I was amused to read a post the other day at Brian Gorell's blog about Cebu Pacific, "Cebu Pacific - “YOU’RE SO DAING!!!”". I searched for the original post at Market Manila and I was surprised to see that it was from 2006. The problem that he described was so similar to what we went through last April that I thought it was from about the same time (their system can't break down that often!). I didn't blog about it then because I was too pissed.
In Manila, going to Caticlan, we had to wait for 4 hours before we got the information that our plane was broken. With the other passengers, we struggled with Cebu Pacific to put us on a plane to Kalibo instead. It was their last flight for the day going near Boracay and it was getting dark fast. If we didn't force it, maybe they would have forgotten about us completely. Granted, sometimes planes do break down, and really I do not want them to forcibly fly a broken plane (I watch a lot of National Geographic's "Mayday: Alarm in the cockpit")but what pissed me off was that we were in the dark for 4 hours before we found out what the problem was...and only because the passengers did a coup! Since we were at the airport for 4 hours without anything to do, I already figured out who our co-passengers were in the sea of people at the airport, due mostly to the irritated expressions on their faces and the fact that I thought no one would voluntarily stay at the airport for 4 hours. I then systematically approached all the passengers that I have identified and explained to them that we were taking a flight to Kalibo instead. It was so appalling that Cebu pacific didn't even bother making the announcement.
Landing in Kalibo, we were all given a pack of Nova, a small bottle of water and free transportation to Caticlan. It was like a joke. For all that hassle, only a small pack of Nova? Come on.
Going back to Manila, we thought that it would be nice to stay 2 more days in Boracay. I wasted precious hours in Boracay rebooking our flight. The Cebu Pacific booking office in Boracay was not able to rebook flights because of problems with their booking system. I had to call a trunkline. I stayed on the phone waiting for a human to answer for 1 hour before I gave up! My time is precious and I didn't want to ruin our vacation, so we just went back to Manila as scheduled. Marido, our Italian friend, decided to stay longer in Boracay so she booked another flight with Air Philippines. She didn't even bother to try to get a refund after seeing the line at their booking office at the airport upon landing.
In fairness to Cebu Pacific though, the flight itself was comfortable. I was impressed with the new plane that we took to Kalibo. The smaller plane that we took from Caticlan going back to Manila felt solid and well-maintained in contrast to the Asian Spirit flight that we took going to Coron. What sucked was their booking system and customer service. They didn't even have a senior citizen line at their booking office!
So no, in conclusion, I will never take Cebu Pacific again.