Cebu Pacific Denies Boarding Over 'Damaged Passport'

Cebu Pacific is under fire again after denying boarding to a 12-year old boy that was scheduled for a medical procedure in Vietnam to treat a congenital condition over an allegedly damaged passport.

cebu pacific customer service
"The Allegedly Damaged Passport"
Image Source: RJ Pajaro/Facebook
On Saturday, March 15, Regin de Guzman Palileo was scheduled to board Cebu Pacific flight 5J 751 bound for Vietnam with her son and her mother at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. However, when the family arrived at the check-in counter, they were informed by Cebu Pacific Manager, Mark Rotanel, that the boy could not board the plane because his passport was damaged. 

According to Palileo, the same passport was just used by her son on a recent trip to the United States without any incidents. Although she informed Rotanel that her son was scheduled to undergo an operation in Vietnam for pectus excavatum, Rotanel insisted that Cebu Pacific had the right to offload any passenger using a damaged passport. Pectus excavatum is a congenital condition also known as "hollowed chest" that shows a person's breastbone sunken into the chest. 

cebu pacific complaint
"Cebu Pacific Employee Mark Rotanel"
Image Source: Jr Pajaro/Facebook
After intense discussion at the check-in counter where other passengers witnessed Rotanel shouting at the family, Palileo, her son, and her mother were all eventually offloaded from the flight on Saturday night. The following day, Palileo filed a formal complaint with the Manila Airport Authority and the Cebu Pacific customer service counter. 

Palileo asked Cebu Pacific and the Manila Airport Authority to sanction Rotanel for not permitting them to board the flight insisting that her son's passport was not damaged or defective. She also accused Rotanel of shouting at her family as they attempted to plead their case to him. Airport authorities escalated the case to the Department of Foreign Affairs that apparently confirmed the passport was still valid with no defect. 

After a hearing on the urgent plea, the Department of Foreign Affairs came to the rescue and opened its consular office on a Sunday to issue a temporary green passport for the 12-year old boy to avoid further argument with Cebu Pacific. Palileo said that Benjamin Salcedo, a Cebu Pacific station manager, attended to their complaint on Sunday morning and assisted them with booking onto the next flight to Vietnam without any rebooking fee. However, other passengers indicate that the airline was originally going to charge the family a re-booking fee until the story aired on ABS-CBS News and the Department of Foreign Affairs intervened. 

In a message released on Cebu Pacific's Facebook page, the airline revealed that its Guest Services team had been in touch with the family and provided all necessary assistance to ensure that they could push through with the flight. "We have also contacted Vietnam immigration authorities and arranged for the rebooking of the passengers," said Cebu Pacific in the Facebook post. "We pray for her son's successful operation. We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused them." Cebu Pacific added that they would investigate the incident to ensure that it is given due process and that they would remain in touch with the family to ensure that all concerns are properly addressed. 

cebu pacific palileo
Image Source: Cebu Pacific Air/Facebook

Meanwhile, Palileo expressed gratitude for the intervention of the Manila Airport Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs for hearing her plea for medical consideration and providing assistance. After attending to her son's scheduled operation, Palileo intends to pursue a formal complaint. When interviewed by ABS-CBN, Palileo's twelve-year old son expressed his disappointment after witnessing the entire incident. He described his mother's attempts to beg the Cebu Pacific ground staff to permit them to board the flight without any success. Netizens continue to express their fury on the Cebu Pacific Facebook page calling for base manager, Mark Rotanel, to be fired while others are calling for a review and better training of ground management staff.

8 comments:

  1. Their fault for taking cebu pac. We all very well know that 5j is npt a people oriented company. It is ok until something goes wrong. Sa kunting diferentia, PAL na!

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  2. Mayabang talaga yang bakla na yan. Feeling boss yan eh, nakatrabaho ko na yan dati sa 5j din. Di naman manager yan, feeling manager lang.

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  3. Never with Cebu Pacific... PAL is the best...

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  4. For a BUDGET CARRIER like Cebu Pacific (5J), what can we expect better or good service especially from them??? CHEAP SERVICE and STUPID MENTALITY!!! Minsan pati SAFETY apektado. Sana, wag matulad ang ibang budget/low cost carrier in the country. I DON'T RECOMMEND AND I DON'T FLY CEBU PACIFIC ANYWAY!!! Sa inyo na lang yang low fare nyo!!!

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  5. My Personal view with Cebu Pacific Air is that, most if not all of their GROUND PERSONNEL were LACK of training and good attitude and NOT CUSTOMER ORIENTED. LIKE that certain ROTANEL, he DOESN'T know exactly what he's doing. UTAK-BIYA. Bakit kaya ang HILIG MAG HIRE NG 5J ng mga walang knowledge about the nature of their job??? Ayaw mag invest sa training para maging skillful and knowlegeable ang mga ground personnel nila!!!

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  6. YOU MUST BE FIRED!!!...UNDECENT MAN( IF YOU ARE REALLY A MAN) JUST PRAY THAT THING THING WILL NOT HAPPEN TO YOU!!!....YOU ARE NOT A IMMIGRATION OFFICER....IT'S THEIR JOB NOT YOURS!!!...YOUR FACE IS SO THICK!!!!...YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO SHOUT AT YOUR PASSENGERS....AND YOU GET YOUR SALARY FROM THE PASSENGERS....DO NOT EVER FORGET THAT!!!

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  7. Philippine Airlines is the better option, they got better CS and budget fares (meals included).

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