Why is Cebu Pacific Such a Horrible Airline?


We’ve all heard our fair share of Cebu Pacific horror stories. I’ve experienced my own too, from a faulty website to delayed flights. But they weren’t anything that I haven’t encountered at Delta, PAL, or even Singapore Airlines.

That was until the Great Cebu Pacific Christmapocalypse of 2014. While I’m still compiling a lengthy account of that experience (complete with photos + videos of stranded children, crying women, and censorship attempts by security), I couldn’t help but take a deeper look into the company and uncover some interesting facts why it’s such a shitty airline.

I’m no expert in the airline business, but I’d like to believe I know a thing or two about how companies work. In this case, I’m looking at Cebu Pacific with the following context in mind:

  • The airline industry is a tough business. In the US, the average airfare each way is $178 and the airlines would only make 37 cents per passenger trip on average.
  • Cebu Pac is a growing business. 2014 revenues are up 25% year-to-date.
  • The industry is becoming more competitive, with a resurgent PAL, a dominant low-cost competitor in Air Asia, and the desire of foreign airlines to enter the Philippine market.
  • Filipinos are demanding better service, yet are also more docile consumers on average.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I only spent two hours going through publicly available information in its annual report, quarterly disclosures, and analyst presentations, and I already uncovered lots of reasons why it’s a horribly run airline. I just wrote this today, and this is by no means a definitive analysis.

Place Cebu Pacific under the close, investigative scrutiny of a Patricia Evangelista, Natashya Gutierrez, or Bianca Consunji, and I bet we’ll uncover way more.

Four things stick out:

1. The Board of Directors is stacked with family members and insiders.

No surprise here. This is the Philippines, after all.

For comparison, let’s look at Air Asia’s board of directors, followed by their ages:

  • Datuk Kamarudin bin Meranun (52), Non-Independent Executive Chairman
  • Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes (50), Non-Independent Executive Director and Group Chief Executive Officer
  • Aireen Omar (40), Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
  • Abdul Aziz bin Abu Bakar (61), Non-Independent Non-Executive Director
  • Fam Lee Ee (53), Independent Non-Executive Director
  • Robert A Milton (53), Independent Non-Executive Director
  • Amit Bhatia, Independent Non-Executive Director
  • Uthaya Kumar A/L K Vivekananda (60), Independent Non-Executive Director

Here’s Cebu Pacific’s Board of Directors:

  • Ricardo J. Romulo (80 yrs old), Chairman
  • John L. Gokongwei, Jr (87)., Director
  • James L. Go (74), Director
  • Lance Y. Gokongwei (47), Director
  • Robina Gokongwei-Pe (52), Director
  • Frederick D. Go (45), Director
  • Jose Buenaventura (79), Director
  • Antonio L. Go (73), Independent Director
  • Wee Khoon Oh (55), Independent Director

Why is this important? Because the board is the highest governing body of a corporation. If customer service is so bad, then either the Board a.) refuses to do something about it (prioritizing fleet expansion instead, for instance), or b.) is incapable of doing so.

Let’s look at the Board one by one.

Ricardo Romulo is the senior partner of law firm Romulo Mabanta. No airline experience.

Gokongwei patriarch John is unlikely to be closely involved in the airline’s operations given his age.

James Go is John’s brother. No airline experience.

John’s son Lance, is CEO of Cebu Pacific. No extensive airline experience before Cebu Pacific. More troubling, Lance also serves as CEO of Robinson’s Land. Oh wait, he is also CEO of Universal Robina.

I’m sure Lance is brilliant. But I am doubly sure airlines, real estate, and food & beverage are incredibly tough businesses on their own. How can he be CEO of all three? The inescapable conclusion is that Lance is Cebu Pacific CEO in name only.

Robina is Lance’s sister. No airline experience.

Frederick Go runs Robinson’s Land as COO. No airline experience. Which begs the question: if we measure Frederick’s and Lance’s performance, do they spend more time in the airline business or in the real estate business?

Jose Buenaventura is a lawyer (and a partner at Romulo Mabanta). No airline experience.

Antonio L. Go is a banker. No airline experience.

The only board director with significant airline experience is Wee Khoon Oh, who used to be with SIA Engineering Co. SIAEC also happens to be the aircraft maintenance contractor of Cebu Pacific. Even so, Wee Khoon’s experience is in aircraft engineering, not customer service or flight operations.

In short, this is a board stacked with lawyers, family members, and insiders. It’s a board designed to preserve control and mitigate risk, rather than to strive for operational excellence and competitiveness.

