ON FLIGHT DISCRIMINATION AND WHY PETS AND SPECIAL CHILDREN CAN’T FLY CEBU PACIFIC…


Cebu Pacific Logo

NOW EVERY JUAN CAN FLY! HMMMM…

I have been flying with Cebu Pacific Air for the past decade or so and I value the less expensive offerings that make air travel far affordable to the masses. I am thankful for this aspect. It has pulled the expensive cost of airfare by introducing value fares in the industry and in the existing competition controlled then by Philippine Airlines, the country’s flag carrier.

Cebu Pacific Air - It's Time Everyone Flies!But since it has moved to NAIA Terminal 3 and mass hired younger employees via staff augmentation with other manpower agencies, complaints regarding customer services flocked the airline company. I do not know if the amount of training given was adequate to make each ground stewardess courteous and polite to passengers but I think that much has to be done in this area.

After hearing news and reading blog articles about dying pets and even special children not being allowed to board a plane due to their medical condition made me realized that I am not alone with regards to my observations. Cebu Pacific Air’s customer service has to be improved and its people have to be trained well on taking care of passengers. I love flying with this airline and I expect changes.

LONG LINES UPON ENTRY TO TERMINAL III

My own photo of passengers local and tourists in long lines at 5AM!During our recent flight to Davao City last December 20, 2009, I was a little disappointed by how the ground crew handled passengers. I have blogged about this in one of my article – ON TRAVEL WOES AND A RAINBOW BRIGHT and I even posted photos of how long the queue was at 5AM because there was only one gate opened to let passengers in. Some people coming from abroad for a connecting flight were disappointed as well along with foreigners. It is really embarrassing for us. Tsk!

They could have opened more doors and let people in so people can at least relax while waiting for their flights. Thus, our flight was delayed because not all passengers were able to get in on time due to the long line outside the terminal. I asked one staff why they are not opening extra gates and she just told me sarcastically that what I am seeing is normal that I should be thankful that the line is still not that long.

She even bragged that on the normal, the long line of passengers waiting to enter the terminal extends from almost the end point of the terminal just at the approach of the driveway. She even told me that I should be thankful that it is still 5AM as some passengers get to suffer falling in line in daytime under the searing heat of the sun. So I just let her talk and stopped arguing. Soon she left.

IMPOLITE GROUND CREW AND ATTENDANTS

My own shot of a family prevented to travel causing a long queue at the last check-in counter.As we checked-in our baggage, I heard a man appealing at the check-in counter that her pregnant wife and 1-year old toddler be allowed to fly. The OFW just came in from Taiwan and he put his savings onto taking his family to his province in Mindanao. He was Visayan guy but since he cannot speak much Tagalog, he was speaking in English. The ground attendants were just laughing at him as he was explaining.

They said that her 7-month pregnant wife can’t be allowed to travel because of the restrictions imposed. I am not familiar with their AIRLINE POLICIES nor TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS but the husband tried to appeal for consideration. The ticketing office where they bought their tickets never told them about the restrictions and requirements. More so, they should have not been sold tickets in the first place.

The attendants told him that he can travel but not the lady. Well, they have a small kid as well so what the staff decided to do was to have them provide a medical certificate indicating that the pregnant lady is fit to travel by air. Well, at 5AM with no in-house doctor, how can they get such document without missing their 7AM flight? They cannot even take the next flight as all flights are fully-booked due to the peak season!

More so, they were told that the infant with them need not a ticket because infants’ airfare are waived but they were not told to bring birth certificate and other supporting documents so this became an issue as well. Although the husband was willing to buy her child a ticket, still they cannot travel as the issue with his wife is still unresolved. They needed to get a medical certificate before the 7AM flight! Stalemate!

My wife and I along with our son proceeded to the 2nd floor for boarding. Just before leaving, I took a photo of the check-in counter but I did not bother taking a close photo of the family out of courtesy and respect. While seated at the boarding area, I saw one of their relative perhaps arriving but the couples and their kid were nowhere to be found. They were not allowed perhaps to travel. I just felt sad for them.

Imagine trying to save so you can finally take your family home in the province to meet your clan  then suddenly you are not allowed to travel because your wife is pregnant and is not bringing any medical certificate indicating that she is fit to travel? More so, imagine ground attendants laughing at you while you are explaining seriously? Call is “nose-bleed English” but we’re not in a comedy bar! Tsk!

