04 May2009

My recent post on Cebu Pacific delays and consumer advocacy got me thinking the other day… Why isn’t there more intelligent and analytical coverage of service industries in this country? Are writers and publishers so afraid that this kind of reporting will kill off paid advertising? I often turn the pages of the local papers and lament the lack of interesting content, and often rattle off several potential articles that I would like to read instead… Many topics require extensive research and analysis, but others may only need a few hours of simple googling to form the kernel of an article that will at least get people to think and act intelligently. I felt this way several times in the past, and once got annoyed enough to write this simple post (which took days of work) on pricing arbitrage (differentials) for a limited number of items at 5 Manila groceries, which I have now retitled as Marketman’s “Consumer Report #1.” For Report # 2, I started with an obvious premise, that I and the vast majority of the readers of this blog assume that Cebu Pacific, with its dodgy on-time performance, refund policies, etc., MUST have significantly lower ticket prices than its main rival, Philippine Airlines. True or false?

I randomly selected 10 different flights (2 to Cebu) and 8 other popular local destinations that probably account for 80+% of all local air passenger traffic. Then I selected a time of day, morning, afternoon, all day for each destination, without checking any prices. Then I randomly selected 3 day travel periods throughout the month of June 2009, without paying attention to flight days (as mid-weeks are generally less busy). Then I went on Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines websites and checked on the cheapest available standard fare (no extra promos, with normal luggage, etc.) for the date and time specified. I realize this is a tiny sample, but you will still be surprised by the results, I know I certainly was.

Here are the results, based on hypothetical bookings made last Thursday night. Prices do change often as planes fill up. My apologies for the lack of tables, I don’t know how to do that on this blog software… Oh and I should say that the VAST majority of tickets booked at these airlines are NOT the super low sounding promo fares, those are alloted a limited percentage of seats on each flight… most are booked at their published rates on their websites.

Trip #1 : Manila – Cebu – Manila (18-21 June 2009) Morning Flights
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP2,717.12 Dep 0800 / Ret 0945
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP3,192.00 Dep 0730 / Ret 0945

Trip #2 : Manila – Cebu – Manila (12-15 June 2009) Evening Flights
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP4,166.40 Dep 2015 / Ret 2105
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP3,253.00 Dep 2000 / Ret 2015

Trip #3 : Manila – Davao – Manila (15-18 June 2009) Morning Flights
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP5,097.12 Dep 0755 / Ret 0630
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP5,210.00 Dep 1015 / Ret 0725

Trip #4 : Manila – Zamboanga – Manila (19-22 June 2009) Anytime
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP4,253.76 Dep 1440 / Ret 1645
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP2,793.00 Dep 2000 / Ret 1700

Trip #5 : Manila – Bacolod – Manila (23-26 June 2009) Aft/Eve
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP1,655.36 Dep 1715 / Ret 1525
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP2,793.00 Dep 1710 / Ret 1905

Trip #6 : Manila – Tagbiliaran – Manila (26-29 June 2009) Anytime
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP3,346.56 Dep 0615 / Ret 0800
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP2,793.00 Dep 1500 / Ret 1000

Trip #7 : Manila – Caticlan – Manila (30-03 Jul 2009) Morning
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP3,105.76 Dep 0825 / Ret 0840
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP2,793.00 Dep 0610 / Ret 0745

Trip #8 : Manila – Laoag – Manila (24-27 June 2009) Only Flight
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP2,536.88 Dep 1810 / Ret 1955
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP3,217.00 Dep 0545 / Ret 1150

Trip #9 : Manila – Legaspi – Manila (02-05 June 2009) Morning
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP2,336.32 Dep 1025 / Ret 1150
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP2,213.00 Dep 0640 / Ret 0820

Trip #10 : Manila – Busuanga – Manila (24-27 June 2009) Morning
CEBU PACIFIC: PHP1,454.88 Dep 1320 / Ret 1440?
PHIL. AIRLINES : PHP2,213.00 Dep 1300 / Ret 1430

Surprised? I was definitely shocked to see that Cebu Pacific was only cheaper on 5 out of 10 flights. And the difference in price, for most legs, was less than the cost of a hot dog and diet coke in case the flight was delayed! Even more surprising, if I bought all of these tickets as stated, the total cost of 10 tickets would have been:

Cebu Pacific PHP30,680.16
Philippine Airlines PHP30,470.00

Yes, Philippine Airlines was actually LESS EXPENSIVE. Hello?! Good grief, I realize this is a small sample, but what it tells you is that MANY people may have a mistaken impression about false economies and savings with respect to domestic airline tickets. Penny wise, pound foolish I say. Actually, I hope more and more people do make illogical, irrational purchasing decisions, so that way there will be more seats left on PAL for me. :) The moral of the story? Hmmm, I will leave that up to you to conclude.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Mahar says:

    Long time lurker, first post.

    When I went to Bangkok a few weeks ago I was surprised myself to find out that PAL was cheaper—and it gets even cheaper when one avails of its Econolight option (15K baggage allowance, no meals, etc.) The difference carries over to international flights as well.

    May 4, 2009 | 10:10 am

     
  2. Tricia says:

    Good morning MM!

    I compared prices of PAL and Cebu Pacific years ago after our HK flight taking CP. From that time, we only take PAL going to HK.
    I still love having a hot meal served during a flight. Imagine, being on CP flight to HK, para kang naka bus?LOL

    I pity the flight attendants selling C2, magic flakes etc along the aisles. Walang ka glamor glamor! To think years ago when you say “stewardess” or flight attendant, sosi :)

    May 4, 2009 | 10:35 am

     
  3. ntgerald says:

    Marketman,

    I always compare prices before making a trip. Almost always I end up with PAL.