It’s also a board filled with old people. The average age of the Cebu Pacific Board is 65 (and that is helped by Lance and Frederick. 5 out of 9 Directors – a majority! – are above 73 years old).

The average age of the Air Asia board is 53.

There is a very real possibility that the Cebu Pacific Directors themselves are not aware of the on-the-ground reality because they are unlikely to browse through Facebook, Twitter,  or this blog.

I am sure they are outstanding professionals in their fields. But their skill set does not belong in today’s airline business.

I can end this blog post on this point. But let’s go on.

2. Senior management is no longer the right team for the job.

The role of the Board of Director’s is to be the overall governing body of a corporation by setting strategy, selecting senior management, and deciding on things like acquisitions, capital raising, and management remuneration. Operations is the responsibility of the senior management team, which reports to the board.

If the main issues are a.) delayed and cancelled flights; and b.) poor customer experience (in terms of ground staff operations, check-ins, gate crews, refunds and rebookings), then we should be looking for managers who are in charge of operations and customer service.

We’ve established Lance is CEO in name only. Who’s really in charge at Cebu Pacific?

That would be Garry Kingshott, Chief Executive Adviser. We all know the “Adviser” title is a smokescreen in Philippine business given that public utilities cannot have foreigner CEOs. But with Lance’s multiple roles, it’s reasonable to believe that Garry is calling the shots.

Judging by his LinkedIn profile, Garry is a sales & marketing guy. Cebu Pacific’s focus on growing ancillary revenue (revenue from baggage fees, rebooking fees, etc – which by the way is worth P6 billion) is likely his strategy, given his past experience at Jet Lit India.  He seems to be more preoccupied with international expansion rather than getting down and dirty with local flight operations.

Who runs ground operations? Let’s look at the Cebu Pacific Annual Report.

Capt. Jim Sydiongco? Nah, he’s responsible for flight operations, pilot training, and safety. With a growing fleet and a pilot shortage, his main focus (rightly so) is for the planes to stay in the air. (Remember the Davao crash landing last year?). Rosita Menchaca? Nope. She runs in-flight services.

The most likely candidate is Michael Shau, Vice President of Ground Operations. But this year, he was moved to run the TigerAir division. And even if he is in charge of customer experience, Michael was also running cargo & fuel, catering, facilities, and procurement! He looks stretched.

In fact, looking at Cebu Pacific’s organizational chart, it’s impossible to see who’s in charge of ground operations and customer experience. There’s Benito Cosep, who runs integrated operations control (including flight dispatch and fleet control), and Rosario Santos who runs quality assurance, but they seem too far down the organizational chart to have significant power to influence outcomes.

Contrast this to Air Asia’s senior management featured in their annual report. They have a tough looking guy named Patrick Fennel heading the operations control centre. There’s a head of guest services – Francis Loh, who’s the single accountable person for customer service. Then there’s Terri Chin, group head of quality and assurance. All three seem like they have considerable power.

In Air Asia, there is one person in charge of finance in senior management: Andrew Littledale, the CFO.

In Cebu Pacific’s senior management, there are three: Jaime Cabangis (CFO), Jeanette Yu (VP Treasury), and Robin Cui (Comptroller).

Strategic priorities are allocated with resources, people, and power. Guess where Cebu Pacific’s priorities lie?

The lack of accountability culture at Cebu Pacific is in full force at the front lines. Ground staff were completely afraid to offer explanations for fear that might say the wrong thing.

“CEB personnel did not explain the long lines, saying they were not authorized by their management to give statements to the press,” says an Inquirer report. I saw this myself. When I asked one supervisor at  counter C27 to explain to the 150+ cancelled passengers what our next steps are, he resisted, saying that it wasn’t his job to process cancellations. After 2 minutes arguing, he agreed to send one of his lackeys to speak on his behalf.

3. Investments in human capital have severely lagged passenger growth.

A frequent complaint heard last December 24 and 25 was that Cebu Pacific was severely undermanned. There were not enough people at the check-in counter. My boarding gate didn’t have an agent for two whole hours. And when I finally was given a hotel room, the guy who coordinated the transfer and hotel booking told me there were only three of them that night who handled thousands of irate rebooked customers.

Contrary to what they want you to believe in the press, this wasn’t just a one-time incident over a busy holiday. It’s a structural problem.

The proof, again, is in the annual report. But you need to dig deep into the notes section.

