Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

some hiccups, but Viva’s Sydney services passes our ‘road test’

Posted by Kimberly on September 4, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
4 September, 2007, page 4 (653 words)

It has been almost two weeks since Viva Macau took to the skies in the direction of Sydney, Australia for the first time.
Despite the hiccups, the airline has managed to bounce back from what was undoubtedly an embarrassing state of affairs.
Having chosen Viva as my means of transportation back home for a few days of holiday I was concerned as to whether my expectations, realistic though they were, would be met.
I was not disappointed. While Viva Macau has some way to go, one could hardly doubt the sincerity and affability of the airline’s attendants or the eagerness to please.
The flight out of Macau on Wednesday night saw only 60 of the 200-odd seats filled with a quick trip across the tarmac on a convenient shuttle bus.
It was apparent from the onset that the needs of the passengers were the first thought of the flight attendants.
Each passenger was catered for, whether by being shown personally to their seat when they seemed unable to find it, or by having their luggage stowed away for them.
The seats were comfortable enough, considering the smaller size of the aircraft. There was certainly enough leg room even for those long-limbed individuals.
The difference is considerable between the two classes of seating especially in terms of leg room and width so for those willing to pay the difference in fares, it’s worth considering.
With such a small number, the flight quickly took off without incident and many of the passengers chose a different seat to enable greater comfort during the night as there were many free seats to choose from.
This passenger made the mistake of sitting at the front of the plane and could hardly blame the crew for realising too late what that meant: with a fixed arm rest, the only sleep to be had was a very uncomfortable and cramped one.
Nevertheless the flight was smooth. The only thing worth noting at this stage is that passengers are required to pay for everything: that includes pillows, blankets, food and water. And Macau patacas are generally not accepted although one doubts this currency will be refused if there is nothing else available.
That’s not to say that such purchases are mandatory as passengers are surely allowed to bring their own requirements on board, both for comfort and consumption.
The food provided is satisfactory but hardly of gourmet standard. Still, for the price of the fare and the fact that the airline is unashamedly budget, one cannot complain.
There was a slight hitch at the other end in getting luggage but the issue was with the airport rather than the airline.
It’s interesting to note that during the course of the twenty-minute wait for luggage, two security guards spent their time walking to each of the passengers to enquire as to the flight and Macau itself.
The journey back was not dissimilar although with at least 150 passengers this time.
The attendant got off to a shaky start with the safety demonstration but, given time, this will not be an issue.
A movie was shown on the screen but no head phones were handed out to all passengers. Perhaps this was an oversight.
Finally, the seat belt sign to signal turbulence was lit quite frequently and, at one stage, for nearly two hours but perhaps this was a necessity.
Seated next to a Macau resident currently studying in Australia, she seemed anxious as to the safety of the aircraft, having heard various stories from her friends.
Having allayed her fears, I asked her whether she would choose to fly with Viva again once the plane landed.
Her immediate response was a smiling affirmation, mirrored in my own reaction.
Viva Macau may have begun its thrice-weekly journey to Sydney on a shaky start but given time -and an open mind from passengers – the airline is surely headed in the right direction.

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