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MAVCOM sees rise in consumer complaints for major Malaysian airlines

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) said there has been a 38.1% increase in the total number of complaints to 858 from 1 January to 30 June 2018. Majority of the complaints (846) were on airlines while the remaining 12 were on airports.

According to MAVCOM’s Consumer Report, the highest number of complaints received was on Malaysia Airlines (MAB), with 427 complaints (49.8%). This represents a 34.7% increase in the number of complaints on MAB compared to the same period last year.  AirAsia (22.4%) and Malindo Air (13.9%) were among the top three with 192 and 119 complaints respectively. Complaints received on AirAsia for the period 1 January to 30 June 2018 increased by 58.7% compared to last year, while complaints on Malindo Air increased by 12.3% compared to 2017.

The report added that almost all categories of complaints, such as online booking, denied boarding, refunds and flight cancellation, increased from 1 January to 30 June. More than half (57.4%) of the complaints revolved around mishandled baggage, processing of refunds and flight delays.

In particular, complaints related to mishandled baggage increased year-on-year from 141 to 214 (51.8%), attributed primarily to MAB and AirAsia. Meanwhile, complaints related to flight delays jumped by 35.1% to 131. MAVCOM’s report said MAB contributed to 59.5% of the complaints received in this category. Complaints regarding the processing of refunds recorded a minor increase from 136 to 148 this year. Likewise, MAB and AirAsia contributed 70.9% of complaints received.

The reported noted that through MAVCOM’s review of the complaints during the period, 53.0% of them resulted in the airlines reversing its initial decision to achieve amicable resolution with the consumers, a 1.0% drop compared to the same period last year. Nonetheless, 99.4% of the complaints received from 1 January to 30 June 2018 have been resolved and closed.

In the meantime, the 12 complaints MAVCOM received on airports concerned Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), klia2, Alor Seta Airport and Langkawi International Airport. The complaints were mainly related to airport facilities and customer service.

Initiatives by MAVCOM

To continuously educate consumers of their rights and enable them to make more empowered decisions, MAVCOM launched FlySmart online and on Facebook. It is also currently working on a FlySmart mobile application which will be launched in the third quarter of this year. The mobile application will allow customers to receive push notifications on travel rights and most current travel alerts. It will also empower them to be able to provide feedback or lodge complaints on the go.

Meanwhile, MAVCOM has also been rolling out the Quality of Service (QoS) framework at all airports. The QoS framework sets out service quality measures for airports encompassing various airport user experiences, including washroom cleanliness, wayfinding, availability and quality of infrastructure, queue times and timeliness of baggage handling.

Effective 1 September 2018, the QoS framework commenced its roll out at KLIA and klia2, with targets being set for selected service areas – in particular the cleanliness of passenger and staff washrooms – and targets for other service areas shall be gradually introduced at these two airport terminals until mid-2019. The QoS framework shall commence implementation in other selected airports in Malaysia over the next two years.

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