Formal Complaint to AirPhil Express RE 2P 930

 I got this at AirPhil Express' Website. This is their Mission, in order of importance. Note #1 and #2 
Air Philippines Corporation shall provide:
  1. customers with safe and reliable air transportation with the best service at the least cost;
  2. employees with career development and job satisfaction; and
  3. stockholders with fair return on their investment. 
DATE:  16 September 2011
AirPhil Express

RE:        Formal Complaint Addressed to Supervisor Robert Perez on The Handling of   Cancelled Flight # 2P 930

To Whom It May Concern

I would like to launch a formal complaint regarding the handling of AirPhil Express cancelled flight 2P 930 to Cebu from Manila earlier today. I am copy furnishing some of my co-passengers in this e-mail as this incident not only inconvenienced the undersigned, but over 100 passengers of the cancelled flight. As I write this complaint, beginning at 10:34am, I have now been at the airport since 5:00am, first at NAIA3 then to NAIA2. We have not been given food nor water since then, as there are no food kiosks in the check-in area of NAIA2.

 I apologize in advance for the lengthy nature of this letter, but since I have been made to wait over 9 hours , I believe your company can afford me a few minutes of your busy corporate time to read through my complaint and weigh if reading such a long letter is more of an inconvenience over waiting at the airport for almost 10 hours with no guarantee of departure.

Let me begin with a detailed incident report on the occurrences that have transpired since 5am:

I arrived at NAIA3 at 515am, 2.5 hours before the slated 735am 2P 930 flight to Cebu. When I arrived, there was a line in front of the AirPhil Express counter but no attendant checking in. I called my companion, who arrived at the airport much earlier. She was the one who told me that our flight was cancelled and was shuttled to NAIA2 by AirPhil Express to take the 9am PR853 flight of Philippine Airlines. 

When I asked the passengers ahead of me if they knew it was cancelled, they said that only when they asked attendants did anyone advise them of the cancelled flight, and that our entire flight would be moved to 5 o’clock in the afternoon, 12 hours from that time and about 10 hours from our original flight. It was only when I stated to the AirPhil Express crew that my companion was already at NAIA2, waiting for a 9am flight did the other passengers realize that an earlier flight was possible and demanded that we too get on the 9am PAL flight. Only then did AirPhil Express offer to shuttle us to NAIA2 to take the 9am flight.

At around 530am, before I boarded the shuttle bus, I asked AirPhil Express representative Ellyson Ray Abes if we are confirmed for the 9am flight because, if not, I would have gone home and waited for advise. “Eli” responded “Yes ma’am, confirmed po yung 9am na flight nyo”. This gave me some comfort in knowing I would not have to wait very long as I have some important business to attend to in Cebu during the morning.

 We arrived at NAIA2 at around 6am, and Eli proceeded to take our itineraries and e-tickets, and processed us to enter NAIA2. We were asked to wait by the Standby Counter on the right side of the airport. Eli said he would already process our check-in, which gave us the peace of mind that AirPhil Express is proactively fixing the situation, allowing us to relax.

At around 7am, an hour after we last saw Eli or any AirPhil Express representative, I became uneasy and started to ask about the flight status. My companion, who had been shuttled in first, said that her group (who was situated at the other side of the airport) was still awaiting confirmation and they are ‘wait-listed’ on the 9am flight. I asked a Philippine Airline representative for the status of the 9am flight and she informed me that PR853 is already overbooked, and that we have no chance of getting on that flight. This was not the update I, or any of us, expected, as we were GUARANTEED that we are confirmed for the 9am flight.

At around 730am, upon hearing that our group had not been given seats on the 9am flight, we became agitated and began walking around NAIA2 to look for Eli or an AirPhil Express representative who can listen to our concerns as well as provide us with answers regarding our uncertain predicament. We were not given anything to drink, and some passengers with children started acting up due to impatience. We could not find Eli or anyone from your company. I had to resort to asking NAIA2 to page your representative so that someone can accommodate us, as the Philippine Airlines staff were not obligated to assist us.

