A while ago I posted an article titled Idris jala and the firefly. In essence, I said in that post that it was a good experiment that may yield positive benefits for MAS.
I finally took my first firefly flight from Subang to Penang and here is my experience:
1. Booking of tickets – internet booking was really really easy to do and very user friendly.
2. Flight was from Subang – putting aside the renovation process that is ongoing, it was a very efficient check in. The walk to the departure hall was short (unlike KLIA). I always joke that the weight of you lattop increases in direct proportion to the number of steps you have to take from the check in counter to the departure hall.
3. Of course departing from Subang is a huge plus for me as I live closer to Subang than KLIA.
3. Assigned seat numbers made a whole world of different as people were not rushing for seats and this made boarding very pleasant. With Low Cost Carriers, my biggest complaint is the no seat numbers, so people rush like a heard of elephants and I am repulsed at the thought of them trying to make money from selling assigned seat numbers. It truly disadvantages the weak and unfit and I don’t see the cost issue in assigning out seats.
4. The flight took off right on time.
5. The ATR 72’s were brilliant. Much better than I had expected. Cabin noise was very low – much better than the FF50’s or even the ATR 42’s which are popular on the European short haul routes.
6. Seats are upright and firm – good for the posture but bad if you want to sleep. Leg space is limited and the cabin is not overly tall. It would work for anyone under 5′ 7”. Still journey was comfortable. Ok I cheated as the next seat was empty so I stretched across 2 seats and that made it bearable.
7. In flight service was very nice and the muffin was GOOD. I am not kidding..it was good and if I wanted a second I am sure they would have obliged.
8. Arrival was smack on time, disembarkation was a breeze and the 1 luggage I checked in came out very quickly.
9. For the return to KL that night, I was booked on the last flight at 8pm. However I was already at the airport by 3pm. I was looking for an earlier flight and the best option between MAS, AirAsia and Firefly was the 645pm firefy flight. Air Asia had an earlier scheduled flight but due to delays would only leave at 11pm. MAS was about 20 minutes earlier but at RM360 one way to kl and landing at KLIA – it was not worth it.
10. So I went to Firefly to see if I could do a stand by – eg because of my fully paid ticket on the 8pm flight, if the 645 flight had extra seats, I was hoping they would let me on. After all, it is not loss of revenue to them. But the guy at the counter said no and to be fair to FFLY, it is part of the terms and conditions. So I had to get a fresh ticket for RM130.
My suggestion to FFLY is that it should consider allowing for “Stand by” boarding as it is no loss of revenue for it. Also FFLY needs to figure out a way to reduce the waiting time for people calling its information line.
11. Return Journey was just as good. Efficient, pleasant, and fast. Getting out of Subang was a breeze.
In short I see great promise for FFLY. I understand that will go 100% on their own in January 2009 and I wish them well. The arrival of the additional ATR’s and retiring of the fokker’s will be a great boost for managing schedule reliability – on time performance and passenger comfort.
It’s been such a good experience that I will do my second flight next week to see if the experience can be replicated.
Keep up the good work.