Since the beginning of aviation passengers have held expectations of a certain level of service standards and care. Passengers expect their planes to operate safely and on-time to arrive thousands of kilometres away without incident – in fact international air travel is still idealized as a luxurious experience. We are committed to providing you with courteous, quality service throughout your travel with us. We know many of you are travelling on special holidays or perhaps your honeymoon or anniversary. Flying for you is often a joy for us – few people get to spend as much time with happy newly-weds as we do! Unfortunately, occasionally unexpected things happen that make a routine operation turn into a delay, diversion, or re-routing.
For any delay, our first priority is always your safety. Sometimes that may mean taking more time to get the job done right. As unpleasant as delays are, aviation has become the safest way to travel because of an industry wide commitment to quality and high standards. In fact, in most countries it is actually safer to fly than to walk across town.
This page is to help you understand more about how we will support you during a delay and the factors involved in managing a delay.
We go to great efforts to avoid delays. We monitor the weather and make contingency plans in cases of large storms; we design schedules to avoid crowded airport times whenever possible; we keep a full stock of spare parts at our home base; we put spare crews on standby at our main base and many other steps. Nonetheless, we sometimes can’t detect and avoid a problem until passengers are already on-board and the plane is ready to depart. What’s worse, sometimes we can’t tell how long or difficult a problem is going to be.
Our first priority is always your safety. Thus, even when on the ground, we may ask you to follow directions about remaining seated and avoiding crowding the aisles and exit areas. Next, we pledge we will keep you informed about every 20-30 minutes in the case of short delays or hourly in the case of longer delays. Communication will be by general announcements. To the best of our ability we will explain the delay honestly and in simple terms. Sometimes, our ground or air staff may not have access to detailed information if the delay is occurring elsewhere. We ask you that you be patient with them until a full picture of the situation can be shared.
If we expect only a short delay, we will ask passengers to stay in the boarding area or onboard the aircraft. If time permits, we may provide refreshments or snacks.
For delays of 3-5 hours we may provide meals depending on the time of day and we will collect information on any special transfer or connecting flight issues and pass it to our ground staff at the destination and to our headquarters. In some instances, particularly in Male’, we may be able to communicate the delay ahead so that your domestic connecting flight, sea plane, or boat transfer can be re-organized. Where possible, we will try to provide feedback back to the departure airport; however, we may not be able to provide detailed information to each passenger due to manpower limitations.
In the cases of a known long delay we may provide accommodation in a hotel, lounge, or other facility. In rare cases, we may move certain passengers to other carriers, particularly those with infrequent or difficult to re-organize connections.
In case of long delays of 5 hours or more, we will provide a “delay letter” describing the nature of the delay, which may be used as proof to your insurance company, travel agent, resort or connecting service of your delay situation.
Please note that although we are not responsible for lost hotel nights, missed activities, or missed connections due to delay, that does not mean we are not sympathetic. Please tell us about your difficulty and where possible we will see how we can assist. If we cannot handle your situation immediately, please be patient. Although we cannot guarantee results, we may be able to help you obtain a discount, refund, or possibly special treatment at a later date. Rude behaviour, unreasonable demands, and refusal to follow crewmember instructions is not acceptable and may result in withdrawal of services.
In addition, remember that your best protection against the unexpected is travel insurance that may cover you for the loss caused by a delay or cancellation.
When we are notified of a substantial delay of a flight in-bound to Maldives we check our passenger manifest and if hotel and connecting flight details are provided to us, we will attempt to contact them with your updated arrival information. Even if we don’t have your connecting information, we maintain close contacts with all domestic airlines and nearly always they will re-book you on the next available flight after your arrival. In case the delay is caused by us (for example, not a weather or air traffic delay), then we may help with accommodations in a Male’ hotel if required. Please note that once the aircraft has departed, our crews are unable to send messages or questions about your specific situation. However, rest assured our team is likely working on it to ensure the impact on your travel plans are minimized.
For connections outside of Maldives (for example on your return flight), we are unable to guarantee handling of your situation in advance of your arrival. In the Maldives we are able to work closely with the local airlines and resorts, but in your home country, we may not have ties with all other airlines operating at our outstation airports. Your best option is to ask your travel agency for help or appeal to the duty supervisor of your connecting airline at your arrival or transit airport.