Cebu Pacific’s Revenue Passenger Kilometer (RPK) grew 12.1% in 2013. RPK is the number of paying passengers on an airline multiplied by the distance traveled. If an airline were a factory, RPK is the measure of an airline’s production output.

Yet, despite the growth, note 21 in the annual report indicates that staff cost only grew 2% in 2013 (P339.7 million in 2013 vs P332.9 million in 2012). Output grew 6x faster than the growth in staffing. No wonder the ground crew felt swamped.

Now, under note 20, the accounts “Flying Operations” and “Aircraft and Traffic Servicing” both contain sub-accounts called “Others”. In the note, “Others” is said to pertain to “staff expenses incurred by the Group such as basic pay, employee training cost, and allowance“. It doesn’t exactly say if staffing cost is the ONLY item under that account. There could be others.

But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that that it’s all staffing costs. Note 20 + note 21 then implies that total people costs amounted to P921.9 million.  This is equivalent to 2.2% of Cebu Pacific’s 2013 revenues of P 41 billion.

But if you look at Air Asia, which did RM 5.11 billion in revenue in 2013, staff costs were RM 610.9 million, or 12% of revenues! Now, even the higher wage levels in Malaysia vs the Philippines wouldn’t be able to entirely account why Air Asia spends 6x more on people than Cebu Pacific.

The whole “we didn’t anticipate the Christmas surge” reason doesn’t fly. This is an airline that obviously tracks RPK, and thus would have month-on-month information on passenger volume.

4. Finally, there are the rumors that Cebu Pacific is being window-dressed for a sale. Nope, not the “piso-fare” kind of sale, but a divestiture of the company to a strategic buyer. After all, the Gokongweis might be starting to realize that it is hard pressed to compete in an open skies environment across Southeast Asia, and would thus be willing to consolidate rather than compete. The group showed its willingness to do something similar in the Sun Cellular sale to PLDT.

Basically, a push for a sale encourages Cebu Pacific to prop up its bottom-line to maximize its market capitalization (and a larger return to the group if a sale occurs). And because profits tanked in 2013 (net income declined 86% from P3.6 billion in 2012 to P512 million in 2013), there is a strong reason for the company to scrimp on expenses in 2014.

In summary, it’s really hard to say what’s going on. All of the above is based on publicly available data. If you know something, get in touch.

My theory: Cebu Pacific is run by a Board that is designed to retain control of the Company rather than to embrace outsiders with the expertise and experience to run a growing low cost airline in a challenging competitive environment. This may have been an adequate Board 10 years ago, but not today. Its senior management is poorly structured, and there is no accountability for key passenger requirements, namely for excellent customer service. It’s underinvesting in human capital. While it’s also pursuing international expansion, management is also considering a sale of the company, and is thus incentivized to prop up the bottom line at the expense of making the investments that lead to operational excellence.

Stay tuned for my next post on how Cebu Pacific stole Christmas Eve.


159 thoughts on “Why is Cebu Pacific Such a Horrible Airline?

  1. gulayarchipelago says:

    Robina Gokongwei’s husband, Perry L. Pe, is a partner at Romulo Mabanta, which also accounts for the RMBSA partners on the Board of Directors.

  2. What can I say, it’s just depressing for poor persons like me who depend on Cebu Pacific just to be able to go to nearby countries like HK. I just wish that hope is still in its way, either through a sale or a new management.

  3. Sandy says:

    While I luckily did not take part in the Christmapocalypse (nice one, btw), I had several friends who did. Seeing the FB ads they have (they’re raffling 1000 free tickets to anywhere) as their way of inadequately apologizing for not foreseeing the catastrophe is also backfiring on them. Just read the comments.

  4. Guillermo Facundo says:

    In simple terms,legally,Cebupac is a big corp entity but in reality its a mom & pop gokongei set up. Business decisions are centralized. This type of org won’t last long

  5. Guest says:

    I think you should also write something about “Why is NAIA Such A Horrible Airport?”
    Airlines and airports go hand-in-hand. NAIA has a really low number of runways.

  6. Rene says:

    Tell us something we don’t know. Clearly you too is an outsider in this business and FYI,experts are always in the middle management up to rank and file. Only critical business decisions are handled by the top management. I agree, CEBU Pacific hit the rock bottom. But this is really a bad article.

  7. Manjit says:

    I’ve had my own once, and never ever to be repeated customer snafu with this completely useless, unbelievably incompetent bunch of morons who claim they are running an airline, at the time I likened them to monkeys but that would be an insult to the primate species. They wouldn’t be able to find their own asses if you gave them a flashlight! I feel truly sorry for the flying public and the poor stewards who have to endure the decisions of the brainless people who run this so called joke of the skies!!

