Malaysia Airlines – are they bonkers?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  KLJamie 13 Oct 2016
at 02:23

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

  • rferguson

    I always enjoy reading the ‘Tell Us’ print letter in the print edition of BT. Sometimes there are some corkers and I also enjoy reading the replies from the service providers.

    I read one in the most recent issue from a Business Class passenger (rightly) unhappy that MH has chosen to no longer serve booze on flights under three hours. I agree with him it is a somewhat misguided and confusing policy when alcohol is still served on flights over three hours. The reply from MH was perhaps one of the most ridiculous, arrogant and bizare replies ever

    “As part of our ongoing efforts to balance the needs of all customers, we will from time to time update our services. We are the flag carrier of a diverse and multi-faith nation and, in response to the preference of the majority of customers, we no longer serve alcoholic beverages for flights less than three hours. As flights less than three hours primarily comprise passengers originating from Malaysia, this policy would be welcomed. On flights over three hours, we have a broader profile of customers and, to cater to this profile, alcoholic beverages will continue to be served”.

    I’ve never seen a statement of so many contradictions and confusing statements!

    “As part of our efforts to balance the needs of all customers”….erm no. With the new policy you have gone from balancing the needs of ALL passengers to less than all.

    “We are the flag carrier of a diverse and multi-faith nation”….YES! And ALL the more reason to cater to ALL those diverse faiths especially in your premium cabins.

    “On flights of under three hours our passengers comprise those mainly originating in Malaysia”….Really? Is part of your business model not attracting passengers from europe and Australia and feeding them on your regional flights via your hub?

    And the most arrogant of statements “This policy would be welcomed’.

    I like Malaysia Airlines. I’ve flown with them a few times and it saddens me the run of bad luck they had a few years ago. But who comes up with the crazy decisions?


    Hmmm, perhaps MH have bought the BA Book of Responses to Customer Criticism. (All profits to the bonus fund for Willie and his cohort).

    This is no more stupid than the rational of Cruz for the introduction of BoB.



    You are not the audience they are speaking to – that audience will welcome the policy.

    When faith drives decision making, this is the sort of output one receives.

    The only rational choice is to leave them to their own world and fly an alternative carrier.

    As you are a Scandinavian, I appreciate that this type of policy is incomprehensible when viewed through your culture/values.

    I am also a great believer that one often makes one’s own luck – flying over a conflict area, with weapons capable of threatening aircraft at high levels was a choice. I don’t mean it to read as harshly as it does and regret the loss of life, but it was a bad choice with hindgsight. Dropping alcohol on flight sof =<3 hours is also a choice, hopefully one that does not result in loss of life.


    But that’s what i’m saying FDOS. If ‘faith’ or more to the point islamic faith is the driver behind this decision then why can’t MH come out and say it? Why waffle on about ‘diverse, multi faith’ yada yada when the reality is the introduction of this policy anything but.

    And more to the point – if it’s a faith based decision ‘as the flag carrier’ then why is it ok to make booze available on flights over three hours but not under?

    It’s their ridiculous reply I struggle with. If it read ‘We are the flag carrier of a predominantly muslim country and have taken the decision based on islamic principles’ or ‘it is a cost cutting enhancement‘. But as it is the reasons they give in BT are just gobbldock speak.


    A Typical problem when major corporations do not perform consistently – IF Malaysia want to wave their Islamic Principles, so be it, why not just be consistent. At least I’ll know to use a different carrier. Equally why cannot the Accor group provide some similarity between their hotels in different countries – some with tea etc in the room, some without. Generally very irritating as will be BA’s “business” farce in Europe, hardly even a premium economy..



    I work in Muslim countries, a lot. I’m in one now.

    Their worldview is different to ours, they don’t have the same dialectic approach to logic that we do, thus their decision making process will often not make sense to us.

    I say this not as a criticism, but as an observation and I’ve learned to live with my incomprehension. Sometimes it works in my favour 😉


    @rferguson, they can’t say it outright because the country is essentially in denial over its multi-cultural constitution, whilst pandering to the Muslim majority.

    @fdos_uk, when does acceptance of a non-dialectic approach to logic cross over into overt orientalism?


    I dont really have a problem with it, Although I suspect its more about cost cutting than anything else. I dont think there are any other SH Dry operators out of MY


    @fdos_uk, when does acceptance of a non-dialectic approach to logic cross over into overt orientalism?

    When people start stereotyping people they don’t know.


    I dont really have a problem with it, Although I suspect its more about cost cutting than anything else. I dont think there are any other SH Dry operators out of MY

    Steve, you may well have a good point here, the explanation is a nice obfuscation, whatever the root cause.


    stevescoots – Not sure whether or not Air Asia (based at KUL) is dry.

    Another dry airline was Rayani Air but the Malaysian govt revoked its AOC back in June.

    There is also Royal Brunei.


    I think I’ve commented on this before, and my opinion hasn’t really changed much.

    The management team at MH find themselves firmly stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    Totally dependent on goodwill from the Malaysian government, who in turn are making continual concessions to the Islamist’s to stop the spread of fundamentalism.
    And give an inch, take a mile springs immediately to mind.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the airline needs to brand itself as forward thinking ,western looking, or at least liberal tolerant organization that will remain appealing to Europeans, Australians and North Americans.

    As for rfergusons original point, he’s spot on. Some of the hardest hangovers I’ve had to recover from, have been after nights out in the company of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and other ethnic groups from SE Asia, so their excuse is bunkum.

    Sadly, as the Islamists grow stronger, MH’s appeal will dwindle to those of us with a liberal tolerant outlook.

    And FDOS, you’re take on the Arab’s outlook is interesting. On my recent overnight in Doha, I couldn’t get near the bar for people wearing Arabian robes, and they weren’t Sir Humphrey acting the goat :


    I have sympathy with MH here. There is a strong local lobby that would like MH to be dry, their stewardesses to be covered up, and for staff handling of alcohol to be forbidden – and they’ve been getting more vocal of late

    MH has to tread a fine line between pandering to the stricter Muslim crowd (including politicians, particularly given its [indirect] government ownership) and trying to be a modern airline serving Westerners who can’t get enough alcohol… The 3hr rule (and covering up the real reason for it – i.e. pacifying critics) is a compromise to show that they are “doing something”, but not damaging longer haul flights where alcohol is an expected part of the service

    It’s not as if alcohol isn’t freely available in business class lounges, and domestic flights (in common with Thailand, Indonesia, etc) were always dry anyway. Get a drink before your flight, and you won’t exactly go thirsty for 3 hours

    As for the statement, it too is treading a fine line between inflaming conservatives and explaining itself to thirstier passengers. Yes, Malaysia is majority conservative Muslim, but that’s like saying the UK is majority Brexit, so you’re never going to get a straight answer without inflaming one group or another…


    Living and working in KL myself I have seen a lot of my colleagues in the office vote with their feet on this one. MH was/is the company preferred carrier here but many now choose Air Asia and Malindo for travel as to the Westerners it is now a level playing field.

    Prior to the booze ban there was nothing better after a hard days work than to kick back on a flight to KL with a nice beer or wine with you meal. It was the difference.

    Additionally the MH lounges seem to “run out” of alcohol quite frequently now.

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