I began speaking out on my Twitter account (twitter.com@triportreats) and mentioned @AirPhilExpress in some of my messages, to which your twitter account responded in a direct Direct Message, at 7:39am:  ‘Can you DM the ff: passenger’s name, reservation code and itinerary. Thanks’.  I responded: How do I give the itinerary and code when d Rep took it and hasn’t returned since 6am?  

I proceeded to make direct messages on your Twitter account because, in over 2 hours of waiting for what is now evidently an overbooked flight, that was the only response I received from your end. We were kept in the dark and had no idea that the “confirmed” flight we were waiting for was nothing but an undelivered promise from AirPhil Express. My messages:

·     @airphilexpress please ask Rep Eli to go back to NAIA2 n give us an update. Almost 2 hrs na. Per @flyPAL, CEB full but you said confirmed kami (7:44am)

·     I didn’t wake up at 4am to find out 4hrs later that d ‘confirmed’ flight m supposed 2 take in lieu of d CANCELLED 1 is FULL @airphilexpress (7:58am)

·     After 3+ hrs @airphilexpress rep returns to tell us what we already know: Full na ang 9am. So now.. We are waiting for NOTHING.

We waited another 30 minutes, at the wrong airport, without knowing if we were ever going to fly to Cebu. At about 8:15am, Representative Eli returned to NAIA2 to 2 groups of disgruntled, displaced, and dehydrated passengers. This time, he brought with him a third group of passengers who were also informed that their shuttle ride to NAIA2 would deliver them to a confirmed 9am flight and are now last in line for a fully booked 9am flight.
Upon his arrival, Eli was greeted with a barrage of complaints regarding the manner in which our situation is being handled. We know that Eli had no power to make decisions, such as create a new flight to accommodate the displaced passengers, provide us with refreshments to ease our discomfort, or actively listen to our concerns so he could address them properly. We asked for his supervisor or an officer in charge so that we can improve and act on the situation. But no, it was only Eli who shuttled, coordinated, organized and assisted the now growing number of irate passengers who have travelled as far as Los Banos and have been at the airport since 3am to take a flight that is now clearly not happening.

In fairness to Eli, I would like to commend him for his tenacity, because he tried his best to appease the passengers. But we did not want sympathy, we wanted action, answers and a direct flight to Cebu after being promised a 9am flight. The passengers began demanding for the Officer in Charge, or the Supervisor of AirPhil Express to come to NAIA2 so he could assess the situation and see for himself the gravity of the damages that are occurring. After several attempts to contact the supervisor, Robert Perez, he refused to face the crowd and continued to allow a rank and file to single-handedly take in customer dissatisfaction with no authority to decide. We felt disregarded.

At that point, at around 830am, Eli had no choice but to admit that only 5 passengers are cleared to take the 9am flight, and that we would now have to wait for the 1245p PAL flight out to Cebu, but this time in “Business Class”. The upgrade serves us no purpose, as we have already wasted half the day being treated like cattle, shuttled to another airport to avoid confrontations with the supervisor, and left with no food, nor water to appease our discontent.

It is now 1130am as I am continuing this complaint letter, and we are inside the pre-departure area. The promise of food and drink still has not arrived, and many elderly passengers are waiting by food kiosk 1418 because it was announced 30mins ago that we would be served refreshments. I have now waited a total of 6.5 hours, and still have to wait another hour until I can board the plane to Cebu.

 The only meal we received during 5am-1245p. Served at 1208pm
To Mr. Perez, I am not somebody who is quick to complain or unable to sympathize when things go wrong. My work is in the hospitality industry, and we are used to customer relations and incidents with our guests. I am familiar with the reality of unforeseen circumstances when the company has no choice but decide on matters which inconvenience the guest or the customer. I also understand that  AirPhil Express tried to make a contingency plan by rerouting us via PAL to Cebu, but I would like to tell you that it is not enough. Let me tell you, in my own opinion, why this is inadequate and unacceptable:

·     This complaints stems not from the fact that you cancelled the flight, but that there was no attempt to contact many of the passengers beforehand. Apparently, it was already known since 1am that 2P 930 was cancelled, yet it was only when I reached the airport that I had any notice of the cancellation.

