As the year end approaches, many are starting to plan their holidays for the upcoming festivities and the New Year. Be it an international or domestic getaway, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) has put together some essential travel tips for air travellers. These tips will help travellers experience a hassle-free holiday.
1. Air Fares Promoted Should Be All-Inclusive
With the year end and festive season around the corner, we will probably stumble upon irresistible airfare deals. Travellers should take note that deals promoted by airlines must be all-inclusive – meaning the deal should include the airfare as well as applicable charges and taxes. The promoted price should also clearly state if the fare offered is either for a one-way or a return trip.
Aside from this, travellers are urged to pay attention to the full terms and conditions set by the airline. The deals promoted by airlines are often only for a particular travel period. It is important that you take note of this as you could lose out on the air ticket purchased if your travel plans do not fall within the stipulated travel period set by the airlines. It is also important to take note of other details such as whether a flight change will be allowed; if there are charges if you change your travel date / time; or whether the ticket is refundable should there be changes to the trip. It is crucial that you are aware of the above details to ensure that your travel plans are not disrupted.
2. Opt-in, The Choice Is Yours
While airlines may provide you with options upon purchase, it is ultimately up to you to opt-in for services such as in-flight meals, additional luggage as well as travel insurance as these services should not automatically be added on to your airfare. The decision to opt-in should be left to the consumer.
Purchasing travel insurance is vital whenever you travel as it covers not only during your travel journey but throughout the entire holiday. However, in the case of mishandled luggage or flight delay and cancellation, the airlines will still be responsible to see that you receive the necessary compensation regardless of whether you had purchase insurance. If your flight is delayed for two hours or more, you are entitled to meals, limited telephone calls and internet access (where available). If it is delayed for five hours or more, you are entitled to all the above and depending on the situation, they will need to provide you with hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel. As for your luggage, if it is lost or does not arrive on the same flight as you, the airline needs to trace your luggage and return it at the earliest time possible. Consumers can refer to MAVCOM’s consumer FAQ on its website (http://www.mavcom.my/en/consumer/faqs/) to find out more.
Under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC) 2016, which is the first consumer protection code for the aviation industry in Malaysia, passengers will still attain the compensation and/or care they are entitled to during their trip. When faced with the abovementioned issues, do approach your airlines.
3. Reduce Concerns Around Your Baggage
Once you are done packing, snap a photo of the items in your luggage as well as a picture of the original condition of the luggage. However, please be mindful that your airline is not liable to compensate for general wear and tear of your baggage. Aside from the above, place your contact details or business card inside your bag. One thing to remember is that you should avoid including important documents and valuables such as cash and jewellery into your check-in luggage. Be mindful of the items that are not allowed in your hand luggage and check-in baggage. Such information is usually available on your flight itinerary and the airlines’ website.
4. Be Well Informed and Check Your Travelling Status
Before planning your trip, the first thing to do is to ensure that your passport has a validity of six months or more and check if you require a visa to travel to your desired destination. Also, did you know that some countries require you to get vaccinated before arrival? For a smooth and uninterrupted trip, ensure that you are well informed of this.
Apart from the above, the Immigration Department of Malaysia keeps a record of every Malaysian who is allowed and not allowed to leave the country on an overseas trip. Keep your mind at ease and check your travelling status at (http://sspi2.imi.gov.my). To avoid any disruptions, do it before you purchase your air tickets and at least two weeks before you embark on your journey. If you are restricted to leave the country, the additional two weeks will give you sufficient time to sort out any matters.
5. Snap All Your Travel Documents
Misplacing or losing your travel documents is the biggest disappointment when you are travelling. Considering this, the safest thing to do is to keep photocopies of your travel documents as a back-up. These include your passport, travel itinerary and other vital travel related documents. Also, snap a photo to keep the digital copy of it in your phone just in case your original and back-up copies are lost or misplaced.
6. Activate Your Cards!
When you are away in a foreign land, running short on money and not being able to withdraw cash or complete a transaction can cause unnecessary stress, apart from dampening your mood. To avoid such an occurrence, activate your ATM and credit cards. Do inform your bank and credit card company about your travel plans. Most banks and credit card companies keep track of spending patterns and may interpret an unexpected overseas purchase as a fraudulent transaction. Did you know that some banks or credit card company may even lock your account if you use your card in another country without notifying them?
“The above tips will help travellers prepare for their journey whilst ensuring they have a stress-free holiday. If passengers experience any travel related issues relating to air ticket pricing, claims and compensation, flight delay, cancellation and denied boarding, they can file a complaint with the respective airlines. They may also file a complaint with the respective airports and airlines if they are not satisfied with the overall service provided. If the outcome of their complaint is not satisfactory or not resolved within 30 days, they can submit a complaint to MAVCOM at (http://www.mavcom.my/en/consumer/make-a-complaint/) and our team will be ready to assist in facilitating a resolution for the complaint,” said Pushpalatha Subramaniam, Director of Consumer Affairs, MAVCOM.