Sat11252017

LAST_UPDATESat, 25 Nov 2017 2am

MAS, Where Are Our Bicycles? ─ IRONMAN Malaysia Participants Demand Answers

Photo: MDPhoto: MD

As the most anticipated triathlon event of the year IRONMAN Malaysia 2017 returns to Langkawi in two days’ time (November 11), participants from all over the world have flown to our shores extremely geared up with excitement for the race.

But sadly, this excitement has worn off for a handful of athletes, as they are caught in an unexpected dilemma after landing on the island, disembarking their planes only to find their bicycles – the most integral equipment for their race – are missing.

The problem has been relayed by those specifically boarding the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights to Langkawi International Airport, and passengers who are stranded at the airport since 12pm today, shared their woes with Malaysian Digest.

“I arrived in Langkawi at 12.30pm on board flight MH1438. Our bags showed up but our bikes have not showed up,” a business class passenger, David Miller, shared with us.

The Arizona, United States citizen lamented how he had been waiting 30 minutes in line, where they are being told by airport staff manning the desk to fill up a baggage claim form so they can retrieve their bikes.

“I have at least another 40 minutes more to go to report that my bike had gone missing. There were at least 55 of us earlier,” he said, adding that if the staff had handed everyone the forms instead of filling them up one by one, it would have saved a lot of time.

“People have been standing here for a while and they are demanding for the forms in advance but they are not allowed to do so,” he vented.

David Miller/ Photo: MDDavid Miller/ Photo: MD

What was also frustrating however is the fact that despite the passengers being told to fill up the form and are notified by staff that their missing bikes will be sent to their respective hotels upon arrival, they were not given a timeline, nor was there a final resolve.

“It was not normal luggage so I paid extra money for my bike to get on that flight and flew in business class, yet my bike did not show up,” he adds.

And although this is the first IRONMAN race for David, he conveyed, “This race has been going on for years, MAS should know how to handle this and have staff organised accordingly to make sure the bikes arrive. They should've learned from last year.

“All other athletes are frustrated and want to know how they are going to resolve it,” he bemoaned. 

Solely blaming the airline, David who touched down in Kuala Lumpur earlier today and went straight to Langkawi said he heard from other friends who boarded the AirAsia flight that they had no issues getting their bikes. Though in contrast, his friends who boarded the MAS flight last night, also faced the same issue.

David said this delay is also costly on his training, and it disrupted his schedule to meet up with other friends prior the event.

“Tomorrow we need to turn in our bikes for the race, if it doesn’t arrive today, I can’t train,” he complained.

Cyclist Awangku Ezlyman who flew on the same flight called it “ridiculous” that passengers were made to lodge a report and manually fill up the forms for the airline’s mishap.

“It is unacceptable as this is a major event in Malaysia and MAS should have pre-empted the management of the airport, and anticipated an influx of passengers at this time,” said the frustrated KL-native who had waited over an hour.

Photo: MDPhoto: MD

“There are only two airport staff manning the desk and they are not doing anything to resolve this when there are professional athletes arriving for this race.

“Many are waiting for their bikes and this has created a backlog for other passengers as well,” he added.

The passenger who flew economy class also shared he feels saddened that his first IRONMAN experience, came off to a bad start because of MAS’ incompetence.

While Mohamed Izam from KL was upset by the poor communication from the airport staff.

“We don’t know what’s happening, we don’t know how or when our bikes will be sent to the hotel. We are left hanging with questions.

“If there is someone communicating these details to us, to reassure us that everything will be okay, it will be great help, but that’s not the case,” the disgruntled passenger conveyed.

Though he acknowledged the airport staff are merely doing their jobs and cannot shoulder the blame, he pointed out that MAS is to be held accountable as participants in the next flights will no doubt face the same problem, if not worse.

“It’s going to happen on the next flights. If tomorrow there are no bikes, there will be no race,” he highlighted.

Photo: MDPhoto: MD

And though frustrated with the circumstance that he is currently tangled up in, Nik, another participant from KL, feared more for the following passengers on the later flights.

“I hoped to get my bag and bike, but it seems it is not as smooth as I’d hope would be. It’s not a good start.

“MAS should anticipate this and do something as others will not get their bikes too because of the backlog.

“I’m glad I’m here early, but others who are on the later flights…I’m afraid they won’t be able to join the race,” he said.

Malaysian Digest then called the MAS customer service hotline to check if they had received any reports on the incident, but were told by a spokesperson that, “The ground crew in Langkawi who are handling the matter have not conveyed anything regarding the delayed baggage.”

The spokesperson who apologised on behalf of MAS then assured, “Delayed baggage are usually sent on the next flight out. However if you don’t receive your baggage, you will be compensated,” adding that passengers should lodge a complaint to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

-mD