Monday, August 29, 2011

Philippine Airlines vs Cebu Pacific Air

I love flying, there is nothing in the nature's stockpile of wonder than the gushing wind I feel(in my senses) when I'm airborne. Just lately, I paid Php1,7++ for my flight from Mania to Cebu and back, from August 25 to Sept 3 through Philippine Airlines(PAL). That cheap huh.

And I've flown on the Philippine's two formidable rival airlines so let me tell you how an account went.

That night when I just arrived in my hometown, my immediate supervisor called up, saying I am badly needed in the office on the next day. I said "what!?!?!? I just got off from a plane for crying out loud!!!" But we haggled and ultimately came up to agree that I will be back by Monday August 29.

Sadly PAL tickets are already sold out(it was a holiday and a long week end) so I have no choice but to fly through Cebu Pacific Air(Cebu Pac). I paid around Php3,3++.

August 29th, Monday, my dad took me to the airport. When I got into the check in counter, the Cebu Pac lady told me that the gate was closed, so I have to have my ticket rebooked and wait for my next flight. So I said like "what? my flight schedule was supposed to be 8:20AM, it is still 7:55AM!!!" She said it was closed 45min before scheduled flight. Damn!!!

I went back to the Cebu Pac ticketing outlet to have it adjusted, and I paid around Php1,9++ for that. Essentially, I paid a total that is tantamount to getting one-way ticket through PAL's regular tariff rates.

But the most disheartening of all is an uproariously aggravating experience flying with Cebu Pac. I have flown with them before, so I know and sworn in all goodness not to do it anymore. I just didn't have a choice this time.

First, the lady at the gate didn't even ask which part of the seating arrangement I want to be seated at. I always seat at the aisle because I have diabetes and diabetics like us suffered from excessive urination. I don't want to go through the hassle of inconveniently clearing off my path whenever I want to go to the lavatory.

Second, they don't even have that tube/bridge(I don't know what the right term is) that connects the boarding platform into the plane. What if if will rain, would they refund you on all your wet electronic devices? They can't even let you eat at the plane, much less refund your iPod Touch or iPhones. Even if I don't bring all my virtual concierge devices, I still have my MacBookPro inside my bag. It was raining when I landed but luckily the rain stopped when the doors opened.

And if ever they have one, it's just half-lane, only for the seat numbers 1-15. How heartless this airline company to have thought about that, what if a passenger is a sickly senior citizen. Do they have to go down the tarmac by stairs, walk at the scorching heat of the sun, and climb again at the stairs going to the plane?

Third, I don't mind PAL's Happy peanuts and Bravo biscuits. At least they serve tea and coffee which is all that matters to me. But with Cebu Pac? They don't have courtesy snacks on the plane, instead, they have games. That will only make things worse and cheap. They're the only airlines who mastered the art of cheap tactics, from dancing FAs (which only magnified the Philippines' agogo dancing republic notoriety to foreigners) to something that is akin to noon-time game shows. WTF!!!

Fourth, Cebu Pac has smaller planes. And smaller planes mean smaller engines, and smaller engines means slower speed. For a traveling businessman, this wouldn't be an option.

Fifth, I don't like the old airport. I like the Centennial better but that isn't something Cebu Pac has a control over with, so I will just let it slide. I don't like it because it's so unkempt and screaming for renovation. And there are no regular cabs in it, just airport taxis. So what I did is that I took the Resorts World service shuttle to take me to Resorts World and then took my cab there. The RW service shuttle operates 24x7 at a 30min interval. Of course, you have to be a Resorts World member to avail one. The only thing that I don't like at Centennial Airport is that all their wifi access points are not working.

I never learned from my first mistake, but this is a case where once is a lesson, but twice is never a choice.


  1. If you're tried Asian Spirit, Cebu Pac will look so much nicer :P hahaha.

    But I agree, super hassle yung bababa sa plane via stairs pa. :( Minsan ibababa pa sa sobrang layong part ng airport, so mahaba habang lakaran.

    But I've had my own share of disappointments din with both airlines. Swertihan din talaga.

  2. @Smarla: oo nga, swertihan lang. kaso twice na ako nagkaroon ng not-so-good experience with Cebu Pac. i haven't tried other airlines pa like Asian Spirit or Zest Air or Air Phils.

  3. If you need Special Handling kasi, DECLARE IT. Bring a medical certificate. If you're special handling naman, they will reseat you appropriately and they would give you wheelchairs, etc. kung kailangan mo. Malalaman lang naman nila na kailangan mo yun kung sasabihin mo... right?
    Regarding delays, are you not familiar with winds? Hindi makakalipad nang ganun kabilis ang eroplano kung kontra yung hangin sa nililipad niya. Nakakaapekto pa yung factor na smaller aircrafts - why smaller, kasi they have the LARGEST DOMESTIC destinations.
    Gosh, some flyers are SO NAIVE.
    Btw, budget airline sila, and they have a different marketing strategy. So don't compare PAL with CebPAc. If CebPac did not create a unique marketing strategy and branding, hindi nila maeestablish yung identity nila.

  4. @Anonymous: never had i mention that i require special handling. i was just wishing that they took the courtesy of asking a passenger on where he want to be comfortably seated at.

    Second, I usually have no problem with delays as i fly usually an hour ahead of my scheduled appointments. but i was just too late to make it to the boarding time. i'm not exonerating delays to be caused by external environmental factors. aviation science is as simple as physics. you consider all variables, wind velocity, mass of a traveling object, the thrust of an engine(potential to kinetic energy conversion), and the atmospheric pressure gradient. i am merely saying that flying in bigger planes had always had a better experience.

    third, you can;t help people comparing AirPhilippines to Cebu Pacific to Philippine Airlines as all of them serve domestic market. the ordinary passenger wouldn't mind marketing brouhaha, they just mind comfort and convenience. they wouldn't choose PAL because it is glamourous to fly with one as how the branding elements puts it, they just want to go to their destination as comfortably as possible.

    and yes, some passengers maybe naive in your perspective, but not me. :) and if ever i vociferously compare philippine airports vs airports in Munich, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen, i'm hoping that it will tell you more about how far are we as far as aviation service is concerned.

  5. When you traveled did you travel via domestic terminal or terminal 3? Ceb pac uses naia 3 and i flown them twice one time no tarmac (the tube) second time, with the tarmac. When our plane used the tarmac, we were supposed to take back door and walk up stairs. but the FA's said that it was okay if we used the tarmac.


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