I flew Air Asia flight AK402 from Padang to Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning, 25 April 2015. It is a normal brief 50 minute morning flight, except for one thing, Captain Announcement before take-off.
He introduced himself as Captain Sahar and his co-pilot, First Officer Kawai. Unlike other lame Captain Announcement, he delivered it in very enjoyable and entertaining way, in English with American accent. He described our flight path and what to anticipate in more details than other pilots will do, especiallly for such short flight Padang to Kuala Lumpur. We will circle over Padang then pass over city of Pekan Baru, continue to fly over city of Dumai before crossing strait of Malacca and approach Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) via Port Dickson. We will cruise at 31,000 feet above sea level and start descent after 18 minutes of cruising. He even told us that his First Officer Kawai will be in charge for take off and he will do the landing later at KLIA.
I found him sincerely human when he said “May I suggest our guests not to fall asleep too soon as breathtaking view of Sumatera west coastline with scattered small islands and beautiful Bukit Barisan Mountain on the other side are waiting for you while our airplane circle over city of Padang to gain altitude”.
By the way, Captain Sahar is pretty religious man. He mentioned InshaAllah and MashaAllah a few times when making announcement.
He did make announcement in Bahasa Malaysia as well. Although it was not as entertaining as English version, he clearly tried his best in reading the text. He even made a ‘Pantun’ to make it little bit enjoyable.
I am always amazed by people like Captain Sahar who put a lot of passion in whatever they do. He does not merely deliver his main service of flying passengers from one point to another, but goes extra miles by making effort to engage people in very human way.
When off-boarding at KLIA, Captain Sahar joined flight attendants waving passengers good bye, thanking them for fly AirAsia and wish a good day. I paused my steps for a few seconds right in front him to say “I really enjoyed your announcement, Captain. It’s very cool!”. He smiled and humbly replied “Thank you very much, Sir. I really appreciate it.”
I feel like flying First Class, instead of budget!