Cebu Pacific Airwebsite check-in vs actual check-in; discrimination

J Oct 30, 2018
This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

Who: Cebu Pacific Airlines
Clerks: Aireen Carascaz (girl)  April T. (boy)
Miller Party: Aaron Lashier, Alexis Miller, Angelina Miller, Jeson del a Torre 

Where: Legazpi Airport bound for Ninoy Aquino International Airport (domestic side)

When: October 10, 2018. Arrived at airport by 8:53am. Flight departed at 9:20am. 

What: Denial of check-in to the Miller-LaShier party due to a violation of the unwritten but supposedly known 45-minute check-in rule and perceived discrimination of the Miller-LaShier party because they are foreigners who are Caucaisans.

Not only is there a disparity between the Cebu Pacific Clerks' insistence on the policy over the 45 minute check-in rule and the absence of such policy on the check-in website, i.e. nowhere on the entire website was it stated that failure of a passenger to check-in within 45 minutes prior to time of departure nullifies the passenger's flight but discrimination occurred against the Miller-LaShier party because they are foreigners who are Caucasians. Cebu Pacific check-in clerks stated that the Miller-LaShier party did not meet the 45 minute check-in deadline. Miller-LaShier Party wasn't informed of 45 minute rule in e-ticket email that they had received the day prior. The Cebu Pacific clerks admitted to the Miller-LaShier Party that the policy is not anywhere on the website but that it has been a known expectation of the Cebu Pacific Airlines from its Filipino passengers. Despite the Millers and my son, Aaron LaShier's contention who was one of the passengers that, again, if that policy is not written anywhere on its public website, how can they expect the passengers to know that? On top of that, the Miller-LaShier party did arrive within the 45 minute window of check-in and boarding. But, not only did the clerks not check-in Miller-LaShier party but they also stalled by appearing to be busy shuffling some paperwork as if they were waiting for some other passengers. The Millers-LaShier party paid the tickets on line. The Millers asked if there were still seats left and the clerks answered yes. The Miller-LaShier party was even more dumbfounded why the clerks still insisted on not checking them in. Finally, when 2 local Filipino passengers showed up and talked in their native to tongues to the clerks, these Filipino passengers were checked in despite of arriving much later than the Miller-LaShier party. These Filipinos arrived even much later than the Miller-LaShier party yet they were allowed to check in. The clerks made room for "standby passengers" because they were Filipinos? The Miller-LaShier party never made their flight. They lost $300. The Miller's daughter had an appointment with the US Embassy for her pending nuptials paperwork which the daughter missed. Mrs. Miller literally cried in front of the clerks. But the clerks laughed at Mrs. Miller's state of despair. As a consolation, the clerks told the Miller-LaShier party that there is a later 2 pm flight for $500 one way as "chance passenger(s)"- not guaranteed, dependent on seat availability. That it was their only option with Cebu Airlines. The Miller Party refused, especially after the fact that a quick web-search by Angelina Miller showed cheaper flights with their rival Philippine Airlines.

Impact: The Miller-LaShier party not only lost $300 for missing their flight but also felt discriminated when 2 local Filipino passengers were allowed to check-in despite arriving much later than them.

Is this poor customer service by Cebu Pacific Airlines due to lack of current and relevant customer service training, dated and confusing website information, and poor marketing strategy?

The Cebu Pacific website is not forthcoming and confusing at best with the necessary information for potential passengers to make informed decisions in booking flights online. Cebu Pacific needs to clearly state their check-in policies on their website and in their online bookings, and maintain currency and relevancy upfront where it can easily be seen BEFORE any passenger purchase of flights. Cebu Pacific should be specific, down to the last
minute if need be, in their check-in requirements and not ballpark ranges of hours and days especially when it comes to check-in desk options and especially when anticipated foreigners might fly Cebu Pacific where native nuances, expectations, unwritten yet known only to the locals may be misconstrued. It would also be best if a search engine or a FAQ webpage could be available on the Cebu Pacific website, NOT a Charlie Chatbot, which doesn't know about a 45 minute rule either. Above all, it is unacceptable for this infamous 45 minute rule to NOT be posted ANYWHERE on Cebu Pacific website or in their Terms and Conditions. It is very embarrassing for Cebu Pacific when that crucial bit of information has to be entered into Google and be found on a fringe website run by Trip Advisor. It is more humiliating for international tourists because they pay for Cebu Pacific's shortcomings and have their personal itineraries ruined.  

