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Cebu Pacific must pay for ruining Christmas of passengers — Palace

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Cebu Pacific of businessman John Gokongwei should fully compensate for the vexation it inflicted on thousands of passengers who complained about the flight delays and overbooking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 during the Christmas travel rush, according to Malacañang.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) will start the investigation of Cebu Pacific this Monday.

Valte said the CAB has received at least 14 complaints on Cebu Pacific’s violations and expects more complaints such as  undermanned counters, long cues, delayed flights and overbooking to pour in as authorities widen the period of investigation to the days prior to December 25.

“One of our officials was saying that while overbooking is allowed, it’s not favored, especially during peak season. So titingnan po natin. Isa po ‘yan doon sa mga bagay na magiging kabahagi ‘nung magigingpagpupulong po nila sa Lunes,” Valte said in a press conference.

Valte said passengers should review their rights as air travellers to prevent abuses by airline companies.

“Doon sa mga naapektuhan na ito, mayroon po tayong naihandang infographics—medyo matagal na hoito but it’s timely siguro to re-promote it now—‘yung Air Passenger Bill of Rights. Para malaman po natin‘yung mga karapatan po natin bilang pasahero kapag na-delay po ang flight natin, na-rebook po angflight, alin po ba ‘yung mga entitlements po natin. Nasa Official Gazette website din po ‘yan paramakita,” said Valte.

Valte emphasized that passengers have the right to receive the full value of the service they purchased; right to compensation; and right to be provided with accurate information before purchase.

“Dapat sapat naman din po ‘yung compensation. May karapatan din po tayong masabihan beforehand ‘nung facts of cancellation at mai-rebook or mai-reimburse po ‘yung passenger at the option of the latter. So this means na ‘yung rebooking or reimbursement must be the option of the passenger,” said Valte.

“In case of overbooking.’ Ito ho, siguro ito ‘yung marami hong nangyari over the past few days na ‘in case of overbooking, the airline or air carrier must look for volunteers willing to give up seats. If the number of volunteers is not enough, the air carrier shall increase the compensation package until the required number of volunteers is met.’ So mayroon din po tayong ‘yung right to compensation and amenities in case of cancellation of flights,” Valte added.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said: “We called the attention of Cebu Pacific. We are still validating the facts on the ground, whether it is really a result of overbooking because our monitors are saying there are quite a number of issues like there were fewer people at the counters. But we monitor overbooking, and require airlines to report to us the number of overbooked passengers.”

Cebu Pacific is blaming the rainy weather the day before Christmas for the cancellations but irate passengers are claiming the Gokongwei airline scrimped on its personnel to avoid paying higher pay on holidays while booking more passengers than it could carry to maximise its profits during the holiday rush.

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