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 Collection

It has almost been a month since I wrote my last post. I’ve been busy, yes. Busy enough that I didn’t have the chance to write.

I have been away to the United States and back. While there I was tired more than normal simply because of the commute to work and the different weather conditions. I’ll post some pictures from Boston in the next posts.

Back to the collection of US Visa in Wisma MCA in KL. The procedure is there is not that cumbersome. One quite important thing if you want to spend the littlest time there is to come early. 2.30pm is considered early for next-working-day pickup of the Visa and your passport (if you are picking up a Visa applied weeks ago you can come in the morning). The US Visa office have a lunch break time (compared to UK Visa office which is closed at 3pm with no lunch time).

Anyway, when you arrive at Wisma MCA you have to register at the lobby – mention that you want to go to VFS. The “receptionist” will swipe your card at the computer and produce a slip. Once you reach the floor, you’ll report to the security guard and form a queue at the corridor in front of the office. I was the 5th in line. Write your name and contact number at the back of the yellow card you obtained at the embassy.

Your turn in the queue is important as this is the order they will call you once you are in the office. I was out after 5 minutes the office started processing. They were quick.

Try not to bring a big bag or important things as you’ll have to leave everything outside. Just like when you were in the embassy you’ll have to switch off your handphone here too.

The bottom line is to be early. At least half an hour before the office opens. I guess this applies the same if you come in the morning. It’s important if you want to spend 30-40 minutes max there. Believe me, the line was very long.

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.
Continue reading US Visa Application

International Driving Permit & JPJ Portal Joomla

I was looking for information on getting an International Driving Permit when I arrived at the new JPJ Portal. I am not sure if the portal was “developed” by a third party contractor or internally but I have a hunch that says it was built externally.

There may be other Government portals that are built on top of Open Source solutions but JPJ is obviously using Joomla. What’s worst is that the keywords used in the portal are insanely irrelevant. Obviously MP3 is not at all related to Road Transport Department!

I am not saying that it is wrong to use Open Source projects to cater for Government sites but I think if this project is external, JPJ is getting ripped off.

Changing topic to the International Driving Permit, it’s easy to get one. All you need is a passport sized photo, copy of your NRIC, copy of your driving license, and RM150. Your driving license must be valid for at least 1 year after the date of IDP application. This is also a rip off since in return I get a hand-written card with some thin paper pages in it with a few languages. I would feel ashamed to show it to the cops if I were stopped by them in a foreign country. Seriously.

A friend of mine mentioned that you don’t need an IDP if you are staying less than 3 months in the United States. I tried to find information on that but to no avail. Anyone?

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.

photo-gallary_langkawi_nw1.jpg

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.