I'm back in Penang this long weekend to see my family. Brothers and all are all coming back too so it was a family reunion that I couldn't miss.
Princess decided to tag along since she wanted to attend her cousin's wedding in Penang this weekend. Rather than drive back this time and risk being stuck in a huge jam, I decided to fly. And in deciding to fly, I decided to give Firefly a shot after the many urgings from my Dad to try it. The big plus of Firefly of course is that it leaves from Subang Airport which is a lot nearer than KLIA or LCCT.
Princess doesn't like Firefly. She had a really bad experience last year and she swore never to take it again but since I really wanted to try it, she decided to give it a second chance. I booked a flight for 11.50AM on Friday morning.
Just when we were about to leave for the airport... say at around 9.30AM we got an SMS from Firefly saying that the flight had been delayed an hour from 11.50AM to 12.50PM.
We were glad Firefly let us know before we actually got to the airport so we happily called our taxi driver to tell him to pick us up later while we got a bit more sleep.
We reached the airport at around 11.30AM and went to check-in. Just when we got to the check-in counter, we saw an announcement that said the flight had been delayed a further 1 and a half hours to 2.20PM.
Princess and I were a bit annoyed but we decided to just chill and let it go. After all, the reason they gave for the delay was that they were having problems with the plane so I'm happy to wait a bit longer until they fix the plane, for safety's sake. We went to the pub to have lunch and decided to hang out there using their wi-fi until 2.20PM.
Then just shortly after, say about 12-1 something I got another text from Firefly saying that the flight had been delayed to 3PM.
I went to the counter furious. Wanting to know what the hell was going on but I wasn't the only one. Lots of people were queuing up at the counter making complaints, trying to see what they can do. It seemed that it wasn't just the Penang flight that was rescheduled and delayed. The other flights to Singapore, Langkawi and all these other places were retimed too.
By 1.30PM or so, the flight had been delayed to 4.50PM. Our 11.50AM flight delayed to 4.50PM which would make it 5 hours. I called my Dad to tell him this and he was like "Wtf?".
I asked the Firefly staff if they could guarantee us that 4.50PM was to be the last change but they couldn't. Because I didn't want to potentially wait until nightfall for the flight to come, I decided to try booking MAS from KLIA. There was a 4.10PM flight on MAS but economy class was fully booked. The only seats left were Business Class I was forced to take the two Business Class Tickets back.
I reached Penang on the MAS flight at 5PM and looked at the Arrivals screen only to see that my Firefly flight was delayed from 4.50PM to 8PM Arrival. That would make it 7 hours before I could get on the Firefly plane and fly back to Penang.
I was so glad I ditched the Firefly ticket and took another flight back.
Firefly promised to refund me my tickets but they said they will take 14 working days - 2 months to do it. Can you believe that? I think that's just unreasonably long. Not to mention the extra costs I had to incur, taking a cab from home to Subang Airport, then another one to KLIA. Each cab ride cost me like RM75 - RM90.
And above all this, the most important of all was time cost.
So you can imagine how furious I was. I went on a freaking Twitter rampage man. Tweeting all about it.
Then a lot of people started Re-tweeting my tweets.
And I also saw a lot of other Twitterers even on other Firefly flights tweeting about their bad experiences in flying Firefly including Elaine Daly herself who happened to be flying to Singapore that day.
Man I went on a freaking Twitter rampage but after a while I managed to cool down after relaxing a bit in the MAS Business Class lounge at KLIA while waiting for my flight back.
Had some Vietnamese noodles there to feed the hungry and angry man.
Now it's been more than a day since the incident and I have SIGNIFICANTLY cooled down. If you notice, I hardly blog anything bad about any brands. I just don't like to flame people or brands because behind every brand is a company that hires people who have families that depend on their jobs. I think it's not a nice thing to do but I felt this one really pushed me over the limit.
Then again, perhaps it's just bad luck on Firefly's side. Bad luck that their plane had problems on a busy weekend. I kinda put myself in their situation for a while trying to think how I could've handled it better than they did but I couldn't immediately think of anything. They did issue an apology in the press a day later.
One thing I think they could do to turn this crisis into an opportunity to make good isn't just to apologize but to somehow make it up to the people who were affected by this.
For me it's simple. I just want my refund quick.
And finally, while I've told you guys about this really horrible experience here. I'm going to be objective about this and tell you that I was at a friend's birthday party today telling everyone there about my bad experience.
There were a few of them there who told me they regularly flew Firefly and they typically didn't have any problems with it. Plus they said it's just a lot more convenient. Not just because Subang Airport is nearer but the time they take to Taxi the plane is a lot less since they don't have much air traffic there. So they generally had good experiences with Firefly.
So the truth is because I still hear good things about them, I may fly Firefly again one day (unless they piss me off again by not refunding me or do something else to upset me). I'll probably give them a second chance so if you have other booked flights with Firefly, don't worry. I may just be one of the unlucky people.
I'm not sure if I can convince Princess to do it again though. She wasn't happy that afternoon. I think she was thinking "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."