From Bad to Much Worse

The last 10 years or so have propelled (pun intended) Air Asia from nothing to huge and in general I kind of like them.  I understand the concept of no frill and low cost and it works fine.

Except – for some bizarre reason – they can’t seem to get the in-flight “menu” quite right.  I guess I fly Air Asia perhaps once every 2 month or so in average and they always change the menu completely between flights, and some of the choices are quite odd really.  I remember at one point they didn’t have coffee on the menu (sure you could get that horrible 3-in-1 stuff – but plain coffee – nope).  Two things are in common of all these menus:

1. They are quite limited

2. Without exception – 80 % of the items are “out of stock”

I am not joking – they are always out of everything.  Take plain Nescafe for example.  It weighs next to nothing.  They must have a pretty good idea how many they need.  How on earth is it possible that they run out on the SECOND flight of the day?  And this is my experience – about half the times I fly Air Asia they don’t have plain coffee, but only some disgusting pre-mixed sugar stuff.

Anyway – I started this post by claiming they went from bad to worse, and let me illustrate that with my latest experience only about 5 days ago.  Afternoon flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket – and I hadn’t had any lunch whatsoever, so I was quite hungry. The first page of the menu looked like this:

Now, that actually looked pretty good, so I tried to order it.  Unfortunately – well you guessed it – Out of stock.
Then I flipped to page two:

The Vegetarian Briyani seemed ok, but well you guessed right again – out of stock.
Then I went to the next item, the Tandoori Chicken Wrap – out of stock.
By this time I was getting slightly annoyed and flipped to the next page:

I didn’t really read it much – but just said: “OK, I’ll just have a sandwich of some sort”, thinking – sandwiches they must have in stock.  The flight attendant lit up and said: “Sure, you can have a Chicken sandwich” to which I replied: “Fine”.
THEN – and only then – she added: “But you will have to get Pringles too, because Chicken sandwich only come as a set”.  WTF?  I flipped to the next page, and surely:

I went: “But I don’t like Soy Milk under any circumstances, and I don’t eat Pringles, they make me fatter than I already am, so can’t I just have a plain sandwich”.  The flight attendants response was: “Only the vegetarian sandwich, that is the only one we sell alone”.

Now, I find that fairly idiotic really, but what the hell – by this time anything, and I do mean anything, would do, so I told the flight attendant: “OK, just give me a vegetarian sandwich”.  Her reply, and I bet you didn’t see this one coming: “Out of stock”.  What the hell – she suggested it herself!  What’s the point – just teasing me with all the stuff I couldn’t get?

By this time I really was getting annoyed, so I went: “Look, you’re pretty much out of everything, why don’t you just give me a Chicken sandwich?”, to which she replied: “Sure, but I will have to charge you RM 1315 for it since it only comes as a set”.  I somewhat strongly suggested that she took that up with her supervisor – or whatever they are called on a plane.  2 minutes later she returned and said:

“Ok, I’ll sell you a chicken sandwich for RM 9, but ONLY because we’re out of Pringles”

Priceless :)  A long argument about a set deal that they didn’t have in the first place.  And she actually needed to use their own incompetence as an excuse to sell me a bloody sandwich.

How is it possible to screw up this consistent – even on a no frill low cost airline?