  8. Brent Hansen says:

    As a foreigner, I find that Cebu Pacific offers an incredible service at a reasonable price. If you keep complaining, you better be prepared to pay three to four times the price to fly on other airlines.

    This article is ridiculous, and offers no real solutions.

    • JP says:

      No, Cebu Pacific is ridiculous. As paying passengers, we deserve the right to be treated rightfully. I bet you will suck up and get angry at them after your flight may be delayed for 10 hours. If you’re obedient to this arrogant capitalist airline, let others complain because they want their rights as paying passengers to be respected.

      This article may not offer real solutions but the author reveals where some of the problem may lie. This is the point of the article, not to offer solutions. check out the title, it’s a question of why not how to run an airline business. And to tell you honestly, Cebu Pacific is not cheap during the holidays.

    • Nonoy says:

      3-4 times the price? When was the last time you took another local airline? I’ve always wondered why people would take Cebu Pacific when for a few pesos more you’d get much better service elsewhere. But what the heck, for as long as people like you think you’re fine with Cebu Pacific, it’s a shorter queue for the rest of us at the PAL check-in counter.

  9. Rowie says:

    CebPac may just shrug off their shoulders and call the airport doomsday on the 24th and 25th dec an isolated case. But one thing sure is nothing lasts forever like those sitting in the board of CebPac whose too old to participate in governing the airline.
    Obviously, family control is at the fore front of their intention. Second is profit..never mind the customer complaints who will not even dare to stand up against the airline bacause they are blinded by cebpac “low fare” campaign which is a damn decieving. Third, cebpac needs to post higher gain to make it appealing to the prospected buyer and thereby command higher price. I will definitely wait to see the day CebPac will fold its wings….

  10. Juan Carlos says:

    It seems that the company is pursuing a growth strategy that focuses more on top line and bottom line growth. I’m not siding with the company but from a purely business perspective this seems to be the right strategy as there is still enough demand for flights even though customer service is bad relative to competition. The only time the company will start focusing on customer service is when growth starts to stagnate (demand slows or customers start flocking to other airlines) and it starts looking for other things to differentiate it from the competition beyond just cost. As long as people are lured to cebu pacific because of low cost, there is no incentive for the company to change its business model. From a business perspective (stockholder point of view) the business is doing good.

  11. Reblogged this on L-D-R with Febeerish and commented:
    The problem is on the top management. I strongly suggest they conduct a strategic corporate development. Only they would do so if they talk less about making money out of their customers agonies and try out something kinda new term to them like CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    • bradix says:

      There is no need for strategic corporate development, its basic economics and good business practice. Demand is very high, so why bother with other cost when business is doing great. Simple and effective solution DONT PATRONIZE!!!

    • Sola says:

      and you forgot to mention that Cebu Pacific has the youngest fleet.. and by that I mean Cebu Pacific has the biggest number of new aircrafts…

      • What? says:

        > Cebu Pacific has the biggest number of new aircrafts

        What the hell does that have to do with anything? That is completely irrelevant.

        This article is starting to be filled by Cebu Pacific shills. It’s ridiculous.

  12. Pingback: Why is Cebu Pacific Such a Horrible Airline? - FlyerTalk Forums

    • Jerome says:

      It seems that you’re not aware of what an annual report really is. Annual reports are a comprehensive and detailed summary of a company’s financial and operational activities in the previous year. It is written for the shareholders (i.e. the owners) of a publicly listed company, and for this reason is subject to extensive accounting rules and legal reporting standards. If you were familiar with stock investing, you would realise that many professional and retail investors rely heavily on annual reports for their investment decisions. Banks also use it to estimate a company’s performance for the coming quarters and years. Warren Buffett, for instance, has made many acquisitions based on what he reads from annual reports alone, and has used it to detect hints of operational and financial problems plaguing a company. That said, annual reports do have their limitations (the article mentions some of these), but by itself it is often detailed enough to provide hints of growing problems within a publicly listed firm.

  13. MD says:

    Your 4 points all boil down to one thing: There is no competition. Things would be vastly different if Cebu Pacific was competing with five other budget carriers on equal footing.

    • Cv says:

      And do you kno why there is no competition? Ask your aviation authority! That government body is a joke! No wonder other airlines are hesitant to enter our soil, let alone others before have stopped operating here!

