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Friday, August 18, 2023

Cancelled Flight: What will happen to me?

Originally posted on July 2016. Updated on August 18, 2023

This post is not about ranting about canceled flights. Instead, let me just share with you the things that normally happen to canceled flights and to their passengers.

When I went to Cebu last June for my mom's birthday, my flight going back to Bacolod got canceled 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 came around 10 minutes before boarding time. 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's what you should expect and some tips on what you need to do when your flight gets canceled. 

1. You need to 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 have it refunded and stored as a travel fund with Cebu Pacific. During my recent trip, most of the passengers opted to be rebooked for the first flight the 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 airline's personnel and you may use the phone in their office. Part of the Passenger's Bill of Rights is to be entitled to a free phone call or assistance in communication if necessary. 

3. If the flight is canceled 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 some time 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 were served. If you are traveling alone, there might be instances when the airline would ask you to 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 to go 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. Even though 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.

August 2023 UPDATE: We had another flight canceled and we were moved to another flight the same day. This time, they gave us two one-way tickets as compensation. We can use it in the next 18 months. 

Generally, my experience of a canceled 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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