How Cebu Pacific Pissed Me Off

Traveling is now a part of my lifestyle. Thanks to lower airfares available and these made me travel more to destinations I haven’t been before. Last weekend, I was in Hong Kong and Macau to spend some days off out of the country. It’s been more than 2 years since I stepped out of the Philippines and the first one was some sort of a “sideline” with only a day to go around Singapore.

Me and my friend booked for a Cebu Pacific flight to HK last May and we got a sweet deal of 4,214 per person exclusive of Philippine taxes (amounting to Php 1620 + Php 750 as compared to HK’s Php 1,290). As a person who loves to take pictures, I brought with me my dad’s tripod – the one he bought in France even before I was born. Typically, tripods are classified as “deadly weapons” and items of these type should be checked-in. When we were checking-in, I asked the check-in agent to classify my baggages as “Fragile” as my checked-in items contain fragile items with my bag containing chargers for batteries while the tripod is of course being a light material required to check-in. The check-in agent asked me if I prefer to have the tripod be a “gate-intercepted” item, meaning an item required for check-in will be allowed entry up to the boarding gate. The agent who would be there would get the item for transfer to the proper location – that is the item should be included in the checked-in items with the exception that the tripod won’t pass through the conveyor to prevent breakage. It was my first time to hear that word – “gate-intercept” but for the heck of it, and for the “concern” they have for my tripod, I guess it would be a good idea. Upon reaching the boarding gate, the woman who was holding a radio then got my tripod. I asked her if the tripod would reach HK, and she said, “Yes, sir.”. I re-affirmed: “Guaranteed?”, she replied back, “Yes sir, guaranteed”. Taking those words, I felt “assured” that my trip would be A-Ok and my items would be there, safe and sound.

The plane flew and we arrived in HK, 20 minutes ahead of schedule. After disembarking from the plane, exchanged USD to HKD, immigration, we were off to experience HK. On the baggage carousel, I found out that my tripod wasn’t there. I waited for 10 minutes hoping that the item would be there but none to avail. The Chinese woman who’s checking the baggage carousel told me to proceed to the “Baggage Enquiry” counter but to my dismay at Counter 1, where Cebu Pacific is assigned to has no attending agent. I waited for another 20 minutes but no one came. An officer approached me and told me that there’s no agent for 5J (IATA code for Cebu Pacific). DAMN! That tripod, more than it’s commercial value, is more meaningful to me (with reasons mentioned above). We arrived in HK around 7 something in the morning but we already left the airport around 9 something just to follow-up for that freaking item and yet no one responded to my help. So as not to spoil the trip, I kept pertinent information with regards to the whole situation. That is I took the Cebu Pacific flight 5J-108 bound for Hong Kong last 27 September 2008 and my tripod with tag 300128 never got into my hands when I landed in HK.

Upon my return in Manila, I was able to talk to a Cebu Pacific agent attending to the baggages arriving from flight number 5J-111. I told him the incident and he got me a paper getting all the information regarding my missing checked-in baggage. In the course of our conversation, something was raised up that triggered my curiosity. The guy who got the details told me that they’ll check with their records if indeed that baggage passed through their system. That alone is quite alarming since that package was gate-intercepted. How come could an item captured by the boarding agent as a “gate-intercepted” item be entered in the system to think it didn’t pass the conveyor. Smells fishy but I gave them as well my contact details for “updates” to the situation which I can say 90% will not happen as based from other feedbacks given by other disappointed passengers. But to be fair sure with everyone, before I left Hong Kong, I also submitted a “Lost Baggage” report to Hong Kong International Airport authorities to validate if indeed a package with that tag number do really reached Hong Kong. If their records prove to be nil, then all I can say is that package never left Manila and possibly in the possession of the boarding agent who got my tripod in the morning of 27 September 2008 in Gate 112 of NAIA Terminal 3 for the 5J-108 flight of Cebu Pacific to Hong Kong.

Oh please Cebu Pacific, please don’t use the lame excuse as a “budget carrier” why your customer service sucks. As a service provider to the riding public, you should be more consumer service oriented and refrain from escaping your responsibilities just because of the reason you keep on uttering. I know I am not the only one having a bad experience with you but don’t lose the trust of the people who keep on patronizing your services.

I will update this blog once the report of the Hong Kong international airport comes and let’s see what really happened to that tripod.

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25 thoughts on “How Cebu Pacific Pissed Me Off

  1. my dear Pat,

    i have vowed a long time ago to never fly with Cebu Pacific ever again. I will pay nalang. Haaaaay….

    I’m sorry for what happened to you. I hope they will reply soon!

  2. sorry to hear that, my friend who went to HK last december had the same problem, the whole luggage was lost, she spent HK/Macau trip with nothing… no attendant from Cebu pacific at HK airport… one thing I hated with HK airport is nobody checks the luggage tags…

    but luckily she found her baggage thru her own effort… hope you’ll find your tripod, too!

  3. Hey! I am so sorry to hear about your bad experience. My first trip to HK was with Cebu Pac too and it was horrible. It felt like the experience was not much different than when you ride a bus in Manila. They do not have complimentary snacks but rather flight attendants push a trolley along the aisle offering overpriced food and drinks. Our gate in the HK Airport too was moved without any notice so we literally ran from end to end of the airport because where the gate was moved is so far you had to take a train to get there. The old lady in front of us in the plane was requesting for water because of the long distance we took to go back to the gate and the flight attendant went “We have water but it is for 50 Pesos”. Seriously? They have a lot to learn about Customer Service. I am going back to HK and Macau this year and I have already got my package with Philippine Airlines. What’s some more bucks to make sure you get a good flying experience to go along with a great trip? Cebu Pac is just not even worth its cheap prices.

  4. Hello, in fairness with Cebu Pacific, their business model is following with that of the budget airline classification. Given that, no food and no other perks is given with the flight. As much as possible, I do hope that airports should allow water bottles to be brought inside the plane since it would be more economical for us to bring our own. If they are pretty much sure with the security that they give to the airport, then there shouldn’t be no problem at all with water.

    And oh, my last flight with Cebu Pacific was 2 hours delayed. Customer dissatisfaction at its best.

  5. hey! same incident dude! kakadating ko lang dis friday. pag uwi ko bubuksan ko na sana ang bagahe ko! i was surprised na nawawala na ang padlock ng bagahe ko. then binksan ko lurayluray na ang mga damit ko. then asa top yung camera box na supposed to be na nasa ilalim dapat yun.. so madali ko binuksan yung camera box ko. pag bukas ko wala na yung camera! battery nlng yung natira! walang hiya mag nanakaw na yun dipa nilobos lubos! tanga din xa nakalimutan nya kunin yung battery. so bumalik ako sa airport una ng complain ako sa mismo airport at tnulungan nila ako sa cebu pacific booth! mga gagong nasa both na yun, ano pinagsasabi nila. na di dw nila sagot yun dahil bawal daw mag lagay ng ganon sa bagahe so sabi ko, hindi ko na reklamo yung nawala! yung yung damage nlng, yung pag bukas nila sa bagahe ko at pag sira at pag halung kat sa bagahe ko. sguro dapat sagot nila yun diba. so wala sila masagot ang sinisi nanaman nila hongkong dun daw nangwayo nakawan.ANG LABO DIBA? mga tang ina cebui pacific na yan. ipina media ko na sila sa DZBB

  6. Most likely, nasira sa transit ang padlock mo and may nakialam na ng gamit mo sa loob. You can’t point out exactly kung saang airport possible na nasira ang padlock. Remember, bags, even if how careful you are or even how explicit your instruction would be marked as “fragile”, kung hindi talaga fragile e ibabato pa rin nila. Sorry for what happened to you pero sometimes, it really pays to think twice before getting Cebu Pacific again.

  7. same thing happened to my friend,
    she came from hongkong and discovered that her luggage padlock was missing after coming from the airport. (nung nasa HK pa siya secure yung lock) and her DSLR was missing!! Imagine!
    She only discovered it was missing when she opened the luggage a few minutes after getting home. Sinundo siya by car from the airport so it’s impossible na nawala yun sa biyahe pauwi. Nireport niya sa Cebu Pacific yun pero pinaikot ikot lang siya.
    That airline sucks major ass~

  8. Cebu Pacific waiting for a class suit? Pero, isn’t it a bad idea to put DSLRS or gadgets in check-in luggage? Kasi I hand carry them (last trip I had was DSLR, laptop, and some food was allowed for hand-carry).

  9. AFAIK, Airline personnel handles the receiving of the baggages. Airport personnel handles the transport of those to the designated plane according to the instructions of airline personnel. In my case, it was “mixed”.

  10. paksiyet talaga tsong!!! this is the link i read in Yahoo today http://www.yahoo.com/s/1047212 which prompted me to google “airport lost item cebu pacific” that’s why i got to this site.
    I traveled to Bangkok last March of ’08, returning back to Manila via Cebu Pacific; sa bahay ko na nalaman na wala na pala ‘yung back-up cellphone ko sa check-in backpack ko.
    Last June I traveled to Saigon, again via Cebu Pac… the very minute I claimed my baggage at the airport, sira na ang padlock ng big backpack ko… the lock never broke by accident–it was obvious that someone used pliers or wrench to break it open (yupi talaga yung zipper handle eh)…
    It made me wonder if there’s a group of employees that are associated with Cebu Pac or general airport employees doing this–just like the ones in the yahoo news…
    if so that means big buss. modus operandi ‘yun…
    and there’s a need to do something here or else i don’t think we can call it budget flying…

  11. How intriguing. Baggage opening I know only works in the US, in particular the TSA. But for safety reasons, valuables should not be placed in checked baggages. Isn’t it that obvious?

  12. Hi. I’m really glad I found this blog/entry. I am now in HK and I also flew out of Clark airport in the Philippines vai Cebu Pacific. I went through a hellish time because of a “live” bullet necklace (which they insisted was not jewelry because it wasn’t gold) at the airport security. Then, I found that my checked luggage had been tampered with and I’m now missing a pair of socks (who would steal socks?) and a favorite cologne. I’m actually thinking of not flying Cebu Pacific anymore either because of another horrible customer service issue previously.

  13. Sitting in Saigon for a week without clothes due to baggage being sent to Hong Kong rather than Vietnam Saigon. What a wonderful Christmas and New Year gift from Cebu Pacific….. After a week the baggage sent back to Manila, but that is no use when I am in Saigon till after new year!!!! How hard is it to send a bag to the right airport????

  14. ISSUE COMES…ISSUE GOES! SNAP..WALA NA…
    puro mga comments na lang…tas walaNG magagawang solutions…

    MAPA-EROPLANO..MAPA-BARKO..

    MGA BOPOLS!

  15. Arrived in Manila from HK last night via 5J119 Ceb Pac. To my utmost dismay, my luggage was lost and has yet to be found. I reported it to customer service and they really suck. During the process of filing the report for lost luggage, the customer service attendant by the name of Ms. Mary Grace Regalado asked me about the valubales contained in my lost luggage. I told her that there were gadgets in there and new clothes. Mag-comment ba naman ng “Dapat kasi sa hand-carry na lang ninyo nilagay yung mga gadgets nyo.” Huwaat?! Wrong words to say to a customer who has just lost her entire luggage. Obvious na obvious na they were not properly trained. Lalo lang pinapainit yung ulo ng customer. They promised to call me today to give me an update regarding my lost luggage pero wala pa rin. Hoping pa rin ako na makita yung luggage ko pero sa nakita kong quality ng customer service nila, di na lang ako mag-eexpect.

  16. Yesterday, I am offloaded from my flight 5J 110, so I have to retrieve my luggage, I go to the check in counter they say that it was already loaded on the earlier flight, knowing that I am not boarding anymore, and it was carried out on a different plane due to negligence, they could not track my bag whether if it is loaded to hong kong or loaded to another flight, or what, like every one of you experienced they did not answer or give any feed back at all.

  17. TO ALL OFW JOIN FORCE Mag ingat po kayo pag magbakasyon kayo………

    Huwag ilagay mga important things sa bagahe like Alahas, Mobile o ano pa mga mahal na bagay….

    Isang classmate ko mula QATAR ang umuwi connecting plyt to Zamboanga City ay CEBU Pacific Airline ang Eroplano papunta Zamboanga dumaan ang bagahe ang bagahe niya sa CEBU PACIFIC CARGO dahil connecting ang plyt niya tingnan ninyo ang bagahe niya nawala ang mga celpon ang naiwan ay mga carton na lang to CEBU PACIFIC Management baka pde pa inbestiga ninyo mga tao ninyo sa CARGO area baka lagi na nila ginagawa yan baka kayoy masira at mawala kayo ng passenger………………

  18. san b pwede i reklamp oang cebupac…..
    mawala din nila bagahe namin… at parang wala silang pakialam sa bagahe namin… ilang beses na kami tumatawag, wala pa ring balita sa bagahe namin…

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