  14. Eto n nga yun …

    Cebu Pacific’s focus on growing ancillary revenue (revenue from baggage fees, rebooking fees, etc – which by the way is worth P6 billion) is likely his strategy, given his past experience at Jet Lit India

    Including processing fees and administratives fees…. Non-refundable fuel surcharges and taxes… Etc…

    Plus… What they called Piso Fare is not PiSO fare for international flights… How can you say it is piso fare when you are being charge 1 of the basefare to your selected destination… DTI and SEC might want to check and review the companies false advertisements.

    1SGD is not equal to 1 Peso or whatever the currency of the country you travelled

    Whew… Taxes and surcharges varies defending on the currency.

  15. lahat na sinasabi rito ay tama at ang nasa utak ng mga negosyanteng iyan ay ang pera, pera lang ang nasa ulo ng mga gahaman na yan tingnan mo ang serbisyo nila bulok, at kung may palpak sa serbisyo kahit yung pinaka station officer kung saang airport man yan parang pipi at mangmang walang maisagot nakangisi lng na parang asong ulol ano kaya ikinatakot nila tama naman na bulok at walang kwenta serbisyo nila kaya dapat e open na ang philippine skies to prospective airline operators na taga labas para may competition at pagalingan ng serbisyo, tingnan mo sahod ng frontliner nila magkano lang mas mataas pa sahod ng janitor ng CAAP at sobrang kuripot pa minsan di gumagamit ng tube lalo na sa provincial operations na pwersa lng yan na gumamit ng ipinatupad ng CAAP na multahan pag di gagamit ng boarding bridge o tube kahit saan gusto nila tumawad sa mga gamit ng airport na gagamitin nila pag late yung arrival o departure ayaw magbigay ng complimentary meals kung di mag alburoto ang mga pasahero ganyan sila samantala pag ikaw na late kahit 5 minutes lng dali ka na at forfeited yung ticket mo ang mangyari kuha ka ng panibago wlang kabuluhan ang rebooking same lng din yan na kumuha ka ng panibagong ticket pag nawalan ka ng gamit magkano lng liability nila almost 500 mahigit lng ata pairmahin ka sa papeles at sasabihin e locate nila at tawagan kung nariyan na yun pala charge to experience ka na yan ang palaging scenario ang nakikita namin pag galit ang nawalan ni ayaw humarap ng mga supervisor o station manager yung kawawa at shock absorber ng galit ng pasahero ay ang kawawang baguhan na frontliner tulad ng check in counter yung mga bosing ayun nawala takot humarap.

    • andrei says:

      Alamo kuya kaya delayed ang flight dahil late nagbibigay ang naia ng clearance. Lahat ng ginagawa mo ultimo pag pindit ng buton sa eroplano e pinapaalam pa sa airport team. Kung malate ka kasalanan mo yon. Mas ulol ka naman squater mo magsalita kaya a squater reply for you.

  16. Sola says:

    i couldn’t agree with you more. The article is just pure crtitcism and doesnt afford any constructive points…. Bear in mind that Cebu pacific changed the airline industry in the Philippines, the same way that sun cellular changed the mobile telecomms industry when globe and smart were the biggest industry players with high usage rates. the “unli-calls and unli-text” made it easier and cheaper for consumers. The way their piso fares changed the airline industry. More people can now afford to fly. even my househelp are able to take flights, instead of taking the ferries which take a day or two.

    • bradix says:


  17. Anony says:

    All Cebu Pacific personnel at the airport are not regular Cebu Pacific employees. They are contractual employees from third-party company also owned by Cebu Pacific. No wonder, these employees doesnt really care about the passengers as they dont belong to the company.

    • anonymous says:

      There you got it so right. Its true by the way. I was an employee before there and they really have no considerations on thier employee. They keep on forcing to work with so very little pay. I even got sick and still are forcing me to work. During even earthquakes they force us to duty and endangering our lives with so little pay and its not even worth it. Bad company with bad compensation. My worst job experience ever.

    • anonymous says:

      Thats not all. They even require us to work even though theres a huge gigantic storm yolanda. But im glad im not anymore a part of the company. My experience was a nightmare

  18. Cam says:

    I hate Cebu PAC but I think I hate this article even more. Empty analysis, mere statement of facts, no insights or solutions. Better to not publish than to publish crap and say you only had a day, blah blah blah.

  19. Raimund Schuberth says:

    I took Cebu Pacific once and that’s where it ends. Goodbye. BTW, does anyone knows the maintenance record of their aircraft? I do.

