AirAsia may have earned a huge heap of brownie points in the midst of election fever in Malaysia after it responded to an overwhelming call by netizens to abandon surge pricing during peak travel period around election day on May 9.
CEO Tony Fernandes and the carrier's official social media accounts yesterday announced several measures to help Malaysians who have to return to their hometowns to cast their vote including fixed rates for key routes and additional flights while it would also freeze unsold seats around election day and later sell them at low fares. Air travel remains the only option for a large number of voters born in the East Malaysia but working in the peninsular.
Earlier in the week, a mid-week polling day announcement by the Election Commission has led to a huge outcry among Malaysians as elections were typically held during weekends throughout the country’s history. Outraged Malaysians have taken to posting their flight itineraries on their social media within hours after the news which resulted in the online #pulangmengundi (go home to vote) movement on Twitterjaya, the Malaysian slang for Twitterverse.
AirAsia’s astute gesture did not go unnoticed judging from the flurry of thanks it has received on social media compared to its earlier announcement to waive flight change fees along with other domestic carriers such as Malaysia Airlines. Meanwhile, a similar offer by Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific made in late March was rebuffed by a deputy Cabinet minister who tweeted that the airline participates in "regime change".
Thank you again @AirAsia @tonyfernandes !!!— klubbkidd™ (@klubbkiddkl) April 13, 2018
Not only have you stepped up to help Malaysians #PulangMengundi, you’ve expedited the process!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you, including the #AirAsiaAllStars!#NowEveryoneCanFly#NowEveryoneCanVote https://t.co/IL6gxD9s8c
Across the causeway in Singapore, Ikea said it would give Malaysian employees and extra day of paid leave to help them to return home to vote. Postal voting is not offered for overseas Malaysians working in Southeast Asia.