all of our valued guests.


  • Wai Kuang

    Hi Azran

    Thank you for clarifying the situation. I am indeed returning to Australia, this time to OOL. I look forward to making comparisons with Perth airport.

    Congratulations on your plans to build KLIA East@Labu. Having seen your microsite, it would appear to be a massive improvement over the current LCCT.

    I look forward to using the new airport and wish you and all at the AA Group the best.

  • Muqaddis

    Indeed the KLIA East is expected to project a different scenario to the passengers, a different perspective which will eventually educate people the ‘true and fair view’ of travelling (put aside all the ‘unwanted facilities but you must pay’). Looking forward for the opening of KLIA East.

  • Yap

    Be in for a surprise at OOL if there is more than 1 flight coming in.