Lots of interesting things today but I won’t even dare comment on the Mon Tulfo vs Raymart and Claudine anymore, instead, I’d like to share Roxanne Lu’s experience on Airline Bullying. She’s asked people to share it and I shall. The following is an excerpt, please click the links provided to view full note.
This happened to me yesterday for my Air Philippines Caticlan-Manila flight. I never wish for it to happen to me again, nor do I wish this to happen to any of you ever. This is a pretty long story, but if you have the patience you might learn a thing or two when dealing with airlines.
ORIGINAL TICKET: Caticlan to Manila on May 7, 2012, 8:20am flight.
4 May 2012 – I received an email from PAL notifying me that my May 7th flight to Manila, PR040, ETD has changed from 8:20am to 9:50a.m. (Ticket #2)
I made two (2) calls to PAL on 5 May 2012 (Sat), as soon as I read my e-mail notification from PAL.
- 8:23pm (about 20 mins on the phone): I explained that I received an email notice from them that my flight PR040 ETD has been adjusted to fly out 9:50am instead of the original 8:20am. I asked if there was an earlier flight (any flight before the PR040) that they could move me into because I have a meeting at 10:30am in Manila. They said there’s a 9:10am flight but I have to pay about P1,200 if I want to fly on that schedule. “And that’s the earliest flight you can fly me out me with?” I asked. Yes, the support agent replied. I went back to the issue at hand, which was the additional cost. I said, “But technically, you guys owe me because I paid for an earlier flight. I did not move myself to 9:50am, you did. I paid for an early morning flight, so don’t think I should pay that. I have a business reason why I specifically chose an earlier flight, so can you please ask your supervisor if they can waive the additional payment?” I was put on hold. A few minutes later, they got back to me and said they will move me to the9:10am flight without additional cost, and that I should call back in about 30 minutes or so to confirm the changes.
- 9:33pm (the call back request; about 5 mins on the phone): I inquired for the status of my request and was informed that it was granted with no additional charges. They will e-mail me my new e-ticket for flight PR 046 ETD 9:10am. It was sent to me the following day, May 6th. (Ticket #3)
When the issue at NAIA 3 with Tulfo vs the Santiagos first erupted, someone said, “Ang Cebu Pacific talaga! Sa PAL di nangyayari ang ganyan.” Well, news flash, it does. And it seems that it happens a lot, budget airline or not.
I myself have experienced all kinds of bad things with airlines, and I remember sharing in my old blog what happened between me and Asian Spirit (now Zest Air) back in 2008. How they cancelled my flights to Batanes and Virac without ever telling me. I only learned it was cancelled because a friend I was going to Virac with went to a ticketing office to get her ticket (mine was bought online) and was informed of the cancellation. I called Asian Spirit to ask, “Were you ever going to tell me or was I supposed to just find out when I get to the airport?” I went through the usual hassle of calling forever and being on hold forever and not getting right answers or even good ones. It took them 3 months to refund my P15,000 to my credit card.
My second attempt at going to Batanes via Zest Air again had us waiting at the airport for hours, looking at the monitors from “Delayed” to “Cancelled” all because according to them, visibility was zero in Batanes. But we were the second batch of a Travel Factor group and our friends who were already there in Basco, anxiously waiting for us, said sky was clear. For all we know, it wasn’t really the visibility that was the problem; but they would never admit to that.
I have since vowed to NEVER EVER take Zest Air, no matter how low their fares can get. I said NEVER and never it is.
I did get to Batanes in 2010, after two failed attempts, via Seair. I love Seair. They have relatively good customer service. We were originally a party of 11 on different flights when I booked online and, booked based on the availability of on-sale seats, which was at about P2K RT btw, and I was the sole contact person. They called me way ahead of time to inform me of flight changes and I was able to have everyone on the same flight without any additional charges. Imagine how ecstatic I was on that. Yes, that was right by the way, round trip tickets to Batanes for P2,400. I blogged about the trip extensively here.
As for Cebu Pacific, I have not experienced luggage being loaded on the wrong airplane because when I used to travel without checked-in baggage, BUT I have experienced being bumped off my flight because they overbooked it! It was a flight to Puerto Princesa, a friend and her friend arrived at the check-in counter ahead of me and they were waiting for me at the boarding gate when I was told I could not get on my flight because there are no more seats. I was, “You’re kidding right?” Apparently, they overbook every flight by 20%, you can correct me on this one if this is a fallacy, because that’s the percentage of people with tickets that do not make it to their flight. They gave me a free roundtrip ticket to any destination of my choice in Luzon and Visayas for the trouble, valid for booking for the next 12 months; and told me I would be accommodated on the flight to Puerto Princesa the next day. This happened in 2007 when there were only three flights daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa. I hear there are 20 now.
It was my friends’ first time in Palawan and they were actually headed to El Nido and had no idea what to do. I went to the little airport next door instead and flew straight to El Nido via ITI. I saved myself the trouble of enduring a 12-hour ordinary bus trip from Puerto Princesa that involved dusty unpaved roads and about three or so engine breakdowns and tire changes but my friend’s friend was so angry by the time she got to El Nido. It was rant this and rant that. I just laughed.
With regards to Air Philippines, the Session Road group last July had to be split into two flights when they were at the Naga-Pili airport last year because the airline, “ran out” of seats. Imagine my consternation since Tita Vicky Romawac had explicitly requested that they be in only one flight. The original flight tickets were two batches in two different airlines but I rebooked it and paid more so they can all be in just one flight, only for them to get there and be told that the airline has split them up. I had to book a hotel room for the members of the group that were left behind so they can wait for their new flight comfortably.
The last Air Philippines incident happened last November and had me at the airport for a 9:10 flight only to be told that my airplane already left. I was again, “You’re kidding right?!” Apparently, the first flight out was cancelled and they accommodated the affected passengers on the plane I was supposed to be in. Since that was their last flight out of Naga for the day, I was asked if I was willing to be transferred to Legazpi because they had an afternoon flight there. Free van transfer was supposed to be at 11:30am. I waited til 11:30; but as I was getting my luggage from their counter, they told me I needed to pay a re-accommodation fee of P1,500. I was infuriated! They could’ve informed me earlier! If I had known I was going to be paying that amount for a flight at 3:30 from Legazpi, 2 hours of travel from Pili, from my original 9:10 flight, I could’ve just gone over to the Cebu Pacific counter and bought me a ticket for their 10:30am flight and saved myself the trouble of waiting for hours and traveling in the wrong direction! I was so anxious to just get moving I went to the bus terminal and took the bus!
Now there, my life, being the traveler that I am, is not without airport and airline mishaps. But I never ever did berate anyone. Oh I remember that once my luggage accidentally hit the well-manicured toe of a girl behind me who was standing too close to my maleta, and she got so mad at me because I refused to apologize. I said, “Is it my fault that you’re standing too close to my luggage?” This was the point in my life when I made it a rule to not apologize if I thought it wasn’t my fault and we were standing at the Pili airport – which happens to be my hometown. I wasn’t afraid of some conyo in her well manicured feet and Havaianas, short shorts, spaghetti-strapped tank top and Ray-Ban sunglasses. She started making a scene and I just walked away. My dad who saw the girl, who followed me outside, shouting invectives at me, asked me what that was about, I said, “Oh, just some crazy girl.”
With all these airline complaints, if I did what I did to Asian Spirit, which is vow to never book them, I would be left without any airline to fly with. Surely, something has to be done here. The question is, is anyone there listening?
Otherwise, someone has to tell me and everyone else that this is just the way it is.