FOXTROTS

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

2009 May 14

 

Air Asia. Fly away – on another airline.

 

AA needs to get back control of its Thai associate, Thai Air Asia. When times were going well, the problems were not there. I doubt AA has the corporate power to control TAA, but it should be working on damage control.

 

Here are some experiences which lead me to believe this story will have an unhappy ending:

 

1. On a recent trip, both my booked flights were cancelled, and I was rebooked on a flight later in the day. This practice enables it to avoid paying any compensation, even for those insured.

 

2. Even the combined flights were not full, maybe 70% loads.

 

3. The airline advised me in a “reconfirmation” email – in which the new flight and timing was given. Nowhere did TAA say my flight had been cancelled. That is fraud.

 

4. The first time this happened, I did not read all the email (because it said ‘reconfirmation’), so I turned up for my originally-booked flight and had to wait at the airport for the new flight.

 

5. Some TAA planes are visibly tired – to the extent of peeled paint around the engines, rough finger-marked filler around windows etc inside the plane. Making one wonder about the bits not visible – are the engines held together by string? One plane looked like an accident waiting to happen – not a comfortable thing to say about a plane.

 

6. One hour before scheduled departure time, on both flights, the departure board read ‘Final Call. When I went to the gate for my first flight – in case timing had been changed again – boarding had not even started. Staff just wanted to get people to the gate early. I was a quick learner; on my second flight, I simply waited until they called for me to board. I questioned the ground crew and they affirmed that the idea was to get people to the gate early to help an on-time departure.

 

7. Overall, TAA relives the old image where cheap flights were operated by airlines offering basic services in old much-used planes – sunken seats, non-working lights, peeled faded signs in the toilets from their other lives, and grubby appearance. Welcome on board TAA!

 

 

The Fox