A Malaysia Airlines promotion targeted at Kiwis and
titled "My Ultimate Bucket List" has been labelled atrocious by
MH370 widow Danica Weeks.
The airline - which also hit headlines when MH17 was shot
down over eastern Ukraine in July - invited travellers from
New Zealand and Australia to enter the competition, which
kicked off on Monday and offered them the chance to win an
Apple iPad or return trip to Malaysia.
They were asked to answer the question, "What and where would
you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why."
Mrs Weeks, whose New Zealand husband Paul was one of 239
people lost when Flight MH370 disappeared in March, said she
was "blown away" by the airline's insensitivity.
The Perth mother of two said many of the airline's
interactions with families of the victims were "insensitive".
"This is just another promotion that they've come up with.
It's just atrocious - why would you say that?
"We're sitting here wondering [and] they've been entrusted
with our loved ones and can't tell us where they are."
Auckland University senior marketing lecturer Bodo Lang said
Malaysia Airlines had made a "very poor choice from an
advertising stand point".
"Other airlines would have got away with this but Malaysia
Airlines should have shown ... awareness in this situation.
"Competitions are an often-used tactic in many product
categories. Travel is no exception and the idea of being able
to win a trip to an amazing location lends oozes [of]
positivity and that is exactly what Malaysia Airlines needs
at this point. And passengers, of course."
The competition was not going to help the airline's
reputation, Dr Lang said.
"They have had two fatal incidents in one year. While
Malaysia Airlines may have had very limited control over why
these incidents happened, they were in control over how they
handled the aftermath and this could have been handled much
"In the long run, Malaysia Airlines will have to gradually
rebuild its trust with passengers and the public. The
unfortunate naming of the competition would have made this
task again more difficult for the airline."
Last night, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement saying it
had "withdrawn the title of a recent competition available to
Australia and New Zealand ... as it is found to be
inappropriate at this point in time".
"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."