Malaysia Airlines renames 'bucket list' contest after outcry from families

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 September, 2014, 1:22am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 September, 2014, 6:32pm


Malaysia Airlines has scrapped the title of a promotional competition asking people what activities and destinations are on their "bucket list" after acknowledging it was inappropriate given the two deadly disasters it has suffered this year.

A bucket list is a term used by some English speakers to describe a list of adventures they want to have before they die.

The "My Ultimate Bucket List Campaign" asked customers to come up with suggestions, the best of which would win prizes including flights on the airline.

All references to the bucket list have been scrubbed from the airline's website, but cached copies of the competition's terms and conditions are still visible in Google searches.

A statement from Malaysia Airlines said the contest in Australia and New Zealand was launched online on Monday, but removed the next day after a barrage of public criticism.

The title was "found to be inappropriate at this point of time", it said yesterday. "The competition had been earlier approved as it was themed around a common phrase that is used in both countries. The airline appreciates and respects the sentiments of the public and in no way did it intend to offend any parties."

Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board while en route to Beijing and no trace of it has been found. In July, a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The airline had a good safety record before the disasters and was once associated with high-quality service. But the twin disasters, and the airline's handling of the first one in particular, have badly damaged its brand.

Even before the disasters, the airline had lost huge sums of money for years as it failed to rise to increasing competition.

The carrier's majority shareholder, state investment company Khazanah, last week announced it would cut 6,000 jobs at Malaysia Airlines and scale back routes as part of a US$1.9 billion overhaul.

Danica Weeks, whose husband was a passenger on flight MH370, said the promotion was atrocious and reflected the airline's insensitivity to the families of victims.

The contest was reinstated without the bucket list reference on Wednesday and would run until the end of the year but without any new title as "the focus is on the prizes", the airline said.

The contest was renamed "Win an iPad or Malaysia Airlines flight to Malaysia", the carrier said.