·     The initial option given by AirPhil Express was to move us to the 5pm flight. Only after our group complained and I mentioned that my companion was shuttled to PAL did your representative offer to shuttle us to PAL for the 9am flight. This should have been THE first option, not the last resort when people become irate.

·     It was verbalized several times that our group was CONFIRMED for the 9am flight, even before stepping on the shuttle to NAIA2. Later on, Eli changed his statement and insists he said: CONFIRMED FOR STANDBY. There is no such thing as confirmed for standby. 

·     We had to wait til 830am, 3 hours after the cancellation notice, to find out that we are not, as promised, confirmed on the 9am flight, and now we have to wait an additional 4 hours for the 1245p flight, with limited seats available. That is a total of 7.75 hours of wasted time spent at the airport with no guarantee of travel. This is very INCONSIDERATE and wasted all our time when we could have gone out of the airport and returned before noon. Some people have business to attend to, some are on vacation with expenses already paid, and some have traveled far only to be inconvenienced with no water or refreshment. You failed to provide us the basics of time management.

·     When we repeatedly requested for the supervisor, Robert Perez, to come to us and explain, personally, why we are treated like cattle when we are paying passengers, we received NOTHING. No response or a courtesy visit. Matters that escalate to public unrest require a point person who has the authority to answer questions and give us concrete action. You do not leave a rank & file person to fight and become the punching bag for complaints from passengers who did not want to air out their concerns to someone who cannot do anything about it.

·     It was only when passengers began shouting and became unruly did the offer of an upgrade come out. An upgrade to business class will not compensate for the inconvenience, the distress and the lack of customer relations that was evident in this situation. 

·     I would like to note, only for the record, that upon boarding the flight, I, alongside several other passengers, were seated in Economy, when it was expressly promised that we would ALL be upgraded to business class. Another false promise from AirPhil Express.*

I am a frequent traveler who flies in and out of Cebu at least twice a month for business and in other cities as well. I am used to budget airlines such as Cebu Pacific and AirPhil Express and am not bothered when flights get cancelled on the spot where I am made to wait for 2 hours. I don’t sweat the small stuff nor do I lash out over the minutest of details. But the incident today demonstrated the lack of Customer Service 101 from AirPhil Express. 

It is inconsiderate to make an entire group of displaced passengers wait at the airport, saying we are guaranteed a confirmed seat for a 9am flight when we were not guaranteed anything at all. You cannot make us wait for 3 hours and then turn that into 7 hours without providing us with the basics such as water (delivered only now at 12:08p). You have no right to make us feel disregarded when a supervisor refuses to confront the situation he is being paid to be on top of,  and  refuses to address the group of passengers directly. You cannot expect us to be satisfied with your service when there is only one representative coordinating our flights, shuttling us from one airport to another, gathering our complaints but making no real action to address it.

I do not want to make it seem like we are a group of ungrateful passengers, but that is what we were made to feel, as if we inconvenienced AirPhil Express to give us a flight to Cebu after you cancel our original flight. I felt like I had to beg for water just so I can ease the dehydration I began feeling. I was made to feel like I was asking for too much when we pleaded that we please get a confirmed flight after waiting since 5am with no concrete schedule given to us.  I was made to feel like beggar when I have paid full price for service and a flight.

Being that the hospitality and airline business are both in the service industry, I’m sure you are aware that the nature of both our business stems from exactly that: SERVICE. When you take money from people who do not pay for anything tangible but the service you provide them, they expect a certain level of quality service and CUSTOMER SERVICE to be afforded to them. Courtesy, convenience and basic communication skills are requirements whether it be a budget airline, or a 5-star hotel. 

I am sad to conclude this complaint with the feeling that I was shortchanged by this transaction and this situation. I paid for a budget-airline ticket, but I never expected that it meant being deprived of courtesy, decency, and consideration.  I arrived at my destination in Cebu at 4pm, 11 hours after I arrived at the airport and 8 hours after my original arrival time. The entire day was wasted on waiting for AirPhil Express to make good on their promise of a flight. Of all things promised, an arrival to Cebu, no matter the inconvenience of circumstance, was the only thing delivered by your company. You failed at every level of  professionalism and protocol and showed a clear lack of procedures in handling contingency plans.

