Disclaimer: Before anything else, this is not a rant post about the airline. Rather, this experience was actually the highlight of my recent trip in Bali, Indonesia!
We were scheduled to fly back to Manila from Denpasar at around 8:45AM. Since our hotel is conveniently located right in front of Denspasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport, we left our hotel at quarter to seven in the morning. Besides, we have already checked-in online, so we were pretty much confident with the check-in procedure. The process was quite slow but we didn't care. Besides, we're flying home.
The moment we presented our passports at the check-in counter, we received a disheartening news from the airport ground staff.
"Sir, we regret to inform you that we are going to offload the four of you because the flight is really full. Everyone showed up. The four of you will be transfered to a Philippine Airlines flight tonight at 1:30AM."
We were surprised. My initial concern was my connecting flight to Tacloban. I'd never make it if they won't change it. But the good thing was, the ground staff were accommodating.
"We will provide you an accommodation for today, and it comes with free breakfast and lunch buffet. Dinner will be served at your flight. We will also rebook your domestic connecting flight." The ground staff told us cheerfully.
We waited for another 20 minutes at the check-in counter as they coordinated with other airport staff. My aunt jokingly told them that they should accommodate us at Sheraton or Nusa Dua (wishful thinking, haha). We ended up staying at Novotel Airport Hotel.
|The pool and the control tower.|
We just killed time by taking a quick nap (hello, the beds were soooo inviting) and availing the free breakfast and lunch buffet. We then went to the nearest mall and did some last minute shopping!
The whole experience was not really stressful. In fact, it was an extended vacation! The ground staff of Ngurah Rai were really prompt in addressing our needs. They too contacted the Manila station regarding our travel vouchers. Plus, it was my second time to fly with Philippine Airlines outside the PH (the first one was from Singapore). My heartfelt gratitude goes to the Hindu gods of Bali who gave me a surprise albeit late birthday present!
Upon arrival in Manila, we met up with the ground staff of Cebu Pacific Air and they too confirmed that we will be given a free roundtrip ticket to any international destination (excluding long-haul flights such as Sydney, Dubai, Kuwait, etc.) valid for 180 days. Jess and I were planning to go back to Bali around January, while mom's gonna use it for her Hong Kong/Macau trip this October. True enough, sarap #BALIbalikan ang Bali!
|Fly the flag! The Heart of the Filipino.|
This is not an isolated case. Airlines do have the right to overbook a flight because not all passengers show up upon check-in. But there are days when all passengers show up thus the airline may bump off some passengers for obvious reasons. Affected passengers will be transferred to the next flight regardless of the airline. Yes, it really is inconvenient especially if you're on a tight schedule but rest assured that the airline shall address your concerns ASAP. You will be given a free hotel accommodation, and your affected flight/s (including your domestic connecting flight, as long as it's the same airline) will be rebooked without paying an additional cost. On top of that, you will be awarded a free travel voucher. In our case, since we got offloaded in Denpasar, we were given free roundtrip tickets to any international (regional) destinations of Cebu Pacific Air valid for six months.
It was my second time to receive a travel voucher. The first one was five years ago when my return flight to Davao from Zamboanga got delayed for almost ten hours due to aircraft problems. We were given a free one way ticket to any domestic destination valid for six months.
P.S. When I checked the travel voucher, they didn't include Phuket, Denpasar (Bali), and Hanoi. These three international destinations only fly twice or thrice a week from Manila. Looks like I'm going to fly somewhere up north and experience snow for the first time. Ha ha ha!