Should I Worry About Cebu Pacific?

It’s summertime, and as you all know, it’s that time of the year when you talk travel with your friends whenever you all hang out. The usual bunch of questions are thrown around every time- whether you’ve heard something nice about a new hotel/resort/summer destination, how much a 3-day-2-nighter would set you back, which airline you’re flying this time, etc.

It’s really that time of the year when you all compare notes and check out which ones were actually good deals. After all, going to a much-raved summer spot might just be better than that crappy resort you just stayed in the last month.

Understandably, expectations run rather high when anyone plans a vacation. Not only do you work your ass off to get that much-deserved vacation leave (and not leave work hanging) of even just a few days, you also save up for it. And needless to say, it doesn’t come cheap at all- more so if you plan a rather ambitious overseas trip with hotel stays and all that.

I can’t help but notice that this year isn’t a good year for Cebu Pacific. From the online stories alone just these past few weeks, I’d say there’s a lot going on that leaves a lot of customers not just unhappy- but irate enough to write about it and tell other people how bad their experiences were.

Take for example these recent incidents posted online for all to read:

Now that’s not even counting the stories from my friends who don’t blog. This unfortunate friend of mine booked a vacation to Bangkok with her friends last week, and had the most horrendous experience with Cebu Pacific.

Here’s what I think: I know Cebu Pacific positions itself in the budget airline category- an alternative to Philippine Airlines- but even if you are a no-frills, low-cost airline, it doesn’t give you a license to have terrible customer service. And at a time when word-of-mouth spreads so much easier because of blogs, online discussions and social networking? This is the time to get your act together, right?

Whether it’s a vacation or a business trip, everybody deserves to have a worry-free flight.  And we’re talking about the whole experience- from booking your flights online, getting your e-tickets, to moving through the airports, and the actual flights.  At the rate things are going, I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra just to avoid the stress of going through what the others have been through.

But then again- is it really too much to ask for decent customer service?  Shouldn’t great customer service be expected from a company that- I dunno- blows millions in advertising and promotions just to get people to try out what they’re offering?

So yes, I am worried about Cebu Pacific. I’ve flown in several Cebu Pacific flights in the past, and while I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had any major problems, I simply can’t ignore what my friends have gone through recently, or what I read online.

I’m leaving for the US in May, but I’m coming back on July with a whole slew of relatives coming over, and I’m tasked to take everyone around. I really hope Cebu Pacific can get straighten things out by then.  In the meantime, it might not hurt to consider other airlines.

Cheers, everyone.

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27 thoughts on “Should I Worry About Cebu Pacific?

  1. I suggest you take Air Philippines for low-budget airfares. They don’t try to be grander than they are but the staff is competent and very professional. They don’t try to be cute and “hip” like CP — who fail to achieve the desired effect anyway. If you ask me, they’re just plain tacky on top of being incompetent.
    Another tip, if you book early enough, PAL sometimes have promo fares that are dirt cheap. You should check them out.
    Just STAY AWAY from Cebu Pacific like the plague IF YOU VALUE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!

  2. Michelle G: Thanks for sharing. That’s a rather strongly worded comment. Might I ask: did anything unfortunate happen to you and your friends/family for you to feel this way?

  3. Hey,

    Got roped in by the trackback 🙂

    Anyway, an update with my Cebu Pacific Horror story: they just charged me Php600 for the refund of my ticket. It covers the no-show fee and refund charge.

    This goes to show that cheap is REALLY cheap.

  4. Hey, thanks for linking back. This issue is really biting us (my wife being a travel agent) so we’re off limits from Cebu Pac transactions right now, til they straighten things out.

  5. Jon: I just can’t believe how many horror stories there are right now about Cebu Pacific. It should worry anyone who’s thinking of taking a local flight.

  6. Hi again Renzie! Thanks for dropping by my blog. Now you got me worried…again. After my own post about Cebu Pacific I was still considering getting a ticket from them for my son who will travel alone to the province next week. Now, I am not too sure….