The general lack of caring and understanding and just dealing with it nonchalantly (as if to swipe it under the rug), is so unprofessional. I suggest a major overhaul to the customer service training and a review of your protocols and procedures. I know this requires a big investment, but it will pay off - just look at your successful competitors. 

I believe I am not alone when I say that feeling disregarded is one of the worst feelings you can have, and if this is the type of service that AirPhil Express admittedly provides, I would gladly move my business to your competitor budget airline who has tried and tested customer service policies that are clear and customer-centric. I will not patronize any service company who makes me feel like addressing my needs is a burden to their operations, nor will my money go towards a company who has no regard for the value of people’s time and patience.

Sincerely, and with regrets,

CC: Other Passengers
(Sent at 10:38pm via email) 



  1. Airphil express fail. And to think with how often fligts by Budget Airlines get delayed, they would have perfected how to appease or take care of passengers already. But sadly the opposite happened.

    I remember once getting delayed by the competitor, Cebu Pac, was delayed for 3 hours, but at least they served me with a decent meal. Chicken and rice from jollibee! hehehe.

    And this is just Cebu Pac. (who also gave us a free flight the last time we were delayed) somewhat new to the business compared to Airphil, the sister company of Philippine Airlines who has been in the business for the longest time. Youd think with such a big backing, and decades of experience, theyd know how to act in such situations.

  2. Well written complaint letter. What is up with the air carriers there?? I don't know how you survived that long without food! I would have ripped somebody's head off already.

  3. iR_alFred ..
    Clearly Airphil failed with their mission to provide customers the best possible service.

    As a customer, we understand if flights are delayed due to some uncontrollable circumstances but atleast, since we paid full for it, Airphil should have compensated. Upon knowing that the flight will be delayed, Airphil could have called the customers and informed them about it or have a supervisor in the area to assist whatever is necessary.

    This is not a new incident and for sure situations like this are written in Airphil's operation manual. Furthermore, with a sister company like PAL this could have been avoided.

  4. I hope you sue them.

  5. ... Very goodcomplaint. Hands down! Bow! Detalyadong detalyado!Walang lusot ang magiging reason nila.. Walang palya, airphil ang may problema.. Ayoko ma experience yan, Haggard!!!

  6. wow... that's horrible. Allow me to relay my airport experience 9/11/11.

    Our flight from Oahu to SFO is at 1:30 PM, an hour before the scheduled departure we were told that it would be delayed an hour. When 2:30 came, they announced that they ware not able to fix the mechanical problem on time and that we have check back in at 5:30. We were given $15 voucher for food and those who want to check other flights to mainland should see them at the counter. They also brought out, snacks, bottled H2O and juices and personally handed to us.

    @5:00, they started printing vouchers again for $20 as we were told that the ETD will be at 11:00 pm. Those requiring assistance to check other carriers were asked to approach the counter.

    At 9:00 pm we saw the plane left the gate but we were assured that they were just testing the plane's functionality.

    At 10:30 pm we were prompted that we will start boarding at 11:00 pm and that we were asked to line up if we desire to receive $300 voucher.
    Yes, we were delayed but we were not left in the dark. Constant communication appeased us all.
    Now that is service. Hawaiian style.

  7. It was horrible to wait that long. Nasiraan ba ang plane nila or this situation arose when PAL employees staged that contoversial sit-down strike? I read in the papers before I left Manila that employees affected by a recent controversial labor/court ruling were to stage a sit-down strike as a form of protest. It was said they would report for work but would refuse to perform their jobs to cripple PAL's operation and show their indignation..Please forgive me if I thought that these employees were selfish. Mas gusto pa nilang sirain ang negosyo ng PAL at magsara na lang kesa magbawas ng tao.

