What Was Malaysia Airlines Thinking With Bucket List Promo?

The airline that gained worldwide infamy this year planned an ill-named competition for free plane tickets and iPads "My Ultimate Bucket List."

What Was Malaysia Airlines Thinking With Bucket List Promo?
Getty Images / Rahman Roslan

Still living in the shadows of two disasters that brought the company worldwide infamy, it's understandable Malaysia Airlines would offer just about anything to bring its customers back. You'd hope the airline would also do just about anything to remain sensitive to those who lost their lives on MH370 and MH17.

Late last week, the beleaguered airline began offering free flights and iPads to the winners of a contest it called "My Ultimate Bucket List."

That's right, bucket list. As in, things I want to do before I die.

It appears Malaysia Airlines pulled the competition from its website sometime Tuesday, but here's a look. The competition asks entrants in 500 characters or less to answer, "What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why?"

Nearly six months ago, MH370 traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared with 239 people on board. An exhaustive search mostly focused in the Indian Ocean failed to give authorities any clue where the plane presumably crashed. (Video via CNN)

And then 298 people died aboard MH17 in July as someone shot that airliner down over war-torn Ukraine near the Russian border, though both sides of that conflict claim the other is responsible for the tragedy. (Video via RT)

Malaysia Airlines' undeniably regrettable "bucket list" choice of wording comes with the company under huge pressure to rebrand itself, sell tickets and do whatever else is necessary to keep itself in business.

In late July, a company official revealed Malaysia Airlines was strongly considering changing its name, and then just last week plans to cut 6,000 jobs — nearly a third of its workforce — were still met with skepticism the cuts would be enough to save the company.

The bucket list blunder will now inevitably go down with such PR embarrassments as Celeb Boutique's tweet in July 2012 mistaking its Aurora fashion line for a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater; the Hong Kong tourist board's advertisement the city would "take your breath away" in the middle of the 2003 SARS epidemic; and Urban Outfitter's Monopoly board game riff Ghettopoly, which infuriated black leaders nationwide for its portrayal of a gun-toting black man with an objective of drug dealing and acquiring stolen goods.

Malaysia Airlines hasn't publicly responded to the bucket list promotion aside from apparently taking it down.