There is no doubt that budget flag carrier Cebu Pacific has changed Philippine commercial aviation with its seat sales and dancing flight attendants. As is true in everything from rap to capitalism, sometimes you change the game, and sometimes the game changes you.
Indolent reader XM says getting seats on a Cebu Pacific flight, never a fun thing to do because heavy demand sometimes causes the servers to crash, has become even less fun.
XM says CebuPac now charges extra for baggage. By baggage, they mean anything you have to check in. So, basically, you only get to bring along one bag. If you want to bring more baggage, you will have to pay P350 to P1,000 more. Which, if you think about it, is a small price to pay. It’s a hidden charge, though, and can foul up a backpacker’s carefully balanced budget. And knowing how much Filipinos love to shop, chances are you will have to fork out extra on the flight back.
Now, jetsetters and businesspeople will probably think nothing of tacking on a P1,000 to an incredibly low-priced plane ticket, but those people aren’t the type of flyers who made CebuPac what it is today. Those people, in fact, probably don’t even fly CebuPac. Those that do are students and regular employees to whom P1,000 could spell the difference between a nice vacation and living on leftovers from the hotel buffet breakfast and stealing biscuits and coffee from the lounge.
Getting a seat has also gotten trickier, XM says. You need to pay P100 to P200 if you don’t want to sit where the CebuPac compute says you should. And you have to be careful about that too. XM says you need to deselect the seat assigned to you before changing seats or you might pay for both seats. Presumably, one seat is for you, and the other is for your ghost friend who roams the Earth looking for the man who killed him. What? Sometimes ghosts take vacations too.
A friend at the airline says commuters shouldn’t really expect superb service unless they fly with a “legacy” airline like Philippine Airlines. Service, after all, is something you pay for. Still, an airline that earned P6.9 billion in 2010, should be able to afford to let passengers bring more than one backpack, right?