    See you soon again. Maybe at a yoga class with Phoebe and Jayvee? 🙂

  7. Cebu pacific customer service very very bad. I’ve lost a lot of money because of cebu pacific. recently I lost again P9K just this month plus my family (wife and daughter) did not make it last april 8 just because the passport of my daughter is just 2 days short of the 6 month validaty for international travel. The passport is not expired it will still expired on oct. 2008 but counting 6 months its lack 2 days tapos the cebu pacific staff did not allow my daughter to board the plane. The problem they have already paid the travel tax and the the immigration office even already allowed my daughter to board. Mas mahigpit pa ang cebu pacific staff. If they were allowed to board, it just a dy processing here in singpore for a renewal password that cost only 85 sgd dollar around P 2K. Now, the flight was delayed in fact not anymore delayed as I can not book anymore new flight because the fare is so high already compared the time when I book it 4 months ago. So nasayang lahat ng preparation. It was intended to be a gift to my daughter because she excel in school so I told her she can came to singapore with her mom come april. So after 4 months of waiting just a 2 days short for passport the cenu pacific staff playing like GOD just give a decision without any consideration whatsoever. Now I will no longer book for cebu pacific. Jet star na lang or philippine airline. kahit mahal pa i will do that kaysa naman magtiaga sa cebu pacific. pag lahat ng pasengger nila mag change ng airline tingnan ko lang kung saan pupulutin ang mga cebu pacific staff na yan. Mayabang sila kc madami sumasakay dahil mura, pero pagganito naman servisyo nila, mamumura ko din mga staff nila. Kaya mag die hard fan ng cebu, gising na kayo. Pag wala kayo problema ok lang but once magkaproblema ka aywan ko lang kung matutulong ka nila, gusto gusto nila mag cancel ticket or ma rebook para maibigay nila sa iba un ticket mo na matagal mo na na book (ilan buwan) para mas malaki kita nila tapos may dagdag tubo pa sila sa no show mo daw P 1500 (kahit andun ka)plus re-booking fee P 1500 din. samantala un pamasahe eh P 2000 mas malaki pa lugi mo. kung pwede nga lang pabayaan mo na, kaya lang sayang din un matitira kc may tax un kaya un nalang bale makukuha mo.

    cebu pacific sana malugi ka o tanggalin mo sa pwesto mga walang kwenta staff.

    – singapore april 28, 2008
    – anonymous na lang muna kc may refund pa ako sa cebu pacific
    na hanggang after 5 months hindi pa nila nabibigay. kita mo na
    mukhang pera na wala pa customer service

  8. Hey everyone. Just wanted to share a post from my Multiply site, “Get Your Geek On!” I posted a link to the article you’ve just read (on this blog), and we also got a few stories from our readers.

    Here’s a comment posted by a friend of ours, Jay Ignacio:

    I wrote them a letter regarding the horrible experience I had with their ground crew in Guangzhou last February. They are assholes.

    My mom died on Feb 8, the second day of Chinese New Year, and we had to wait a week for the crematorium to open – Guangzhou had only one. When we finally got to cremate her, we had to stay an extra week for all sorts of bureaucracy. After 12 days of getting stranded and being helpless, obviously all i wanted to do was go home with her ashes.

    My mom had a roundtrip ticket, but these pricks were charging me for an extra luggage. And then all sorts of nasty things happened when i tried to explain to them that her ticket is still valid and so she should be entitled to some luggage space even though she’s already dead, blah-blah.

    Major, major assholes. The lot of them.

    Thanks for sharing, Jay.

  9. Hey everyone. Just wanted to share a post from my Multiply site, “Get Your Geek On!” I posted a link to the article you’ve just read (on this blog), and we also got a few stories from our readers.

    Here’s another comment posted by another friend of ours, this time by Christine:

    i still think PAL is the best so far. not perfect but compared to the rest, i think i won’t ever ride again other local airlines.. tsaka mas gusto ko magpunta sa NAIA centenial airport kesa Manila IA. hehe.

    Thanks for sharing, Christine.

  10. Hey everyone. Just wanted to share another post from my Multiply site, “Get Your Geek On!” I posted a link to the article you’ve just read (on this blog), and we also got a few stories from our readers.

    Here’s a comment posted by another friend of ours, this time by Sasa Carlos:

    I experienced their awful Customer Service in Hong Kong. They are represented by a company in HK and are not properly trained.

    When our flight was moved to 9pm (from 11am!) last Christmas, they made all the passengers wait for an hour, standing at the check-out counter, before even telling us what was happening. Not even a “We are sorry for having you wait here but are solving some internal problems. We will update you soon.” Not even that.

    Needless to say, there were some irate passengers, Chinese & Pinoys, who called for the manager. The manager wasn’t equipped to handle them either because we had another 30 minute show of shouting back and forth and nothing got solved.

    After more than an hour, they gave us round trip fare coupons as their apology. They could have managed this better had they been properly trained to service customers.

