Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Firefly Ordeal

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."

26 comments:

ogilvy said...

that is a very long delayed.

Kimberly Low said...

i was forced to fly medias on firefly once but they were okay coz there was no delay and it's in subang airport. personally though, the planes that get airborne by propellers scared me...

Boss Stewie said...

ogilvy: yeah that is indeed

kim: a friend told me that propeller planes are supposed to be safer because if an engine fails, they can glide better... not sure how true that is though

JD said...

After reading fourfeetnine's experience last time, I really don't want to take any chances. Stuck in the airport for a few hours is something really dreadful. With your experience adding in, I don't think I will fly Fireflyz ever!

Anselm Ong said...

eh since when 14 working days was 2 months???

Boss Stewie said...

jd: hahaa i guess a lot of people feel that way too...

anselm: 14 working days - 2 months means 14 working days TO 2 months

Wilfred Yeo said...

U r mild wid yur blog here..I couldnt be the same if it happened to me. Was monitoring yur 'spamming' twits yst and I cud empathised wid u.

www.wilfred-yeo.blogspot.com

Huai Bin said...

That is a rather long delay, especially if you're looking forward to heading home. :S

MichLeong said...

Flew on Firefly once to Kuala Terengganu sometime this mid year. It was fine though (Thank God!). Took that flight because the airport was near (which means cheaper taxi fare) and the plane tickets was cheaper than AirAsia.

Thought that their service was fine too since they provide us a small snack and drink and they were on time. Didn't know they have delay problems until I read your tweeter Tim and Audrey's blog post. Thank god I did not encounter any of delay problems then or it would have spoil my holidays =S Probably it's on peak seasons (Problems usually arises at that period.)

On the return flight, I took AirAsia though (Cheaper fare) lol.

Gypsy On The Move said...

That was an awfully long delay. Saw your twitter updates about it and got scared of trying Firefly. But like you said, when I told my friends about it, they said there wasn't any problem at all so I guess probably that day was just another unlucky day. Hmmm....

Mark said...

Flew Firefly once, service was not too bad. Liked the fact that it was in Subang rather than elsewhere.

I think its just bad luck about their plane on that day. But in the case of their spare plane needing service as well, that is just poor planning and maintenance.

electronicfly said...

Air Asia FTW!

(Though they do have their share of delays.. the are getting better though. :D)

I wonder whether you can somehow get reimbursed for your wasted time +additional plane tickets + aggravation

vialentino said...

hey tim...actually i saw u and ur nn staff at DiGi office sitting in the bakery....did not say hi to u cause was with my vendor

mini_ace said...

wah.they delayed the flight and gave u reason which caused u to take up business class T___T inturn, i think air asia has improved a lot. go air asia.hehe

KY said...

that was like some of the angriest tweets from u last friday. lol

Eve said...

it took me 5hrs to go back to Penang and another 8hrs back to KL!! I was determine to take firely for the next trip until i read this...dilemma..-__-

Tim said...

Audrey looks damn scary man...wouldn't want to cross her

Jessying said...

I can't stop laughing, Audrey looked so angry yet so cute ! Okay you sayang2x her back lah..buy her candy!!

messi said...

woww, like ur rational behavior! thumbs up! most ppl deserves a second chance. so...lets hope they wont disappoint again. one dissatisfied important customer can create thousand bad WOM and hence loss of probably millions over time. u should try airasia, its a lot better i believe. cheers!

Simon Seow said...

You should get Audrey and try it for the 3rd time. It it's again such a case, then can really write off Firefly from her list of airline already LOL.

Doria Abdullah said...

Was quite impressed with this post. A very balanced write-up of the delay. But I guess the harm's done: with so many tweets around, it would be kind of a bad record for Firefly.

Firefly deserves a second chance (and I am not working for them haha).

Melanie said...

Delays are inevitable (albeit this one being way TOO long) but it is forgiven if they have great customer service and are willing to accommodate to the frustration of customers. Air Asia gives instant compensation of RM200 when they delay more than 2 hours. I don't know what took Firefly so long to refund the customers. Don't think I would risk trying Firefly!

LeO GaL said...

Did Airasia gives instant compensation RM200?how come i don't receive it?I only get to credit the amt i booked earlier to book another flight within 3 mths and cannot book on promotion fare.
AIRASIA delayed my flight last friday which is supposed to be morning flight and delayed without any email notification to afternoon flight. I missed my friend wedding lunch!!
This is super frus!some of the passenger who are taking the same flight as me also unaware...

Joshu@law said...

Hmm..i think Firefly is just having bad luck or the engineers didn't do their job well? But anyways, i might try firefly one day..let see how it goes...

p/s: LOL @t "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." XD

Daniel tOng said...

when i saw the beginning of your post about firefly.. i know there must be something bad..
*For me the firefly is always bad...

Dylan Phuah said...

getting delayed is a sad thing. i bet my gf will meletup too. :S