Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Airphilexpress Flight to Catarman

True to what a lot of people have already said, Airphilexpress sucks. If you book with them, you should check the schedule on their website everyday just so you know if your flight time has been changed or not. And that was what I did. When I booked a flight to Catarman three months ago the departure time was 12:55. When I verified the flight on their website a week ago it said 05:30. The gap is big, and for me, crucial, because I leave the office at 06:00. It is a make or break thing. So I called their hotline. 

After waiting on the phone for half an hour someone finally answered. The girl reassured me a couple of times that the flight has not been changed. The plane departs at 12:55. She said that there is a 05:30 flight because the one in the afternoon is already fully booked. Okay. It seems like Catarman is a hot destination that they have two flights on a daily basis for the said route. Benefit of the doubt. The information came straight from their call center anyway.

Fast forward to today. I arrive at the airport and look at the departure/arrival screen. No trace of Catarman. All flights up to 13:00 were already being shown. There was no reason for a 12:55 flight to be skipped, unless it was delayed. Red flag. I line up at the cashier because the other counters are for specific destinations only. My turn! The girl at the counter said there are no flights to Catarman. Okay. She referred me to the desk next to her.

The man in the gray barong informed me that Airphilexpress no longer flies to Catarman. Since when? I asked. He does not know. To give you a recap, the website says that they fly to Catarman daily at 05:30. The man in gray barong says that they do not fly to Catarman. The call center representative says there are two flights to Catarman. Do these people work for the same company?

I do not know what their problem is. What I do know is that you would not want to group yourself with them during an emergency like a fire or an earthquake. They would probably be busy arguing whether there are two fire exits, one, or if both have already been closed. In any case, you die with them. Not good.

Finally, another girl assisted me and verified all the information needed. She said that all Catarman flights in the afternoon have been canceled for quite some time already and that all passengers are being transferred to the morning flight. She said she was clueless as to why I did not receive a notice. Wow, how I also wonder. She printed me a boarding pass for tomorrow.

So, do I hate Airphilexpress? Well, not YET. But they come this close to Seair in terms of being annoying. WTF is wrong with their call center? They could have easily informed me that all flights have been rescheduled as stated in the website. Or is this their idea of a joke?

What I find funny though is the reaction of the man in gray barong and the girl on the desk who assisted me first. Every time I was asked a question as to whether I had baggage to check-in, would it be okay if I flew tomorrow instead, etc, both of them would look at me, heads almost synchronized. After psychoanalyzing their facial expressions it is as if they were trying to non-verbally express, Oh no, he’s gonna snap! It’s ok, it’s ok... We get this often! Don’t panic, don’t panic... And then when I simply stare back at them point-blank and nod my head they would both go back to whatever it was they were doing with a sense of relief on their faces. Hilarious.

And so my excursion to Samar has been cut short by one day. In a way, it is a blessing in disguise because I was only able to sleep for two hours this morning. The problem is choosing between North and West Samar. My plane back to Manila flies from Calbayog Tuesday morning. Obviously, I would not be able to cover both provinces in just two days. It is a toss-up between Catarman – Bobon – Allen and Calbayog – Catbalogan, then try to reach a nearby island if time permits.

6 creature/s gave a damn:

makati office space said...

Good thing the travel went well even if it was rescheduled.

ihcahieh said...

Yes, good thing indeed. Capul was amazing and both flights to and from Samar were smooth and fast. If not for this particular boo boo it would have been almost perfect. =)

bonglibs said...

im flying airphilexpress for the first time next week with my family. a 5 day vacation in boracay via caticlan. thanks to your blog post, i will triple check to make sure our flight even exists.

ihcahieh said...

Wow, have a nice trip! But yes it is always good to check first. Sometimes they call, sometimes they don't. Nothing's worse than rushing to the airport with all your luggage only to find out that your flight has been moved or canceled. =)

Elainski11 said...

Hi, I was curious to read your experience with Airphilexpress, mine's minor but still not settled yet. I will deal with them when I arrive in Manila (Dec 2011). I hope our flight will not be delayed or cancelled or else...that will be the final stroke. We booked for a RT MNL -singapore flight for Jan 2012. I swear, I will never book again with Airphilexpress, as you said, they really suck big time.

ihcahieh said...

@Elainski11 - On the contrary, in all flights I've had with Airphilexpress all were on time. Or maybe I just got lucky with them. But their customer service is really bad, that's really their weak point. I haven't booked any international flights with them and I am not planning to especially now that Air Asia Philippines is coming. I hope you get to fix whatever problem you have with them. =)

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