I was about to step down from the plane for the inaugural flight of Airasia AK0032 to Clark, Philippines when I and a few from my group of 14 persons were greeted with a warm smile. It was the month of April 2005, and i was fortunate to be one of the 160+ passengers to take the first flight there. I was fortunate as well to have attended a press conference with the then Mr Tony Fernandes at the helm, answering confidently to questions thrown at him. Little did i expect that this was only the beginning of my monthly trips to Clarkfield eversince.
“Missed any flights before?”, a bespectacle guy seated next to me asked. “Nope!” I replied. This guy was one of the many people from all walks of life i’ve sat beside with, chat with and shared information with during my flights to and from Clarkfield over the years. Chatting up with them was one of the ways to stop myself from looking at my watch all the time…..3hrs and 55mins to be exact (sometimes less). Business meetings, golfing, reunion, employment, or just plain travelling….it was all the normal conversation. However, this guy whom i sat with recently did catch my attention and also bring myself to change my perception about the airline industries and what it can do to people like him.
“You must be going for a business trip…” he quipped. I presumed he must have the same intention….to pass time. “I’m going to spend my birthday in Clark with someone i’ve just met..and i hope she’ll be there to meet me.” he continued with his tone of voice filled with excitement & felt like he was in love. I was awed by his gestures and his intention, I mean with technology, gadgets and such, hi-tech stuffs and so on, why fly? Why not express love through emails, letters, cards etc. That very moment, as i looked back and think, people will do anything to be with their love ones. This used to be for the wealthy only, but NOW EVERYONE CAN FLY!!No matter how far they are and thanks to low cost and budget airlines, more will go the distance.
So much so, that Airasia have made the world smaller. Bringing newborn to meet in-laws, bringing a family of 20 to attend a wedding, bringing the sick for further treatment, bringing families together or just a birthday celebration with his love one……this is not just a mere mode of transportation, its more to that. This is the next best thing to Star Trek’s teleportation (if there’s any :-))
Dear AirAsia, millions have travelled through you. Million more will come. Electronic mails, phone messages, love letters, online chatting, greeting cards and so on…….nothing can beat the physical presence of a person whom we like to meet most, and you’ve made that happen. Bringing another country closer means bringing a diversity of people, culture and tradition closer to our doorstep. Keep it up, and no one will be able to keep up with you. In short, do fly to more destinations, as there are many who can go the distance……
p/s: the guy whom i mentioned in this article apparently took the same flight AK0033 back to KL with me and is planning to go to Clark on a fortnightly basis!! Any frequent flyer program in the planning?