    When one takes flights to neighboring countries, CP may have cheaper fares sometimes, but the schedule is really awful…red eye flights, that land and take off from the low cost container terminals. In KL for example, you end up not in the international airport, but in their LCCT, for provincial destinations…

    For really bargain prices, there are econo flights with PAL. More legroom most of the time, too.

    May 4, 2009 | 10:59 am

     
  4. Pao says:

    This post is impressive! People think that since PAL is more established, they think that CP is less expensive, together with their numerous ads in the papers telling people lowered prices in their tickets. This just proves that what they had been doing for the past years is just a marketing strategy to deceive people into thinking that they went for a bargain.

    May 4, 2009 | 11:12 am

     
  5. shella says:

    i always end up in PAL because most of the time they are cheaper then cebu pac…i just hate PAL’s promo last week, i was not able to book online!

    also, cebu pacific has a lousy customer service!

    May 4, 2009 | 11:40 am

     
  6. glenda says:

    thanks to this well-researched blog post, my impression (yes, me too) that it’s cheaper to fly domestic via cebu pacific over PAL just got popped.

    May 4, 2009 | 11:51 am

     
  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    And with the type of flight food service served this days, I’d rather bring my own brown bag and make my seatmates drool….hehehe

    May 4, 2009 | 12:12 pm

     
  8. ragamuffin girl says:

    unfortunately everytime i try to book flights (HK-MLA-HK or vice versa), PAL is always double the price of Cebu Pac, and Cathay triple the price. Econolight also only works if you are booking close to your departure date, I think they try to sell seats that will otherwise be unoccupied (so they try to fill up flights first at normal economy prices). No matter how disappointed we are with Cebu Pac (hubby had to take a flight the very next day, imagine the horror of going all the way to the airport only to have to drive back home?), for personal flights the price difference is still rather big (esp. for a family of 3). And I don’t know how lucky I am but I’ve been on Cebu Pac the past few years and only got on a delayed flight once (and all because the Phil airport closes from 1am-3am and the flight could not land).

    I feel that since most people back home do not complain, customer service is not on companies’ list of priorities (I am a complainer though, and once sought out the manager of Rustan’s bridal registry service and gave her a piece of my mind). I think CX has the best customer service of all (though they do fail sometimes), but I just can’t imagine paying triple the price for a 1 1/2 hour flight. Good thing I’m never in much of a hurry when flying. I can imagine the horror for business travelers or those with connecting flights!

    I hope someone from Cebu Pac reads your blog MM….

    May 4, 2009 | 12:27 pm

     
  9. rae says:

    Your right on target. Ever since we got bumped off on an overbooked flight and was refused a full refund, I’ve been checking out the PAL website, and wonders, they are actually cheaper on most flights. So for everyone out there, do check out both airlines before booking. There’s more than meets the marketing eye of the “airline of choice”.

    May 4, 2009 | 12:39 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    ragamuffin, I didn’t do the same review for foreign destinations, but I do encourage consumers to check around rather than assume one is cheaper than the other. :)

    May 4, 2009 | 12:50 pm

     
  11. PanchoA says:

    I don’t know about Zest Air, but from what I’ve heard from other friends, it seems to leave and arrive on time with less hassles. And yes, it seems to be a lot cheaper.

    May 4, 2009 | 1:03 pm

     
  12. sanojmd says:

    oh my, never thought that.. i always think that CP flights are more cheaper compared to PAL.. thanks for the in-depth study MM..but with my experience with PAL and CP, better service and inflight food of course, for PAL.. from now on, i wont even consider flying with CP.. yup, the stewardess on CP are really selling goodies when you’re aboard.. it’s not only seems degrading for the stewardess but more so, disturbing for the passengers who just want to relax and rest during their trip..

    May 4, 2009 | 1:28 pm

     
  13. Katrina says:

    I am VERY surprised, because every time that I’ve compared prices, just as Ragamuffin Girl said, CP has been MUCH cheaper — particularly on international flights. I think when I checked the flights to Saigon before, PAL was double the cost. I would always check what other airlines charge and not just believe the marketing — as someone who used to be in the ad industry, I know better than to fall for that. I’m not sure why the results of RG’s and my comparison shopping are so different from the other commenters’ and yours.

    Because of CP’s dismal record, I do worry that my flight will be delayed. This is why I try to book the flight at a time that I won’t be too stressed out should a delay occur (which is why I flew to Cebu the day before the eyeball). I have experienced delays twice with CP, but both times I was lucky that it didn’t affect my trip at all. Also, I actually prefer the red-eye flights, as they mean I get a full day at my destination.

    But thanks for doing this consumer report, MM. Now we know that for non-promo flights, one should always check the diff. airlines’ prices. But I have to say that for promo flights, I will still fly CP. I have been able to take several domestic trips (like to Cebu for the eyeball) just because of their terrific promos. Delays or not, how could one argue with a virtually FREE flight?! And, as was evident recently, PAL is prone to major screw-ups, too. My sister waited 11 HOURS in their office to book!!! Still, she thought it worth it because she was buying 9 tickets. So for those of us who have no choice but to pinch pennies, I guess we will have to put up with CP’s horrible service, for now. :-/

    May 4, 2009 | 1:47 pm

     
  14. Lex says:

    Very interesting comparison. It is a good lesson for all of us to check prices every time we travel for the best deals in town. I heard that Zest Air offers cheaper fares these days. I am not too sure I would entrust my life to their made in China planes.

    CP is suffering with the same syndrome PAL suffered many years ago. This is due to the maximization of CP planes whereby delays are caused by the quick turn around of their planes for their domestic and foreign flights. PAL (formerly PLANE ALWAYS LATE) has since ironed out their system. CP is right now biting more then they can chew. I hope for the sake of all us consumers, they fix their system to lessen the burden and inconvenience of everyone.

