I have proclaimed many times over that if it’s all up to me, I hope to never fly on a Cebu Pacific flight ever again. Especially on a domestic flight.
These are my top reasons why I don’t want to fly on Cebu Pathetic Pacific:
1. I don’t want Cebu Pacific to cancel and reroute my flight ever again.
- I really don’t know why this keeps on happening on flights to and from Calbayog. I don’t know if this also happens on other domestic routes. Since nobody from Cebu Pacific gave me an explanation, then I will give my hypothesis on my blog. For the rerouting in August 2010, I think it was because they anticipated high traffic on the domestic route on that date. They canceled the CYP flight as soon as it was announced that August 23 (Monday) was a non-working holiday, making August 20 (Friday) fall on a long weekend. The aircraft used for CYP flights (ATR 72-500) are the same ones used for their Caticlan/Boracay route since they’re smaller and can ply the Caticlan airport better. So this is the “AIRCRAFT SITUATION” after all? They’d rather anger their CYP passengers and reroute them to either Catarman (in Northern Samar) or Tacloban rather than lose money on the highly profitable Boracay route? Bad!
- If they don’t want to or cannot serve the CYP route, they should not service the route at all. Rather than service the route and reroute the passengers once they’ve booked, I wish they’d open up the route to other airlines. Airphil Express and Zest Air also fly to and from Calbayog but not on a daily basis due to the presence of Cebu Pacific.
- When Cebu Pacific canceled my flights, they always readily informed me the next available flight to Calbayog—which always turned out to be a week away. That only makes me angrier because WHY will I even book my flight on X date when I could fly in at Y date instead?! Cebu Pacific, your attempt at appeasing customers is pathetic. The type where I don’t know if I will lash out or laugh. There is a reason why I booked that flight on that specific date—a reason that’s been carefully planned and executed, supported by a vacation leave form in my office—a vacation leave date that has been scheduled months in advance and takes 4 approving signatories in order to be final. I am a busy professional with a day job and if I book a flight on August 20, 2010 Friday, that means it’s the ONLY time and date that I can ever travel. So much so that I will have no choice but to have myself rerouted and go on a 4 hour land trip just to get to my destination. I cannot change the dates of other people’s weddings or the celebration of a town festival just because Cebu Pacific has to cancel its flights. Shouldn’t that be obvious?
- I have also asked myself, “Do I have a right to complain considering that my fares were super cheap?” For my February 2011 trip, I booked my flights way back in June 2010, taking advantage of Cebu Pacific’s Piso Fare promo. This was what I told Cebu Pacific customer service in my email:
“As you will see, while I paid P297.20 only for my flights because I availed of the promo fares, it is not in any way my fault that you will have to rebook me on your other flights. So you cannot justify to me that the higher rates on the rerouted flights are enough compensation for what you will put me through. What is the use of these promo fares then? If you cannot guarantee the stability of your or the safety of your planes, then do not make it possible for consumers to book flights months prior to the scheduled flights.”
Actually for my August 2010 flight, I really ended up paying more. Because at the time that I booked my CYP flight, the fare for Tacloban was cheaper. Add that to the transportation expenses and the stress and inconvenience that I had to endure, well, I really did suffer actual and moral damages!I can stop this blog post here because I think my Reason #1 is REASON ENOUGH. But for good measure, here are my other reasons/rants:
2. I don’t ever want to experience the hassles of Cebu Pacific’s check-in and strict rules on baggage allowances again.
Since I was the one in charge of handling the flights, I told the check-in agent that we were not informed of this rule by our travel agent and asked the check-in agent to talk to his supervisor. And I also couldn’t help but drop the “L” word—as in L for lawyers. I told him that he simply shouldn’t make this difficult for all of us since he was going to be arguing against their 15 passengers who all happen to be lawyers (one of whom is our name partner and is known to be very, very demanding when it comes to his consumer rights). The check-in agent talked to his supervisor and we were not charged for excess baggage, just like that. But I’m thinking it was because we were a big group. And because of the L word.
