Seoul Story – Prelude: September 2, 2007

My luggage for the trip was only fully packed at around 4pm – about 4 hours before I was to be at KL Sentral. As the convention lasted 4 days, I had Wuan pack 4 sets of clothes and some extras for the other days. The luggage was packed to the brim. Peter, my cousin and personal assistant for this trip, dropped in to go to KL Sentral together with me.

When I checked in at KL Sentral, my request for an aisle chair inside the aircraft and low-protein meal was not in the system. I had to wait a while for the counter staff to send the instructions and confirm those details. That was one of the reasons why I contacted Malaysia Airlines‘ call centre one week before the journey to reconfirm those instructions after I received the air tickets from the travel agency that I bought my tickets through.

The staff at the call centre refused to entertain me. According to him, since my tickets were purchased through a travel agency, he could not access the information. I had to double-check with the agency again. I find this ridiculous as all he needed to do was key in those information again into the system. Nevertheless, I called the travel agency again to confirm my in-flight requests.

Peter and I took the KLIA Express to the airport. When I arrived, I went to one of the check-in counters to inform them of my presence and informed them regarding checking-in my wheelchair just outside the aircraft, the need for an aisle chair for me to transfer into the aircraft and my request for a cabin chair inside the aircraft to facilitate my passage to the toilet.

To my consternation, one of the officers retorted that the request for an aisle chair was noted and that I should check with the cabin crew if there indeed was an aisle chair inside the aircraft. To be told of this at the very last moment before boarding was very unsettling but I had no choice but to try my luck.

So much for my insistence on flying with our national airlines and one that had won international awards. There were suggestions that I fly Korean Air but having not encountered any problem since the damaged wheelchair incident, I reasoned that flying with an airline that I was most familiar with would make the journey more pleasant.