United Airlines Versus Malaysia Airlines

I am comparing 2 very different companies, I know. Malaysia Airlines or frequently called MAS is the first Malaysian airline company established in 1937 as Malayan Airways Limited. MAS currently have 81 aircraft in its fleet.

United Airlines is one of the US’s major airline, established in 1926 as Boeing Air Transport. United have 456 aircraft in its fleet.

I am not comparing both airlines either in-flight services or in company size. I don’t really want to talk about airlines but in services in general. I have to admit in terms of comfort and in-flight services I like MAS better 😉 That’s different. MAS have high standards for in-flight services.

While I was in the US, I tried to claim miles for MAS’s Enrich and United’s Mileage Plus. Who knows in the near future I might be able to utilize my points.

On May 21st, I tried to submit my claims for both airlines using their online missing miles utilities and both failed because for some reason my first/last name pairs got mixed up during the ticket purchase. Thanks Marco Polo travels, “good” job.

So I sent them an email each. It took 2 days for United to reply my mail and ask me for details. I sent them the details and by May 24th I received my United miles for the Los Angeles to Boston trip.

MAS never replied until June 16th. That’s almost a month. I was disappointed and forgot about it until yesterday.

So I sent them an email yesterday with my details for both trips (to and fro Los Angeles). I’ll wait and see how long it will take. I also sent an email to United to claim for my return trip from Boston to Los Angeles, and this morning at 10:20am I received my points.

So you see, Malaysian companies likes to neglect good customer service. Simply because there is not so many choices. We have 1 electric company, 1 land-line phone company, 1 consumer Internet provider, and few of each other important services. Monopoly is the keyword in Malaysia, minorities don’t even have a chance. The airline story is just a simple example.

While in the States I was quite surprised with the level of attention and service I received. It was really a good experience. I am not exaggerating, seriously.

I think this is simply because the size of the country, and the number of competitions they have over there. Everyone have to strive to be the best, and in the end everyone provides the best they can.

What do you think?

US Visa Application

If you are planning to go to the US for any reason whatsoever, do consider confirming your trip as soon as possible so that you have ample time to get your Visa.

Consider this: you have to go pay your Visa fees (RM440) at Alliance Bank at least one day before scheduling for an interview at this website. You will also need to pay RM27 for the processing fees by VFS. That is 2 days being used just for scheduling an interview. To my surprise a lot of people are applying for US Visa and this is a concern because it this will effect the earliest date available for an interview. This can be 2 or 3 days, or even a week from the day you schedule the interview online. And then, the completed Visa (and your passport) can only be collected the next business day at the VFS office.

Be sure to check your checklist.
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Pangkor Island Beach Resort

So as I mentioned in my previous post, last weekend I went to Pangkor Island for the company’s team building. Here’s the picture taken once we arrived at the hotel private jetty:

Pangkor Island Beach Resort Signboard

This is not exactly a vacation and we didn’t have much chances to go to other tourist spots.

However it was a great event, and even though short we I had the chance to visit the Pangkor town and get some T-shirts and sea products to bring home. Not that they are much different, but just for our own memories. The trip from the resort to town from costs RM18.00 per van with minimum 4 passengers, and each additional passenger costs RM3.00. Quite a bargain for a tourist spot like this. Too bad we didn’t have the chance to visit some of the other spots like Sungai Kecil to see the villagers traditionally process the sea products!

Our trip to the town was fast and a bit scary – the driver was speeding and it was like a roller coaster ride. Luckily we didn’t rent motorbikes as the road was winding and hilly. It would have been scary and dangerous. If we ever come again we’ll still utilize the van / taxi rides. On the way to town we passed by Teluk Nipah, the public beach and it is amazing how many people are enjoying themselves.

Pangkor Sea Products

The funny thing is I saw a pre-packaged product with the label saying that it is from Beserah, Kuantan. I didn’t know they also import products from other places into Pangkor, which is rich in sea products.

The event lasted for two days – we left on Saturday and came back on Sunday. Since during the two days the weather was most of the time cloudy it was quite great except when it rains.

The boat trip back to main land was quite scary as it started to rain heavily when we reached the jetty.

The hotel was overall good, but when we first arrived the room smells a bit funny perhaps from the sea water that previous guests brought in with them.

Would I come again to Pangkor? Maybe – just to explore the whole island to take more photos. 🙂

Do you have any experience in Pangkor Island?

Hotel Vistana Kuantan

Alright, it’s time for the second part of the Kuantan trip. For 23rd to 24th December we stayed in Vistana Hotel Kuantan, a 4 star hotel.

Afraid to be disappointed, I did not scan for wifi availability this time but at the registration counter there was a TMNET HotSpot logo so I asked the guy. He politely mentioned that Internet access is available 24×7 in the business center and lobby, via TMNET HotSpot service and they sell the starter pack for RM28.00.

