Senator Nancy Binay has urged the Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific to fix its flight booking system amid complaints from passengers about being rebooked to trips scheduled days after their original reservation was cancelled.
At the joint hearing of the Senate Committees on Tourism and Public Services on June 21, a Cebu Pacific passenger testified that her flight from Dumaguete to Manila was cancelled on May 1. She was given the option to fly on May 5 but she refused, stating that she had a board exam scheduled on May 3.
The airline rebooked her to a flight scheduled on May 2, 8 p.m., saying it was the only trip available for that day. However, the passenger’s aunt, who was based in Australia, was able to book her on a Manila-bound flight scheduled on May 2, 9 a.m.
The passenger said her aunt paid an additional P10,000 just to get her on an earlier flight.
Pressed for an explanation about the passenger’s ordeal, Cebu Pacific Chief Commercial Officer Alexander Lao said the airline works “in a very dynamic pricing and sales environment where people may change their flights at any time.”
When Binay asked why the passenger was moved to a later flight instead of an earlier one after her original reservation was cancelled, Lao said Cebu Pacific will explore how to improve communicating the availability of its seats to passengers.
“The challenge is we fly 65,000 people a day. So, minsan, napakaraming seats na sabay-sabay, so we have to check po how we can better do it,” Lao said.
In response, Binay said Cebu Pacific’s flight booking system could benefit from upgrades.
“Kumbaga, mas efficient, mas nakikita niya kung ano talaga iyong—kasi parang iyong system ninyo, naka-gear towards saan tayo kikita, hindi ba?” she said.