It is not the job of the Cebu Pacific check-in clerk to do damage control for justifiably angry tourists because your marketing team failed to prevent this event from happening. The Marketing team must improve the design of the  Cebu Pacific website. Proactive, not reactive, business strategies is what separates the professional from unprofessional businesses. Do something about it soon.

In addition, it is a training issue and poor management supervision when you have check-in clerks with poor customer service and lack of cultural sensitivity especially to passengers who are foreigners. The unprofessionalism and discrimination exhibited by the aforementioned clerks is very humiliating and derogatory to the good name that Cebu Pacific strives to maintain and should not go unpunished. For a well-known airline such as Cebu Pacific, that kind of attitude could be a litigation waiting to happen.

Recommended Resolutions:
1. Modify the website to include the 45 minute Cebu Pacific local policy CLEARLY, not in fine print in Terms and Conditions.
2. Reimburse the Miller-Lashier Party the full cost of their flight that they missed and mental health indemnity caused by the unprofessionalism of the aforementioned check-in clerks.
3. Written apology to the Miller-LaShier for your clerks' poor attitude and unprofessionalism.

Per Mrs. Angelina Miller, "I will NEVER fly your airline again. Your people at in Philippines need to learn CUSTOMER SERVICE. I've NEVER been so humiliated and treated so horrible. I cried and they laughed at me. They lied straight to my face and stalled because we were a few minutes over. we didnt have any luggage and still had 27mins that we could've boarded the plane. After we arrived they even called twice for the remaining passengers to board. It would've taken 2mins for us to get there. They wouldn't send a manager to talk to us. They then said well its because of paperwork and kept changing time allowed. Also, another agent was selling the chance tickets to two Filipino people beside us so they got to fly. Every worker said something different. I spent alot of money for 4 passengers. We had an appt at the Embassy we had to miss nor could we meet our family that was waiting for us in Manila. If there isn't any type of compensation I will report your airline to everyone I know. I will post the nasty way we were treated and laughed at. in America we are diverse and treat EVERYONE equally."

I am Jocelynn Reyes-LaShier, a Filipino close friend to the Millers and mother of Aaron LaShier, one of the paid passengers of that particular Cebu Pacific. It saddens and embarrasses me that one of our sources of pride and method of excellence in tourism could be easily marred by something like this that is really so preventable. I ask your leadership and support in rectifying this situation.