The hallway of this hotel is undecorated as well, but looks nice and eye pleasing. I noticed a faint smell of paint so I asked a housekeeping girl whether they are renovating – they are. We were given a room at the top floor (6th floor).

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Hotel Grand Continental Kuantan

As I mentioned earlier, during the Christmas weekend we went to Kuantan, Pahang for business trip. Due to the late reservation, we were unable to get a decent hotel. Decent here means with a hotel with Internet connection inside the room 😉 Even our favorite, Swiss Garden Resort was fully booked.

So during the first day, 22nd to 23rd December we end up in the Hotel Grand Continental Kuantan, owned by Grand Hotels International. I believe it is a 3 star hotel but please correct me if I am wrong.

When I first arrived, I scanned for wifi availability and detected that TMNET Hotspot is in the lobby.

The hallway of this hotel is clean, but undecorated. That’s not really important as long as we have a place to stay.

Grand Continental Kuantan 7

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Need Better Hotel Reservation Sites

I am supposed to go to Johor Bahru yesterday (Saturday), for an unpaid wedding photography session for my wife’s client cum school friend but due to some technical problems we have to cancel our trip.

The night before I did researched for hotels in JB via the Internet and guess what I found? Disappointing, really as there are so many sites found by the search engine and yet so little information. Some 3rd party hotel reservation sites don’t have enough information / number of hotels for comparison, some constantly displayed errors that they can’t find the information. Even the official hotel sites are lousy!

For me, what I look for when looking for a place to stay is definitely Internet availability. I am such a geek. You can’t blame me as Internet is now my 2nd income apart from my day job.

I did thought of creating a hotel reservation site for Malaysia, but I think I need more manpower to do that not me alone. I could die trying 😉

I did found some interesting hotel sites when searching. The best in my opinion is Hotel Reservations, conveniently having the domain name hotelreservations.com.

Amazingly, this site is exactly what I wished for. The steps to take are very simple, even a child can do it.

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Enjoy The Fresh Air

Enjoy The Fresh Air

This interesting signboard was found on top of Gunung Mat Chincang after the 2.2km ride on the famous Langkawi Cable Car. Honestly I was terrified of the cable car ride, especially when the wind blows strongly while we were dangling in the middle of the air, inside the 80% clear gondola.

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The thing actually swerves just like a boat when wind hit it, or people inside make big movements. The difference is that you don’t see anything except clear air between the bottom of the “boat” and the surface of the earth!

Nevertheless, the experience was precious and there’s 1% chance that I would go up there again. The ride costs RM25.00 per person, but MyKad carriers will enjoy a RM10.00 discount. I am not sure whether that’s the default or a promotion during year-end school holidays.

Just remember not to bring a kid shorter than 100cm as that is the minimum height required to be allowed to go up the cable car ride.

Vacation At Last

People who personally know me must have realized that it has been a while since I talked about taking a vacation. But as people also know, I’m sort of a workaholic. I obviously don’t admit this, but even people closest to me says so.

My employer announced today that we will be getting a fully paid vacation to Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort in November. It’s for a big division in the company and since the division is too big there will actually be 2 sessions, one during mid-November and the other one at the end. I chose the 2nd session as at that time my pockets will actually have contents (it’s after pay day). Plus most of my teammates will actually be going for that session.

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From the Internet, people who have visited Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort expressed satisfaction and willingness to go there again. It’s a 5 star resort after all.

It’s like a dream come true. My Nikon D50 shall be fully utilized then, hopefully. I’ll post more updates (and photos) after we return. What’s interesting is that 30th November is 2 days after my wedding anniversary and since spouse are invited as well, it’s a really perfect anniversary gift from my company.

Come to think of it, when I left my previous workplace in June they all went for (forced to) a getaway in July to Pelangi Beach Resort Langkawi. Looks like I’ve got a replacement getaway. In fact it’s better since spouse is allowed to come and being fully paid for, and not only dinner paid by the company.

Pacific Regency Hotel Apartments

I am writing this post from Pacific Regency Apartments, in KL. It’s a new experience for me to spend time during Ramadhan in a hotel apartment. I have CCSA training tomorrow, and since I hate driving / commuting so much (especially in Ramadhan), I’ve decided to stay 2 nights here.

The hotel is really great, and the price is right too since it’s not peak season and they have a promotion. Here’s a picture from the website (I am sitting in front of the TV with my laptop):

Pacific Regency One Bedroom Apartment

Despite of a bad experience at the reception with a female staff, the other staff seems to be very helpful and polite. Just about ten minutes ago I received a phone call from them to confirm about the time for sahur.

Lucky for me, the training is actually in the same building, on the 20th floor of Menara Pan Global.

Room Shots

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