A family of six purchased business class tickets for a trip to Shanghai but were downgraded to economy class when boarding the plane.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) sent an email stating they needed to adjust their seats due to a change of aircraft, but only two people were arranged to sit together.
When checking in online, only two people successfully checked in, and the other four were unsuccessful.
After contacting Malaysia Airlines, they received an email informing them they had checked in and would be boarded on the flight.
One family member, Daniel Chan, shared their ordeal on Facebook and tagged MAS and Minister of Transport Anthony Loke.
What Happened and How They Responded
They discovered three people were assigned economy class seats when they received their boarding passes.
Only 2 of us successfully checked in, and the other 4 were unsuccessful. After we contacted Malaysia Airlines about this matter, Malaysia Airlines also sent an email to inform us that we had checked in and could board the flight. When I got the boarding pass at the airport that day, I found that the tickets for 3 people were economy class seats.
Chan on discovering that three of his family members had been assigned economy class seats instead of business class seats.
After some arguments, their downgraded seats were reduced from three to one, and a family member was forced to sit alone in economy class.
MAS Employee Allegedly Took Their Business Class Seat
The family arrived at the airport early to take advantage of the business class VIP lounge but could not do so due to ticket issues.
After boarding the plane, Chan claimed he discovered that a Malaysia Airlines staff member had taken his sister’s business class seat.
He questioned why an airline would downgrade a paying passenger in favour of its staff.
Malaysia Airlines compensated the family with a business class ticket that must be used within half a year, which they are unsatisfied with.
Understanding Your Rights
Airlines can downgrade passengers from business to economy class.
This can occur when business class is overbooked, or the airline needs to accommodate other passengers.
However, passengers have certain rights if they are involuntarily downgraded.
For instance, they may be eligible for a refund of the price difference between the two classes or compensation for any inconvenience caused.
If you ever experience a downgrade on a flight, it’s important to be aware of your rights and to assert them if you feel they are being violated.