Yesterday, I got an e-mail from a friend who is going to be visiting Mindanao. He asked that I keep the details of his request private, and this I am publishing this article without a name, but detailing my friend’s experiences of trying to travel during Philippine Airline’s current labor problems. Enjoy the article and the information.
I am sure you know about the recent and continuing problems with Phlippine Airlines Job action.
When I bought my tickets for this years visit to Mindanao I booked my Manila to Mindanao and return on Philippine Airlines as I did not know about the layoff and the job action that has followed causing PAL to alter, change, discontinue flights with little notice to passengers. The afternoon flight to Mindanao continues NOT to be shown on their daily updates and that is the flight I was booked on. They only show one morning flight to Mindanao that will be gone when I arrive at Manila.
The past several trips I have tried to fly Cebu Pacific from Manila to Mindanao but they would not accept USA issued credit or debit cards. Mine would not work and my travel agent tried his personal and business credit cards and Cebu Pacific would not accept those either, where PAL would accept all of them including my own.
Sure, I could probably arrive in Manila, stay overnight (at additional cost and wasting 1 day of my vacation in Mindanao) and by the time of my flight who knows what will be going on with PAL.
I tried booking a flight on Cebu Pacific via their website (seats and flights on Cebu are selling out FAST) As expected, Cebu Pacific would not process my online order with my USA issued credit card, but I don’t give up that easy!
If you remember, my USA issued Visa card does not work in the ATM’s in Mindanao and I have heard similar from other USA visitors to Mindanao. It works in some cities, but not all.
Last Year I got two ” Western Union ” pre-pay debit cards, one is Visa and the other Master Card. They worked in at least one ATM in the Gaisano Mall where my regular Visa card did not. I was able to get a Visa and a Master Card Western Union pre-pay debit card from Western Union.
By using my Visa Western Union pre pay debit card I was able to have my air ticket purchase on Cebu Pacific processed and confirmed! Bottom line Cebu Pacific cost to me is USD $159.44 Round trip Manila to Mindanao and return flight to Manila Intl. ( Ninoy Aquino International Airport ) including my 2 suit cases and 1 carry on. I know I might have to pay excess weight on my suit cases but that will not bother me LOL .
For the additional $159.44 to have a back up flight on Cebu if Philippine Airlines fails, it is worth that cost to me.
I will go with Cebu Pacific but I am still going to keep the Philippine Airlines tickets I have just in case. If Philippine Airlines continues having a job action problems who knows what could happen. I have read press reports already of ” equipment tampering ” by members of PALEA ground crew, need I say more ?
I am writing this to you just to inform you that flights and seats are selling out FAST on Cebu Pacific. If you know anyone coming to Mindanao on Philippine Airlines in the next 30 days or so it might be worthwhile getting tickets on Cebu Pacific while they are still available! If those from outside the Philippines have difficulty using foreign credit cards with Cebu Pacific I have informed you how I got around that with my Western Union pre-paid VISA Debit card!
I made the transaction with Cebu Air website about 3 hours ago and I confirmed the purchase and my reservation on the phone with them just to make sure everything went thru OK, and according to them, it did!
This has been one of my “convenience over Cost ” stratagies LOL. I don’t want to worry from now til then if I an going to be stranded in Manila by Philippine Airlines. By the time I get there flights on Cebu Pacific or any other domestic carriers might be Sold OUT ! I’d rather spend the $159.44 now for back up flight tickets than spend it on Asprin or other headache reliever later!
I hope this info will be helpful to you or others who you may hear from concerning flights on Philippine Airlines now or for the immediate future.