September 25, 2008

Waiver Was for a Special Case

By Datuk Abdul Rashid Khan

WE refer to the letter from B.S. Chua of Penang, "Baggage allowance: What is MAS' actual policy" (NST , Sept 23).

The industry standard allowance for free checked-in baggage is 20 kilogrammes on economy-class travel, applicable for most journeys except for travel to and from the Americas.

This actual free baggage allowance is also reflected on all air tickets issued.

In the case of Chua's son, the additional dispensation was allowed last year on a discretionary basis.

This was based on the fact that travelling for the first time to join an overseas institution of higher learning, the passenger would be bringing along additional personal belongings for the duration of his stay overseas.

The discretion was also exercised at a time when the fuel prices were relatively lower than the current levels.

Since then, operating costs have increased sharply and airlines have initiated various measures to make up for such higher costs.

One of the measures adopted by Malaysia Airlines, as well as most airlines, was to minimise non-revenue and non-essential added weight to aircraft during flight operations which will then require less fuel for operating a flight.

Nevertheless, when customers check in baggage which exceeds the free allowance, the airline will collect an excess baggage charge for the extra weight before accepting it for check-in.

This charge helps to defray part of the cost incurred for the additional fuel required to operate a "heavier" plane.

Having said that, we do not condone the way our London and Penang offices responded to Chua's son when he sought more information on excess baggage waiver for his travel on MAS.

We apologise for the inconvenience experienced and will ensure our customer engagement on such matters at these two offices is improved.


Commercial Director

Malaysia Airlines

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