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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!


  1. hehehe

    i'm one of the lucky ones when it comes to CP pala. hehehe so far so good.

    you'll be trying out the NAIA 3 terminal as well! cool! take pictures ^^

  2. yup, trying out NAIA 3 would be my consolation :D

  3. I consider myself one of the luckier Cebu Pacific customers. I haven't had problems with them...YET. Not exactly looking forward to having problems with them though. Oh there was that time we waited 4 hours to get served in their ticket office, but that doesn't really compare to flight delays and cancellations.

    It's true, it's so hard to resist their ticket prices. If I have time to spare, the delays wouldn't be much of a problem (of course it's inconvenient and cuts my vacation time), but if I'm flying out for business, I'd rather fly with a different airline.

    It's sad that you've experienced these kind of things. Ugh, I can just imagine how frustrated you were!

    (I'm actually holding 3 Cebu Pacific tickets. Good luck nalang sakin hahaha)

  4. haha good luck nina! my seatmate on the plane got 5 more tickets on CP and he's now dreading!

  5. Cebu are absolute horseshit. I don't even want to go into the story of what we went through today. We showed up 5 mins after the 45 minute cut off, so they had given our tickets away (and clearly got revenue for this) but STILL wanted us to pay full price for the next ticket. We flatly refused and in the end they said they can put us on the next flight for a Peso 1,400 (about US$28) fee. FEE FOR WHAT? Anyway in the end we paid it. They kept ignoring us and saying 'please wait sir' for about 35 minutes. We completely lost our cool. And we asked another checkout assistant what's happening and she said 'this flight is full sir' but then the other one came back with our tickets, and the plane wasn't even half full! WTF why did the other one say it was full. Cebu must be the world's worst airline. Whatever you do, don't fly with them. Take another airline, a boat, a space shuttle, a canoe, even swim! But please don't go with Cebu.