  8. i agree with you 100%...three months ago, i and several other passengers had an even more horrible experience than you did. we were already in singapore then, and airphil, without the courtesy of informing us beforehand, cancelled its singapore-cebu flight and rescheduled it for the next day or exactly 24 hours later....we only learned about the cancellation when we were already at the changi airport...since we did not want to extend our stay in singapore, we opted to take their singapore-mla-cebu connectiing flight. unfortunately, after letting us wait from 12 midnight to 4am at the naia, they again cancelled the mla-cebu flight, without telling us once more...we had to scold some of their personnel before they confirmed that the said flight had indeed been cancelled...how INCONSIDERATE, INCOMPETENT AND UNPROFESSIONAL can they be? only after we created a scene and lashed out at its staff did airphil management decided to book us on the first pal flight out of manila to cebu...because of that experience, many of us vowed never to take any airphil express flight anymore...
    with this latest incident, airphil never learned its lesson indeed.

  9. where did you send this letter, i sent a complaint to them 2 dAYS cancellation of flights from tug-mnl i have not receive any food nor hotel expenses! that's 2 day dec26-28. please help where can i send my complaint and i want to share my experience to all. for info you can email me @mydzblue0421@yahoo.com

  10. Same thing happened to us on our Vaca to bora back in December 2011 - first we were delayed 4 hours on the way to Katiklan Airport, then another 6 hours of delay on our way back to Manila. The staff told us all sorts of excuses and denials, they left their passengers with no information when the next departures plane arrivals etc will be and provided no compensation for the inconvenience. I understood that it was a peak season at that time, but I mean we lost hotel reservations, all of our other appointments was completely messed up because of it. Yes, I would have to agree with the thing that "Manager" did not show his/her shadow to address the crowd, instead he/she let the staff deal with the blows and punches from the furious travelers who have the same or other reasons to be mad. We paid our fees, they have no right to treat their passengers this way. I never thought it was going to be this bad, but it was our first time traveling with them and I am not ashamed to say that AIRPHIL EXPRESS' SERVICE SUCKS - you might aswell change your name to AIR PHIL SUPRESS! there's a whole lot more I'd like to address but I will just leave it to this message, I only have two words in the end - NEVER AGAIN.

  11. Our flight was cancelled with this joke airline from Tacloban to Manila and we had an international flight out of Manila. Luckily we got on a Cebu Pacific flight. I called the Airphil office and they refused to give me a refund. I asked "why was the flight cancelled?" and I got "operational issues/" I asked what that meant and the lady just repeated it again. I told her that operational issues was just another term for incompetence or lack of passengers. Never again, this joke airline wont last long.

  12. Kung hindi super late sobrang aga sila aalis. Naka experience na ba kayo na aalis ang flight 50 minutes before stamped ETD sa ticket? Nakakainis ang Airphil. Hindi man lang sila mag offer na i-compensate ang mga pasahero nila. Very rude pa ang personnel ng ticketing agent nila sa Tuguegarao Airport.

  13. Can you help refer me to someone I could really escalate my case to? I tried booking a flight with them and the 1st time I did it, I received an error and my card was charged. No itinerary received. I tried calling them but they referred me to to their online support email instead. I have been emailing them and they just keep requesting for documents which I have already submitted. They have been giving me templates which is contrary to the blog you wrote as their response to you. I hope you could help me on this. The charge was $7k+ and you and I both know that this isn't easy money. Thanks

    1. Sorry for the delay in response, I moved my blog to www.triportreats.com. No MOre Blogspot. Can you kindly repost your comment on http://www.triportreats.com/2011/09/15/formal-complaint-to-airphil-express-re-2p-930/. add your email so I can send you via email the address and person you can direct your complaint to.


  14. Very bad experience with AIRPHIL too..

  15. Very bad experience with AIRPHIL EXPRESS

    I am traveling with 23 students, tickets were purchased last April 2012. Our ticket confirmation clearly states the 15kgs baggage allowance - thats 360kgs total for us 24 passengers.

    There were no problems going to Cebu, going back with flight at 4:10am, while doing the group check-in, the crew was telling me, we have an excess baggage of 100kgs. Traveling on a limited budget, my students made sure they do not exceed the allowable 15kgs, we even weighed in before proceeding to the counter for check-in. I said to the crew, that’s impossible, the crew said, “please pay P15,000 for the excess baggage, thats 100kgs X P150 so you will be allowed to board the plane” I said, “may I talk to a supervisor or manager?”