    May 4, 2009 | 1:52 pm

     
  15. j. says:

    CP reminds me of a fairly popular low budget airline in the eighties called People’s Express. They started out awesome, but as soon as they changed their strategies, and focused on expanding (rebranding etc…)without a well grounded infrastructure… late and cancelled flights, irate guests, long lines etc… as an aside…I studied this particular airlines for a hospitality class I took…

    May 4, 2009 | 3:18 pm

     
  16. alana says:

    this is true! PAL is the better choice, plus you at least get free hot drinks. Cebu Pacific is only good for sale seats. But watch out for that as well —sometimes the econolight tickets of PAL are still cheaper than their “sale seats”.

    May 4, 2009 | 4:28 pm

     
  17. luna miranda says:

    this is great information! my domestic business trips have all been with PAL, a few of my personal trips were with Cebu Pac because of the perception that they are cheaper. thanks for your consumer report—very useful!

    May 4, 2009 | 4:54 pm

     
  18. banane.anne says:

    Ha! I always knew this. I usually take the Manila-Davao-Manila flight about 2x a year and always the difference between the fares for PAL and CP is less than 500. So I always take PAL, the approx. 500 PHP difference spares me from icky online booking at Cebu Pacific and yes, the delayed flights! Plus Cebu Pacific does not have a frequent flier miles program, so all the more reason why I take PAL.

    I remember a year ago when a friend wanted to come to Davao with me. We were both out of the country that time but my ticket was already pre-bought by my father (using his free mileage) so I was going to use PAL. She wanted to take Cebu Pacific because it was always perceived that CP offered the cheaper rates. Well, what do you know, the CP website was down for two days running so she wasn’t able to book online. In Pinas, she tried to buy a ticket for CP at one of their counters but there was (again!) a problem with their system so off she went to the PAL booking office. She got her ticket in 10 minutes and what do you know, the difference in fares was a measly PHP200.00. (And these are non-promo fares during the summer peak season, April). So Booo! CP has turned me into a loyal PAL flier.

    May 4, 2009 | 5:20 pm

     
  19. MRU says:

    To say that Cebu Pacific has questionable customer service is the biggest understatement of the year. When our office went to Boracay last year, for instance, a co-worker forgot to wake up on time and consequently missed our PAL flight. He booked himself on Cebu Pacific, which then gets delayed twice before being finally being canceled. He had to take an Asian Spirit flight instead. Forget about the delays and the eventual cancellation. The best part is this – he hasn’t gotten a refund yet. And that was almost a year ago!

    May 4, 2009 | 5:41 pm

     
  20. Ging says:

    I never take CP nowadays unless it is to a destination not covered by PAL (but I still will take SeaAir vs CP to Caticlan). For me, time is money. I can’t afford to sit on my ass for hours on end at the airport waiting for a delayed flight. The difference in fare cost cannot in any way compare to income lost during those waiting hours.

    I made up my mind about CP a few years back when I took it on a flight to Manila with some colleagues. I was shocked that we landed at the old domestic terminal. I thought things had not changed much at all. During my college days, we would check in at the old terminal (it was the NEW terminal then) but then we would be made to board a bus to nayong Pilipino where the CP plane was parked. Imagine the long wait! And if you just landed at NP, you took a bus again to the domestic terminal to pick up your luggage. And the baggage took several minutes wait. Sus pastilan CP!

    May 4, 2009 | 6:20 pm

     
  21. Paul says:

    You should have compared Cebu Pacific’s fares with Philippine Airlines’ Econolight fares for an exact apples-to-apples fare comparison. You’ll be even more surprised at how much cheaper PAL is.

    May 4, 2009 | 9:10 pm

     
  22. Marketman says:

    Paul, Cebu Pacific has “Go Lite” fares which is a couple of hundred pesos cheaper, PAL’s version is “Econolight”, so I suspect a similar differential would be observed.

    May 4, 2009 | 9:14 pm

     
  23. pilar says:

    This is why I don’t take Cebu Pacific when I travel. Never had, and never will.

    May 5, 2009 | 12:56 am

     
  24. britelite says:

    In the long run you will save with PAL–the excess luggage per kilo charge of Cebu Pacific is 100 pesos as compared to PAL which is 30+

    May 5, 2009 | 8:06 am

     
  25. bernadette says:

    I seldom fly domestic and in the past when I did it is always on at company’s expense so I don’t really bother to check it out.
    However, these rant-posts are really very valuable to regular domestic fliers— the posts as well as comments! More of these sana! I know that it takes on more energy yet priceless service! Thank you very much, MM!

    May 5, 2009 | 9:01 am

     
  26. acid says:

    Some people, like the owners of JG Summit, should absolutely have no business in the service industry if they have proven time and time again that their idea of service is below human levels…

    Oh, and their Robinsons Malls also suck btw.

    May 5, 2009 | 9:09 am

     
  27. Paul says:

    Cebu Pacific’s Go Lite fare doesn’t allow you to check in your luggage for free while Philippine Airlines’ Econolight does with a 15-kilo free baggage allowance.

    May 5, 2009 | 10:50 am

     
  28. Marketman says:

    Paul, oh, okay, I didn’t realize that, so it does make PAL look even more reasonable…

    May 5, 2009 | 11:01 am

     
  29. Lei says:

    I have observed this pricing comparison on flights to Singapore and Hongkong between PAL and Cebu Pacific. On most of the flights that we were going to book, I always compared the prices of both airlines, and lo and behold, on those times, either PAL is cheaper or that the amount is just the same. and to think that on international flight, food is inclusive of airfare on PAL, and you only get a complimentary drink on Cebu PAcific. That said, before any of these first hand experiences, I had the impression because of the marketing strategy of Cebu Pacific that they sold cheaper airfare, only to be shown again and again in a spread of several years that PAL indeed has either cheaper flights or the same amount which for me has better value for money given PAL’s service as compared to Cebu Pacific which I have never experienced to be fair enough (just based on what I have read so far, the delays are bad).

