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Malaysia Airlines renames Bucket List ticket contest

Malaysia Airlines pilots cry during a handover ceremony of cinerary casket of pilot Eugene Choo of Flight MH17 shot down over eastern Ukraine in July, at his home in Seremban, Malaysia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR: Disaster-tainted Malaysia Airlines said Wednesday it had changed the name of a ticket-sale promotion that invoked an “inappropriate” death reference by asking travelers which places were on their “Bucket List.” The flag carrier, which has been devastated by the loss of 537 people in two air tragedies this year, had offered prizes including free round-trip flights to Malaysia from Australia and New Zealand in a contest called “My Ultimate Bucket List.”

A “bucket list” refers to things someone wants to do before dying, or “kicking the bucket.”

“Malaysia Airlines has withdrawn the title of a recent competition running in Australia and New Zealand, as it is found to be inappropriate at this point in time,” a statement by the airline said.

“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.”

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

The airline faced accusations the original competition title was in poor taste.

Customers who booked travel between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 were asked to tell the airline which destinations were on their “bucket list.”

The most creative answers were to go into a draw, with 12 round-trip economy class tickets up for grabs.

The carrier is scrambling to attract bookings, which have plummeted due to its two disasters.

MH370 Flight mysteriously vanished March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard, inexplicably diverting from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course.

The Malaysian government believes it went down in the Indian Ocean, but no trace has been found.

MH17 went down on July 18 – believed hit by a surface-to-air missile – in rebellion-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard.

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

It said last week it would slash 6,000 jobs and scale back its route network as it struggles to survive.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 04, 2014, on page 11.

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Summary

Disaster-tainted Malaysia Airlines said Wednesday it had changed the name of a ticket-sale promotion that invoked an "inappropriate" death reference by asking travelers which places were on their "Bucket List". The flag carrier, which has been devastated by the loss of 537 people in two air tragedies this year, had offered prizes including free round-trip flights to Malaysia from Australia and New Zealand in a contest called "My Ultimate Bucket List".

Customers who booked travel between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 were asked to tell the airline which destinations were on their "bucket list".


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