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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bargaining prowess

I could say my bargaining prowess is weak. I don't usually get the best bargains unlike my friend T. Maybe I'm just not the type who wants to argue, I'd rather keep mum than go over a lousy argument (with some exceptions).

With my bad experience with the lousy service of Cebu Pacific I know I have every right to sue them, I'll just put that on the shelf for the meantime. Yes, just for the meantime, wait til I get some connection inside, someone deserves to be booted out. tsk tsk tsk Anyway, i should learn how others bargain with Cebu Pacific...

1. Our family friend J. was bumped off on his flight to Manila, his father-in-law was a columnist, so he had his experience written in the national papers. They were offerred two roundtrip air tickets. I called him during my ordeal, apparently, he couldn't care less since he has swear not to ever deal with them again.

2. My friend A, together with her family was bound for Guangzhou, they were bumped off but after refusing to leave the counter, demanding that their hotel bills be settled as well, they were able to get seats! I think concessions were given to anyone who'd give up their seats.

3. My friend J, was bound for Bangkok, her mom was refused to take the flight for the reason she didn't have visa to enter since she's holding a Taiwan passport. There's no need for a visa, they insist yet she never get to fly nor got any concession. Yes, visa is not needed as confirmed by Thai immigration officials.

4. My cousin B, booked a connecting flight to Macau. Their local flight was cancelled so they cannot make it to the flight. He was asked to pay for rebooking fees, but after repeated calls, they were able to rebook for free.

5. My friend's cousin C, received a call and was offered if she could take an earlier flight and since she can make it earlier, she said yes and proceeded to the airport. When she got on the plane, the passengers applauded her. She learned from her seatmate, the flight was delayed for an hour and the announcement made was they were waiting for a passenger. Humiliating! Her story was published in the local papers, I'm not quite sure if she got concessions.

6. My cuz B along with the rest of the passengers were kept inside the plane for 3 hours before it was announced that the flight was cancelled.

7. Me, I've written my story. I filed a complain at the airport and sent email twice to complain but never got a reply. Keeping my cool, I worked out some documents, called every day to follow-up the cancellation confirmation, I got my tickets refunded three months later with the help of my credit card issuer.

8. Me, I booked again with the same airline last June for it's irresistible all-in rate. I got two calls while I was abroad that my flight was cancelled. (grr, I had to pay roaming rate for that) Luckily, I alreay decided to forego that ticket beforehand, I alreay booked another flight with PAL. With that, I'll get a refund for that cancelled flight that I no longer intend to take. *fingers crossed*

From these experiences, I've learned:

1. To always keep your cool.
2. Listen first to what they can offer, take a stand then bargain.
3. Never leave the desk until you get what you want.
4. Free tickets are no good, you still have to pay for the taxes and fuel surcharge.
5. To call their hotline, use local phone with speakers, you have to wait for as long as 30 minutes before your call gets picked up. It's best to call at midnight.
6. While on the phone, be patient, sometimes they'll have you wait for 10 minutes before they can give feedback.
7. On the phone, manage your anger, the call center agent now has on their manual to say, "sir/ma'am if you don't stop, I will hang up."
8. Check-in early but even with a boarding pass at hand, it doesn't guarantee you a seat.
9. Credit card companies entertain complaints only when a cancellation confirmation is issued by the airline.
10. Contact Arnulfo Alivio, director for Manila operations at (02)8536781.
11. Don't fly with Cebu Pacific ever again.

Their promo fare is irresistible so prepare to face your ordeal... yes, I have booked a flight home for Monday. I'm not in a rush, but I hope they'll redeem themselves this time. Wish me luck!