Now the airline appears to have launched a questionably named competition in a bid to rebrand.
The contest, launched on Monday, is called “My Ultimate Bucket List” -- which as Time points out, was not the best choice of words since a bucket list is made up of things one wants to do, see or accomplish before dying.
The competition is lauded by the airline as “a game of skill” and is only open to customers in Australia and New Zealand. As part of the entry submission, contestants must submit an answer of 500 words or less to the question: “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why?” Prizes include a free iPad and a free economy-class ticket to a destination in Malaysia, to be determined by the airline.
On Tuesday, scores of news outlets and netizens lamented the airline’s unfortunately-named contest.
“Straight from the files of What Were You Thinking? comes a 'Bucket List'-themed contest from Malaysia Airlines that ranks as the second worst decision recently made by the beleaguered travel brand,” wrote MediaBistro's Claire Daniel, referring to the airline's recent decision to lay off 6,000 workers.
— Roop Raj (@rooprajfox2) September 2, 2014
This is a sick, sick joke, right?! Malaysia Airlines hosts "Bucket List Contest": http://t.co/DUddHNjRoI. Marketing/PR needs to be fired.
— M. Gaston (@MAHidalgo) September 2, 2014
It appears Malaysia Airlines may have backpedaled following the wave of criticism; the original link to the competition on the airline’s website returns a 404 error though a PDF version still exists. (Update: Both links are down as of Sept. 4.)
The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.