Monday, January 12, 2015

The day Cebu Pacific and NAIA3 yellow cabs badly suck my day

My first out-of-town job-related flight this year was supposed to be this morning.  Being my first for 2015, I see to it that I'm prepared and ready for my task. I wrestled with my time schedule at work and even grabbed time from office mates so my plane tickets, OB and Travel Order forms, and cash allowance be processed on time. I spent extra hours that Friday evening in the office to complete the paper works, review the case, plan my itinerary and strategies in carrying out my tasks in the field.

The Cebu Pacific plane appears to be ready for us to board the Cebu Pacific Air Flight No. 5J504 but was cancelled by CebPac 
Last night, I went to bed late as I have to prepare my backpack and checked if all the gadgets are working well. All the batteries and power bank were recharged to have enough battery-power supply for my 3-day field work in the north. Normally, the backpack was always ready, even for an unexpected trip that I would just grab it simply from the corner every time I travel. Being my first trip for this year, last night was an exception. I checked and replaced some of the items I put in there,  making sure everything is still OK for use.

The morning came and I woke up early so I could find time to discuss with my wife on how we can arrange our daughter's enrollment while I am away in the field. Then I gathered my things and went to the airport and got there about 3 hours ahead of my flight schedule. I left early from our house this morning because I anticipated a heavy Monday traffic along the road and the long queue at the entrance of NAIA3 and another long queue in the check-in counter of Cebu Pacific Airlines. Traffic in SLEX and in East Service Road were bloody heavy indeed that I have no choice but to agree with my taxi driver to take the Skyway route to NAIA3. Halfway on our way to the Skyway airport exit, traffic jam caught us. We struggled for about half an hour to get through to the airport.

Finally, after an hour of waiting for my turn at the check-in counter, I found myself heading towards the second baggage X-ray machine where you are told to remove everything in your pocket, take off your hat, remove your belt and shoes, and be frisked. I proceeded to Gate 119 of NAIA3 Departure Area and waited for the announcement of our boarding for the 11:15 A.M. flight to Tuguegarao City. The boarding time printed in my boarding pass was at 10:45 A.M.   When the clock hit 10:45 A.M. we heard a lady announcing  that our flight was cancelled due to bad weather daw. The announcement was perfectly timed when we were supposed to board then.

Fine. Bad weather had just claimed two weeks ago the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 as it flew toward Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on December 28, 2014. I thought CebPac wanted to keep us safe than sorry.

But when I checked the Pag-asa online, I was confused why CebPac cancelled our flight. An hour before CebPac announced the cancellation of our flight, Pag-asa posted the following:

So, what really happened CebPac and you cancelled the flight?

I checked the Pag-asa website and found its post for the Daily Weather Forecast that "... Cagayan valley and Cordillera will have cloudy skies with light rain."

So what is wrong with the northeast monsoon affecting Luzon with just a "light rain?"

I supposed CebPac issued a clarification. But when I checked its website and FB account, there is nothing there about our cancelled flight. No text message was sent to us passengers to at least tell us that they are sorry for the inconvenience we are now experiencing.

As far as I'm concerned, only CebPac cancelled its flight that morning. I doubt the flight was cancelled due to bad weather. I noticed while in the departure area that there were only few passengers waiting for their flight at Gate 119 (the designated boarding gate for CebPac flight 5J504). I started to smell those rotten eggs of CebPac if ever this was really the reason why they grounded our plane. Damn, I was at the airport 3 hours earlier to my flight schedule only to be in the state of inconvenience. CebPac offered nothing to ease us.  The passengers were directed to just proceed to the exit door, go to the arrival area and claim their checked-in baggage on the conveyer, or go to the check-in counter if they request for rebooking of their flight or refund of their tickets. Neither food nor hotel room accommodation was offered. Period.

Long queue of passengers waiting for the yellow cab. Where are the yellow taxi cabs?

Outside, when I went out to go home, the sun was very hot that noon and I waited for 2 hours for the yellow taxi before I gave up and settled with expensive fixed-rate-coupon taxi. Perhaps, by coincidence, the taxi drivers simultaneously took their lunch and had siesta afterwards. Ma-traffic? No. I saw traffic around NAIA3 was moderate and flowing.  

No officer from CebPac was around. Two CebPac ground crew ladies attended those who approached the check-in counter No. C29 for the rebooking of flights or refund of tickets. Other than that they could not decide what to do. They looked tensed facing the angry passengers. I managed to remain calm and waited for another half an hour to get CebPac's Certification of Cancelled Flight duly signed by CebPac's Duty Supervisor, Ms. Heizel R. Rongavilla. She was on duty but signed the paper somewhere else beyond our sight.

Yong feeling na napagod ka, nagutom, pinainitan sa kaantay ng taxi, at sobrang haba ng pila. No flight. No taxi. So stressful talaga that I forgot to claim my OR from the BK for my P219 meal. Grrr! It sucks.  

Para lang maging cool ulo ko, I just considered all these as a blessing in disguise. Inisip ko na lang na what if the plane would end up as a bad news if it took off today.  Di ba, it's better safe than sorry?

But for the taxis and the OR. OMG, nakaka-stress pa rin talaga.



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About Edgie Polistico

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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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