If you’re going to miss your AirAsia flight, you better make damn sure it’s not during a busy holiday period.
Otherwise you might just end up having to pay an extra RM520 for a flight, but only 24 hrs later. Kind of like me…
I was already feeling that this trip to KL was the worst one ever, and I was glad that Sunday had arrived and I could finally go back to KK.
I had come to KL on the back of winning a standup comedy competition in Kota Kinabalu, part of the prize being an opportunity to do my set in front of a 280-strong audience at an actually comedy club in KL. A bit of a random trajectory in my life, but you never know what opportunities await behind random doors.
Yes, I had great open mic experience – people actually laughed, and I drank some of the freshest Kilkenny ever (it sucks to high heavens by the time it gets to Sabah). And yes, I said a fun and fond farewell to some fine acquaintances. But none of that detracts from the fact that I sank all my ‘prize money’, and then some, into this trip, which was dominated by the fact that I spent 3 days doing the activity I loathe the most: shopping.
Worse still, having catatonically plodded through many of the big malls in KL, I didn’t buy a single, friggen Christmas present.
Hey, how about we compound that?
This morning I was up way earlier than I needed to be, packed, caught the monorail, and then the bus, arriving at the LCCT at 11:40 for my 13:40 flight back to Kota Kinabalu.
After a Starbucks, I went to the departure lounge. My boarding pass didn’t have a gate number on it, so I went to the far right of the departure lounge from where I’ve taken flights back to KK on almost all previous occasions.
Sure enough, people packed the gate as usual, and the flight number on the LCD said AK 5114. There was some glare behind the screen from the bright, nearly-setting sun outside, but I walked a bit closer and confirmed at least the 114 part of the number.
I heard AK 5112 being delayed, then I heard it called repeatedly, as they were looking for a missing passenger.
In the meantime I was charging my phone at the charging station on the back wall. I then thought I heard my flight being called, looked up and sure enough, people stood up and started to queue, but before I could unplug my phone, they sat down again.
Somebody over the PA said the flight was delayed, so I just kept charging.
Eventually the flight was called again, and I stood in the queue. By now the bright light outside had faded somewhat, and as I walked closer, I noticed the flight number was in fact AK 6114… Bound for Penang.
My heart sank, as I next checked the time and it was already way past my flight’s original departure. That feeling of being screwed washed over me as I hurried to where a ground staff was busy.
As I slipped my boarding pass over the counter, I said to her “I missed my flight, I was standing right there, but probably not at the right gate, but I didn’t hear any calls.”
She took a quick look and said, “Yes, AK 5114, Gate P6, left 20 mins ago.” In fact, she said the gate number so quickly, I thought it was on the boarding pass after all, but I checked again, it wasn’t.
I started to say something, but she interrupted me, scribbled a counter number on the boarding pass and said “you were removed from that flight 20 mins before departure. I can’t put you on another flight. Go to that counter, only they can help you.”
And that was the end of that conversation, because she flicked the boarding pass in my direction and walked off. Not unlike somebody who didn’t want to deal with a potentially irate customer.
I went to the suggested counter and explained my sad story with an equally sad look on my face. I asked for options, perhaps standby.
They said there was no such thing as standby on AirAsia, and all they could do was charge me a change fee and ‘upgrade’ me to the next fair, all in around RM520, and put me on the next flight.
I nearly cried. And, she added casually, all the flights for the rest of the day is fully booked, so first available would be tomorrow.
Bam! Kick in the groin.
Watching the clock
I phoned a friend who helped me find some options, but closest option was a late flight to Labuan, which would cost me almost RM900 and still leave me a 45 min boat journey and a 2 hour drive from KK.
After having exhausted all my options, I reluctantly went back to the counter and took the only option I had. Flush, went the money.
Fed up with KL I decided I didn’t want to spend another 2 hours traveling backwards and forwards from the city and I didn’t want to spend more money on accommodation or anything else for that matter.
So here I am, counting down the hours at the LCCT, trying not to curse myself, thinking about how much use it would be to mention this incident to AirAsia.
Their staff were stone cold in dealing with this, but I guess they get it 100 times per day.
Anyway, it’s going to be a very long night, because the LCCT is the most uncomfortable airport I have ever been to, and I’ve been to the airport in Windhoek.
But instead of seeing it as a the annoying nightmare it is, I will instead call it an Unplanned Adventure.
Who knows what the night will bring…