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We availed a great deal with Zest Air a month ago for Boracay.  Our flight was 5:30AM and we were there at the airport (Terminal 4) quarter to 3.  When it was exactly 3AM, one of my friends went to the check-in area and asked if we can check in already.  After a few minutes, my friend went back to the group and told us the our flight was canceled. I was the first one to react (violently) because it was a struggle on my part to have this vacation to push thru.  But my friend was instructed by your ground steward that it was moved to 6:55AM so we all assumed that she meant that our flight was delayed not canceled.

When we were in line and reached the counter, I was so surprised to hear from your ground steward that our flight was indeed canceled and that we were now “chance passenger”.  How can that be possible?  Was it because we availed a promo only so the airline can do whatever they want?  Why were we not informed beforehand and why have we become a “chance passenger”?  We didn’t arrive late and we didn’t cancel our flight so I think that it would be unfair on our part to wait for a flight where we can be bumped in.  I think that is so unprofessional.

I was really upset and I can feel my cheeks burning especially when I saw that your ground steward was not at all apologetic.  She was not even sympathetic with the situation your airline company did to us.  She even told me that we cannot join the 6:55AM flight because it was already full.  Was that our fault?  Did you expect us to just wait until a flight is open to accommodate us? Didn’t you think of the inconvenience that will cause this?  The schedule you will ruin?  There is a reason why customers/passengers picked that specific flight schedule is because they have already planned how to spend the entire day.  What if we were in a convention or attending a wedding or something similar? How can you compensate on that?  You couldn’t even apologize properly.  Is that what we get in availing promo?  Oh Zest Air you better do something about your customer service because bloggers like me can really bring you down.  You should read what I had to say about Air Phil Express.  I wasn’t at all surprised when they changed their name to PAL Express.  I’m sure a lot of bloggers already aired out their dissatisfaction with the service.

When that ground steward gave me that blank face, I really, really want to slap her but instead I asked where her supervisor was.  She left the counter talked to someone for like 10 minutes and came back and told us to wait because they are now looking for an aircraft to accommodate us all (yes, it was now a big group that your company caused great inconvenience).  I asked what time, she said again with no affection that to wait on the side.

I immediately surfed the net and looked for the recent law posted for cancellation of flights and I quote: “In case of flight cancellation attributable to the carrier, a passenger shall have the right to:

(a) Be notified beforehand via public announcement, written/published notice flight status update service (text); – which we never received and I bet a lot of passengers for that same flight experienced the same.

(b) Be provided of the following, if she/he is already at the airport at the time of the announcement of the flight cancellation; sufficient refreshments or meals (e.g. snacks consisting of at least a bottle of water and a sandwich, or breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a voucher for the same, as the case may be); hotel accommodation (conveniently accessible from the airport); transportation from the airport to the hotel, v.v; free phone calls, text or e-mails, and first aid, if necessary and – never happened.  not even an apology.  they just stared at us and said the there was an aircraft something that they didn’t not explain further.

(c) Reimbursement of the value of the fare, including taxes and surcharges, of the sector cancelled

(d) Be endorsed to another air carrier without paying any fare difference, at the option of the passenger, and provided that space and other circumstances permit such re-accommodation – Instead they told us we will be “chance passenger”.  They should prioritize us first and not wait for a vacant or empty aircraft that will come along. What if the next “available aircraft” the next day, can they compensate the entire day they have taken away from us?

(e) Rebook the ticket, without additional charge, to the next flight with available space, or, within thirty days – that’s what they did after a lot of passengers started to shout at your ground steward because you cannot even give a concrete explanation why the flight was canceled.

We all have a feeling the Zest Air overbooked and didn’t expect that for the flight Z2 304, everyone will arrive.  A co-passenger said that they received a text past 11 in the evening that the flight was canceled but has read it the next day.  Your hotline is open until 11 in the evening so what help did it give in announcing it if the hotline is already unavailable?

No supervisor arrived but they were able to bump us in the 6:55AM which was a puzzle because the ground steward has just informed us that the plane was already full.  Did it magically have extra 15 seats to accommodate angry passengers?  Wow that must be awesome to ride in a magical plane that can accommodate whatever number of passengers.  And what made me cringe was hearing another ground steward saying “Wala ng dadagdag ha, 15 lang itong isasama ko.”  15?!?!? Really?!?!? There were only 15 passengers availed the flight Z2 304?  So if some passengers arrived, sorry nalang sila?  My goodness, do you even call this customer service?  Mas grabe pa kayo sa mga di nakatapos ng pagaaral. And you call yourselves professionals?  Shame on you!  You have no right to call yourselves professional people.  You don’t know the meaning of it.

Presidents, CEO, Stock holders please help your customers.  What’s wrong with your customer service team?  Were they not properly trained?  Even the flight stewards do not show any emotions.  They don’t smile and they don’t say “Thank You” to the passengers.  I can’t believe this.  I have another flight this year also with the same airline and I’m afraid I will experience this again.  Can you imagine the stress you are giving to your passengers?  I wish lawmakers would create a harsher punishment to these airline companies so they will take their jobs seriously instead of saying “chance passenger kayo because your flight has been canceled”.

Image Logo courtesy of another blogger who was also dissatisfied with Zest Air’s service.