You may have heard or read Cebu Pacific complaints on the internet about delayed flights and no refunds. This time, I have my own travel horror story with them. The first time in my life when it’s a fully paid flight with an official itinerary ticket and receipt. But got trouble later on.
As an experienced traveler for six years, having problems while traveling is not a strange thing for me especially if it’s my own fault. I had trouble booking flights with my credit card and even asked for help from my friends to pay for me. Or I even borrow a friend’s card to book me a ticket. I even shared how I missed my flight from Tokyo to Cebu because literally, it was my fault. But what if you missed your flight due to the airline’s fault? Yes, I’m calling out Cebu Pacific for this problem.
Scenario #1 – Paid Ticket for Cebu – Clark – Hong Kong with Cebu Pacific
November 17, 2019 – my partner paid the ticket for Cebu – Clark – Hong Kong with Cebu Pacific. He asked for my details and e-mail so that everything will be sent straight to my e-mail. I received it with no problem. He just booked the base fare for PHP 6,345.
On November 22, 2019 – I asked him to add baggage with 32 kgs for Cebu to Clark and Clark to Hong Kong. He only added a meal from Clark to Hong Kong and paid another PHP 2,199 for the add-ons.
I received the first e-mail. Of course, the usual confirmation you always get after successfully booking a flight.
My partner’s online banking statement
Scenario #2 – Changed Flight Schedule for Cebu to Hong Kong and Paid Fare Difference
November 23, 2019 – I decided to change my flight for Cebu to Hong Kong. Before doing this, I even read on how to change the flight and just pay the fare difference. Successfully, I changed it with no problem. See photos below for the additional services I paid.
Proof that we received OTP or one-time password on our mobile phones
Scenario #3 – Cebu Pacific wouldn’t let me Check-In while I was at the airport
At 2 AM, I arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport. Check-in counter opened a few minutes later. And the trouble begins…
Confident to show my confirmed itinerary as I had the PDF file saved on my iPad. Cebu Pacific started to weigh my baggage for check-in as we bought 32 kilograms. Just waiting for a printed boarding pass, they told me I have to pay them PHP 11,275 in cash. I felt like I was in a hold-up situation. Why should I pay for cash when I had my confirmed ticket already?
Cebu Pacific told me that the mode of payment we used was being DECLINED/REJECTED on November 27, 2019, as being sent to my e-mail at 5:57 AM.
How come you declined our payment 24 hours before the flight? Is this even a standard operating procedure to decline a customer’s payment 24 hours prior? Is this being FAIR?
Where is my RIGHT TO BE INFORMED? – Air Passenger Bill of Rights
The Air Passenger Bill of Rights places emphasis on the right of the consumer to be informed of the complete terms and conditions of the contract of carriage, among others. The ticket or boarding pass should state either the complete terms and conditions of the contract of carriage or that such terms are readily available in the air carrier’s website, which may be sent to the consumer upon request. In case of online bookings, the consumer must be informed, at least twice, of such terms and conditions prior to the final submission of his or her purchase order. In addition, passengers must be apprised verbally of such terms and conditions in a language easily understood by them.Where is my right to be informed? I wasn’t informed on the day itself of the first booking.
Timeline of Bookings
17th of November, 2019 – received confirmed itinerary ticket and official receipt worth PHP 6,345.
22nd of November 2019 – received confirmed itinerary ticket and official receipt with add-ons of PHP 2,199.
23rd of November 2019 – changed my flight to Cebu to Hong Kong and paid a fare difference of PHP 2,731. That’s a total of PHP 11,275 for the final receipt.
For 7 days, I never received any e-mails that we had a problem with our payment. If there was a problem with our debit/credit card from the beginning, PAYMENT SHOULDN’T PUSHED THROUGH, RIGHT? I have many options paying in cash through 7/11 and other payment centers authorized by Cebu Pacific.
27th of November 2019 – I had no idea I received an e-mail from Cebu Pacific regarding the payment declined. On this day, I had my last day of doctor’s appointment and a last-minute shopping with my friends. Not enough sleep as I had the last-minute packing of my luggage and getting ready on my way to the airport at 1 AM (28th of November).
