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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cancelled Flight: What will happen to me?

This is not about ranting about cancelled flights and the hassle it brings to passengers but let me just share to you the things that normally and IDEALLY happens to cancelled flights and to their passengers.

When I went to Cebu last June for my mom's birthday, my flight going back to Bacolod got cancelled due to aircraft trouble. Since Cebu Pacific only have 2 flights per day with the CEB-BAC route and I had the later flight, we really did not have the option to be transferred to the next flight on that day. We were informed that we had to stay overnight and wait for the first flight the next day.

The announcement that came around 10 minutes before boarding time and all passengers were asked to go to Cebu Pacific's check-in counters for assistance. Thus, it is very important to listen and be mindful of the announcements while waiting to board the plane. Here are some of the things that will happen or things that you have to do and keep in mind.

1. Choose an option to either rebook the flight (whether you would like the next available flight or any other preferred schedule), ask for a refund or store it as a travel fund with Cebu Pacific. Most of the passengers opted for the first flight next day.

2. Contact your family and/or friend. More likely, you have to contact someone especially the person who's picking you up at the airport and inform them about flight cancellation. If you have no load (for prepaid users) or if your phone runs out of battery, you can ask assistance from the Cebu Pacific's personnel and you may use the phone in their office.

3. If the flight is cancelled and your flight is moved the next day, they should provide food, accommodation and hotel transfers. This is absolutely free and all arrangements will be done by the airline. Just to manage your expectations, this may take sometime and will test your patience as there are no chairs near the check-in counters so you'll end up standing for an hour or more while waiting.

With our experience, we were billeted in Crown Regency Mactan. Buffet dinner and breakfast was served. If you are travelling alone, there might be instances that the airline would ask you share a room with another passenger. You can definitely decline and ask them to book individual rooms for you.

4. Don't forget to claim your check-in baggage before leaving the airport going to the hotel. They won't be keeping it for you. You still need to check-in your baggage again the next day.

5. Get the airport office's contact number. Eventhough they would be completing all arrangements, it would be very hard for you to contact them should there be any problems. Calling Cebu Pacific's hotline will be useless as they do not have specifics about your arrangements. So, it would be best if you have a way to call the local staff of the airline.

6. They normally give some sort of compensation (e.g free one-way ticket). Aside from rebooking our flight for free, they also gave all passengers a free one-way ticket for domestic travel that we can use within 180 days. It can be redeemed online or by calling their hotline.

Generally, my experience of a cancelled flight was not that dreadful. It was definitely tiring and it led to some cancelled appointments the next day but I can say that Cebu Pacific has done their part in taking care of our needs and making it up to their passengers.

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