One bad experience can change the way you travel. When you travel for the first time and you are not aware of lots of things, you may end up having a bad experience. I know I did on my very first trip. I was young and I had never been on a trip before, I looked for airlines and prices, but because of my lack of knowledge of airports and airline partnerships, I ended up having a bad experience. Although, I didn’t let it spoil my entire trip and shouldn’t let you.
Be aware of airline partnerships
Usually, airlines have partnerships between them, which are translated into codeshare flights. This means that one of the partners operates the flight and the other partner or partners will also have their own code in that same flight. So you may buy a flight, let’s say with KLM and you will end up on a Malaysia Airlines flight. I don’t think it happens anymore with these two airlines, but it did to me 19 years ago, when I first came to Australia.
I booked my flights with KLM, and my very first flight from Lisbon to Amsterdam was indeed with KLM. I had a great experience with them, I have said it before, I think KLM is partly to blame for my love of aviation. The crew was amazing, the service was great and I would be happy to go back any time. The problem was that KLM had a partnership at the time with Malaysia Airlines and their stopover would be in Kuala Lumpur. So, from Amsterdam to Sydney I did not fly KLM, I few Malaysia Airlines. I don’t know now, 19 years ago the service at Malaysia Airlines was appalling and Kuala Lumpur Airport was the most confusing airport I’ve ever been to, let alone the people weren’t friendly at all.
I had to get up and ask for water and the crew, who were hiding behind curtains, didn’t seem very keen on helping me at all. The airport, well, disastrous. I was lucky I had plenty of hours there to figure it out, but if I was on a short stopover I would have been in trouble. In 2003, the screen where you find all the broader flight information was on the ground, with these beautiful palm trees around it. I would say the best place for it to be found!
I was lucky I spoke English fluently and I could communicate, and even though people did not seem very friendly, I managed to find my way to the next flight to Sydney. If I did not speak English it would have been a massive problem. On the way back to Lisbon, I changed my flights, and I only got one flight operated by Malaysia Airlines, from Kuala Lumpur to Lisbon I went back to the amazing experience I had with KLM.
If you are flying for the first time, it is essential that you do your homework well. I certainly didn’t. Do your research, check as many airlines as you can, so you know all your options. Don’t just go for the price, sometimes it’s better to pay a bit more and have a good experience. Check all the airports on offer, see the reviews and what other travellers think about those places, and see the airline reviews and safety standards. This way, you will be able to choose what is the best option for you.
If I had done that I would have missed the great experience I had with KLM, but I would have not experienced the bad service Malaysia Airlines had at that time. So, I don’t totally regret it, I still have fond memories of my trip and the whole experience.