Being the most preferred airline in the Philippines when it comes to cost-effectiveness and value, Cebu Pacific has earned a name for itself in the industry. However, overseas Filipino workers or OFWs should caution themselves before booking a flight.
There are a number of bad tales that may spur you to pay the extra cost just to stay safe and get to your destination on time. Here are some reasons to avoid the Philippines’ largest airline.
Flights get delayed
There was a time when passengers choose Cebu Pacific flights because of their on-time flight pledge. But that’s now history. A growing number of flights are now delayed due to several factors, including lengthy security checks and weather disturbances.
There are plenty of times when flights get delayed due to several reasons like problems in the aircraft systems and equipment, too many airplanes from the company scheduled for the day, and booking problems. For OFWs with limited time and who wish to get to destinations promptly, this is a cautionary tale.
People can have their flights delayed by a few hours or completely canceled. Cebu Pacific needs to improve the way it accommodates too many passengers.
Since the airline — and its investors — may be more concerned about volume ticket sales, schedules can get compromised. OFWs have limited time to be with family, and delayed flights are among the last things we want to experience.
High-profile mishaps like a June 2 flight in Davao and another one in Manila two weeks later exposed safety concerns when flying this airline. Authorities are looking at human error as the cause of these accidents.
For OFWs whose lives are already at risk as they venture out of their comfort zones and are exposed to illegal recruiters, human traffickers, and corrupt airport staff, flying in an airline with questionable safety record — perhaps due to an overworked flight crew or lack of maintenance checks, is an insult to injury.
If we look back in history, it’s been so many years since that ill-fated Cebu Pacific flight 387 crashed at Mt Sumagaya and killed 99 passengers and crew members, but questions still remain.
The seats in Cebu Pacific airplanes have been readjusted to accommodate more passengers so only those near the exits as well as the front rows enjoy adequate leg room. It is very difficult to lean your seat back without taking the space of the person behind you.
Tall people usually hit their knees on the seat in front of them and others feel very claustrophobic throughout the flight. While passengers may endure this for a short while on domestic flights, we can only hope that wide-bodied aircraft will be used for long-haul flights to the Middle East. For OFWs who wish to treat themselves to a comfortable ride, maybe this is not the way to go.
Poor customer support.
In the aftermath of the 5J 971 flight whose plane skidded off the runway at Davao’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport, there was an apparent lack of coordination among flight crew, ground staff, and overall crisis management team, if the airline has one. Passengers were not informed of what was going on and flight attendants were allegedly unable to advise passengers what to do. And when weary folks inside the cabin were able to get off the plane, help from the airline was virtually non-existent.
Passenger Menard Dacono, 26, a Filipino business development manager working in Singapore, said when they reached the airport, not one official from Cebu Pacific faced them.
Its bad reputation extends to handicapped fellow passengers, who were disallowed boarding for various reasons.
Customer support should not only be extended to people who buy tickets or rebook their flights. They also include those who miss flights because of delays and passengers who suffer from what’s been identified as errors of the carrier.
We can only guess Cebu Pacific is more of style than substance when it comes to customer care as its infamous dancing flight attendants were good only for a show and a total failure during times when they’re expected to perform their duties.
Oh, and by the way, just because you’re enjoying the Piso fare doesn’t mean you’re getting the flight on the cheap. You have to pay for snacks and luggage and if you’re careless when booking online, you’ll have to pay for your seat or make an unintended donation.
Many OFWs experience getting bumped off their flights because they were never informed that they were only booked as chance passengers. Many discounted tickets have a clause hidden in the fine print, giving the airline the right to remove passengers if the plane gets overcrowded.
The problem starts from the time the company books more people than what the aircraft can accommodate to ensure that all flights are full. Even when there was a government order, a defiant Cebu Pacific vowed to appeal the decision and threatened to raise its fares if it fails to get a positive outcome.
As a precaution, learn more about the terms when flying airlines (not just Cebu Pacific). Always read the flight details when planning to fly with Cebu Pacific and try other airlines and notice the difference in service to amenities.
As Cebu Pacific provides more routes for us to reach our hometowns and enjoy our vacation, it’s definitely a welcome treat. But with complaints, we hear from other passengers about missed flights, lost luggage, and apparently, lack of attention to customer complaints are all red flags for overseas Filipino workers who, like everyone, want good service.