    May 5, 2009 | 11:32 am

     
  30. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Thanks for the info. Hope my daughters who travel more read this. Am surprised that PAL is lower-priced.I had the impression CP was cheaper. In my latest flight to Korea and Davao,PAL service was good!! Have taken flights on Cebu Pacific to Singapore several times and now recall yes,we (family) did encounter delayed flights too to another Asian destination and ex and into Singapore several times (though not too long). Yesterday,my eldest daughter arrived from Boracay 30 mins late but her flight to Singapore was on sked.
    Thanks for the info. Useful!! Hope someone from CP reads this.

    May 5, 2009 | 6:06 pm

     
  31. winter says:

    I have been wondering how any one can stand CebPac’s horrendous service. Sure, one can say that you just get what you pay for. BUT. On a recent trip I arranged for 3 training participants from Davao, I booked them on the DVO-CEB-BCD CebPac flight bec I didn’t want them hassled by the longer DVO-MNL-BCD route. They were bumped off the DVO-CEB flight though bec CebPac overbooked (as usual). Thing is, we didn’t pay promo fares for those tickets! My passengers were offered seats on the next flight, which still wouldn’t connect them to their CEB-BCD flight, at Php 13k each. Kept my cool and booked them on the next DVO-MNL PAL flight at Php 12k each. No use wasting energies!

    Prior to that, I had 3 pax returning to Bacolod from Mla, who were told that their tickets were cancelled. When my agent spoke with the CebPac agents on the phone, they said that the CebPac system reflected 1 of the pax as “already on board” and the other 2 as “no-shows”. What the…

    I have only flown CebPac once, and on my first plane ride at that, many years ago when they were still starting out. After being waken up by flight attendants announcing “game time”, I had vowed never to fly CebPac again. I did not appreciate being disturbed while I rested. And I’m certainly not impressed by a “68% on-time performance.”

    I hope their counter and sales personnel get hazard pay to at least ease the trauma inflicted on them by irate clients :-)

    May 5, 2009 | 7:31 pm

     
  32. Cookie says:

    When I fly, I always take into account not only the cost but my comfort. When we went home in 2005 and took Cebu Pacific to Bacolod, I vowed NEVER AGAIN. I had an almost 2 year old with us, then our flight was delayed, horrendously long lines, there was nowhere to sit, same thing on the return from Bacolod to Manila – it was awful. Now, the following year, we took PAL. What a difference! A larger domestic airport, a lot more seats, more room to navigate with then my 2 1/2 yr old. You really have to look at the whole scenario before making your final decision. Less stress is definitely a reason to perhaps shell out more.

    May 5, 2009 | 11:39 pm

     
  33. Cookie says:

    pahabol… I wish the Philippines would be more service oriented. I guess we need more legislation – or maybe it already exists but not implemented – to protect the rights of consumers. My parents flip out when I insist on certain things at restaurants – if I feel that its inadequate. I guess they are not used to it, and I’ve definitely taken to the American way of making sure that my rights as a consumer is protected.

    May 5, 2009 | 11:46 pm

     
  34. Gina says:

    I too have been a victim of Cebu Pacific’s inefficiency and poor customer service. Three years ago I wrote their Customer Service Department a lengthy letter of complaint about an experience that I have since discovered is the “norm” for Cebu Pacific: overbooked, delayed flights resulting in frustration and stress that is aggravated by poor communication on the part of their ground crew. So I do compare fares and take PAL if the price difference is minimal. That said, PAL really has to overhaul its online booking site. Last week I simply gave up after error messages. A website that crashes when the airline offers a sale will lose potential customers to the competition whose own website, let’s admit it, is much more user-friendly. In this day and age, airline service starts with online booking, and compared to Cebu Pacific, PAL has been a step behind.

    May 6, 2009 | 12:34 am

     
  35. Ted says:

    Cookie, you are absolutely correct on the comment you made about your relatives flipping out when you insisted on certain things. When i went home for a vacation awhile back, i’ve got friends telling me that “nakapunta ka lang ng abroad, naiba na ang ugali mo” This is back when i bought something from a certain establishment with friends and then decided i didn’t like it and returned it, mind you we haven’t left the store yet. It took a lot of hassle just to get my money back. I’m not sure if up to now the no return/no exchange is still a policy there.

    Same thing is true at restaurants (MM’s rant at Chili’s). We ate at a different resto and when i was paying the bill, i saw that a service charge of 15% was already included, so i did not tip, but when we were about to leave, the waiter was asking for a tip,,,i started asking what the heck was the 15% service charge is for when he’s still asking for a tip. Mind you the service was not that good at all. My friend just said, never mind and he gave the tip to the waiter. But then at another scenario, i was about to give a 15% tip on top of the bill, but was told by a friend not to do that, but to just give the waiter P100 and that should be good enough. And when i asked why, his answer was, there are places where you follow the american way and there are places you dont.

    As for PAL, what i don’t like about their international flight (sfo-mnl)is that they would advertise it as non-stop, but, almost always lands in Honolulu to either pick up passengers or something. Why advertise it as non-stop when it almost always stops in Honolulu?

    May 6, 2009 | 4:13 am

     
  36. MOMMY says:

    hi mm,
    I do hope someone from cebu pacific reads all the comments and improve on their service. I tried both Cebu Pacific and PAL….so far OK ( except for inflight games…which also woke me up from my sleep). As a consumer, I would also like to thank for cebu pacific for entering the picture, as this made PAL more competitive with their prices and service.

