Baggage handlers of AirAsia airlines have taken to kissing the suitcases of passengers recently after Tony Fernandes, chief executive officer of AirAsia Group, told them to.
The phenomenon comes after a netizen Fen Lim, an AirAsia passenger, took to Facebook last week to complain that her bike was broken by the baggage handlers of AirAsia. She accompanied her post with a video of the company’s baggage handlers grabbing the bags from the conveyor belt, then roughly hurling these to the cart.
“Thanks AirAsia… you broke my bike,” wrote Lim on March 21. “This was filmed while we were still seated in our flight AK171 from Kaohsiung to KLIA2.”
As Lim’s post went viral, AirAsia Group CEO Fernandes took to his Facebook page last March 22, where he shared Lim’s video and personally apologized for the incident.
“We take full responsibility. After meeting all my ramp boys and girls I’m really disappointed. Riad Asmat our CEO [for AirAsia’s Malaysia-based operations] is in charge, [he] himself [is] a cyclist [and] will be in touch and make sure no damaged. And will make a statement to reassure all cyclists.”
“We are a company that if we make a mistake we stand up and take the heat. We will get better. Apologies,” the CEO said.
One of the ramp boys of AirAsia shared pictures of him and other ramp boys kissing suitcases after the incident. In a post last March 26, Mohd Amir Izzat wrote, “Dear bag, doesn’t matter [what] the weight [of] the bag was, we will handle with kiss and care…. Love you bag.”
Fernandes, too, shared a picture last March 25 on Instagram of their ramp boys kissing suitcases, saying that strength comes from adversity.
“Our All-stars bouncing back. From adversity comes strength,” wrote Fernandes. “[It] only [takes] one of two bad apples to spoil everything. But [it] takes a team to take the knocks and come back stronger with humour and pride and be the best. I’m proud of my Ramp All stars. #kissthebag.”