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Business

A deluge of reactions

- Rey Gamboa - The Philippine Star

Thank you to all those readers who reacted to our 2-part series on the Air Passengers Bill of Rights, which saw print the last two Saturdays.  For those of you who failed to catch it, we as air passengers do have rights even if we purchased the cheapest of fares on line.  Whether it is mere delay of three hours or less, or a protracted delay of up to six hours which, according to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is tantamount to cancellation, the air passenger can demand for some sort of retribution which could range from food and drinks to downright full refund on top of hotel accommodations, transport to hotel and rebooking of ticket.

Readers Mylene A. of Taytay, Rizal, Chito Acosta also of Taytay, Patricio Mabulay of Alabang, Namen Pedroza of Tagaytay City, Irene Mendoza of Cagayan de Oro City and Mat Dimaculangan of Cainta were one in saying that they had never been aware of the existence of this Bill of Rights, or for some of them who knew there was such a document, they had no idea of its impact on air passengers as a whole. Well, many of us take our rights for granted, or are reluctant to pursue our complaints with the proper authorities. The Civil Aeronautics Board says the air carriers are obligated to honor all the provisions in the said Bill of Rights and to carry them out. CAB is the proper government agency tasked to enforce this bill, so one can imagine how many complaints this agency receives and handles every day.

Other readers e-mailed their thanks for being apprised of their rights, but two other readers wrote lengthily to air their (disgruntled) views. Evelyn G of Pasig City narrated how they had to wait in the airport in Guangzhou for some three hours or more by budget carrier Cebu Pacific last April.  The reason given was the plane that they were supposed to take to Manila was late in coming, and though the airport staff of Cebu Pac was courteous and polite, no offer of food or drinks was ever made. Reading our column these last two weeks, they realized the carrier’s shortcomings were not limited to their tardiness only. Senior citizen Romeo D. wrote from Bataan to say that just because they are paying budget fares for overseas trips, the budget carriers take it as “a license to cut costs where they can, even to the discomfort of some passengers, especially the elderly”. He adds, “My wife had to get down from the aircraft without any tube, and since we came from a shopping trip, our bags were heavy.  This was downright inconvenient, even dangerous for us.”

To reader Romeo D, if you will notice from the second part of our column, the CAB wishes to inform the public that they have given instructions to all the airlines, even budget carriers to use the tube where these are available.  You didn’t mention which airport you used, but tubes are available in the international airports of NAIA, Cebu and Davao.  If there are no mechanical problems with the tube, then the carriers are bound to use them, and pay rent for their use. Again, may I advise you to bring these valid complaints to the proper authorities, in this case the CAB so they can be addressed immediately.

One other reader had a lengthy reaction, but although it is not really a case for the air carriers, his views are shared by many, especially those who have had recent travels using the NAIA terminal. I am reprinting it here verbatim, hoping that the DOTC will shape up. This reader named Allan writes;

“Just read your column of Saturday, May 17th. All sounds good, but it seems the biggest violator of rights & decency is the Government -- NAIA.  It seems trying to get to anywhere in this Country requires one to fly through NAIA, and EVERY plane in & out of there is LATE – 1 to 2 hours. Not only are the runways inadequate, the terminals, even T3, are also inadequate. The runway is inadequate for the exiting traffic.  Consequently, the terminals are overloaded.  There are not enough chairs, the air conditioning is inadequate, the food choices are minimal, and the acoustics are poor.  The PAL gates in T3 are a big echo chamber.  Baggage handling in T2 is unbelievably slow.

Sooo, what about the Government’s compensation for the horrid conditions to which they subject air travelers?  All we get are PNOY’s pathetic apology for the inadequate air con in T1.  Geez.  Isn’t he even the least bit embarrassed about having the place named for his father and it’s rated, and soundly deserves, one of the 10 worst in the world.  I see travelers have been paying a terminal fee for YEARS and it’s supposed to be for upgrading/maintaining the airport.  Yet the Government takes about half of it for other uses.  Geezzzzzz

Many of us end up apologetic to our balikbayan or foreign guests when we pick them up at NAIA for the sorry, nay dismal condition of this terminal. The inadequate runways may require some time to address, but not having enough chairs? Slow baggage handling? And may I add terrible air conditioning? All these should not have to wait too long to be addressed. This situation has gone on too long.

                Still, our thanks to Secretary Mar Roxas, who initiated the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, a first in the country.  Now we await the government’s response to the deluge of complaints and reactions about the dismal condition and reputation of NAIA.  We do not relish being among the ten worst airports in the world.  We can do something about this, one step at a time until we can come up with a small but very decent, clean and comfortable international airport with enough seats, good cafes and clean bathrooms.  Most of all please do something with the air conditioning real quick! One lawmaker’s PDAF should be enough to upgrade the air conditioning system at the NAIA.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

For comments (email) [email protected] / [email protected]

AIR

AIR PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS

AIR PASSENGERS BILL OF RIGHTS

BILL OF RIGHTS

CEBU PAC

CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD

RIGHTS

ROMEO D

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