It was not really in my travel plan to go back to Singapore this year since I visited it and Malaysia last year. But my travel buddy and bestfriend Melvin wanted to visit Singapore, so I gave in and went with him and this time with another high school friend, Dan. I was again tasked to do the usual “tour pilot” job.
The months prior to our trip had not been flawless. It was a roller coaster ride rehearsing us to the Battlestar Gallactica in USS. Bittersweet but I think everything happened for a reason. Blessings in disguise.
How do I start? Perhaps with how the trip will begin, anyway. The plane ticket. I had roller coaster of emotions because of this.
Melvin and I originally booked our RT flight tickets to Singapore via Airasia. We were so happy because we got them from one of Airasia’s seatsales. Come May, I got an email that they were cutting the frequency of their flights to Singapore. I read a lot of hate tweets because many passengers were affected. When I opened my mail, I was one of them. Gladly, the flight going to Singapore was not affected, only the return. I thought we were screwed because that meant additional expenses for us. But being the usual optimists, we saw that as an opportunity to have an idle time in Singapore – staying in a local coffee shop and observing people. And yes, we even thought of visiting a third country which is an hour of boat ride – Batam, Indonesia. I called Airasia and agreed with the proposed date. End of case.
But lo and behold, come July I got another email from Airasia stating that ALL their flights to Singapore starting August were cancelled. And I was like, WTF? I was so furious when I got the mail. I already booked our hostel and my friend Dan and his family were also all set to come with us. I immediately called Airasia and asked for our options. So these were what they told me:
Dearest Valued Guest,
Philippines’ AirAsia has always taken great care when implementing any flight changes that may inconvenience you, our valued guest. Unfortunately, we have to suspend services between Clark and Singapore effective 1st August 2013 due to commercial considerations.
We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this flight suspension may cause you and we would like to offer you the following options:
- One-time transfer, at no extra cost, to an AirAsia flight on the same route on or before July 31st, 2013 (subject to availability)
- One-time re-routing to any Philippines’ AirAsia flight within 30 days of the original flight date, subject to airport-specific taxes and surcharges (subject to availability)
- Conversion of the value of the total fare to an online credit shell with a validity of 180 days
- Full refund
That was totally unacceptable. And I admit I sent a lot of hate tweets to Tony Fernandez and Airasia. How could they screw a travel plan with a notice as short as that? So told them that I am getting my refund AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I withdrew my booking with them and immediately booked a flight via Cebu Pacific. Gladly, Cebu Pacific had a minor seatsale that time so we got our tickets in a decent price. I had to thank Dan, too because he was as flexible as Melvin and I. Problem solved!
A couple of weeks before our departure date, I got a call from Cebu Pacific. I was literally preparing myself to get disappointed again because of the recent issues Cebu Pacific had been facing. But I probably got one of the best and yes, most difficult offer in my traveling “career” – free round trip tickets to any local or international destinations of Cebu Pacific except Dubai. The condition: I had to move our morning flight to an afternoon flight. Sounds like an easy decision right? I get to fly to Singapore on the same date just on a later time and at the same time I get to visit another country for FREE. What a nice problem to have! I immediately called Melvin and told him about our ‘scenario’.
Here’s what bothered both of us that time: Dan might not get a call from Cebu Pacific with the same offer since he was in the States and they were only calling random passengers on the same flight. It meant Dan and his family will have to travel in the morning and probably wait for us for 8 hours. Had my friend Dan done the preparation and familiarized himself with the itinerary, Melvin and I could have easily said ‘yes’. But for us, it was also a test of friendship. We planned to go to Singapore together and Dan’s stay was much shorter so we want them to see Singapore with what little time the have with us.
So that was the end of the argument. I eventually turned down that once in a lifetime offer of free plane tickets. I know I will forever be sorry for saying no to a possible trip to Cambodia or Thailand or even Japan or Korea. I guess, friendship matters most. There will be more seatsales and I hope to get a cheap one soon. So Cebu Pacific or any airlines reading this, how about free RT tickets for me and my friends? 😀
I think I have to thank the universe for consipiring with everything that happened to us. Traveling from Manila to Singapore was more convenient than from Clark to Singapore. On our flight back, we got to ride Cebu Pacific’s newest airbus – Airbus A330-300. That was the biggest plane ride I experienced – three rows with three columns each. Tehee!
And yes, how could I forget that on our return flight, it was raining really hard in Manila and all the main roads were flooded. Had we stayed with Airasia and returned on the 20th via Clark, we could have been stuck at the airport for a day or two.
Sometimes, these troubles are blessings in disguise. You just don’t know it at that time. As for us, we were able to save travel time and lessen our stress, we got to ride a bigger plane and we were saved from possibly camping at the airport. So to the Master of the universe, thank you, for all these unforseen blessings and adventures. More please? 😀