Wednesday, July 11, 2007

off to a confusing start

this trip had a lot of mishaps attached to it. even from the beginning, cebu pacific had already made the entire thing difficult.

for starters, when i was booking the tickets during the piso fare promo a few months back, a tiny delay caused me to lose an earlier flight by about a second, so we got stuck with the 415pm flight. the time surely gave us a hard time, because we had less time to travel, and the entire saturday was basically wasted, since we'll be arriving at 515pm already.

thankfully, we were able to plan the trip around the inconvenient flight schedule. but we just had to encounter another hassle.

on the morning of our trip, i received an SMS message from cebu pacific, informing me that our 415pm flight was changed to 650pm instead. i immediately called their 24-hour hotline to find out what happened, and to try to see if i can get us on an earlier flight.

mc, the customer service rep, informed me that there was an "aircraft situation," and weather conditions also had them moving flights. i inquired if there was an earlier flight that we could get into, but he informed me that due to weather conditions, all flights before 650pm were cancelled.

i didn't believe him, so i called again. they told me the same thing. since that was around 6am, i decided to sleep on it. after waking up at around 12nn, i called them up to see if anything had changed. the female customer service rep this time told me that there was an earlier flight, which was the 545pm flight. she also informed me that it was open. she told me that we will have to go to the ticketing office directly if i want to be booked on that flight.

again, i had to make sure they were feeding us correct information. i called again. i was told that there was indeed a 545pm flight, but it was full. i asked if it was possible to try it out as a chance passenger, and she said our chances were pretty slim.

to be on the safe side, susie and i decided to just go to the airport at 3pm, just to see if there's any way we could get on an earlier flight. unfortunately, the lady at the ticketing office beside the domestic airport told us that the 545pm flight was already full, but that we are definitely booked for 650pm. she even printed out the ticket, crossed out 415pm, and rewrote 650pm with her blue pen.

defeated, susie and i decided to see if we could check-in early for the 650pm flight, so we wouldn't have to lug our suitcases around in case we want to kill time outside the airport. as we were lining up, i saw a sign by the check-in counter and curious me couldn't help but check it out.

the notice stated that the 415pm flight was moved to 515pm due to aircraft situation. i was confused. i thought the 415pm was moved to 650pm? so i took out my ticket and asked the nice lady at the check-in counter. she conferred with another cebu pacific check-in counter lady and told me that we were booked for the 515pm. it's as though the 650pm flight was imaginary, the way they were acting.

astounded but happy at this turn of events, i went back in line and told susie about it. we were checked in for the 515pm, leaving us less time to kill in the crowded waiting area of the domestic airport.

445pm rolled around, our supposed boarding time, and nothing happened. no announcements that the flight was delayed, no one putting up a "cebu" sign by the door, signaling us to board. as it happens, the flight was moved to 545pm, the flight that everybody else kept telling us was already booked.

in the end, we got to cebu safely, but that's not really all that matters. sure, getting there safely is a big thing, but the entire confusion could have been avoided if cebu pacific handled information better. imagine, the lady at the ticketing office, which was a very short walk from the entrance of the domestic airport, gave us the wrong information about our flight. we found out about the correct time five minutes later when we checked in.

we were lucky that we were for vacation, and we weren't really in a hurry. but what of people who had booked on the 415pm flight, hoping to get there before 6pm? and what about the other people who were told that the 415pm flight was moved to 650pm? they'd be at the airport at 450pm or 5pm, and might not even be allowed to check in.

i love cebu pacific for giving us really low fares, but if low fares mean bad service, i'd rather save up a little more and have on-time flights and correct information. whatever happened to their old tagline of 95% on-time?

1 comment:

travelphilippines said...

grrr i hate it when flights are delayed. especially if im travelling alone.