07 Nov2014

I have been sitting in the departure lounge at the Mactan Cebu airport for the past 3.5+ hours, for a flight that was supposed to depart at 6pm, and is now scheduled to depart at 930-10pm, some 4 hours late. I travel this route 2-3 times a month so I am familiar with the flights and occasional delays. It does seem that PAL delays have increased noticeably since the recent changeover in ownership, or at least it feels that way to me. At any rate, this gives me a chance to observe operations at our tiny Zubuchon stall in the departure lounge, so all is not wasted.

But I wanted to post a link to this clear and easy description of your rights when you purchase a passenger ticket on a domestic flight in the Philippines. It’s best for you to educate yourselves on when a flight is considered cancelled, when you are entitled to a meal, when you can insist they put you on another carrier and have them pay the difference, or when to blow a gasket with cause, essentially. It’s also useful to know when you can demand compensation if your luggage doesn’t arrive within an hour of your flight or if you lose your luggage altogether. I ran across this listing of rights a while back, and frankly am thrilled it exists, though I would have written a tougher set of guidelines. Tonight there is another PAL plane scheduled after our original flight, but the plane is here, and there is no crew. The crew are arriving as passengers on the delayed incoming flight from Manila… so now two flights are delayed. PAL has already handed out PHP180 meal vouchers which I used to buy some siomai at Tsim Sha Tsui, a neighboring stall (yup, I don’t ALWAYS eat our own food), and now it’s just a long wait on hard metal seats until we board the plane.

P.S. About five minutes after I posted this, a PAL manager came looking for me at our Zubuchon stall to hand over an upgrade to business class, first row. Nice. And I didn’t even have to refer to the Airline Passenger “Bill of Rights” — they just needed to pack more people into the plane. :)

P.P.S. We are about to board soon, but wait, they apparently haven’t fed the pilots. The co-pilot has lined up at Zubuchon to buy his and perhaps the captain’s dinner! Hahaha. At least they have good taste. And our crew got the order done, packed and out in less than 2 minutes flat! It’s kind of amusing/ embarrassing when we board planes and you spy the flight crew in the cockpit munching on a fast meal in Zubuchon take-out containers.



  1. artisan chocolatier says:

    Thus the reason why I fly air asia (and not cebupac or pal). this year alone, i’ve flown air asia several times, and we always fly 30-minutes ahead of schedule. tiger air was the same until cebupac bought their route.

    Nov 7, 2014 | 11:55 pm


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  3. Bernard says:

    I have read somewhere that the Pilot and Co-pilot can’t have the same meal to avoid both of them getting sick on food poisoning.

    Nov 8, 2014 | 1:21 am

  4. Marketman says:

    Bernard, yup, I have read that too. I wonder if they ordered different things…

    Nov 8, 2014 | 8:50 am

  5. millet says:

    had a good laugh over that last paragraph, hehe….

    Nov 8, 2014 | 10:44 am

  6. Mimi says:

    I noticed that the new term Cebu Pacific uses when the flight is actually delayed is RE-TIMED. Was on a last minute trip to Manila on Cebu Pacific (S$1,200+ for 2 return tickets!) and our departure was suddenly changed an hour plus later. I called my brother, my “sundo” to say it was delayed.

    This RE-TIMED wording is a fallacy, as it really is delayed. So when flights are statistically checked, the airline will have few delays because flights have been RE-TIMED.

    Nov 8, 2014 | 11:27 am

  7. AlexME says:

    MM…I bet the pilots were glad their meal at Zubochon was not delayed by 3.5+ hours. But wait, then you would have had to hand them a meal voucher at Tsim Sha Tsui to use for the delay…Ha! Ha!

    Nov 8, 2014 | 12:12 pm

  8. Connie C says:

    @Bernard: The pilots probably felt sure Zubuchon is safe for the both of them:)

    Nov 8, 2014 | 1:11 pm

  9. LizCuy says:

    Coming from a “flying” background, and married into a “flying” family, let me share what I know. Yes, pilots (specifically, the Captain and his First Officer) should never have the same meal- so in the event of crew incapacitation, one pilot is always able-bodied. This is a rule in any airline. Enforcement, though, may vary. I still get goosebumps recalling the story of the pilots of a then-startup budget airline in the Philippines serving their pilots packed carinderia food- and one incident where both pilots had food poisoning.
    A lot of pilots get weary of airplane food and some bring their own food inflight, more so if it’s not a long-hauler. Deciding to buy the Zubuchon was a looked-forward-to break from the usual fare, I am sure! They probably got different food items, if they were following protocol. (I would certainly ask the hubby to get me Zubuchon if he flew to Cebu, but, alas, he does not. I have to rely on the good graces of friends and family coming from Cebu and heading to our city.)
    The Manila airport is ill-equipped (literally and figuratively) to handle the volume of air traffic. Airlines usually have their hands tied about the delays. It’s the same complaint by airlines flying into mainland China- a one-hour delay is S.O.P. (for a landing slot) so flights are already delayed on purpose before they even leave for a Chinese airport. To an extent, that also happens in Manila and its airspace.

    Nov 8, 2014 | 3:30 pm

  10. Natie says:

    Very informative post and replies, as ever… These are busy travel days-the holidays.

    Nov 9, 2014 | 11:51 pm

  11. Connie C says:

    Thanks MM for the helpful info on the airline industry.

    Consumers have hardly any protection or rights in ‘Pins in general.

    Despite the so called bill of rights or policies meant to protect consumers, businesses often make the complainants go thru so much hassle and pain for their grievances to be addressed. Many just give up and do not pursue their rights if they are even aware of them. And how many even bother to read the fine print of lengthy policy disclosures?

    And if only our lawmakers had the time to make stronger consumer regulations and make them stick. But there is so much time hearing issues of corruption and accountability. Just think of the terrible inconveniences and suffering heaped upon daily on our poor commuters, a fact our government agencies can’t even make right!

    As warning especially for online shoppers and bargain hunters on the onslaught of holiday season shopping: Buyers beware! Or you may never get your money back. Here at least, a bank and companies take action:


    Nov 10, 2014 | 6:16 am

  12. Charles says:

    Good afternoon. I had the Zubuchon Paksiw na lechon last Wednesday at the Mactan Airport Departure waiting area and it was a heavenly meal with a “sir mainit po yan” bibinka. After eating my meal, I decided to have a hotdog for dessert and walked over to gate GO5 to wait for boarding call. While waiting for Cebu Pacific Flight 5J568 to begin the boarding process, I was confronted by 3 wait staff of a unknown restaurant located inside the departure area advising me that I haven’t paid for my meal! I had great difficulty hearing what the young wait staff was telling me due to over capacity of GO5 and standing room only. I observed these same 3 employees of the restaurant frantically looking for the person who “forgot” to pay their bill.

    Nov 28, 2014 | 11:12 am


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