Free No More at Cebu Pacific

Booking.com
Traveling frequently for more than five years has given me several knowledge on tricks when flying on several airlines. I call these tricks because not all have this knowledge. Offering to be offloaded, free rebooking and rerouting when the airline reschedule your flight for more than 15 minutes, option to choose seats for free, are just some tricks I used. 

My most favorite and frequently used is the standby passenger opportunity. I don’t really know what it is officially called (I think it’s called a go-show), but I know I become a standby passenger when I avail of it. Technically, a standby passenger is those who are flying on that flight without a prior reservation. Meaning, those who buy their tickets at the airport itself. 

This is how it works (the go-show passenger). Usually, when I am not sure what time I will get to the airport (this happens when I have a flight prior), I get a ticket for the last flight that day. And then, when I arrive earlier, I fall in line at the standby counter and request to be transferred to an earlier flight. And this is for free, until recently. 

Last week, November 4, 2017, I do my usual routine and fell in line at the standby counter of Cebu Pacific. My flight was for 8:00 PM that day and I am already at the airport at a little after 12 noon! I was hoping to be transferred to the 2:20 PM flight. The staff at the counter told me that starting October 26, 2017, they are not anymore offering the transfer to an earlier flight for free.

Apparently, their new policy is, you have to pay 1000 pesos to be transferred to one flight earlier than your original flight. But, you have to pay the entire rebooking fee plus the fare difference, if you want it to be more than one flight earlier than your original flight. 

I was disappointed at this. Luckily, that certain flight, has been rescheduled by CEB several times, yes several times! Apparently, they have added two flights to our city and they are frequently adjusting the flight times. So, I called their hotline (their twitter account did not reply immediately) and requested to rebook my flight, earliest time possible as I am already at the airport. I got this for free. Though I spent 30 minutes on the phone, it is still better than paying 1000 pesos or more just to lessen my waiting time and get home earlier. 

Okay, now I will explain why having standby passengers are convenient for the airline and why they should offer it for free, to encourage passengers. If the airline will allow some passenger to get to an earlier flight, the original flight of that person will be vacated and they can sell it to another passenger (real standby passenger), at a higher price (because they will purchase it at the airport already). And if it is really a low season, they can compress all passengers in one plane and cancel the flight with very few passengers.

I just hope Cebu Pacific, being a low cost carrier will cancel this new policy on the standby passengers (go-show passengers), which is not free anymore. I don’t know what to do with almost 8 hours waiting at NAIA-3 as there isn’t so much to do their plus, the ACU really is still not working properly after several years of being under repair. 

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