Timeline of Events
October 6, 2018- Angelina Miller books roundtrip flights for her party. 
October 9, 2018-Angelina Miller receives travel notification. Travel notification does not include 45 minute rule.
October 10, 2018- Miler party arrive at Legazpi airport around 8:50am. They are admitted through security and arrive at Cebu Pacific Check-in at around 8:53 am. Angelina Miller requests to check in quickly and hands over all necessary traveling documents to Cebu Pacific clerk April T. Cebu Pacific Clerk April T. does not begin chick-in process and informs Angelina Miller Party of 45 minute rule. Angelina Miller informs Cebu Pacific clerk April T. that this rule was not communicated to her in her email, before she got to that airport. She did not understand why there was extra paperwork involved in checking in for a simple domestic flight. April T did not effectively communicate to the Miller Party that they were being helped to the fullest extent. Angelina Miller as well as Alexis Miler expressed their confusion and frustration over why April T. could not simply check their party through repeatedly. April T. did not begin the check-in process in a timely matter and instead shifted that job to Aireen Carascaz, who was in the back room. While Aireen Carascaz was checking the Miller party in, April T. was failing to explain why the Miller party was at fault. April T. was not willing to walk us through the check-in process and kept on returning to the 45 minute rule over and over again with Angelina Miller. Eventually, both parties fell into an intense silence as both April T. and Angelina Miller realized their points were not being understood by each other. About 15 minutes and two final boarding calls had passed before Aireen Carascaz came to the check-in desk. She informed us that our check-in process failed to be completed on time Angelina Miller, whom was furious about her $300 sunk cost, then accused Cebu Pacific clerks of foreigner discrimination. Aireen Carascaz denied this charge profusely. She then offered a $500 fare, one-way, chance passenger status that Angelina Miller did not find acceptable. Aireen Carascaz also stated that Philippine Airlines did not have any flights to Manila coming from Legazpi today, making their tenuous offer the Miller's only offer. Angelina Miller, whose had enough, demanded to see the Cebu Pacific clerks' manager . Both Cebu Pacific clerks refused her request and said that he was not available to them because he wasn't there. By this point, the Miller Party had missed their opportunity to fly completely and left Legazpi airport very disappointed and upset about how they were treated. Cebu Pacific clerks not directly involved in the dispute were snickering as the Miller party was on their way out. Alexis Miller snapped at them and told them to quit laughing because their mistreatment was a serious mistake on Cebu Pacific's fault. That shut them up.
October 10, 2018- In Legazpi SM mall around 11 pm, Angelina Miller had found several available domestic, roundtrip flights with Philippine Airlines leaving out of Legazpi. If it was true at the moment when Aireen Carascaz told Angelina Miller there was no flights with PAL then, this was not true now, effectively making Aireen Carascaz a liar.
October 11, 2018- Aaron Lashier goes to Legazpi Airport to gather the names of Cebu Pacific clerks directly involved in yesterday's unpleasant event. He receives both clerks names a customer feedback form. Aaron LaShier asks questions to clarify exactly how these series of events happened and how they could have been avoided. He learns new things. April T. remains silent the entire time as Aireen Carascaz explains to him two things. The first is what she was doing yesterday in the backroom while April T. was failing to help and defuse the Miller party. She stated that she was the one doing all his work which  involved coordinating Manila airport and the pilot of the chartered flight to receive us. Unfortunately, the situation's time constraint did not permit a successful coordination and that she had come up to the check-in desk to try to inform us that she gave it her best effort. Aaron LaShier came to his own conclusion, that she could not do this for herself because once again she had to clean up April T.'s mess- an emotional, unserved tourist party that he could not calm down due to his limited English comprehension skills. The second thing Aaron LaShier learned was that the 45 minute rule was supposed to be included in the fine print of the terms and conditions checkbox, near the end of confirming the flight booking process. Aaron LaShier was not there in person when Angelina Miller made their reservations but he did state out loud to Aireen Carascaz that Angelina Miller has been flying internationally for years and has never missed a flight or experienced delays at check-in desks because of 45 minute deadline rule. Furthermore, Aaron explained the April T. failed to defuse his traveling party's anger and that this intent, this message did not come across. Right after Aaron LaShier said this, Aireen Carascaz retrieved a customer feedback form and gave it to him. When Aaron asked for her name she wrote it down. Aaron did not ask April to write down his name but he was surprised that April did not write his name too unprompted. It was clear to Aaron, that April knew he was directly involved in the situation  because his arms were crossed and he would intentionally not look in Aaron's direction. All Aaron learned about his last name, the meager letter T, was what he glimpsed for a second when April's name tag came into view.
Aaron LaShier began to research Aireen Carascaz's claim when he got Wi-fi. After thorough research that involved booking a flight,  surfing the Cebu Pacific's official website and Facebook page, chatting with Charlie the Chatbot (Cebu Pacific's "solution" to their lack of a search engine), and Google searches, Aaron LaShier found his answer. Whether willful or out of ignorance, Aireen Carascaz lied. The biggest thing Aaron LaShier learned is that this whole unpleasant experience could have been avoided if Cebu Pacific web designers advertised very clearly about the 45 minute Check in rule.

 Seat Guru link

Very respectfully,
Ms. Jocelynn LaShier
PSC 333 Box 8516
APO AP 96271
Email: [protected]
Phone number: [protected]

website check-in vs actual check-in; discrimination
website check-in vs actual check-in; discrimination
website check-in vs actual check-in; discrimination
website check-in vs actual check-in; discrimination
website check-in vs actual check-in; discrimination

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