Why I always think twice before booking a cheap fare from Cebu Pacific

When you book a flight to that ultimate summer getaway, what do you consider in choosing an airline?

When I book a flight, I usually open three to four airline websites to compare details. Then I would check on the rates and the plus or minus features that goes with it such as baggage allowance and rebooking feature. I also compare the time of flights available. 

I had always thought they were pretty much the same. But there is such a thing called Customer Service that makes all the difference.
Cebu Pacific bad service
Source: www.memegenerator.com
I believe in the age old saying - "Customers are always right." I was trained as a customer service representative once in my life, so I know the value of the service. If not for Customer Service, the call-center industry in the Philippines would not have grown. Quite disappointing to say, that while Filipinos provide for customer support of foreign product or service, local products or service do not recognize the power of providing one.
On a trip to Dumaguete for an adventure in Apo Island Marine Sanctuary, I had a gust against Cebu Pacific for their customer service protocols and the attitude of their ground crews. While I do not discredit Cebu Pacific revolutionizing the airline industry with their cheap flights true to their "Its time every Juan Flies!" tagline, they certainly have lots to learn and provide for every Juan. Not because Juan paid less for his ticket means Cebu Pacific or its crew could treat them as shit. Remember how they refused a special child from boarding a flight back in 2010? See HERE.

So this was how it happened to us..

STRIKE 1: CHECK-IN MISHAP
We approached the check-in counter for our Cebu Pacific flight (5mins after closing) and the crew was just wrapping up. We literally begged her to accommodate us on the flight, but to no avail. Five more minutes into begging (and close to kneeling), 11 more late passengers arrived and joined us. I thought there is strength in number, and this was our chance if we all stick together... The lady crew apologized to us in the most sarcastic manner possible that she could not do anything for us. A lady from the other group politely asked for the manager, unfortunately the manager have other matters to attend to. I called another participant to the AWC which I know will be on the same flight, and confirmed they're basically just sitting there, waiting for the plane which was apparently delayed... WTF, then why can't we check-in on the plane? The flight was delayed, you have more passengers lined up for check-in outside, what keeps you from doing something?
Ms. Manager arrived 40 freakin' minutes later, and told us that the plane is already boarding, so it's basically too late for us to be on that flight. So much for customer service!!

In my head I'm thinking, are their tickets cheap because they cut off budget to not train their personnel to some manners. A little manners wouldn't hurt the company's profit, why can't Cebu Pacific invest in that? 

I thought that was the end of the deal. I moved on and had so much fun swimming with my AWC girls in Apo Island Marine Sanctuary. Here comes my flight back to Manila and Cebu Pacific strikes again.

STRIKE 2: RETURN FLIGHT CANCELLED
Lined up at the counter to get our assigned accommodation after the flight had been cancelled, I overheard two foreign tourist talking to the ground crew in charge. They have another flight booked out of the country for the next day. So they were concerned that if the special flight is at 9AM of the next day, they would definitely miss their international flight. They were asking for some assistance and a possibility to book them on an earlier regular flight. If not, perhaps Cebu Pacific could shoulder the cost of rebooking their international  flight. How the airline dealt with a problem such as this says much of the quality of their customer service. The ground crew apologized (sincerity questionable, verbiage execution poor), and said that they should have taken into consideration an allowance between flights for these kinds of incidents. That was definitely nasty. Blaming a customer for the inconvenience of your flight cancellation? I don't know what else to think at this point.

Source: www.pinoysecretfiles.com

STRIKE 3: DINNER SERVED
This was the meal that the inn served us courtesy of Cebu Pacific.  Well, you get the picture.

STRIKE 4: DELAYED RETURN FLIGHT
The return (special) flight was supposedly 9:00AM but the plane arrived past 12NN. If you arrive late on check-in, you don't get to be in that flight. You end up spending more to buy new ticket which is double to triple of your missed flight fare. If a plane arrives late, the cost of that delay is still upon you. You don't get to have a refund or an option for that matter to not wait for the delayed flight.

The only good thing that came up with this ordeal with Cebu Pacific was a free one-way ticket to a domestic destination valid only for three months. But that won't even compensate to my loss of missing one day at work, not to mention my boss's rough stare. I booked my free flight for a return flight from Busuanga Island. Of course I booked my going-to flight at another airline. ^_^

So whenever I book a flight now, I think twice about booking at Cebu Pacific. It's a bad experience and I don't want to experience it again. I am not hard to please, but at the very least, I want to feel that I am being valued as a customer. A different tone of voice from the ground crew and a sincere apology would have changed my impression. I'm not saying I won't be booking at Cebu Pacific anymore. But price would no longer be my priority to book with an airline. I'd give my loyalty to an airline who values a passenger regardless of how much his/her ticket is worth.

P.S. Cebu Pacific innovated airline services such as web online check-in, online seat selection which are charged on the customer's bill. They might as well add a click button on their website for an option to get good customer service. I'd be more than happy to pay extra for that service... Aight?!

UPDATE in 2015
Still don't believe me?
In 2015, between December 24-26, Cebu Pacific have had 20 flight cancellations and 288 delayed flights in Manila, to which they paid a hefty sum of P52.1million as fined by the Civil Aeronautics Board for their poor handling of passengers. Read more HERE.

Did you have the same experience? Don't forget to COMMENT!

2 comments:

  1. Aww... sorry to hear about your misfortunes :( I usually fly with CebuPac and never had an annoying experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Misadventures" is what I prefer to call them Pinay Travel Junkie.. They make us better and wiser travelers!

    So Cheers! :D

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you.. Please share your experiences too.. ^_^

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