    May 7, 2009 | 9:06 am

     
  37. millet says:

    good research, MM. thanks!

    May 8, 2009 | 10:19 pm

     
  38. Pam says:

    I have always flown PAL, because it’s cheaper than CebuPac. I am also wondering why people think PAL=expensive and 5J=cheap, when if they just make a trial booking at PAL they’d discover that it’s actually cheaper to fly PAL.

    People are deceived by CebuPac’s aggressive marketing.

    May 9, 2009 | 11:12 am

     
  39. mabel says:

    three stories all in 2008
    * i flew into bacolod on cebu pacific and had no problem but on the return flight to manila, needed to change my flight to an earlier schedule. so i travelled out of the city for the new airport at 5am which means i woke up at 3am to make the 6am flight. guess what, the counter does not open until 7am and then i was told that they cant change because the system is not online??? but i could just buy a new ticket and get the one i have refunded in manila. the ticket was a full priced one, fully refundable and rebookable, wtf?!! ohhh i fumed like a coal powered train and told the girl she should sort it out or they will not hear the end of it from me. i ended up waking the travel agency of my office to sort this out because i was not going to be dealt with this way…. in an hour’s time i was on the 8am flight.
    * on a trip to boracay, my friends and i arranged our flights separately, most of us took the zestair (formerly asian spirit) flights the others thinking its cheaper took CP)….. they left for the airport two hours ahead of us, we got to the airport 9AM and found them there, we landed and started sipping our margaritas they were still in manila, by 3pm they sent an sms that stated they just landed ….. in KALIBO. So they lost one full day in the sun ….. but here’s the other catch on the return trip…. we were all sitting in Caticlan waiting for our flights, we left and landed in Manila they were still in Caticlan, after two hours they sent us another text …. they are enroute to KALIBO where the plane taking them back landed not in Caticlan
    * Two families went to Hongkong for New Year’s Vacation. Mine took PAL, my friend’s family took CP. The couple travelled with 5 children and on the return flight to Manila, spent 24 hours in the Hongkong airport because their return flight was overbooked (like all the other CP flights that day)

    In short, walang kuenta and CP
    *

    May 12, 2009 | 9:10 pm

     
  40. Kat says:

    We used to think Cebu Pacific offered cheaper flights from Singapore to Manila, too. But after checking with a local travel agent, we realized PAL fares could be cheaper than Cebu Pac fares! Now we don’t take Cebu Pac anymore. PAL all the way na.

    May 14, 2009 | 6:02 pm

     
  41. Vito says:

    I never fly Cebu Pacific first of all i am part of the 1% delayed all the time because they have this ad saying 99% on time. Also if the fares are cheap the people that fly Cebu Pacific are also cheap they push people around the airport. In short no class. I believe that we shouldn’t be hassled when we travel but when I tried Cebu Pacific it was the worst experience ever. I heard now they even weigh the passengers. Ive never flown Cebu Pacific after that incident I was traumatized with the people and the services.

    May 18, 2009 | 2:00 pm

     
  42. don marin says:

    one bad experience i had with CP, my mom asked me to book her a flight from davao. a well as my aunt. (since they’re internet-illiterate)

    i used their own credit card accounts to book their own flights. which i’ve done numerous times before, with no problem pa naman.

    after the booking was confirmed. i went on to do my own thing. after a day, i checked my email if i recieved CP’s confirmation & receipt. unfortunately, i didnt receive any for my mom. accdg to their email, my mom’s booking wasnt confirmed. there’s some technical error in their site with regards to their credit card payment. so i asked my mom to call them up. after her converstaion with the customer-service, this CS representative, re-booked my mom..at a DIFFERENT PRICE already?!!! i called CP for an explanation. they told me that my booking did not push through, i told them how is that possible if you emailed me a confirmation booking, but just no receipt. for me that meant, my booking was confirmed, except for the payment. and that i should be given the original cheaper rate.

    and that we can just pay again..or re-do the transaction. but the price should be based on the original cheaper price. it wasnt our fault that their online payment process didnt make it through. thats their problem if they cant update their website properly.

    to make it worse, their customer service didnt even explain everything properly to my mom. making her, almost pay twice!!!

    from that time on, i hated CP. actually, i hated CP eversince. i tried flying with them once..and that was the last. imagine being served jollibee hotdog rice meal for breakfast on air?? WA-CLASS. as if i paid cheap that time. it was just a few hundreds cheaper than PAL.

    and yes i’ve heard of HORROR stories that when you arrive from CP airline, most countries put you into some scary, horrific obsolete airports. as if hiding some smuggled goods. >:(

    May 21, 2009 | 4:00 pm

     
  43. starfighteradara says:

    Keep up the good work, MM! You can count on my help here.

    May 27, 2009 | 1:00 pm

     
  44. Bruno says:

    good research work.. of note too would be PAL has the best SAFETY record.. i don’t muck around when it comes to safety..

    Jun 5, 2009 | 11:48 pm

     
  45. Kris says:

    Ok, so you guys scared me enough already with all those horrible testimonials about your CP flight experiences. I’ll be flying soon, an hour flight to Legazpi. I feel like canceling my confirmed round trip booking and refund my payment but I don’t think I can still do that. This will be my first time to fly with CP. Anyway, will post my experience soon as I completed my flight (GOOD or BAD) . Wish me luck… LOL.

    Jun 9, 2009 | 1:07 am

     
  46. rhea says:

    Hi MM. Me and my sister will be flying CebuPac to Bacolod tomorrow and I’m quite anxious as to how this trip will be in terms of flight punctuality. Let’s just hope my luck with them holds true.

    Btw, I just did the same expirement you did above though for just 1 trip and actually got a less expensive quote from PAL, with 15kg of baggage to boot. The quote I got from CebuPac was for their GoLite promo and it was even 150php more expensive. Makes me rethink my earlier belief that PAL is the more expensive of the two.

