Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My disappointment over Tiger Airways - SEAIR's flight cancellation

When the Piso fare was offered by Tiger Airways (in partnership with SEAIR) last February 2013, I didn't think twice about booking a trip with them. And since I wanted to visit Davao this year in time for Kadayawan, I was lucky to find seats that offered P1 for each route (MNL-DVO-MNL). My total was PHP675.04 (fare price + fare fees & taxes + service fee +  special services a.k.a. extra baggage allowance). So when I got my booking details, I paid for my ticket at Cebuana Lhuiller that same day. Come 10:22 AM, I was already paid in full. So when I got home, I immediately called SEAIR's hotline to confirm my payment. 2 days later (after following up my trip details a few times), they finally emailed my itinerary. I also asked the CSR if there were hidden charges, which she answered 'no' to. I mean, the rate was unbelievably cheap so I had to ask. It was just too good to be true. Then again, it was.

And on May 2, I received this unfortunate email from Tiger Airways...

As soon as I read the email, I called up Tiger Airways. I had to ask if I could get my ticket rebooked instead. But all I got for an answer was that a "full refund" was the only option for this particular cancelled flight. I was already stressed at that point. I even asked the first CSR that I talked to if there was a specific person that I can contact, which she couldn't supply me. I even had to tell her about my paid hotel booking. Still there was nothing to be done. Hassle, right? I mean, it was already a great inconvenience despite being offered a full refund.

Anyway, here's the details of what I got out of the CSR's that I talked to during my ordeal with Tiger Airways-SEAIR:

NOTE: Cancelled flight's reason: OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENT as released by the Airport Management.

When I asked what that meant, the CSR's could no longer explain further.

So I ranted and told a fellow travel blogger from Davao about my misfortune, and he advised that I call CAAP re the matter. So I did. I got to speak with a certain Mr. Cayabyab (after being passed on from one personnel to another), and told him about my situation. But he was only able to tell me that the dispute should be taken directly to the airline concerned, since it's no longer in their hands. That's also the time when he adviced that I check the Air Passenger Bill of Rights. And so I read the bill. At that point, I was more disappointed since CAAP couldn't help me either.

Screenshot from Gov.ph site

I later on found out that one more fellow travel blogger got his Davao flight cancelled as well. I was also able to hear from a reliable source the truth behind the cancellation. But I won't divulge that information anymore. I was just really disappointed with how Tiger Airways-SEAIR dealt with this matter. I mean, I was really looking forward to going to Davao and meeting friends. I've already booked my hotel and now they've cancelled without any option to rebook. They didn't even offer to pay for my hotel deposit. Sure, there's a full refund. Then again, they haven't done anything favorable for us affected passengers. That PHP1 fare that was offered clearly reflected a very bad marketing strategy and more!

Anyway, I'm about to get my refund from Cebuana Lhuiller this week, since I can walk a little faster now. So let's see if they'll issue the full refund, including their Convenience Fee of PHP125. 

Right now, I'm currently looking for seat sales as I really want to push through with my trip to Davao. Here's to hoping that I don't get anymore cancelled flights. Lesson learned though --- if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

How about you? Have you had any airline cancellation stories that was an inconvenience to you? Pleas do share them with us! 

Explore & Be Free!

UPDATE: May 30, 2013

I went to Cebuana Lhuiller, Roces Avenue yesterday (the branch where I paid), but was informed that my refund will be received from another entity. The Cebuana representative told me to call a certain number, and so I dialed it today.

The company (vaguely heard the name though but it sounded "something" travel agency) took my details and was informed that my refund total only amounted to P555.04. The PHP120 Service Fee was already excluded from the whole thing --- the one that I paid for when I booked online. So not only did I lose that PHP120, I also lost PHP125 from Cebuana Lhuiller's Convenience fee, which Tiger Airways won't be paying for. That's P245 down the drain! 

But as not to ruin my whole morning, I decided to have my refund deposited instead of picking it up at the agency's Makati office (hassle at gastos pa sa commute!). The lady told me to call should I fail to get my refund after 3-4 weeks. TAGAL NOH? So much for offering low fares TIGER AIRWAYS! Never again. You not only succeeded in making me pay for a hotel stay that I may not get to use anymore, you made me spend PHP245 for nothing. 

UPDATE: July 2, 2013

Thank God I finally received that PHP555.04 from the travel agency! I actually called the agency yesterday to follow up on the payment since it hasn't been deposited on my account yet (after 4 long weeks). But I finally got the refund today. So thankful that I got that back at least. But I won't be booking any more flights with Tiger Airways. Such a hassle availing of their services.
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