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Air Asia sexist ads website, and a few doubts as to whether there is more to it than it says

An Air Asia happy landing not seen in Malaysia

There is much that is pro-consumer and pro-social justice in an anti-Air Asia website that accuses the carrier, among other things, of marketing its flight attendants like prostitutes.

It also draws attention to the claimed near invisibility of Malaysia media reporting of its various unhappy landings ( crashes, actually) although it needs to be said these serious incidents didn’t pass unreported in Singapore or Hong Kong, or in Europe, where they no doubt served to share some of the heat on Air France.

So far, so good. But after several hours of careful web trawling I can’t find some of the more tawdry images reproduced anywhere else in relation to Air Asia marketing,  although those that purport to be Air Asia advertisements and carry the Air Asia brand marks were readily confirmed as real both on the official  Air Asia site and in news reports.

It is not uncommon for candid, personal photos of people in uniform on duty on various airlines to appear on the web, a rather unwise thing for those concerned to permit to occur,  and stupid or not, it is inappropriate to claim them as evidence of intent on the part of their employer, who would at the very least, have invested in professional photography.

If you want to see all the sleaze go to the not Air Asia site. But keep you mind focused on other things too. Such as, who is behind it?

This statement on the site starts off fine.

We are the Causeway Co-Op. At our core, we are a group primarily made up of Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai and Australian students and university graduates practicing advertising, marketing, law, finance, HR and many other streams. We also have a significant subscriber base, many of whom contribute to our cause. This site is an unofficial Air Asia news portal – effectively the NOT AirAsia Website. It is not approved by the company. We do not purport to be unbiased; we feel that the airline’s practices are frequently unconscionable and that they do not act as responsible corporate citizens.

But the moralizing goes on like this forever, and begins to sound suss, as if some of the pictures weren’t enough to make you go ‘Whoa, that’s not an ad.’ I know I go on a lot about Qantas at times, but it has its good points like experienced pilots, flight standards, concerned engineers and loyal flight attendants, …you know, all the things management say it can’t afford!

One of the milder and definitely official Air Asia ads follows. It’s pretty ordinary, definitely sexist, and not ever going to be acceptable in Australian media.  And hell, just look at the legroom. If that isn’t misleading I don’t know what is.

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  • 1
    Last name First name
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the article, Ben. We are a little bit confused as to why you think our intentions on the ‘Fly AirAsia? Not Me’ site are ‘suss’. Please feel free to ask us any question and expect straight answers from our group. If we appear to be moralising, please take into account that we are a preachy blog – that’s our reason for being. Our email is airasianotme@yahoo.com, and my name is Adilah. Rest assured, there is not one piece of information that is fabricated on our site. If you continue your reading of our ‘charter’ [without sounding too haughty, hopefully], you’ll see we act as an aggregator: “We disseminate information and report the facts truthfully, most often using parody to illustrate our point. Effectively, this is a receptacle of current news and past deeds that we have made as sticky as possible. AirAsia would most likely prefer to see our material left as breadcrumbs scattered widely. “. We very much enjoy your writing, Ben. If you do not feel that we are genuine regards the sexist advertising – which I assure you we are – then PLEASE do a story on AirAsia’s safety & maintenance practices – article : here http://airasiaannus.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-airasia-safe-no-but-they-have-babes.html & http://airasiaannus.blogspot.com/2008/09/air-asia-convice-us-theyre-unsafe.html or perhaps our most controversial expose about the AirAsia government swindle: http://airasiaannus.blogspot.com/2008/09/swindle_16.html … IF you have any doubts, please cross reference ALL our facts with those of Malaysian politician, Wee Choo Keong, arguably Malaysia’s only squeaky clean politician and avowed enemy of AirAsis’s corruption – http://weechookeong.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/since-2004-there-were-compalints-of-misleading-pricing-in-airasias-website/ His blog is jammed with factual information supporting the swindle article. We would be very happy for you to investigate. If you check the references – usually direct links to the original articles – you will find all of the quotes we attribute to AirAsia Management are demonstrably true. If you wish to organise a Skype interview, we would be happy to oblige. Anyway, good day to you. Thank you again. Adilah.

  • 2
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Adilah,

    Thanks for responding, and also providing some links to get us going.

    At the moment there is one Air Asia X incident under investigation by the ATSB here, concerning a flight that dropped below minimums on approach to the Gold Coast airport. The affairs of the carrier are thus relevant to the home readership here, although half of the readers appear to be overseas based.

    As indicated, I think the site made some very interesting disclosures, but I don’t think the blurry social images are necessarily relevant. My policy is to rely on direct interviews or publicly broadcast events, and legally privileged documents, such as the evidence that will be given to a Senate Inquiry here tomorrow by two airline executives, and disclosures made by CASA and the ATSB or similar bodies abroad. Or put another way, self incrimination and the good fortune to have various files to mysteriously fall out of the sky where I live from time to time.

    As one newspaper publisher said to me concerning my coverage of an incident late in 1999, “I’m getting late night calls from X, the CEO of airline Y, and I just wanted to say to you ……. Keep doing it.”

  • 3
    Last name First name
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Dear Ben,

    Thank you kindly for your reply. Also, thank you for alerting us to AirAsia’s jets dropping below radar minimums, and the CASA & ATSB hearing. I think you will enjoy this … it is VERY rare for AirAsia to respond to ‘Fly AirAsia? Not Me’; however, we must admit that one reply we did receive did make us laugh, if only for the honesty of the AirAsia PR person who posted regarding our article about AirAsia’s indentured pilots: “Sure, some pilots manage to do some crazy stuff on our flights, but they get their just punishments just as any other offender would when they do crazy stuff that affects others.” As we wrote on our blog – we appreciate honesty, but we’re probably not alone in being a little bit afraid by that admission [just for the sake of authenticity ... the original link from AirAsia's 'Mero' http://airasiaannus.blogspot.com/2008/09/air-asia-convice-us-theyre-unsafe.html?showComment=1236761040000#c4117108631426937668 ] We will follow your blog for the results of the investigation. We hope our links were useful.

    As much as we would enjoy the privileged information you can access, we rely on a couple of AirAsia insiders, contributors from the public – and learned people such as yourself. Of course, we do insist that any facts or accusations we publish be entirely factual, both for legal reasons and our credibility. AirAsia will not interview with us, or respond 99.9% of the time. We would welcome the opportunity. Mr Fernandes?

    Kind regards,

    Adilah.
    FAA?NM

  • 4
    TomTom
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Dear Adilah, keep up the good work having fun with the egomaniac misogynists Branson and Fernandes. Just stay tuned to Ben’s Plane Talking and you will have plenty of fodder for your blog. Good luck to you.

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