Dear Mr. Bautista,
I would like to share with you our horrible travel experience with Philippine Airlines.
We decided to take our first international trip as a family using Philippine Airlines -- I had no doubts about my choice of airlines because I have traveled abroad using PAL and have experienced PAL at its best. I was confident that my two kids (5 and 2) would be comfortable.
We experienced our first setback 2 weeks before our flight (December 30) when I received an email from PAL informing us of our new flight schedule -- 1 hour later than the original time (1115 am instead of 1010am) --
Although it meant having to wait 4 hours between flights, we were determined not to let this affect our enthusiasm and excitement over our vacation.
We arrived from Iloilo without incident and were pleased with the very attentive service from the ground staff of Air Philippines who assisted us with our transfer to Terminal 2. I foolishly thought this was a sign that our trip would be all positive.
Our international flight was not something I had anticipated to experience from Philippine Airlines.
We were first informed that our flight had been pushed back to 1230pm. When 1230 came, and no boarding announcement was made, I became very worried and your ground staff would not provide us with sufficient information-- they kept telling us to wait for an announcement.
When the announcement was made, informing us that our flight had been cancelled, my heart plummeted. We were told that our flight would be merged with the 920pm flight (PR505).
The cancellation of our flight caused us to lose precious time -- it also cost us 1-night stay at our hotel because it was too late to cancel our booking for the day. We paid for 2 rooms which we did not use. (More than US$400)
It also caused me endless worry -- we were scheduled to watch Wicked in Singapore on January 13 and were supposed to pick up our tickets one day before. Because our flight was cancelled, I could not pick up my tickets. Thankfully, Sistic still released our tickets when we explained our situation.
When we were issued new boarding passes for the 920pm flight, I was dismayed to see that my family was split up. I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old and we paid for the booking class that allowed us to do advance seat selection and I made certain that our party of 6 would be sitting together. (On our return flight to Manila today, our advance seat selection was also not honoured and we ended up sitting at row 64. What is the point of this benefit if it would not be honoured?)
I was close to tears, trying to get my family seated together -- and your ground staff kept pointing out that because our flight was cancelled, we had to accept the new booking assignment. I requested to speak to the person in-charge but he REFUSED to talk to me over your staff's phone.
Our 920pm flight eventually left at past 10 and we arrived in Singapore at 135 in the morning -- this was 12 hours later than our first expected arrival.
By the time we arrived in Singapore, we had no choice but to pay for a taxi service (S$50) since and the MRT and bus only operated until midnight.
We arrived in Singapore tired and very demystified with our terrible flight experience with PAL.
We had lost a day and we lost a bit of our budget due to circumstances forced on us by your airlines.
I am sitting here right now at the domestic terminal, writing this to you, because my PAL flight to Iloilo is LATE as well. I approached your ground staff at the appointed boarding time and I was told, yet again, to "wait for the announcement" -- our flight is supposed to depart at 605pm and it is now 556pm -- no announcement has been made.
I have already contacted Chartis to inquire about our travel insurance, which we also purchased through PAL -- and I was informed to submit my request but that reimbursements for delays only counts for delays from 12 hours.
I will submit my report to them -- but, even if we receive monetary compensation, I wonder who can compensate me and my children for their first trip -- it is meant to be an experience of wonder -- but it left both my children exhausted and sleepless for almost 24 hours. (My son now has anxieties and keeps asking if our plane is broken and if we have to stay up late again -- )
I wonder who can give us back the day we lost in Singapore and the tour we had planned for that afternoon.
A vacation is supposed to be a happy time and a time of relaxation and enjoyment -- my vacation was stressful -- the lack of empathy and consideration from your ground staff left me feeling very dehumanized.
Your airlines owes my son a vacation where he won't be afraid that the plane is broken and that he cannot sleep in a bed because of it.