Sarawak’s Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin has revealed that AirAsia is suspending its direct flights between Kuching and Penang effective 1st March 2023. The decision is apparently due to operational issues as half of their aircraft is still scheduled for maintenance.
Affected passengers have been notified by email and are moved to the next best available “FlyThru” option which involves a stop at KLIA2 to avoid disruption to their travel plans. However, passengers are given three service recovery options which include a free change of flight, credit account or a refund.
The first option allows passengers to a one-time flight change to a new travel date of their preference within 30 days of the original departure date for the same route at no extra costs. If the credit account is selected, they can keep the booking value for 730 days (two years) from the date of issuance and it can be used to book future flights and add-ons with AirAsia. Alternatively, they can also seek a refund via AVA on the AirAsia app or website.
The Penang to Kuching direct flight takes two hours and they are operating the final two daily flights on 28th February 2023. From 1st March, AirAsia still offers Penang to Kuching flights with a stopover at KLIA, which has an extended total travel time between 4 hours and 30 minutes to 7 hours.
For travellers that want to fly direct, Firefly is still operating two non-stop daily flights between Penang and Kuching.
Commenting on the suspension of the AirAsia service between Penang and Kuching, Lee said the rescheduling of flights is inevitable in the airline industry for various operational circumstances. He added that the airline is obliged to provide sufficient notice and to provide the first available alternative flight or a full refund to affected passengers. Those who are having issues in getting their refund are urged to file a complaint with MAVCOM.
[ SOURCE 2 ]
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