It is a common practice amongst airlines to overbook their flights. However, there are also times when more people show up for the flight than there are seats on the aircraft, and when this happens, the airline may deny boarding to passengers against their will.
Recently, an angry AirAsia customer took it online to slam the airline for unfairly kicking her and her family off a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai, Thailand, due to overbooking.
Taking it to Facebook, user Susan Yong said she booked her tickets in April this year to travel with her family but what was supposed to be a happy holiday in Thailand crashed when the airline’s staff told her that the flight was overbooked.
On 19 November, Susan tried to check in at the counter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) but was told by the staff that the flight was overbooked and that they would arrange another flight for her and her family, but it will be on the next day.
Obviously, Susan was unhappy with the offer and she refused it as she had already made the car and hotel arrangements.
“The counter then said they could arrange for us to take an 8 pm flight that night to Thailand. So I asked, ‘Where in Thailand?’ and they replied, ‘Bangkok’,” she said.
While she was enquiring further, the service counter staff suddenly told her that their issue has been resolved and said they can proceed to check in their luggage to board the plane.
Susan said that the service counter then gave them hand-written tickets and said seats will be sorted for them when they get on the plane.
Thinking that the issue has been resolved, Susan and her family happily went onboard the plane. However, when they were on the plane, the staff told them that they had no seats for them because she and her husband’s names were on the flight’s ‘No Show’ list.
Handwritten tickets are invalid
Soon after, a male staff member came up to them and informed her that she does not have a ticket and demanded that she and her husband leave the plane. The staff also said that the service counter’s handwritten tickets were invalid.
“He walked in from a distance and his attitude was so bad when he asked us to get off the plane, I was shocked,” Yong recounted.
Meanwhile, her family members, who had no issues with their tickets, followed them out. Susan then recalled how the security guards dragged them out of the plane and treated them like ‘criminals’.
Susan shared that AirAsia offered them complimentary tickets for another flight to Chiang Mai and provided them with accommodation for the night. In addition, she also received an email from the airline saying that they will credit each traveller USD100 (≈RM440) in their AirAsia accounts, to which she turned them down.
“The point is, would I want to take your plane again? And did you really sincerely apologise?” she asked.
Susan then lamented how the entire issue had affected their travel arrangements and hotel bookings in Chiang Mai and worst dampened their holiday mood.
“AirAsia lets everyone fly, but do they also want to let everyone have the experience of being chased off the plane like a criminal?” Susan said.
At the time of writing, AirAsia has not responded to the incident.