OPENED BAGGAGES AND STOLEN ITEMS

I read several comments at a blog article HOW CEBU PACIFIC PISSED ME OFF after seeing some photos on a FACEBOOK Fan Page – CEBU PACIFIC SUCKS and now I wonder why NAIA and Cebu Pacific Air authorities are tolerating such cases of stolen baggage and personal belongings. Several reports of broken baggage padlocks were aired already in various forum sites and I wonder if this issue is ever addressed.

Broken Lock at Cebu Pacific Flight 5J802 on December 25, 2009 - Photo added at FB by France King-Sy Missing Perfume at Cebu Pacific Flight 5J802 on December 25, 2009 - Photo added at FB by France King-Sy

On my flight last October 2009 when my father-in-law died, my backpack bag that I have checked-in was opened visible by the unzipped compartment containing some bills and coins that I decided to leave to avoid all the fuzz at the x-ray machine. Even in the past, I have noticed complaints of broken locks and zippers. Why can’t they put a surveillance camera and a security guard ensure that this is prevented?

I have read several STORIES of passengers with stolen items inside their baggage and how Cebu Pacific Air and even NAIA pretended not knowing a thing about it. This is sad because this will definitely cause a bad image to our country especially to tourists. I just hope that the said  concerned parties will find it in their hearts to secure our belongings and improve their customer service before it ever faces a class suit.

POOR PETS TREATED POORLY AS CARGO

Hollis, the pet dog who died aboard Cebu Pacific Air. (see links below for image source) Just this morning, I read from Jillvill Palarca’s blog – THE PET PROJECT, about the case of her mother who just arrived from New York and decided to go home to Davao City with her pet dog only to find out after the flight that her dog was pronounced dead on arrival due to heat stroke! Instead of being stored properly, the pet was handled poorly as a cargo than a living animal and died in the duration of the flight.

Hollis (see links below for image source) The daughter who is also the blogger who wrote the article was about to file a case against Cebu Pacific Air when she learned that her mother who owns the pet was asked to sign a quitclaim and a waiver before she was allowed to claim for the body of his dead pet. Thus, the airline was freed from its accountabilities due to technicalities. Now the author is an advocate of animal welfare and I share with her sentiments. Tsk!

SPECIAL CHILDREN ARE NOT ALLOWED TO FLY!

Image from GMANEWS.TV. Click to view video! Just today as I was updating myself with the news with GMANEWS.TV, I learned about this issue with Mrs. Mylene Alcantara, a mother and a passenger whose special child was almost not allowed to board the plane because only two special children are allowed to fly the same plane as per airline policy. It is sad but I think that discrimination due to their medical condition is unfair. (Click to watch video.)

Now, the mother is set to press charges against airline firm Cebu Pacific Air for disallowing her child to board a Manila-bound flight from Hong Kong last December 23 as per television report this Wednesday. It was quoted from the mother that an airline personnel asked them to disembark from the plane after learning that her son is a special child and another kid with Down Syndrome had already boarded the plane.

The kid was eventually allowed on the flight, but the incident caused a one-hour delay in the plane’s departure. The mother cried foul over the treatment allegedly given to them, saying it humiliated them in front of other passengers. More so, the airline had no basis in prodding the special child to leave. As told by her lawyer, "Special children are not qualified as mentally-ill passengers, so we’re filing civil and criminal suits,".

If they can take criminals by plane, why can’t they transport two or more special children? More so, I understand the embarrassment and humiliation as the mother and son were explaining and appealing to the ground attendants while passengers in line listens and some getting irritated to the delay caused. This happened with the couples I mentioned above who were prevented to travel. Special children are customers too!

Are they worried that special children might break lose inside a flight and open the door of the airplane? Are they worried that something might happen with the child that they do not want to take any responsibility much like the pregnant lady who was not allowed to take her flight unless she presents a medical certificate that she is fit to fly? Well, I do hope that all these will help Cebu Pacific Air improves its customer service.

What happened to Cebu Pacific Air’s slogan – NOW EVERY JUAN CAN FLY? Hehehe. Just my two cents!

USEFUL LINKS AND SOURCES

http://www.cebupacificair.com/help/special.html
http://www.cebupacificair.com/flightinfo/travelrequirements.html
http://www.jillvillpalarca.com/2009/04/our-dog-died-on-cebu-pacific.html
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/180943/mother-of-special-child-cries-discrimination-vs-airline
http://www.gmanews.tv/video/53424/saksi-passenger-complains-vs-cebu-pacific-after-she-and-special-child-are-forcibly-deplaned
http://blog.kapenilattex.com/2008/10/27/you-could-lose-stuff-in-your-checked-in-baggage/
http://superpatrick.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/how-cebu-pacific-pissed-me-off/
http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=31796603519&view=all