To Whom It May Concern:
On August 5, 2011, my husband, my father, my daughter, and I had tickets to fly to Cebu from Caticlan. At around 10AM, we arrived at the Caticlan Airport. It was raining and windy. Upon check-in at the airline booth, we heard that the Manila flight that was before ours was just canceled. I asked the staff what was the status of our flight, but was informed that there were no new updates and flight was a go. We waited at the boarding area of the airport.
We were scheduled to fly at 11:40AM and 30 minutes before our flight, there was an announcement that the plane we would be using was on its way and that our flight would be slightly delayed. An hour later, there was another announcement updating us that our flight was canceled. They had us go to the check-in booth. The four of us did just that and we were halted by a staff who told us to get our terminal fee refunds and go to the check-in booth. I got our terminal fee refund. When I went to the check-in booth and asked them what was happening and what was our next step, the woman-in-charge asked me in a very loud and rude voice why I had our terminal fee refunded. I told her that I was told to do that. She shook her head at me! This started to tick me off because I felt I did something wrong, but I was doing what one of their own staff told me to do!!!
The plane passengers were starting to crowd around the booth and no answers we given. I craved for good customer service at this point, but none was given! All other airlines were flying out of the Caticlan airport except for Cebu Pacific. I did not understand that so I asked around until I could get answers. I was later told that the pilots were not confident in flying out in this weather and that our original plane had diverted its landing to Kalibo. Their option for us was to bring us to Kalibo and then we had to fly from there to Manila and then take another flight to Cebu. This seemed like a reasonable option, but problem was they weren't sure about seats availability from Manila to Cebu! This slowly started to feel like an unwanted adventure! Especially one I didn't want to take with my 2 year old daughter and 78 year old dad!
Mid-afternoon, we were finally given tickets for our Manila and Cebu flight. I had to ask twice to confirm if these tickets were good to go since there was a major misunderstanding in the airport. People were getting restless. So, we were flying out from Kalibo. Cebu Pacific Air offered us a van to bring us to Kalibo. Trip took 90-120 minutes. The trip from Caticlan to Kalibo was not easy. The road was zigzag, it was raining hard, and there were rocks and mud in the roads from landslides (I prayed really hard that nothing would happen to us). We were riding with other people and the tension was clear (the foreigners behind us were very pissed!). My 2 year old started feeling sick from the zigzag just as we arrived at the airport. Plus, we had no food and drinks. With all the confusion and commotion, we skipped lunch! Of course, Cebu Pacific Air never offered us anything to eat or drink, which other airlines would have!
In Kalibo, the lines were super long! I felt so bad for my dad. Thankfully, we got through that, paid the terminal fee, and waited at the boarding area. Our flight for Manila was postponed over and over again. I wondered if we would ever make it for our Manila-Cebu flight. Finally after what felt like an eternity our plane finally made it. It was 2 hours late. It was pitch black outside and we still had no food in our stomachs!
The plane was long meters away so I requested for a wheelchair for my Dad, who surrendered to fatigue. He still had to walk the stairs up to the Airbus. When the man who accompanied my dad saw our ticket numbers he shook his head! Turns out, Caticlan staff gave us exit seats! And we were with an elderly and a toddler who cannot sit in these particular seats! Tsk2x! Thank God, there was an empty seat in the 3rd row, which my dad sat on, I sat at the exit seat, my husband and my daughter sat one row behind me! I do not like traveling separated from my family!
We arrive in Manila just in time to board our Cebu flight. I had no idea what time it was precisely but I was sure it was mid-night already. They had us go down from the plane. Someone was waiting for my dad with a wheelchair and brought him to the boarding gate, while my husband, daughter, and I had to go round the airport. Let me tell you the Manila airport is not small; it is huge! I was already so tired, and so was my daughter! Some passengers were running to the plane, but I just couldn't. My legs were tightening and numb from the walk! I don't care how many times they were gonna call our names! At the terminal, they asked for our ticket in Kalibo. I had our Manila-Cebu tickets, but I didn't have the Kalibo-Manila ones. Turns out, the man who accompanied my dad in the Airbus in Kalibo never returned the ticket. So in Manila they made us pay P800 terminal fee for the 4 of us. What a waste of money! I don't understand it because they knew we paid the terminal fee in Kalibo since they let us ride the plane! What a service!
We walked fast, not thinking of our aching bodies, to the boarding gates. We were the last passengers to board the flight. But surprise surprise, some passengers were still standing because we were told that in Caticlan they overbooked some of the seats! So I was holding a ticket number but someone was already sitting on it!@#$%*!!! And to top it all off, we boarded the same plane we rode from Kalibo. So they made us go down from our original plane, run around the airport, pay P800 in terminal fee, have our names called in the damn microphone, only to ride the SAME PLANE?! Are you joking Cebu Pacific Air?! Standing there in the plane, not knowing if we would be able to go home, I finally lost my cool!
I know that the weather was bad and I know that this was a natural cause. But nothing natural happened to us! When the staff at Cebu Pacific in Caticlan found out that the original flight was canceled, instead of being rude and sometimes pretending not to listen to our concerns, they could have brought all the people concerned and explain thoroughly the situation. Not only is it helpful for the confused passengers, but also to them as it lessens the passengers going back and forth the booth trying to get answers.
I have no problem about the canceled flight because of the weather. I UNDERSTAND THAT. What I have a big problem with is the CUSTOMER SERVICE. Not once did I feel like the staff didn't empathized with us and our situation (having a toddler and a elderly). Not once did someone come up to us to tell us what was happening. We had to keep going to them to find what was going on, which prevented us from grabbing anything to eat because we didn't know what would happen next! Again, something UNNATURAL, the extremely delayed flights! The horrible road trip from Caticlan-Kalibo with landslide prone areas!The forgetting of returning our tickets which led us to pay another round of terminal fee! The running around the huge airport just to board the same plane, what a joke! And the overbooking of the ticket!
So we were standing in the plane. I had just lost my temper. The flight attendant told me I could write all of that in a complaint form (which he never gave me), again thanks for the empathy *insert sarcasm* We flew to Cebu separately again! But because of the lack of seats and overbooking the seats, our daughter wasn't given her own seat. She was told to sit on my husband's lap even though we PAID for her own seat. I worried about her safety because it must be for security reasons why Cebu Pacific makes us pay fully for seats for 2 year olds and up. I mentally struggled in this flight but thanked the Lord we were on our way home. Cebu Pacific Air is not accommodating at all! And this trip left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I had to pay P50 for a bottle of water, which was the only thing I had since 9 this morning!
We arrived in Cebu at midnight. We arrived in the Caticlan airport at 10AM that morning and at midnight we were finally on our way to our house. During the car ride, I felt all the exhaustion, hunger, disappointment, and depression all at once. I finally broke down.
I know that this letter might not do much, as we are just 4 persons amongst the thousands. I've heard complaints from friends and family, but it's only now that I finally get how frustrating the service of Cebu Pacific Air is. I never expected anything free, but I did expect PROFESSIONALISM and a FRIENDLY FACE among the confusion. I know you are in the business of making money. And I know you are thinking that you will never lose customers with your ongoing promos, but maybe you should start thinking of watching your back especially with other competing airlines coming up with their own promos. Wouldn't you rather known as the company that has great promos and equally great customer service or have people say:
"CEBU PACIFIC AIR? YEAH, GREAT PROMOS BUT HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!"
Yeah, I didn't think so.
Waiting for our flight to be canceled - Caticlan Airport
Flight is canceled, Commotion begins
@Kalibo Airport - more and more waiting. feel the frustration.