Stupid Excuses of Cebu Pacific Staff
Cebu Pacific keeps on repeating that the payments made were declined as shown by their booking system. And who the heck can even read this e-mail with a small font that was sent on the 27th of November?
Cebu Pacific staff were telling me I should go to the bank to fix the problem. Seriously? My flight was at 6 AM and I still had trouble with them around 2 AM. What an ungodly hour? I need to sleep.
They asked me to withdraw money from my bank account and pay in cash. Or if I have friends and relatives to help me pay in cash. I said NO because I stood my ground that I had my official receipt that me and my partner paid online already using our debit cards. Is this a case of a hold-up? Modus?
They wanted me to pay in cash and told me that the Cebu Pacific system will RETURN the money to our bank accounts within 30 days. They accused our payment as a fraud.
How on earth you will say our online payment method was DECLINED but you will RETURN the money? That statement is contradicting.
When you return or refund the money, it means the payment was ACCEPTED from the beginning. But you have the choice to FUCKED UP MY LIFE on the day of my flight as a passenger.
That time I told them I have the right to make a scandalous scene and scream at Cebu Pacific staff but I prefer not to because it’s not worth it with my health condition. I worried that I would miss my flight, sure. But I am just being patient and controlled my temper.
My partner monitored everything just to make sure I could fly in peace. He wasn’t able to have a good sleep because of this trouble.
Scenario #4 – My partner booked me a new flight with a new booking reference # of Cebu Pacific
The Cebu Pacific staff suggested that we should book another flight and assured us that our payment from the first booking will be returned in 30 days. My partner booked me a new flight with the same schedule, this time at a cheaper price. He talked to the manager-on-duty on FB call.
After showing them the new flight, they were able to print a boarding pass, and checked-in my baggage. Tired and sleepy, all I needed was to have a peaceful time at the boarding gate. Cleared by immigration with no problem as they gave me a special lane with my condition. My partner called me again to calm me down. Crying was all I could do.
I lost my guts of taking photos at Mactan Cebu International Airport. Not even the boarding pass and the gate I was in. I told my partner I need to find something to eat for breakfast just near the boarding gate. My flight was at 6 AM so you have to be at the boarding gate at least before 5:45 AM.
Cebu Pacific Pulled Me Out Off the Boarding Gate
I never had the chance to get some breakfast. Just a few minutes before boarding, I heard an announcement calling my name that I need to go to the boarding gate. So I went there to see what is the problem. That is when a Cebu Pacific staff pulled me out of the boarding gate. We took the exit through immigration. One officer started to ask a question of why I have to get out as escorted by a Cebu Pacific staff. The staff explained and leave my passport to the officer.
Again, Cebu Pacific wanted me to pay in cash.
How unfair is this? I got the boarding pass already and cleared by immigration. We have evidence that we paid already.
Cebu Pacific’s Faulty Online Booking System – trying to save face and put the blame to the customer
Many times Cebu Pacific staff telling me that I should pay in cash. Accusing our payment method as a fraud. The cashier even questioned me about OTP as if it never worked so they told me I should go to the bank and fix the problem. They take me as a stupid person as if I am an ignorant traveler.
This is not the usual me but I screamed at them telling the Cebu Pacific staff there’s a problem with their online booking system and obviously, they don’t know how the system works. I suspect that this happened many times before but they take it as a normal occurrence so as if they have the right to ask money from the customers.
Entirely Missed My Flight Due to Cebu Pacific’s Fault Without Giving Me Compensation
Unfortunately, I already missed my flight for the 6 AM schedule. Cebu Pacific staff (together with the manager-on-duty, ticketing officer, cashier, check-in officers)suggested that I should book another flight with Cathay Pacific scheduled at 12 NN but the whole Cebu Pacific management never offered to pay for it.
I have to call them out how faulty their online booking system is and they should fix this problem. But what they did to me on that day was UNACCEPTABLE AND I DESERVE A COMPENSATION.
