The dawn of the aviation era was one of man’s greatest accomplishments. Flying has improved, where we live, how we live, how we work, and more besides. Travel is more often than not a seamless experience. We, as travellers are comfortable with the ‘ground game’ which I describe as the non-flying elements. But it seems that some airlines seem to forget the purpose of their existence.
The airlines have had many, many years of practice, trial and error, to get things right, but every now and then they seem to get frontal lobotomies with regard to co coordinating their operations.
I live in Asia. In The Philippines to be precise. There is a company which operates out of Cebu in the southern part of the country named Cebu Pacific.
They are well known by weary travellers around the country, as not the most competent of airlines,but after my recent experience, I decided I had to put fingers to keyboard and document my latest episode.
As a precursor to this I should explain that Filipino people are known for not complaining about anything, which is another contributing factor to the complacency of their airlines.
My wife and I had just returned from a trip to Bali, Indonesia, and arrived back in Manila to spend the night before flying back home(Dumaguete) the following day. We arrived at the terminal and checked in (so far, so good),went through to the departures. We checked the boarding passes. Gate 116,seats 1A,1B, departure time 11.55am.
We made our way to the departure gate, and as we did, we checked the information board located in the main causeway. Information: flight 5J627 gate 134 final call!!. Strange!! we thought, but made our way to gate 116 to check. At this gate, there were many passengers, too many for our flight, and they were bound for another place. “Yes your flight is from this gate, just wait”we were told. I went back to get a photo of the info board to show the gate attendant if need be, and after sitting for 10 or so minutes, proceeded back to gate 116. This was at 11.30am, bearing in mind that our flight was due to take off in 20 minutes. As we were walking down the stairs to the gate we were met by hundreds of passenger coming up the stairs. We waited for them to pass, and went to the desk, along with an elderly American gent. “The gate has been moved sir” followed by the line which fixes ALL situations, “we are sorry for the inconvenience sir” The fact that the flight was advertised from gate 134 (on the information board) and another flight scheduled to leave gate 116 before our flight, “how can they keep getting it wrong?”
The American who was with me said, I quote, “they pull this shit every time we fly, I am sick of it” This is, I would say, a common reaction to Cebu Pacific’s service. Flights constantly cancelled, delays of 6+ hours on 1-hour flights, no apologies, compensation, (food for several hours of waiting even). And to top it all, the passengers were being rushed to board, due to ‘the airline’s mistake’, but the attitude being reflected quite often, in my experience is “we are not sorry, just get on your flight and stop complaining” Going back to my precursor, only myself and the American gent actually remonstrated with the staff. A good 95% of the passengers were Filipino, they just listened to the announcement, and walked. I have flown for many years and have had lots of delays, cancellations, etc..,but i have to provide Cebu Pacific with a new statement to give to customers.“We apologize for our bad service” this would be more apt, than the hollow apologies, which must form the very 1st part of their training.