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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cebu Pacific Air at NAIA Terminal 3: It's Time Everyone Waits!

"Uhm, Phoebz, I think you're mistaken with Cebu Pacific's famous line."

I'm not mistaken people! You are reading it right, and I'm pretty sure that a lot of my readers will agree on this.

"It's time everyone flies with Cebu Pacific", yeah right, but only after "everyone waits". As in, like 30 hours for some passengers. Or the longest that I've experienced so far, about 4 hours for my Legazpi-Manila flight yesterday.

I've been travelling to and fro Legazpi with Cebu Pacific as my airline of choice for around 3 years now, yet after my flights last weekend, I decided to reassess it. Last Saturday, I went home to see the baby in between after a month of being away from her. But before I did, I went through an excruciating ordeal over there at the NAIA Terminal 3.

(NAIA Terminal 3 CEB Check-in Counter)

Our (me travelling with Dex and Owen) flight schedule was at 11:55 AM. But according to the Cebu Pac people, weather was bad in Legazpi so there would be a "slight" delay in the flight, like for 2 hours. As in, DUH! The reason was understandable, but what I couldn't bear was the situation that we've seen inside the terminal building. Some passengers complaining especially foreigners; a few looking for seats but end up sitting on the floor tiles; and other passengers anxiously waiting for Cebu Pac people to announce where their gates will be or when their flights will resume. As in, there was so much tension inside the building, so all I wanted that time was to board the plane at once.

In all fairness, the NAIA Terminal 3 is way bigger than the Manila Domestic Airport and could have been more convenient for Cebu Pac passengers, but...Yes, there's a BIG BUT! I didn't really know why Cebu Pacific has to rush things, or go about using the NAIA Terminal 3 even if it is not yet complete. Imagine, there were even no clear sign boards when we went there: if where's the check-in counter for domestic flights or international flights, where terminal fees should be paid, where to check the flight schedules, and all other stuff.

In addition, there were very few seats available at the departure area, so most passengers ended up sitting on the floor tiles. In short, too much inconvenience for the passengers. And what's worse, the Cebu Pacific staff could not do anything about it, except to apologize. That was the first time I've seen so many erring passengers. I even overheard one man saying that there should be media people inside the building to see the problem and air it over the radio or TV so that other people will know and reconsider their airline option. And there was one woman saying, "Where do you expect us to sit here? See, there are so limited seats!"

(Seats being placed when passengers started looking for seats.)

As for me, I cared less about the building, I was thinking more about my flight, the 2-hour delayed flight. And I was thinking about my little girl, who was already at the Legazpi airport waiting for mommy to arrive. I was helpless, and there was nothing I can do but wait. But since all seats were already occupied, me and my friends just looked for a space where we could sit on the floor tiles. We ended up sitting below the phone booths. I tried to open my laptop and see if there was WIFI available. Unfortunately, there was none. And since my cellphone was almost battery empty, I also tried to charge it at the socket near me. But then...Oh, so much for NAIA T3! I kept asking, "why the hell did they rush to open the said terminal for CEB flights?

(Blogger at work - but aarrgghh!!! NO WIFI at NAIA T3)

Hungry, stressed, and disappointed - that's exactly how we felt while waiting for the announcement when our flight will resume. Then at around 1:30pm, all Legazpi passengers were told to proceed to Gate 120. Huh, how can I ever forget Gate 120 of NAIA Terminal 3? It was the last gate, and the farthest from the main departure area. Good thing I wasn't wearing high-heeled shoes during that time, or else. ("Just a reminder to those who will fly Cebu Pacific, please wear a comfortable footwear because NAIA Terminal 3 is really huge.") So anyway, we boarded the plane at around 2:00pm. Finally!!! I felt so relieved, and perhaps all the passengers felt the same way, including the Albay Governor who happened to be in the same flight.

How about my flight back to Manila? My flight schedule was 1:20pm, August 5. I was travelling with my friends Dex and Lyn. We arrived on time at the Legazpi airport to check-in, only to be told that our flight will be delayed for 2 hours. WTF, not again! But as usual, we couldn't do anything but wait. And what's worse, we ended up waiting for 4 long hours because the Manila-Legazpi plane arrived at 5:15pm. Again, passengers kept complaining especially those who still have commitments after their flights.

Cebu Pacific staff could do nothing but said sorry for the inconvenience, including the plane captain who explained the cause of delay - the not fully-operational NAIA Terminal 3. Hmmm, if I remember it right, according to him, there were very few terminal tubes made available to CEB, and only 3 people were there to operate them. So, the only flights that travel on time are the first seven morning flights, and the rest delayed. You see, it was like a chain reaction. But then again, even with these reasons/explanations, still the passengers' convenience should not be put at stake just because of these.

So there! My experience in Cebu Pacific Air at NAIA Terminal 3 was really very disappointing. I just hope when I fly next time it will be different. I do understand that CEB is adjusting on the new terminal building. BUT still, passengers should not be the one to suffer the inconveniences brought by such adjustments. So for those who will be flying CEB for the first time in NAIA T3, prepare to wait! Because with CEB at NAIA T3, it's time everone waits!


Jemi said...

sure, we can xlinks. let me know when you are done so I will link you back . take care :)

atomicgirl said...

I don't remember how many times I flew with Cebu Pacific. Not once did we leave on time. It was always delayed. The shortest was an hour and a few minutes.

pinaywife said...

hi thanks for the xlink offer. added u up already, its on my links tab.

Cebu Pacific is always late whenever I am unfortunate enough to get their flights I always prepare myself to wait. Their domestic and international flights are usually late. Last time I went to Kuala Lumpur we had to wait for 5 hours before the plane arrived.

The only thing going for them is their cheap airfares otherwise I wouldn't take their flights again.

BTW, are you from Legazpi? I'm from Albay and went to school in Legazpi..

Cielo said...

this is not the first time that i hear na may mga dis appointed na mga passenger ng Cebu pacific, i just hope that they will improve their service and give theirn consumer their money's worth.

Time is gold and they should take not of that

Phoebe said...

ur right Mommy Cielo...i was thinking, kung ako nga na walang importanteng lakad after the flight eh super disappointed n, pano n kya yung may mga commitments pa..Haay, sna maayos n nila tong problema n to..

aeirin said...

Actually Mommy Phoebe, even Cebu Pacific was shocked with Gloria's move to open the NAIA3. Gusto lng isabay ni Gloria sa SONA...

Eh madami pa ding kulang n facilitites sa NAIA3...

Pero on Cebu PAcific's side nmn.. lagi silang delayed, kasi limited lng planes nila. SO kung ano yung galing Manila to LEgaspi, yun din gagamitin nila Legaspi to Manila.

Cebu Pacific said...