    The only downside here is that PAL terminal is bit farther from my house than NAIA 3. Maybe I’ll next need a quote on taxi fare in order to decide which of them really offers the bext value for me. hmmm.

    Jun 9, 2009 | 1:35 pm

     
  47. michelle yango says:

    michelle yango says:

    hi guys!

    i’m just like all of you, someone not spared from the inefficient and unprofessional service of cebu pacific.

    apart from the numerous delays i’ve had in more than half of the flights i took with cebu pacific, the last incident which really made me snap involves my palawan flight for december (which i booked and paid for as early as may). just this morning, i received a message via text informing me that my flight for december 2, 2009 at 2:55 p.m. from busuanga to manila will be moved to 11:05 a.m. of the same date. while a difference of 4 hours may be nothing to most people, it is really a big thing for me. i am a diver and i have already made dive arrangements for 1 december. if i will have to fly at 11 am on 2 december, i have to be done diving before lunch on 1 december. it’s a must that divers allow a certain number of hours to pass by before getting on a plane after diving.

    So after getting that message, i went to their website and checked out their policy on flight sched changing. this is what’s stated:

    9.2 Cancellations and Change of Schedule
    At any time after a booking has been made we may change our schedules and/ or cancel, terminate, divert, postpone, reschedule or delay any flight where we reasonably consider this to be justified by circumstances beyond our control or for reasons of safety or security.

    Wanting to know what the reason is behind the sudden change in schedule, i called up cebu pacific (7020888). a certain “reema” accepted the call. after telling her what my problem is, she said that keeping the original schedule, as per my request, is impossible because THE AIRCRAFT FOR THE SAID SCHEDULE IS ALLEGEDLY (OR WILL BE) UNDER MAINTENANCE.

    HAD REEMA GIVEN ME A MORE PLAUSIBLE EXCUSE, I WOULD NOT HAVE BLOWN MY TOP OFF. WHAT SHE DID NOT KNOW WAS THAT I CHECKED THE AVAILABLE FLIGHTS FROM BUSUANGA TO MANILA ON THE WEEKENDS BEFORE AND AFTER MY SCHEDULE AND ON SAID DATES, THE AVAILABLE FLIGHTS WERE TWO. ONE IN THE MORNING (11:05 am, just like the schedule she was giving me), AND ANOTHER IN THE AFTERNOON (at 2:55 pm, the time i had reserved). AFTER ASKING HER HOW IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE AIRCRAFT SHE CLAIMS WOULD BE UNDER MAINTENANCE ON 2 DECEMBER (A WEDNESDAY)WOULD BE FLYING ON NOV. 28, 29, 30, AND DEC. 4, SHE GAVE ME ANOTHER NUMBER (8539872) TO CALL. WHEN I CALLED THAT NUMBER, I WAS GIVEN ANOTHER NUMBER(2905271-72), WHICH, UNTIL NOW, IS “TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE.”

    IT DOES NOT HAVE TO TAKE AN EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT MAN TO DECIPHER THAT THE REASON WHY THE AFTERNOON FLIGHT IS BEING CANCELLED IS BECAUSE NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE BOUGHT IT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE AFTERNOON FLIGHT WILL BE MERGED WITH THE MORNING FLIGHT SO THEY CAN SAVE ON FUEL, NEVER MIND THE HASSLE AND INCONVENIENCE IT WILL CAUSE ME.

    MY POINT IS, WHY OFFER IT IN THE FIRST PLACE????? WHAT RIGHT HAVE YOU TO JUST NOT DO GOOD ON A PERFECLY VALID CONTRACT YOU ENTERED INTO WITH PAYING PASSENGERS? IS IT BECAUSE WE BOUGHT THE TICKETS ON SALE???? WE MAY HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF A GOOD DEAL WHEN WE BOUGHT THOSE SALE TICKETS, PERO HINDI KAMI MGA PATAY-GUTOM NA PWEDE NYONG LOKO-LOKOHIN DAHIL SA MURA LANG ANG IBINAYAD NAMIN.

    I HAVE YET TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO RESOLVE THIS DILEMMA. I WILL NOT AGREE TO FLYING THAT EARLY (11:05) AND LET CEBU PACIFIC RUIN MY VACATION. I WILL LIKEWISE NOT AGREE TO A REFUND BECAUSE THE MONEY THEY WILL GIVE ME BACK WILL NOT BE ENOUGH FOR A NEW TICKET WITH PAL. I WILL DEMAND THAT THEY PURCHASE ME A PAL TICKET WHICH HAS AN AFTERNOON FLIGHT. MABUTI NA LANG, I’M FLYING VIA PAL FROM MANILA TO BUSUANGA!

    cc:

    MR. GOKONGWEI (VIA EMAIL)

    xxx xxx xxx

    September 21st, 2009 michelle yango says:

    before anything else, please read my comment dated 6 September 2009. it is necessary for you to understand where all this anger and irritation are coming from.

    anyway, as luck would have it, i had another dose of cebu pacific’s rotten service. last september 11, i, together with my mother and friends, flew to boracay. our flight was supposed to be at 7:20 am. so i woke my elderly mother up at 4:00 to give her ample time to prepare. we reached the airport at 5:45. upon checking in, we were informed to wait for further announcements as there was news that our flight will be delayed. with my frail mother by my side, i tried to contain all my angst and opted to just shut my mouth up.

    alas, around 7am, the news was official. our flight was moved to 9:30.

    that boracay trip was my gift to my mom. it’s just so frustrating that everything started so wrong. imagine me having to wake an elderly at 4 am just to make her wait for 3.5 hours for a DOMESTIC FLIGHT??!!??

    cebu pacific, what do people need to do and say to make you take action? HURTFUL WORDS DON’T EVEN GET TO YOU ANYMORE. the investments you made on your new planes are all WORTHLESS as your service is terrible. you hear me? TERRIBLE!?!? you might as well get out of the airline business because you are just a waste of airport space. you shame the whole country to foreign tourists. you are no different from public utility buses/jeepneys who will only speed off if their vehicles are already full. you RARELY fly on schedule. next time, you might as well provide us with your final schedule first so we can work around it.

    just in case you’re wondering why i still fly via cebu pacific, i made the mistake of buying several sale tickets online months ago.

    i don’t normally resort to ranting. when something dissatisfies me, i want it addressed. i am writing here because i have no other relief. i already emailed mr. gokongwei, even mr. henry gaw of the customer service department. no response until now. what even angers me more is that NONE of the FIVE telephone numbers of the customer service department given to me works. isn’t that odd?

    September 23rd, 2009

    Sep 23, 2009 | 11:16 am

     
  48. michelle yango says:

    hereunder is a copy of the two (2) emails i sent to the customer service department of cebu pacific.

    PLEASE ADDRESS MY SITUATION‏
    From: Michelle Yango (michelle_yango@hotmail.com)
    Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:02:51 PM
    To: customerservice@cebupacificair.com
    MR. HENRY IVAN GAW,

    LAST 17 SEPTEMBER 2009, A CERTAIN JAY SABIO (OR SAVIO) CALLED ME AT THE OFFICE, INFORMING ME THAT YOU INSTRUCTED HIM TO TALK TO ME TO TRY TO SHED LIGHT ON MY PROBLEM. I REITERATED TO HIM THAT I AM NOT AMENABLE TO A REFUND OF MY MONEY OR A RESCHEDULING TO ANOTHER DATE OF MY BUSUANGA-MANILA FLIGHT ON 2 DECEMBER 2009 (ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED AT 2:55 PM WHICH CEBU PACIFIC HAS MOVED TO 11:05 AM). MR. SABIO/SAVIO PROMISED TO RELAY MY DEMAND (either that the original flight be retained, or that cebu pacific purchase me and ana lisa soriano new tickets with other airlines which has an afternoon flight on the same day) TO HIS SUPERIOR (YOU, I SUPPOSE), AND GET BACK TO ME TO RIGHT AWAY. UNTIL NOW, I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM HIM. HE EVEN HAD THE AUDACITY TO SAY THAT YOUR OFFICE’S TELEPHONE NUMBER (2905271) IS VERY MUCH ACTIVE, AND THAT IT WAS EVEN THE NUMBER HE USED IN CALLING ME. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, I HAVE BEEN CALLING THIS NUMBER EVERYDAY (DIALING AT LEAST 15 TIMES A DAY) SINCE 7 SEPTEMBER 2009 UNTIL BEFORE WRITING THIS LETTER. I HAVE NOT HAD ANY SINGLE LUCK GETTING THRU.

    I AM TIRED OF WAITING FOR AN UPDATE. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I AND ANA LISA HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR OUR DIVE ACCOMODATIONS AT BUSUANGA FOR THE WHOLE DAY OF 1 DECEMBER 2009. TO MAKE US FLY AT 11 AM ON 2 DECEMBER WOULD BE TO DEPRIVE US OF 2 PAID FOR DIVES IN THE AFTERNOON OF 1 DECEMBER.

    WHY DO YOU CALL YOUR DEPARTMENT CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT ANYWAY? NO ONE CAN GET TO YOU EXCEPT THRU EMAILS. ALL YOUR NUMBERS ARE NOT IN OPERATION (2905271/2905272). BE DECENT ENOUGH TO ADDRESS MY CONCERN. YOU CANT EXPECT ME TO JUST WAIT AND LET THIS MATTER HANG OVER MY HEAD. I WORK EVERYDAY, AND THE LEAST I NEED IS ANYMORE CONCERNS REGARDING MY WELL-PLANNED VACATION. WHAT DO YOU INTEND TO DO WITH ME? JUST DISMISS ME AND EXPECT ME TO GET TIRED FOLLOWING UP? MALAKING KABASTUSAN NAMAN YAN DIBA?

    I WAS RAISED TO BE RESPECTFUL, BUT YOUR CONTUMACIOUS REFUSAL TO ADDRESS MY CONCERN REALLY GETS TO ME. IN FACT, I HAD ANOTHER ENCOUNTER WITH YOUR ERRATIC SCHEDULE CHANGING LAST 11 SEPTEMBER 2009. MY ORIGINAL FLIGHT TO BORACAY WAS AT 7:20 AM. THAT TRIP WAS A GIFT TO MY MOTHER. I WAS ONLY INFORMED THAT THE SAID FLIGHT WAS MOVED TO 9:30 AM WHEN I WAS ALREADY AT THE CHECK-IN COUNTER. IMAGINE MAKING ME AND MY ELDERLY MOTHER WAIT FOR 3.5 HOURS FOR A DOMESTIC FLIGHT WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE!

    FOR YOUR READY REFERENCE, HEREUNDER IS A COPY OF MY FIRST EMAIL.

    XXX XXX XXX

    UNACCEPTABLE BUSUANGA-MANILA FLIGHT SCHEDULE CHANGE‏
    From: Michelle Yango (michelle_yango@hotmail.com)
    Sent: Monday, September 07, 2009 2:19:02 PM
    To: customerservice@cebupacificair.com

    ATTENTION: MR. HENRY IVAN GAW

    Mr. Gaw,

    This is to bring to your attention my present dillemma regarding the sudden, unaaceptable, unwaranted, and unsolicited change of schedule which cebu pacific has effected on my Busuanga-Manila flight on 2 December 2009.

