In traveling, not all things will run smoothly as what you have might expected prior the trip. Sometimes you will encounter things that you wish it didn’t happen like for instance, a heated argument between you and your taxi driver because he charged you more than what the fare meter displayed (unless if it’s two in the morning and the driver can’t get any passengers after you) or the failure of the airline company to reserve you a decent hotel room. But there is one thing that every travelers dreaded the most: delayed and/or cancelled flights.
My first plane ride was around 1992. I can still remember when the plane suddenly aborted its take-off and returned to the tarmac. Apparently, the air traffic controllers during that time were on hunger strike due to some issues. This mayhem had resulted to cancelling all outbound and inbound flights within Davao. It was really frustrating knowing that mom and I had to return to the arrival hall and claim our baggage. Luckily, we rebooked our flight the next day without paying additional fees. I thought that would be the last time I’ll experience such inconvenience of traveling. But, I was wrong. I was really wrong.
Shane, Leo and I arrived at Zamboanga International Airport at around 4:20 AM to catch up with our return flight to Davao, which was scheduled to leave Zamboanga at around 6:30 in the morning. We were so giddy and excited, knowing that we’ll be back home in the next few hours. All went well until at around 7:00 AM, Cebu Pacific had made an announcement regarding our flight:
Attention to all passengers of Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J-394 bound for Davao, your new estimated time of departure will be 2PM due to some additional servicing of the aircraft. Your safety is our number one priority. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience.
I honestly do not know what to do next. I didn’t know how to react during that time. For five minutes, I thought I was just dreaming, knowing that I’m deprived of sleep for the past few days. No, it was really happening – my first major major delay. See also: my disappointed face:
We have no choice but to wait. My iPod’s battery was running low. I didn’t bring any books to read. What I did was, I walked around the predeparture area, went inside the comfort room many times just to check whether if it’s clean or not (yes, I was THAT bored), took some pictures of the planes and watched the people come and go at the terminal building. I even went to the check-in counters and saw the chaotic lines at the Cebu Pacific counter. There were lots of people complaining about the delay. There was actually a heated argument between a passenger, who can’t make it to Bacolod City due to the delay, and the check-in counter lady. The day progressed very slowly. The predeparture area starts to get really humid and hot. I was sweating profusely, but I shouldn’t complain. We only paid 40 pesos for the terminal fee. Moreso, I slept on the hard benches with my bag acting as my pillow because I was deprived of sleep for the past few days.
It was a good thing though that Cebu Pacific offered us a free lunch courtesy of Jollibee and a free one-way ticket to all domestic destinations valid for six months just to compensate the discomfort and the inconvenience we experienced. At least, the compensation was fair enough. Now I know what it feels like to have an eight-hour delayed flight. I fully understand why some people get frustrated because of delays. I am pretty aware that the passenger safety is the number one priority of every airline in the world, but sometimes people tend to forget about it. I remember when I was in NAIA 2, several passengers bound for Mactan-Cebu suffered the same fate as ours. Some of them were even shouting profane words to the security guards and to the flight dispatcher, asking them as to why they haven’t left Manila. They have waited for almost 9 hours! It was like watching a scene from a local teleserye.
Travelers book their desired flight schedules either according to their plans or base from the availability of the flight. Almost all of them have scheduled plans for their respective trips. One can’t really determine if the flight he’s taking will depart and arrive on time or not. The most important thing to do about planning a trip is to have some alternatives. At least, when a delay strikes, one can opt to pursue his alternative plan/s and can still enjoy his trip.
Keep in mind that violence and profanity won’t bring any good to you and to the airline company. I know it’s hard but we should sometimes learn how to control our emotions.