Lost in KLIA

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(KLIA is no doubt huge but it is not difficult to find the way around. Image source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/)

Picked this gem up from Rocky Bru:-

Kenapa tak ada ground staff KLIA yang jaga untuk memberi arahan! Bodoh babi betul. Buat malu negara. Ada airport cantik tetapi planning macam kat kampung zaman P.Ramlee.  Satu hari kamu semua datang ke Changi, saya tunjukkan di setiap cerok di mana penumpang mungkin confuse, ada budak perempuan atau jantan muda berdiri untuk memberi arahan.

(Roughly translated: Why there is no ground crew at KLIA to guide the newly arrived passengers? It is a shame. We have a beautiful airport but the planning sucks big time! Come to Changi (airport) one day and I will show you where at every place where passengers may get confuse, there is always someone to give the right direction)

If you read the whole story by brother Reme, you will understand also why he is pissed off with MAS. Sometimes I wonder whether we have installed the culture of customer care into our daily business dealings. Hopefully MAS will take note of the complaint and will make the necessary changes so that quality of customer service improves. After all, MAS is also our national identity who is also an award winning airline and we are proud of it.

But what catches me is his complaint on KLIA for which an anonymous commenter replies:-

Errr…bukan ke bila kita keluar dari plane ada sign board tunjuk mana immigration / baggage collection. Seingat saya ada gambar train kan on the signboard. So I think it’s pretty straightforward in klia. and why do we need ground staff standing at corners?

Its enough to have a few information counters spread across the airport for those people who can’t read signboards and who don’t bother to do some research on their place of destination. My take is that if you are too stupid to read signboards, you should not be allowed to fly and use airports, let alone go for international travel.

Yes Changi is efficient but based on my travelling experience (and I have travelled quite a bit), KLIA is much better than many airports in capital cities.

I have been travelling quite often over the last 6 – 7 years and let me tell you that KLIA at times can get very confusing for first time travellers (but KLIA is not the only airport that has the problem – even the famous Dubai airport faired even worse). It’s true that by 11 at night, KLIA becomes almost like a ghost town – very few airport staff are seen around and even if you see one, it is most of the time are the foreign cleaners. I usually take the 2 am flight to Dubai, so, you can imagine how KLIA would look like at that hour.

But the thing is it is not that difficult to make your way to the right path leading to the immigration and the luggage claim areas (not only in KLIA). All you need to do is:-

1. Do your homework before you travel.

For those who are planning to travel and may be to arrive in an airport that you are not familiar with, the least you could do is to do some research on it before you arrive.

KLIA is not situated in some 3rd world country and certainly it is not an obscure airport. It has a well defined webpage dedicating to the information and layout of the airport (it even have an interactive map – here). Get to know where the immigration counters, the luggage claim areas are and where to get the taxis and so on UPFRONT before you land. This is because once you have arrived, you are going to be tired, hungry and sleepy and the last thing you need is to be standing like a fool, not knowing where to go and what to do (like the Indian family in bro Reme’s story).

When Bangkok opened its new international airport (the beautiful Suvarnabhumi Airport) and we had to travel to Bangkok, one of the first we did was to do research on the net. Thankfully the airport had a good dedicated webpage and it was good to see where to move around. So, when we arrived, despite the chaos (of a newly opened airport), we simply breezed through and was in our hotel rooms without much delays.

2. Read the signs

KLIA to be fair – is well equipped with proper signs and notices. Unless you do not understand English (which is a big mistake when travelling to this part of the world and I have met people who speak NIL English, flying half way around the world), the signs is more than enough to guide you through. You may get lost momentarily but you will get in just all right.

In most of the airports I have been to, signboards in English are pretty standard and sometimes these signboards comes with pictures or logos to further assist. Even in war torn Kabul, the run down, chaotically managed, high security, suicide bomber’s favourite airport have signboards in English.

3. Ask around

When everything fails – ask someone. It can be your fellow passengers (who may have done their homework or who may have used the airport before), ground crew or the shop assistants at the duty free shops (I have seen even the foreign cleaners showing lost passengers the right way to go). In my recent flight, I noticed more airport staffs were stationed at “strategic” places but it means nothing if the lost passengers don’t open their mouth and ask.

3 simple rules and you will hardly have any problem navigating your way in any airport anywhere in the world. KLIA for an example is an award winning airport and had many good reviews from its customers and although it may not be the best airports around (as claimed by some), it can stand on its own when it comes to comfort and quality (the usually complaints is on the lack of shops). What is needed is some action from the passengers to make their trip less hassle and it is not a difficult thing to do.

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7 thoughts on “Lost in KLIA

  1. Swapped / lost celebrity fitness bag at lcct on 25 July 2010 I boarded the go genting bus from KL Sentral at approximately 3.30am heading towards LCCT. Upon arriving at the airport I collected my bag from the bus storage compartment below. At the Air Asia international flight check in counter I opened my bag and found that the clothes & content weren’t mine. My bag is black( a celebrity fitness bag) half circle shape with 2 hand handles, logo in purple with white fonts. Then I realized I’ve swapped bags with another lady( bag contained female clothes) who had the same bag with similar weight! ( although her bag’s zipper was a lil broken) when I took it from the bus. If you know anyone who fits that description please let me know. Thank you. Joe acaiorganic@gmail.com we had approx 45 mins till boarding time to look for that lady but Malaysian airport staff did not allow us to make an announcement via the PA system as they didn’t have a script for that and management approval was required. The police couldn’t help either. Air Asia counter staff refused to make an internal announcement for all staff at the counters to watch out for the bag when checking in because it’s a ” silent airport”- unfortunately all parties weren’t helpful and had no sense of urgency- can’t help but to think what if it’s a child who was missing? No announcements can be made?

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