Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stranded, Again (5J574)

And not due to bad weather, again.

This is the third time I got stranded, second time with Cebu Pacific, for the same reason - the airplane needed to be serviced and they had to wait for a spare part from Manila. Other flights got delayed soon after because of bad weather. Past experiences taught me that it was useless to get mad because there's nothing you can do. Best way to handle the situation is either to sit it out and wait or reimburse your ticket and look for another flight.

There's a huge difference though between how Philippine Airlines handles situations like this. With PAL we got immediate updates and we were not made to wait for several hours in the airport. I was already in the plane in Singapore when we were told that we had to deplane due to engine trouble. Soon after we were brought to a hotel for a free overnight stay. They also kept their word and made announcements when they said they would.

I am not sure about CebuPac's on-time stats right now, but with the many times I've seen (and experienced) it happen, they should by now know how to keep their customers happy. And here's a couple of suggestions for them:

1. When boarding time passes and passengers aren't asked to board yet we start thinking there's something wrong. You should immediately announce why there's a delay.

2. Keep your word. When you say you are going to give an update at a certain time, make one. Traveling is already stressful, making passengers go to your info desk just to get an update increases that stress.

3. Flight delays is most stressful for passengers who have connecting flights. You should have a ready plan on how to deal with them even before you announce the delay. I noticed that PAL took care of passengers with connecting flights as soon as they announced the delay.

4. I'm not sure how this works, but passengers shouldn't be made to wait in airports (say more than 3 hours) for a delayed flight for long periods of time. I would think that hanging out in a place with so many people increases your chances of getting sick (I am not feeling well right now already).

5. Well, if you are so much of a cheapskate and want to keep your passengers waiting, at the very least keep us hydrated. One bottle of water for an 8-hour wait is inhuman.

My other stranded stories at: