Reunited

Perhaps I am lucky, or maybe my officemate was just right on what to do with my issue with Cebu Pacific. My previous entry tells about the wait that I have to endure for Cebu Pacific to make some action with my concern. To give a refresh, I went to Hong Kong last September 27 and I wasn’t able to claim my tripod outright when I arrived there. Upon my return, I filed a loss report of my tripod and the supervisor then assured me that they’ll contact me once they get news of my tripod. I thought it would be an exercise in futile, I filed a second “complaint” via their customer feedback form in their site last October 3 and as the confirmation message tells, I need to give them seven (7) days to wait for their feedback.

Seven days from the day I submitted this second complaint (10 October 2008) I heard nothing from Cebu Pacific and I didn’t bother to make a follow-up via their call center since I don’t have enough time to wait endlessly for someone to talk to me sensibly with regards to my complaint.  When I was cleaning up my phonebook with messages, I noticed that I received an SMS from Cebu Pacific last 13 October 2008  informing that my tripod was already available for claiming. Typically, I just open messages from senders that’s not in my phonebook list but not thoroughly reading it and given what was written in that text message, I immediately called the number and they told me that I should just go to the arrival area of Terminal 3 and claim my tripod there.

Last Thursday, 16 October 2008, I went to Terminal 3 to claim my tripod and to my dismay, I got the tripod but it is “broken”. Broken in the sense that the upper part of the tripod was detached to the main tripod body which shouldn’t be the case. I was quite alarmed since in the first place, I ensure that whenever I travel, the tripod should have the “FRAGILE” mark but this sticker was missing when I claimed the item. Morever, a part of the tripod case was torn and it puzzles me if this is the way Cebu Pacific handle fragile items. If this is the case, then I think for Cebu Pacific to further save on operating costs, they shouldn’t be producing anymore fragile stickers if they treat fragile items similar to regular checked-in items. Isn’t it the reason why the tripod was gate-intercepted was to not pass through the conveyor because it is FRAGILE? If you would see the image above, the tripod was flown from Hong Kong to Manila last 13 October 2008, the same day that Cebu Pacific reported the missing item to me that it is now available for claiming. Aside from the missing sticker, there’s no indication on the tripod on what day it arrived in Hong Kong.

I went home to video the unpacking process of the tripod and the extent of the damage, aside from the torn case and detached tripod head were the rusty tripod screw (the one that connects the tripod to the camera) and the dusty tripod head. I asked the attendants at the arrival area of Cebu Pacific on what was the reason why the tripod didn’t arrive with me and after I told them the process of how it got “lost”, they simply mentioned, “sir, baka hindi naisakay” – the same exact reason I was thinking. Investigating further I saw in the site of Cebu Pacific on the “Baggage Section” the following:

8.4 Checked Baggage
Upon your delivery to us of any Baggage to be checked and provided that, for security reasons, you acknowledge to us that you personally packed the Baggage and know the contents thereof, we shall accept the same and issue a Baggage Tag for each piece of Checked Baggage. Checked Baggage must have your name or other personal identification affixed securely to it. Checked Baggage will be carried on the same aircraft as you unless we decide for safety, security or operational reasons to carry it on another flight. If your Checked Baggage is carried on a subsequent flight we will deliver the same to you within a reasonable time from the arrival of that flight unless applicable law requires you to be present for Customs clearance. (emphasis mine – superpatrick)

Safe to say that the tripod was indeed sent to Hong Kong but not on the same flight that I took going there. Since we went to Macau on our first day, most probably the tripod may have reached Baggage Enquiry counter 1 in Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) but no one would be able to claim it since it is logical to think that passengers will assume that their baggages/items came with them on the same flight that they took. Perhaps the manifestation of the provision mentioned above was the one experienced by the sister of my neighbor who now works in Singapore. HKIA was even generous enough to provide feedback regarding concern on the tripod even if it’s not their responsibility. They have responded twice to my concern and I am  thankful for their concern.

Now I got my tripod, I was able to repair it and now it performs back to “normal”. I haven’t tested my tripod fully but right now, I am thankful that I’m a bit “lucky” in terms of getting back what I need from Cebu Pacific. A lot of horror stories about Cebu Pacific are circulating around the internet and I hope Cebu Pacific, despite being a budget airline, is not giving deaf ear and blind eyes to the issues that surround their business.

If budget permits, I’ll fly next time with PAL (if only my pocket allows me to).

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