Budget airline AirAsia got a tongue lashing from Medan’s Polonia Airport authority on Monday for neglecting passengers booked for a flight to Jakarta on Sunday night that was cancelled after a five-hour delay.
Metro TV reported that at one stage some of the passengers had threatened to take airline staff hostage for delaying and then cancelling their flight.
“We should have taken off at 7:10 p.m., then the flight was delayed to 9:30 p.m. and then to midnight, and then they told us it was delayed until Monday but we still don’t know for sure. There is no clear information,” a distraught passenger told Metro TV before ultimately flying to Jakarta on Monday.
Passengers had shouted at AirAsia staff and banged their fists on the service counters.
The airline did not give any reason for the delay.
Airport administrator Razali Abubakar said that according to regulations, airlines must be reprimanded if they fail to look after their passengers.
Razali said if a flight was delayed for an hour or two, passengers should be informed. If it’s delayed for three hours, accommodation should be found for them. Though the flight was delayed for several hours on Sunday, AirAsia failed to offer help to passengers.
Razali said AirAsia was likely losing market share to other airlines such as Lion Air.
He said the company’s financial woes could account for a reduction in its fleet and diminished quality of its services.
AirAsia staff members said upset passengers had raised a fuss at the airport, but said they had ultimately been flown to Jakarta on several different flights on Monday.