    My other disastrous experience with them was at the Cavite Robinson’s branch. The customer service woman was downright rude and didn’t bother letting me finish my explanation about Balikbayans not needing to pay for Travel Tax. She interrupted me to say, Basta, you have to go to the Department of Foreign Affairs to waive that tax. She couldn’t explain to me about the Travel Tax counter at the airport as a representative of the DFA.

    I’m still not prepared to fly PAL though. I’ve used PAL for more than 15 years and I’ve always, always been extremely disappointed with their tardiness, poor customer service and lack of professionalism.

    Oh well, between the 2 airlines, I’d grit my teeth and still go with Cebu Pacific. At least the flight, although re-scheduled, will eventually fly. With PAL, they often just cancel it altogether, leaving you stranded in the airport!

    Thanks for sharing, Sasa.

  11. Jane: yes, it is worries me as well. I’m supposed to take my mom and several other relatives around the Philippines in July/August, so I’m making preparations now. I’d like to avoid the hassle of all these Cebu Pacific stories I’ve been hearing and reading about, you know?

    And yes, I hope to see you again soon. Cheers!

  12. Tuesday: thanks for the comment, and I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you. Makes me want to really look into all the other budget airlines and local airlines just to compare how they stack up against everyone else, including Cebu Pacific.

  13. STRANDED IN JAKARTA FOR OVER 1 WEEK WHILE TRYING TO CONTACT CEBU PACIFIC AIRLINES FOR A RESCHEDULE TO FLY BACK TO MANILA !
    I AM ABSOLUTLEY DISGUSTED WITH CEBU PACIFIC AIRLINES & I WILL NEVER USE THEM AGAIN.
    I HAVE BEEN IN JAKARTA FOR THREE MONTHS AND NEED TO FLY BACK TO MANILA ASAP.
    I RANG THE TRAVEL AGENT AND THEY TOLD ME TO GO TO THEIR OFFICE SO I TRAVELLED TO THE APPOINTED TRAVEL AGENT [$$$$$TAXI]—PT.ANDALAN USAHA CEMERLANG–THE ONLY ONE DEALING WITH CEBUPACIFICAIR IN JAKARTA — ONLY TO BE TOLD THAT THEY COULD NOT REBOOK MY FLIGHT BECAUSE CEBUPACIFICAIR HAD CHANGED THEIR COMPUTER SYSTEMS AND ALL TICKETS PURCHASED BEFORE 1st april 08 COULD NOT BE RESCHEDULED ONLINE.
    WELL RING THEM AND CHANGE IT I SAID— THEY REFUSED!THEY WERE NOT INTERESTED IN THE SLIGHTEST DEGREE TO HELP ME [REMEMBER I AM A FOREIGNER HERE AND DO NOT SPEAK INDONESIAN].

    YOU RING THEM YOURSELF- THEY SAID ITS YOUR PROBLEM OR BETTER STILL BUY ANOTHER TICKET AND GET A REFUND ON YOUR OLD TICKET WHEN YOU REACH MANILA!==why should I buy another ticket when i have a valid ticket here ??IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THEM TO SEE MY REASONING SO I LEFT THE AGENTS SHOP IN A STATE OF ABSOLUTE DISGUST.
    [ITS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THEY ARE VERY HAPPY TO TAKE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY BUT DO NOT WANT TO DO ANYTHING FOR IT !!]BEWARE OF THIS TRAVEL AGENT !!
    ANOTHER [TAXI RIDE$$$$$$] TO MY ACCOMODATION AND I TRY TO CALL CEBUPACIFICAIR ON MY CELL FONE —AN IMPOSSIBLE FEAT TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY $$$$$
    SO ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE MY TICKET ONLINE AND
    ==========================================================
    IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE IT THRU A TRAVEL AGENT AND
    =========================================================

    SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTACT CEBUPACIFIC BY CELL FONE!

    OK I HAD FRIENDS IN JAKARTA WHO HAVE A LANDLINE [TAXI$$$$$] —-ON THE PHONE FOR OVER 1 HOUR WAITING TO BE SERVED AND THIS IS AN INTERNATIONAL PHONE CALL REMEMBER[$$$$$$$$] ONLY TO BE TOLD THAT IT WILL COST $130 DOLLARS TO REBOOK MY FLIGHT –[A NEW TICKET COSTS $150!]

    THE CALL CENTRE AGENT WAS POWERLESS TO TO HELP ME OR SEE REASON SO I GAVE UP IN DESPAIR REFUSING TO PAY $130 DOLLARS FOR SOMETHING THAT I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR!