  20. I wouldn’t be dishing out disparaging remarks against Cebu Pacific as I have benefited from their low cost fares. Sure their services can be wanting at times but I understand that this comes with their low fares low cost concept. First class passengers in PAL are free to use the Mabuhay Lounge because they are paying more. However, processing of outbound passengers is a basic service regardless of class you’re booked in. It would be good if management takes this opportunity to an in depth analysis of what happened and what can be done in the future that such incidents will not happen again. For me this is a one off. The company miscalculated on the number of passengers flying on that day as against their capacity to process the these passengers to board their flight. An effective and efficient communication system between their officers on the ground and senior management decision makers will solve the issue and prevent this from happening again. Overall, for several years of service done by the airline I would say that its not that bad. They still did a good job its just that they fumbled in the last 2 minutes of the game.

  21. Nick says:

    I am sure you can cherry pick facts about any airline – but I have nothing but praise to sing about Cebu Pacific. They are innovative – who flew to Tacloban right after the typhoon last year with nothing but blocks of concrete to sit on at the airport and manual flight list. They are investing heavily in their airline with the one of the newest average fleet age in the world. Their on time performance rivals that of the major US airlines with 25-35 minutes between flights and while operating out of one of the worse airports in the world. Other airlines would kill for that efficiency. Lastly they are profitable – while other airlines such as PAL and AirAisa Zest are not. The author did not mention that AirAsia Zest – the Philippine arm of Air Asia has not made money yet and *might* do so this year.

    They had a bad day – terminal 3 is crowded on a busy day – let alone one of the busiest days of the year. Other “good” airlines have had bad days – one in the US left its passengers stranded on a taxiway for 8 plus hours. United flew me from Houston to Honolulu (8 hours) with an 11 minute connection to get to my flight to Guam (7 hours) and served no free meal on EITHER flight (15 hours). It is not about the bad day – it is about making sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Look at the events of the weekend that the typhoon approached Manila in early December. Air Asia canceled all their flights in the run up – even though their was no reason too. The rain was still days away from Manila. Cebu Pacific offered to let people move their flight for free but still operated.

    Finally I will say that from a safety perspective I have full confidence in the airline. They have always seemed to take safety seriously and the equipment is as maintained as any aircraft in the world. Keep in mind that it was Asiana that let someone with little experience fly the plane into San Fransisco and had all three people in the cockpit miss they were too slow and too low and the resulting accident killed a few people. Accidents can happen with any airline.

    Is the board stacked with too many family members? Maybe. But look at Korean Air – the daughter of the owner and the nut rage incident. I am not seeing the same with Cebu Pacific.

    I have lots of first hand experiences with other airlines such as missing bags, canceled flights, long delays resulting in hotel room stays, broken aircraft, etc but it has always been with other airlines. They had a bad day – like any other airline. Let’s see how they change in response to it before casting them off as a horrible airline.

    Finally you get what you pay for – being a low cost airline shouldn’t give you the experience you would get on full service airlines – they can be half the price or more!

  22. jun says:

    di naman horrible. it has nothing to do with “who” are the people behind it. i fly cebupac every month.. EXCEPT.. 3rd and 4th week of dec. i know kasi its gonna be the holiday rush and FARES are expensive. hahaha.anyway, they are not like this.ganito rin naman in other countries during these times.i fly cebupac coz its d cheapest. kaya siguro rin marami tao.next time(no pun intended),people fly na lang other airlinesm para di maabala.and this guy Segovia.. i bet he will fly cebupac sooner than later.. hahaha. i have friends who crucify cebupac one time.. soon you see them flying with cebupac. hahaha

  23. Al Koops says:

    What would you expect from a budget airline? Seems like everyone is complaining about the poor service (budget airline services) and expecting to have a business class sort of services (5-star). I would blame the passengers than the airline co.as most of them are expecting to be served like a king/queen considering that they paid only below 50$-100$ (average). Kumbaga, jeep ang pinili mong sakyan eh bakit naghahanap k ng konduktor or waiter na magseserbisyo sayo? Pwede ding, bakit nag mrt ka kung ayaw mo ng siksikan? Puro kasi reklamo. Magbayad ng mahal kung gusto nyong magandang serbisyo. May PAL naman at iba pang airlines. Expect those things (delayed flight, lack of staff to assist and etc.) nagbayad k ng mura eh tyaga tyaga ka.
    (From someone who also experienced cebu pac’s poor services)

  24. Juan Miguel says:

    I see a lot of Cebu Pacific employees / managers posting feedback here to save this greedy company.