    Yesterday morning, via text, i got a message that my flight at 2:55 pm from Busuanga to Manila on 2 December 2009 will be moved to an earlier time, 11:05 am of the same date. Before calling your reservations office (7020888), i checked your website for the grounds or reasons you may possible invoke to justify the change. This is what’s stated there:

    9.2 Cancellations and Change of Schedule
    At any time after a booking has been made we may change our schedules and/ or cancel, terminate, divert, postpone, reschedule or delay any flight where we reasonably consider this to be justified by circumstances beyond our control or for reasons of safety or security.
    In the event of such flight cancellation, we shall at our option, either:

    a) rebook you on the next available flight without additional charge; or

    b) offer to refund your Ticket;

    The foregoing constitutes your sole remedy against us for such circumstances.

    Wanting to know the real reason why my schedule is being changed, i called your office (7020888) and was able to talk to a certain “reema.” she told me that the reason for the schedule change is because the aircraft which is scheduled for my intended flight is/will be undergoing maintenance. i called 2 more times and was given the same reason. (a certain dave received my call today – 7 september 2009) what they didn’t know was that i checked the flights on the weekends before and after december 2. surprisingly, on nov. 28, 29, 30, and dec. 4, the available flights were two. One in the morning (11:05 am, just like the new schedule being given to me), and another in the afternoon (at 2:55 pm, the time i had reserved). now, how is it possible that the aircraft which is claimed to be under maintenance on dec. 1, 2, and 3 will be flying on nov. 28, 29, 30, and dec. 4? Obviously, cebu pacific just mereged the afternoon flight with the morning flight probably because not too many people bought the afternoon flight.

    Please know that taking the morning flight you are suggesting is unacceptable to me. i am a diver and i have already made specific dive arrangements until the afternoon of 1 december 2009. if i take the morning flight, i will have to be done diving before noon of 1 december 2009. i am a very hardworking individual with a very tight schedule who can only take occassional travels and vacations. EVERY MINUTE OF MY VACATION COUNTS. everything had already been arranged and i will not allow it to be ruined by your airline’s inept service. the sad thing is, before i got that flight, i was actually thinking of getting PAL roundtrip (im going to Busuanga via PAL), but i opted to fly with you on my return to manila because i didnt want to reach manila during the rush hour (PAL’s return schedule is 4:30 pm). what a mistake i committed.

    Just so you know, before i emailed you, i was given several contact numbers. i was even given the numbers of your department (2905272 or 2905271, given by reema and dave and the lady who answered me at 8539872). but for 2 straight days now, i cant seem to get through. your numbers are not even ringing! i highly doubt if these are correct.

    What really gets to me is the fact that we both know that this is a waste of both our time. I suppose your superiors, or your legal department for that matter, know perfectly well that your airlne cannot just refuse to do good on a valid contract it had entered into with its paying passengers. that is a breach! i may have taken advantage of a good deal when i bought the tickets on sale, but that does not mean that you can alter the terms of the tickets just because i paid very little. why offer it in the first place??? and mind you, while this is the first time for me, i know of several people whose flights have been delayed in the past for 5 hours, or whose boracay trips have been shortened for 6 hours because of your airline’s erratic schedule changing. i even have friends from the province who were not able to make it to a pre-wedding dinner here in manila. i don’t want to appear as a difficult customer. but it’s about time that you do something about this. have you read the hundreds of blogs and comments in the net about your airline’s inept service?

    PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS EMAIL IS MY LAST RESORT BECAUSE I WAS TOLD THAT YOU, MR. GAW, ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN ADDRESS MY CONCERN. WE (MICHELLE YANGO & ANA LISA SORIANO WITH FLIGHT CONFIRMATION NO. T9F1XG) ARE ONLY AMENABLE TO BE GIVEN THE SAME SCHEDULE, OR BE TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER AIRLINE WHICH OFFERS AN AFTERNOON FLIGHT (LIKE PAL), OF COURSE, AT YOUR EXPENSE. WE ARE NOT AMENABLE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO A DIFFERENT DATE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK. WE WILL LIKEWISE NOT AGREE ON A REFUND BECAUSE THE MONEY YOU WILL BE GIVING BACK WILL NOT BE ENOUGH FOR NEW TICKETS. I HOPE WE CAN COME TO MUTUAL TERMS TO AVOID ANY INCONVENIENCE OR HASSLE WHICH WE MAY BE RESTRAINED TO PURSUE TO PROTECT OUR INTERESTS AND RIGHTS. AS I HAVE NO MEANS TO CONTACT YOU OTHER THAN THIS EMAIL, I WILL HIGHLY BE EXPECTING A RESPONSE WITHIN THE SOONEST TIME POSSIBLE. HERE ARE MY CONTACT NUMBERS:

    Sep 24, 2009 | 1:27 pm

     
  49. abi says:

    i am having the same problem with ms michelle yango. me and my family will travel to taiwan this december 23 to 30. we were originally scheduled to take the 1110 flight, which is the only flight that day. i was surprised when i found out through my friend that taiwan flight was changed to 2230. i quickly called up cebu pacific to inquire why such thing happened and they told me the reason just like ms yango’s aircraft maintenance. dud!?!? i was instructed to email ivan gaw and nobody called me up. it took me 3 days to get through their customer service and explaining the reasons A. we have a 6pm family gathering that day so how can we attend that when we’re still in manila that time B. the hotel will still bill us full day’s rate eventough we check in at 2am and check out at 12nn. C. we’re travelling with kids and how can the kids be up for am 130am flight back to manila? they gave me two options the first one is refund and the second one is to rebook the flight. i told them how in the world can i get a ticket at this point in time when almost all of the cheap tickets are sold out…. i was wondering ms yango, what happened to your complaint?

    Oct 22, 2009 | 4:44 pm

     
 

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