Another Fail with Cebu Pacific Air

Last December 18, 2014, I received a text message from Cebu Pacific that my flight on January 14, 2015 “has been changed due to aircraft situation.” I got this ticket in their famous “Peso Sale” way back June 2014. I also received an email from them and they even attempted to call me but I was not able to get it.

From 2:45 PM, the flight was moved to 2:20 PM, sure, just a mere 25 minutes difference. But when you are travelling prior to your flight, you do not want to risk the 25 minutes. So I decided to rebook my flight instead. I have been flying frequently and have experienced this changes in CEB and in other airlines before and I was rebooked for free, no hassles.

When I called their hotline, I got the shock of my life when I was told that I have no options but to fly in that flight or to forfeit my ticket. Those were the free options. But wait, I can rebook or request for a refund, but, FOR A FEE! I have to pay additional 1,200 pesos to rebook to another flight or to have my money back. I told the CSR that I think it is against the law and I will just call back after I read the Passenger Bill of Rights. In fairness to that 1st CSR, she did offer me a travel fund, but I want my money cash, not in any travel fund because I do not want to fly with CEB anymore (I have 3 more RT tickets left).

After an hour, I called back and presented the same scenario. The same reason was given, that it was just a “minor adjustment.” I insisted that when you are travelling, 25 minutes is already significant. I do not live in the airport! I have to travel by land prior to the flight! The 2nd CSR put me on hold for so long I got tired, I dropped the call. And take note, he refute the claim of the 1st CSR that I can opt for the travel fund.

I was not satisfied so after 2 hours, I called again. This time, a gentle 3rd CSR was on the other end. I presented the situation and these are the options presented:

1.       I have to be on the flight (which is 25 minutes earlier than the original)
2.       I will give up my ticket without compensation (meaning I donate my money to them)
3.       Rebook with an additional fee of 1200 pesos
4.       Cancellation with a fee of 1200 pesos

Imagine those options, harap harapang panloloko. It is not even forces of nature; it is the airlines fault that the flight was rescheduled! When she said that it was “voluntary cancellation,” I was not able to control myself and uttered some profanities. She offered me another option though, she will escalate the situation and request for a waiver of the fees. She instructed me to call after 24 hours.

They keep insisting that the 25 minutes is just a "little adjustment," when in fact even if you are in front of them 45 minutes before the ETD of your flight, they close the check-in counter insisting that it is already 45-minutes, your are late and you have to book another ticket. Yes, I am speaking from experience. 

I sure wish the action would be positive. There are only two airlines flying to our planes and the other one is expensive. Truly, along with a cheap fare is a cheap service. From the booking of the ticket, there are already the attempted panloloko (Read article here). I am not that gullible, I know the business strategies of some companies. Well, I just wish that more airlines will invest in our country, so that there would be more competitions.

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