    Blaming the problem to inclement weather and lack of manpower is a BIG LIE!

    Cebu Pacific overbooked on peak days and off loaded passengers. As simple as that.

    Magulang na, sinungaling pa ang management!

    Thank you for spoiling Christmas of Juans

  25. jojo tan says:

    Let’s face it. No matter how horrible the service this airline provides, we will still cater to it because we have few options. PAL’s prices isn’t exactly what you would call cheap.

    No matter how many complaints CebuPac will receive, they know that people will still choose them because of their prices.

    It is, if i may say, our miserable comfort zone.

  26. MBMF says:

    I have taken only few flights via CebuPac as far as I can recall. All 3-4 were not very positive experiences. First time ever was a flight to HK many years ago. It wasn’t so bad then. Second was a flight to Laoag where I had to deliver a lecture a day just before Ondoy struck. I had no choice because of the scheds available. Throughout the flight, I kept praying and held on to my rosary out of fear we wont get there in a plane that sounded like it was going to fall apart. I was so glad that my secretary had booked me on PAL on the way back , the day when Ondoy struck. The PAL pilot was fantastic and received a loud grateful applause because he was transparent enough to say he needed to land the plane (we were diverted to Clark to Bacolod and then back to NAIA 3) with manual visual capability as control tower was not functioning properly. In my heart, I felt that if it were CebuPac, we would not have made it. Third flight was a trip to Bacolod and my then 10 yr old niece simply told the attendant: Your airline is mean. You have to sell your chips so expensive. It’s only Jack n Jill! (same company). My most recent was on a trip to Sim Reap, Cambodia. The crew cooked noodles and it was nauseating to smell all over. All in all, we avoid taking CebuPac and would rather pay a little more. The Summit Group (and this is across all their companies) is not and will never be known for customer service. It is about affordability and not even the basics. People come and go in the company, except those who become the chosen ones. This is surprising because the company thru Lance supposedly put in place costly high tech information systems. Service? long way… not in the company’s vocabulary and heritage. As long as CebuPac’s positioning stays as One for everyJuan, this is the company’s definition of airline service.

  27. This article forgot to factor in what happened that day. There were flight cancellations due to bad weather and air traffic congestion – things that are vital for smooth airline operations. I think there was also over emphasis on the Board of CebuPac where in fact ground crews and managers should be more discussed.

  28. choi_212 says:

    If you are sick of this airline’s service then why buy tickets from them? Why? Because its cheaper from the rest of its industry. It offers people with less resources to unite with their families in every occasion. You are disapponted because you are expecting too much from a low cost you paid for. You said you deserve to be treated rightfully. Why? Because your flight was delayed due to airtraffic or bad weather? Right you were not treated rightfully. They should have let you fly and die. Is that what we want. Most of the times we passengers are not reasonable. We stand firm for what we want without even giving consideration of the underlying facts. Worst? We are yelling, cursing and hitting people (airline agents) which is clearly not righful. If we seek to be treated right, we might as well give it first. If you are looking for a better service, then pay higher. Stop availing promos.

  29. Maria says:

    And may I kindly inquire what is your management experience? What has granted you the power to declare such statements? People who generate hasty conclusions are the reasons why the Philippines will never be able to progress because of such a limited frame of thought. You did not even analyze the airport situation of the Philippines. 1 runway, really? Did every single passenger that day come prepared to check in? There’s a lot of variables you left untouched so I think this deserves a rewrite because all of your little hurt emotions just shined through.

  30. JULS says:

    Very interesting topic per se. But poorly crafted article. The author admitted it himself in his Dec.27 reply. Next time you write something, stand by it and dont come up with reasons like there’s not enough time to prepare, didn’t get complete data, etc. as mentioned. At any rate, analyzing the airline’s operations based on peakest of peak seasons is unjust.

  31. cv says:

    What a rubbish article by this writer. Having worked with one of the world’s biggest equity fund BODs, I tell you most of them have no oil & gas experience nor construction background, their only common ground to running a diverse portfolio is capitalism experience, yet each portfolio operates smoothly. It’s not the board, but the operational management team and it’s processes & procedure, pricing scheme and the entire aviation governing body of the Philippines just sucks big time. No wonder too many foreign airlines shut doors ie Qatar Airlines as one because of overrated taxation scheme with no proper airport maintenance nor development for the last 2 decades! That’s also the reason they are hesitating to operate or else bribe this shitty government officials just to get licensing!