Scenario #5 – I ended up flying with Cathay Pacific
My partner booked me a flight with Cathay Pacific with the same card(s) he has and can receive OTP (one-time-password) on a mobile phone. He even sent me cash online just to make sure I can pay in cash, just in case. Fortunately, Cathay Pacific doesn’t have a faulty online booking system, unlike Cebu Pacific. What you pay online and what you receive in your e-mail for an official itinerary ticket and receipt is final and paid.
Any problem with our debit/credit cards?
Definitely, we don’t have a problem with our bank cards.
In late September 2018, I used my card to book a flight and buses to Myanmar, Thailand, and back to the Philippines with Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, 12Go Asia, and Skyscanner.
October 2018 and beyond, my partner booked me flights within Thailand, within the Philippines, to Bali, and to Singapore with Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Philippine Airlines, and Jetstar Asia using the same cards.
Recently, he successfully booked flights with Cathay Pacific (after Cebu Pacific trouble) and Lufthansa (before Cebu Pacific trouble) using his card(s).
I Created a Status Update on my Facebook Travel Page
I posted this on different Facebook group channels to get leads of their e-mail address as the Cebu Pacific FB Page was being ridiculous after talking to Karla. She later stopped responding to me. A bot took over.
Conversation with Cebu Pacific on Facebook and E-Mail
Karla, the live agent of Cebu Pacific was talking to me until she stopped responding to me. Images below are shown how they make stupid excuses.
1. Booking is indeed canceled due to unsuccessful payment.
In fact, we received a one-time-password to proceed with our payment. We received an official itinerary ticket and receipt on November 17 (first booking), on November 23 (changed flight) and on November 28 (on the spot booking in the airport). Meaning payment was successful.
2. Our system was not able to get proper authentication from our screening tools
There you go! Their system is at fault for not getting proper authentication from their screening tools. But they will never compensate me for their fault.
Later on, Karla said there’s no problem with their system and payment screening tools.
3. You were denied because you do not have a confirmed booking.
But they gave me a boarding pass for the November 28th new flight.
4. We suggest that you contact your issuing bank for clarification.
How unbelievable your are Cebu Pacific! Calling the bank at 3 AM when my flight was at 6 AM? Why you never sent me an e-mail regarding our payment on the day of our first booking on November 17, 2019?
5. Both bookings are rejected. Your credit card was not accepted by the system. The transaction for booking Cebu to Hong Kong did not push through and the payment was returned to your card.
The e-mail shows so many inconsistencies and contradictions. Rejected, not accepted by the system but we received official receipts. The transaction did not push through but still, we received an official ticket and receipt. But how come they were able to return the payment to our cards?
Meaning, they have received our payment but they have the option to reject our payment ON A LATER DATE.
Conclusion of Cebu Pacific Complaints – it’s Cebu Pacific’s Fault
Upon writing and analyzing what really happened on the day of my flight, it’s obvious that it’s Cebu Pacific’s fault. I have all pieces of evidence gathered from receiving official itinerary tickets and receipt, online bank statements, plus receiving OTP (one-time-password) on our mobile phones.
I am just an ordinary traveler who happens to have a blog. So this is where I air my frustration and the inconvenience Cebu Pacific caused me. I am not here just to stay silent about what happened and say it’s okay. No, it is not okay!
It’s unfair that you pay celebrities, vloggers, and other bloggers you are working to get perks flying with you but you never pay attention to this important detail on your online booking system. Only paid customers experience this who pay regular price, not the Piso fare promos.
Doing a refund within 30 days is not enough to forgive Cebu Pacific because this will become a normal occurrence and you can easily say it’s the customer’s fault.
When I faced all Cebu Pacific staff from the manager-on-duty to the cashier, the check-in officers, and the ticketing office, it goes to show how incompetent they are. They don’t know how to address that there is a real problem with their online booking system. Cebu Pacific staff can easily just wash their hands off and blame the paying customers immediately. They have many lame excuses to justify their wrongdoings.
What Cebu Pacific complaints have you experienced already? Were they able to give you compensation for the inconvenience they caused you?
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Roxanne is an aspiring digital nomad. A virtual assistant since October 2009. She is a hobbyist blogger, photographer and travels a lot.