    The supervisor came, “Sir you already have 240kgs of total baggage checked-in, the Airline is only allowing 10kgs per passenger free.I insisted that we’re supposed to have 15kgs each, its very clear showing her the ticket confirmation. The supervisor insisted and told me that this is a new policy, that 10kgs is the maximum per passenger.

    All passengers were on board already, I was left with 100 kgs of baggage - thats 3 trollies, with no enough money to pay, I was left at the Airport together with 1 of my student. The rest of my students flew to Manila without them knowing what was happening. I was supposed to be with them, these are from Baguio, obviously they don’t know what to do next once they arrived in NAIA. All ground crew and the supervisor ignored me and went on with their duties. A lot of arguments happened but there was no solution offered by the Airline.

    So what I did, very worried, went on and look for cargo services. I sent the the remaining baggage through cargo then went back to the crew. Ask them, what will I do next, I need to catch the earliest flight to Manila. The crew ask me to pay 1,500X2=3000 surcharge for me and my student be accommodated in their 12nn flight.

    Imagine the stress and the burden of paying the cargo which costs P5,000 and the surcharge of P3,000? Our rented bus to pick us up at the Airport going to Baguio was also paid by the hour, so we have to pay excess hour incurred.

    I hope you will be able to help me with this very bad experience with Airphil, hoping nothing the same would happen again.

    Talk to Manila Airphil supervisor and told me that the 10kgs baggage allowance is only applicable to tickets purchased from May 1 (ours were purchased April) even her, knowing that it was a big mistake of the Cebu office, she only referred me to their customer support email address.


    1. Hi Dandi,

      Sorry for the delay in response, I moved my blog to www.triportreats.com. No MOre Blogspot. Can you kindly repost your comment on http://www.triportreats.com/2011/09/15/formal-complaint-to-airphil-express-re-2p-930/. add your email so I can send you via email the address and name of person you can direct your complaint to.


  16. Wow! I am currently engaged in a "battle" with them regarding our cancelled flight and I bumped into your post. They moved our flight to HK a day earlier and they prompted us a week before our schedule, which leaves me and my family domestic flights that will never make it on time to their proposed schedule, as well as a hotel booking in Cebu, transfer in Macau, etc JEOPARDIZED. I am upset that indeed, this airline does not care at all for their passengers.

    I have spoken to 8 different people already, and I have not been given solutions. What's more alarming is that I found another lady on facebook complaining of the same thing - their domestic, hotel bookings etc are compromised. And how convenient for Airphil to offer us a refund! The nerve! Our flight is already days away.

    With this experience and after reading so many other blogs regarding their service, I am more than convinced that they don't value their customers and they have the poorest customer support group in this country.

  17. I am sorry to hear about what you had to go through. I am disgusted at how Airphil Express has promoted an uncaring attitude towards its clients. What they are after is that you pay them for the ticket and you need to make it on the said trip otherwise, you'd be engrossed in a phone or online battle with them as they do not care about you.

    When they cancel flights, you are guaranteed to grope in the dark if you have made previous flight arrangements. It's either you fly with their terms or you accept a refund, which is in most cases not acceptable as the flight that you are supposed to take is days away.

    I found out from the other blogs and through my own experience that they have conveniently used the airline's operational requirement as an excuse to avoid liabilities related to their flight cancellations. How can we argue with an aircraft that needs maintenance? We just can't! So we take their blow, hook line and sinker and at our expense make last minute arrangements so we can fly out as planned, at another schedule entirely.

    I have experienced the worst customer service from a company from them and it made this entire experience more unbearable. I am writing and sharing my story although I have quit blogging years ago because I want this to be a learning experience to other people who are intending to fly with them.

    I am longing to connect with the other people on my flight as I know some of them will not have the time or they may not choose to waste their breath arguing with them asking for accountability as this company clearly has NONE.

    1. Hi Izzy.

      Sorry for the delay in response, I moved my blog to www.triportreats.com. No MOre Blogspot. Can you kindly repost your comment on http://www.triportreats.com/2011/09/15/formal-complaint-to-airphil-express-re-2p-930/. add your email so I can send you via email the address and person you can direct your complaint to.



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