We would like to kindly remind you to avoid tight connections. We also advise you to book carriers that have multiple flights a day in case you need to take a later flight.
When a storm comes or a plane breaks down, the initial problem sometimes creates follow-on problems. A mechanical issue might only need 2 hours to fix, but a severe rainstorm might double the required repair time. A typhoon in one region might cause a delayed arrival elsewhere that results in missing our departure slot that results in a very long air traffic control hold. Although we put padding into our schedules to allow us “catch-up time,” it can be difficult to explain all the factors that lead to a delay on your particular flight.
Airlines are constrained by a number of regulatory and physical situations that affect our ability to recover quickly from an unexpected delay. Long haul airlines like ours, operating from remote locations face additional difficulties. Some of these are:
A diversion is when an aircraft has to fly a path other than its regular route, or land at a location other than its intended destination. Well before passengers show-up at the airport, our staff are reviewing weather, checking the status of the aircraft, and preparing our flight plans. Sometimes we identify a potential problem, such as a typhoon or winter storm, or a sudden closure of airspace by government authorities (as sometimes happens off the coast of India for missile tests). Once we take-off, we may discover later in the flight that there is a medical problem on-board, or a mechanical issue may come up unexpectedly. For whatever the reason, a diversion means a delay in your trip and inconvenience.
When a diversion arises, the Captain of the flight and our operations center will be in communication to determine how best to proceed. Our first priority is always safety. Next, we have to consider any urgent care needs and then the convenience of the majority of the passengers. Finally, we also consider what is practical and whether there are any further risks. When we have to divert, the diversion airports is typically assigned to us by air traffic control and we may have little choice to accept it. At some airports we may be able to pre-arrange support: ground transportation, hotels, and supporting ground staff, but this is not always the case. After we land, we may we may need to stay in airport either on the plane or in the terminal and we may attempt to continue the journey a short time later. Alternatively, we may arrange travel by other means or we may ask passengers to accept a hotel while the situation is resolved. Factors may include immigration clearance, availability of ground transportation, the amount of time the crew is allowed to keep working under civil aviation regulations (for safety reasons), and the location and facilities of the alternate airport. All we ask of you in the case of a diversion is your patience and understanding. We’ll be working very hard behind the scenes to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
For more information, please look at this special section on weather diversions prepared by our operations department to understand more about what we do to manage such a situation.
Air travel in Asia has developed very quickly sometimes outgrowing the infrastructure or services required to handle all passenger needs. Also quite a few passengers may have limited experience in air travel and the proper way to handle an unsatisfactory situation. When we fail to meet your expectations we welcome you to tell us in writing or in person. If we can, we’ll see how we can try to remedy your complaint or help you understand better how the situation was unavoidable. Even though you may not fly with us again for many years, we hope you’ll tell your friends about your trip and, hopefully, how we helped make a bad situation better.
However, refusing to follow instructions of our crew or ground staff and disrupting normal operations may only make the problem worse. We understand that for many years some airlines in Asia had few policies to deal with passenger complaints and this led to passengers taking the matter into their own hands to highlight their growing difficulties and frustrations. Those days are mostly over and airlines, including ours, take passenger complaints seriously. We take them even more seriously when they are presented in a proper and serious way at the appropriate time and place.
Passenger engaging in a sit-in or obstruction on-board the aircraft or in the boarding gate, verbally or physically assaulting our crews, or blocking the movements of our crews or airport staff are committing an offence against civil aviation regulations and international and local law and may face significant consequences including being physically restrained, de-planned (not allowed to continue your journey with us), placed on a no-fly list, fines, being arrested and imprisoned, charged with damages, and the chance of civil lawsuit. Becoming disruptive or occupying an aircraft or boarding gate for the purpose of extorting compensation is also illegal.
The best approach is to write down your complaint and present it to a crew-member on-board or an airline service staff on the ground. In some cases, you may present your complaint to a supervisor on the spot (on-board the aircraft, the Purser is the crew-member in charge of the passenger cabin). In this way, your situation can be reviewed by management and answered properly. We carry comment cards on-board and you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org