    I AM TOTALLY DISGUSTED WITH THE WHOLE PROCESS NEEDLESS TO SAY THE CALLOUS TREATMENT AND INHUMAN DISREGARD CEBUPACIFICAIRLINES HAVE SHOWN TOWARDS ME AND MY SITUATION. AS WITH ALL CORPORATES THEY ARE DISTANCED FROM THE PEOPLE THAT GIVE THEM THEIR PROFITS ie THE CUSTOMER.IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE CONTACT OF ANY MEANING OR VALUE BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE SYSTEM IS OPERATED.

    THIS EXPERINCE HAS SO FAR COST ME ABOUT $300 — FOR TAXI FARES + NUMEROUS INTERNATIONAL PHONE CALLS + ACCOMODATION COSTS DUE TO EXTENDED STAY + FOOD + MISSED APPOINTMENTS IN MANILA –NOT TO MENTION THAT I WILL STILL NEED TO BUY ANOTHER TICKET TO GET OUT OF HERE SO IT LOOKS AS THOUGH ITS GOING TO BE A $500 DOLLAR EXPENSE DUE TO CEBUPACIFICS ABYSMAL SERVICE ! MORE IMPORTANTLY THE STRESS INVOLVED HAS BEEN ENORMOUS FOR ME
    I WISH I HAD SOME MEANS TO BRING THIS TO THEIR ATTENTION BUT ITS SEEMS IMPOSSBLE TO CONTACT ANYONE THERE IN THEIR AIRCONDITIONED OFFICES
    [NOT THAT THEY WOULD CARE ANYWAY] GOD HELP US ALL
    BUT I SWEAR I WILL NEVER FLY WITH THIS AIRLINE AGAIN UNLESS I GET SOME SORT OF APOLOGY AND REIMBURSEMENT
    SO IF ANYONE FROM CEBUPACIFIC WHO HAS ANY AUTHORITY READS THIS ACCOUNT OF MY EXPERIENCE YOU CAN ALL GO AND—–!!*#+====== YOURSELVES!!!!

    May 21st, 2008 ROBERT MASON says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    HAVING HAD MORE THOUGHTS ABOUT MY RECENT BLOG REGARDING CEBUPACIFIC AIRLINES AND THEIR APPALLING CUSTOMER RELATIONS SERVICE == WELL THEY DONT HAVE ONE IN REALITY!
    AND THE APALLING DISREGARD THEY EXHIBIT TO THEIR CUSTOMERS I PERSONALLY CONSIDER THEM TO BE CORPORATE THIEVES
    AND THEY SHOULD BE EXPOSED AND TAKEN TO COURT AND SUED FOR THE HARDSHIP AND TROUBLE THEY CAUSE TO UNSUSPECTING CUSTOMERS

  14. Cebu Pacific ARE corporate theives with their refund that is never refunded policy. Married to a Filipina, I am an Englishman in the UK and have waited for a refund for 9 months but it never appeared. They refuse to talk on the phone, they refuse to answer emails and refuse to speak to my bank (HSBC) when they phoned them! This BUY A TICKET AND HAVE IT REFUNDED WHEN YOU CHANGE IT system is clearly an organised scam. The number of people that have had basically the same thing happen to them proves it to be a scam. Searching Google for CEBU PACIFIC REFUND brings up a multitude of complaints. They told me that the refund could take up to 6 months but when the date passed I reported it to HSBC who say they cannot recover the money once 118 days have passed. So they are conveniently making the refund date later that the latest date the money can be recovered. I am currently involving the media in this scam and I am also considering taking Legal Action in the Philippines against Cebu Pacific. If anyone has full details of a refund that was never made, please email the details to CB.SCAM@ABACOM.ORG.UK to help me put together a case. If they owe you and if in total it amounts to a lot, maybe we can all recover.

  15. hi,
    i bought a ticket in june. my creditcardcompany paid them immediately. but cebupacific still said, the CC is delined, which is 100% not true. so i wrote them (with copy of my creditcardcompany statement) around 6 mails. but so far, they did not answer. i tried to call them, no chance to get through. i tried mails direct via their website, but no answer also.
    so, my flight is confirmed, but – according to CebuPacific – its declined. i guess, when i want to fly, they just dont let me fly.
    1 month no answer. its not right what they do
    regards,
    hans@japan.com

  16. have to agree this airline must be shutdown!!

