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Brand Review: Firefly Airline

When was the last time you travel by air with style? Remember the good old days where people actually dress up to fly? Those days are long gone thanks to the rapid growth of Low-Cost Carrier that kills the fun of flying. LCC is slowly turning air travel to simply ‘travel from A to B’. Guess what! Somebody or should I say a company is trying to bring FUN back into LCC and this company is none other than Malaysia’s own Firefly.

Dubbed as Malaysia’s First Community Airline, Firefly is operated under FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System Berhad. The main hub is in Penang with 3 Fokker-50 servicing all the routes while waiting for the arrival of brand new ATR aircrafts. More details can be found here.

I had the opportunity to fly on Firefly on Dec 28th 2007 from Subang to Johore Bahru. It was an early flight Departure at 0700 and operated from the super quiet Subang Airport Terminal 3. The flight was the only passenger operation that morning. Hence the airport was really quiet and scary at times.

Checking in was a breeze as there was only 8 pax out of 50 available seats on a Fokker-50. We arrived 45 minutes before departure and immediately allowed to enter the departure hall which is as quiet as the check-in lounge. Seriously it’s a dead airport.

The passengers for this flight.

Boarding was very personal. A simple announcement inviting passengers to board. No rush, no long lines, no cutting of lines, no Puduraya style of announcement (Hint: LCCT), no need to pay for priority boarding as all seats are assigned. Nice!

The aircraft had an overnight stop in Subang

My seat 12D

The aircraft is indeed old and signs of old age can be seen but it is clean and comfortable. Passengers are told not to change seats until take off. This has something to do with aircraft center of gravity and trimming for take-off.

The flight was operated by a crew of 2 pilots and 2 cabin crew. They were excellent. When was the last time a captain opened the cockpit window to wave you goodbye when you left the plane? When was the last time a cabin crew stopped doing their job of selling food and merchandise to have achat with you? I experienced all this on my first flight with Firefly. I was so delighted that I decided to write a formal letter to the company thanking the staff for a great service.

Remember the tactical ad by Air Asia. They claimed aircrafts like Fokker-50 flies lower than normal plane and higher chances to get caught in turbulence flight levels. They were right. There were lots of clouds at 15,000 feet but something they forgot to highlight is airplanes can maneuver around turbulence areas and the fact that even large jetliners like Airbus A320 are subject to turbulence at 35,000 feet. So Air Asia, your tactical campaign does not work on me as I had a very safe and smooth flight on firefly’s Fokker 50 at a much lower height.

In conclusion it was a memorable experience and I highly recommend Firefly for its connectivity and convenience of operating out of Subang Airport.


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  2. WL April 23, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Don’t try your luck to take firefly airline if you have very tight timeline.

    From my experience, Firefly airline is not so reliable. I missed the last boat to Pulau Redang when Firefly just delay the flight at the 11th hour.

    No customer service or support is available in this case too…only 2 options:
    (1) cancel your flight and get a refund or (2) reschedule your flight…They just ignore all the hassle, opportunity cost and inconvenience caused by the delay of the flights conveniently…

    In view of this unpleasant incident to lose both monetary on additional hotel accommodation and loss of accommodation and vacation time at Pulau Redang, we have filed a complaint and request for compensation as advised by Firefly customer service personnel via email to feedback@fireflyz.com.my. To our surprise and disappointment, it takes 3-4 weeks for Firefly to respond and reject our claim with a simple note “Your request of compensation has been declined? and no feedback to our complaint.

    Personally, I view this kind of service as irresponsible and would like to share our experience and suggest those who really stretch on their time for not trying your luck and taking the risk. It is not worth to waste both your valuable time and money this way….

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    Superb post and you are a great writer.

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