  32. CR says:

    Did Cebu Pacific loose check-in counters when other airlines from NAIA 1 moved to NAIA 3 this year? Seems like part of the problem was too few counters at check-in and not enough space at terminal gates.

  33. Allan says:

    I just don’t get this article’s comparison. I am no fan of Cebupac but who are you to criticize how they want their organize their organization. With regards to the Christmapocalypse, why don’t you write about ‘why the phil aviation control group are incompetent monkeys’ – sila yung naghahandle ng scheduling etc ng airport/runway, kaya nagkakabuholbuhol sa traffic sa ere…

  34. I am me says:

    stop the whining and move on… we knew things like this will happen… what happen to planing ahead? don’t want to get stuck? then plan way ahead and don’t blame anybody because of your wrong move… if you don’t like cebu pacific or their services then don’t ride with them… get something else… you are like a crying baby…

  35. nilobee says:

    Over analysis paralysis. Simple explanation is people who want cheaper airfare far outnumber people who expect good service. CebuPac is confident cheaper airfare wins every time.

  36. Red says:

    They can’t even serve water during flight. You have to buy it, what if you’re really thirsty? Well what I did was asked for ice and hot water

  37. nnayrrehc says:

    its not fair to compare Cebu Pacific to PAL or Singapore airlines. its a BUDGET aIrcraft. what do you expect? i think Cebu Pacific is doing well inspite of everything. christmas time is really a bad time for everyone. if you dont want to be caught in all the shama then book a flight from PAL or Air Asia and stop complaining. Make your lives easier

  38. Max says:

    Cebu pacific’s captain (pilot) are the ones doing the checks for the entire plane before rvery flight instead of an actual maintenance check person (sorry I don’t know what they’re called). Part of the whole cost-cutting solutions they have come up with. I have a friend who is a captain/pilot for Cebu Pacific and he gave me this info. I still fly with them though.

  39. Jenny Yap says:

    Great job mr. Oliver on the due diligence. Despite the limited time and info available, i think your analysis is very important. I agree it’s more systemic and even beyond that, the board composition. Their interest lies more on their financial returns rather than serving the Filipino airline passenger. As a 1st hand beneficiary of the 2014 Christmapocalyse experience, this is my 2 cents worth. The ground staff couldn’t do anything about the delayed & cancelled flights. Agree. But they could have done something to MITIGATE the check-in chaos yesterday. No one was managing the queues and the check-in gate. Anyone can just come in at anytime, even if it’s not their time yet, and line up anywhere. The first-come-first-to-serve approach is no longer the best approach in this situation. They could have deployed 1 staff with a megaphone to manage the lines so those with earlier flight schedules are prioritized. That’s not too much to ask for isn’t it? I noticed all of their crew and security were behind the counters managing the baggages and probably protecting their front liners from being mobbed. But no one was outside managing the crowd. That could have made a HUGE difference. Instead, they deployed 1 poor lady who i think is already in her 50s to “man” the check-in gate. Obviously, she was overpowered by the angry crowd and was no longer making eye contact with anyone. I can’t blame her for that, she was probably scared for her own life.

    If you need any petition or any form of support from the passengers, count me in!

  40. andrei says:

    For the delays, its NAIAs fault. Everything you do in the ramp has to be authorized by the AIRPORT TEAM. Every pushback every start up. Every move you make must be authorized by the airport team. For the TUBES, NAIA owns that. Most of them are not operating. In shorts, its jammed. We have 2 runways. BUT its on a letter T shape. You cannot take off and land AT THE SAME TIME. Clearly I think Cebupac is also a victim here. For the management, I thzink theres nothing wrong if its all family members. I am not a fan of Cebpac though but I advise you not to generalize literally because I met some staff and crew whos dedicated and more than willing to do their job. Truth is the people are hard to please. People dont get contented. We all have the same runway so all airlines are delayed. I tried searching on Twitter, there are also negative comments on Pal and Air Asia. Cebu Pacific just dont pay media for media black out news thats why theyre always on the news.


  41. Rain says:

    Unfortunately your were comparing it with an airline that is probably worse than Cebu pacific. Dig deeper and you will find much rampant and ridiculous practices of AirAsia – cancelled flights, refund taking more than 2 months even if due to their fault, overbooking then canceling. Anyway, akin to robbery in broad daylight. Their Facebook page is now filtered so you don’t see complaints now.

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