A Cebu Economy Flight

SINULOG CEBU FLIGHT 2014

January 11, 2014.  Around 6PM, we received an SMS from Cebu Pacific that the flight has been cancelled due to aircraft malfunction (or issues).  An SMS? Seriously?  12 hours before the flight and you send an SMS that the flight’s been cancelled and we’re not even in Manila at the time.  No courtesy to call the passengers to rebook?   So we called long distance (in the middle of an ongoing event) and we were given the option to book a flight that’s 30 minutes later than the original flight.  Not that we had an option since we were going to prepare for the Sinulog project for a client in Cebu.  So we accepted the new schedule at 620AM for January 12.

January 12, 2014. We were at the airport as early as 4AM. The self-check in was very convenient although we still had to go to the counter to check the bags in, the call the counters “BAG DROP” counters.  And so we were on queue at the bag counter for more than an hour and it was already 550PM.   The queue was so long mainly because the bag drop counter also catered to check-in passengers.   So much for the self check in convenience.

So I approached a Cebu Pacific staff roaming around and I asked if the check in already closed since the bag drop counter queue was still long (At this point, we already lined up on two different queues for more than an hour and a half).  She said someone will flash a board if the check in will be on last call.  I reiterated that the flight is less than 30 minutes away and the check in should have closed 45 minutes prior, she said she will check.

She never came back.

Finally my friend lined up at the 2nd queue got through the counter. We checked in the bags and hurdled off to the assigned gate.  Even before we reached the gate, our names were being announced saying last call for boarding!  We didn’t even know it was already boarding time.

Had we been delayed for ten more minutes at the bag drop counter, we would have caused the delay for the entire flight.

We boarded and I must have fallen asleep from exhaustion the first 3 minutes.

The plane landed and the sudden jolt woke me up. We’re in Cebu.

It was raining and unfortunately, the plane was not assigned a proper off boarding location where we could have walked through a shaft from the plane going to the airport.  We walked down the stairs from the plane where a series of ground staff were lined by the stairs with umbrellas so we won’t get wet (which we of course still did) and  we got on a bus going to the arrival gate.

We got off the bus and we didn’t know where to go since no assistance was available when we got off the bus. We walked to the left and the supposed arrival gate was closed. One passenger had to knock before a guard opened the gate from the inside.

Baggage area.  Finally.

FINALLY.

It’s a very rough trip going to Cebu, rough and stressful.

A friend in Manila told me

It’s a cheap flight. Go figure

I cannot seem to stomach the thought that service will be bad when the flight is on promo fare.  Come to think of it, our fare was not cheap and it’s two thousand more than the usual Philippine Airline ticket that I used to get (since I used to go to Cebu every month for three years).

I guess what really got to me was that:

  • The check in and bag drop system was so disorganized
  • No one from the Cebu Pacific group was managing the queue
  • The self check in system was USELESS.
  • Cebu pacific was the only flight that could cater to our booking for the said timeline and it made things more frustrating

Our travel back to Manila on January 19, 2014 will still be via Cebu Pacific.  I have a Bangkok trip via Cebu pacific come January 27th and needless to say, that will be the last for the rest of my life.

I hope. Since business arrangements are sometimes last minute and I can only hope we will have other airline options.

I can only hope.  But boy, did Cebu Pacific welcome this trip with open arms!

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About +daddy+drEw+

HIV awareness and treatment Advocate & Activist. Living with HIV since 2007. A friend. A partner. A dad to the HIV Community.
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