    I had a flight from Macau to Manila last july 1 originally I am suppose to fly back to manila july 22nd but i rebooked it(was charged of course)

    then came the last minute cancellation june 30th midnight less than 24 hours before my flight back to manila, thru sms asking me to call manila office thinking i am overseas to confirm the new sched flight for july 3rd. I had to move hell to get to them and demanded that they get me an alternative flight from HK to Manila the next day july 2nd instead and asked them that extra expenses on my part is unacceptable. I asked for refund, my ferry ride from Macau to HK, my airport express fees, my taxi expenses, food expenses etc… Of course I am shooting for the stars hoping that they will pay me back. I emailed them so many times and I have not heard from them since I lodged my demands. I even CC a letter to DTI unfortunately same rotten system I never heard from anyone.

    I friend of mine from Holland booked a flight, and was charged twice and has been asking for a refund. He wrote 18 times to cebu pacific but never heard from them.

    yesterday my brother was suppose to fly to bicol and his balikbayan friend from UK got a last minute cancellation, so they had to take a bus ride instead.

    I wonder with all the screw-ups and all the inconvenience they cause people why on earth this airline is still operating and get passengers? CEBU PACIFIC IS A WASTE OF MONEY NOT EVEN FOR A SINGLE CENTAVO. STAY AWAY FROM THIS AIRLINE

  17. hi,
    i bought a ticket in june. my creditcardcompany paid them immediately. but cebupacific still said, the creditcardpayment is delined, which is 100% not true. so i wrote them (with copy of my creditcardcompany statement) around 10 mails. but so far, they did not answer. i tried to call them, no chance to get through. i tried mails direct via their website, but no answer also.
    so, my flight is confirmed, but – according to CebuPacific – its declined. i guess, when i want to fly, they just dont let me fly.
    its soon 2 months and no answer. its not right what they do with their customers….
    regards,
    hans@japan.com

  18. I was searching thru the boards to see if anyone had the same experience as us. We booked our whole family (4 adults and 2 kids) via Cebu Pacific for the first time. Our card got charged and we received confirmation of the booking.

    Two weeks later, we receive an email that our booking (except for one adult) is cancelled because our card was denied. We check with the credit card agency and they say that all has been charged and no reversals requested. WTF!!

    We call Cebu Pacific and talk to a clueless call center agent and who couldn’t/wouldn’t let us talk to his supervisor because his supervisor was taking care of another customer complaint.

    Funny thing is when I told the call center agent that by definition of a scam being “depriving somebody of something by deceit;” Cebu pacific was perpetrating a scam and he agreed!!

    What’s worse, even with the refund, they say it would take at least 1 1/2 months… Are you out of your mind? you get my money, inconvenience me by canceling my booking so I have to may more expensive rates and to top it off tell me that you will continue to use my money for a few more months???

    Worst, Worst airline experience.

  19. I’m Salvacion Daniel i would like to ask how can i reschedule or extend my ticket Hongkong to Manila. May i know what place here in hongkong near at discovery bay i can have extension of my ticket. thank you.

  20. Cebu Pacific sucks! My wife and 2 kids are set to arrive in Tacloban from Manila for a family reunion September last year. Their flight was forced to be redirected to Cebu due to poor visibility as it was raining that time. This is perfectly fine with me because safety of the passenger must be top priority. When another scheduled Cebu Pacific landed in Tacloban 2 hours after, I was expecting that it would now be safe for my family to be flew in from Cebu.

    To my horror, I was told by my wife that their flight are now scheduled to fly back to Manila. Apparently, Cebu Pacific LIED to the passengers saying it was no longer safe to fly to Tacloban and have to be rerouted back to Manila! They advised the Tacloban-bound passengers to alight from the plane and take other means of transportation to Tacloban without suggesting any compensation. My wife swears that the crew were obviously scheming, misleading the passengers in trying to kick them out of the plane. Some poor passengers obliged, while others like my wife choose to stay because it was already 10pm, knowing that it is highly improbable that passengers can still make it to Tacloban that night.

    Thereafter, Cebu Pacific announced that some manila-bound passengers are going to be accommodated to the flight. Alas! Cebu pacific had to kick out passengers to consolidate their Manila-bound flight!!! They were unmindful of the safety and welfare of the passengers, just so they can maximize their profits!!! This time, my family was inside the plane for almost 5 hours!!! My wife pleaded for for some water, spare at least a bottle of water for my kids who were already crying due to thirst and hunger but the flight attendant simply told her that they only have enough water for the crew!!!

    This is Cebu Pacific. I am still trying my best to persuade friends and family not to take Cebu pacific. I am not a PAL lover, but nothing beats the worst! If you think Cebu Pacific is cheap, they publish rates net of tax, surcharge, and baggage allowance. 8 out of 10 times, other airlines are charging less after you go to the final fare price. Cebu Pacific, sana karmahin kayo!

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