Cebu Pacific has also been implementing a common check-in counter system. My experience of this system during my recent flight in February meant that I had to wait longer before I could check in:
There were ground crew who would shout out the destinations whose check-in counter were about to close. Then they would make the passengers cut the line to check in. I don’t find this efficient. And those who were early for their flights are in effect, punished for being early. And what if you don’t hear the ground crew shouting your destination? (Don’t wear your ipods people!)
My other bad experiences with Cebu Pacific’s check-in/baggage procedures include having my carry on luggage being rejected despite complying with measurements and having myself weighed (cargo??).
3. I don’t want to experience the horror stories of other Cebu Pacific passengers.
In my rantings to my friends about my horror stories, I have also heard about their own Cebu Pacific horror stories. Or the horror stories of their friends.
- My friend Marco told me that his friend was not able to get on the plane because he arrived at the airport 1 hour before his flight. When the friend reasoned that Cebu Pacific’s rule is that they close check-in counters 45 minutes before the flight, Cebu Pacific said that he should have been in the airport 2 hours before the flight and not 1 hour before.
- When my friend was vacationing in Ilocos, it was only when their group arrived in the Laoag airport that they were informed by Cebu Pacific that their flight was going to be canceled because one of the plane’s windows broke—something that Cebu Pacific knew hours before. My friend had to demand that they pay for their accommodation for the overnight stay in Laoag because Cebu Pacific didn’t even offer to do so.
- Julie was in Boracay and was still lounging and relaxing by the beach in the morning when Cebu Pacific called her on her cellphone and told her that her afternoon flight was moved up and that her flight was leaving in an hour. She had to scramble to pack her stuff in order to make it to her flight on time.
- When A. and I went to Boracay in May 2010, we met so many people from our hotel who were rerouted from Caticlan to Kalibo because of the strong winds and Cebu Pacific’s planes could not land in Caticlan. That’s aircraft situation for you
- One well-respected blogger, Market Man of Market Manila, also has so many rants against Cebu Pacific. You can read them here , here, and here. I haven’t searched yet but I will bet there are already so many rants against Cebu Pacific immortalized online. (Found this too).
I know that Cebu Pacific is a budget airline and it even prides itself on its low prices so that “every Juan” can fly. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse for UNRELIABLE service and bad customer relations. And I have learned that with Cebu Pacific, convenience will come at a price. Stress is a fixture in my job. And I refuse to add any more stress to my life just to save on airfare.
On the rerouting of the flights, I have already examined Cebu Pacific’s General Terms and Conditions of Carriage of Passengers and Baggage. It contains the following stipulation: “The Airline may change at any time and from time to time the regular schedule of any flight or postpone a flight to any day other than the scheduled day.” That may be their loophole right there but as a lawyer, I’m trained to look beyond that stipulation and I know I have several causes of action against them for the damages caused me. And the question remains, how come this only happens to me when I fly Cebu Pacific?
But beyond the legal implications, I choose instead to engage this situation as a consumer and through the blogging platform. As a consumer, I know there is a better way to deal with this. The most important lesson I have learned from this is realizing that I HAVE A CHOICE. And I will exercise that ultimate power by simply not going on any more Cebu Pacific flights*. They can’t have any more of my money, even if it’s as small as P1.00. Or P297.20. And more so if it’s more than that.
My last flight on PAL was to and from a domestic destination on Econolight for only about P2,500.00. No hiccup except for a flight delay. On my PAL flight before that, I flew to Kalibo on business class. We were treated to the Mabuhay Lounge, super roomy seats, in-flight meals, and the priority baggage carousel. Without any flight attendant hawking instant noodles and souvenir items. And we got all of that business class luxury for FREE because of my companion’s Mabuhay Miles. Now that certainly beats Cebu Pacific’s Piso Fares.
Wishing all of us more travels!
The views, opinions, and positions expressed in this post are the writer’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, strategies, or positions of any company or entity, nor do they reflect in any way any company or entity to which the writer is affiliated or working for, whether at the time of publication or in the future.