Rant: AirAsia Zest Cancels Flight Without Notice

 

AirAsia Zest Cancels Flight Without Prior Notice. This shouldn’t be newsworthy anymore. Probably not the first time. But it’s a first time for me.

I don’t normally rant on my blog. In fact, I really do try my best to keep negative vibes off my blog just so that I can give the readers and lurkers on my blog good vibes. Unfortunately, I have to let this one out: I am one irate AirAsia / ZestAir customer.

Today, my boyfriend’s flight from Cebu to Manila was scheduled to depart at 9 in the morning. Upon his arrival at Mactan International Airport, he immediately called me to let me know that the blue screen in the lobby just notified him that Flight Z2 764 was cancelled. Yes, cancelled without prior notice. We didn’t get any e-mail notice at all. In fact, last night, we paid to check in 15kg of baggage. If it was cancelled before last night, they would not have allowed Php 170 to be deducted off my debit account for a flight that won’t fly, right?

Wrong. The words CANCELLED glared at my boyfriend from the blue screen in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and we had no idea where to go. Waking up at five in the morning to make it in time two hours before the scheduled flight proved to be useless. The Sales Ticket Office was not as helpful, did not give assurance that they’ll be able to get him on the next flight scheduled at 11 in the morning, and only pointed him towards the check-in counter.

Upon getting there, the check-in counter was closed, and a herd of angry flightless customers gathered near it. We feared that we missed the SMS notice, since my boyfriend frequently changed numbers, but my boyfriend confirmed from the members of the group that there was no text message notification sent to them as well. From my end, I can hear an angry woman complaining about the ‘incompetency (sic)’ of AirAsia and throwing cuss words left and right. She went on an endless tirade, and I can feel her anger from where I was. Seriously, give the girl a hypertensive. She sounded like she’s about to burst a blood vessel.

AirAsia Zest: Now Everyone CAN’T Fly!

So, at the moment, we were told that there are no more available seats for the eleven AM flight, and the flight after that would arrive at 3 in the afternoon. No flights from 11AM-3PM bound for Manila. Oh joy.

To make things worse, a couple from the group was given “priority” as they were allowed to check-in to the 11AM flight with ease, bypassing the rest of the people in line. That’s a good way to get dissatisfied customers breathing down their necks. Clap clap, AirAsia.

I tried tweeting to AirAsia regarding their lack of cancellation notice, but they did not seem to pay attention to my tweet. :( AirAsia, do you even take Customer Service seriously?

I’ve booked thrice via ZestAir/AirAsia before this incident. Twice with flights delayed, and once cancelled due to their suspension. Refund remains unprocessed or unreceived months after I filed a request. Not to mention, one of their planes swerved off the runway yesterday at the Kalibo International Airport just yesterday.

Here’s to hoping that AirAsia would do something to turn the situation around, especially for the angry, paying customers who missed their flights and are about to miss important appointments. Did these customers not appear for their 9AM flight, despite the scare AirAsia Zest gave passengers yesterday with the Kalibo incident? Else, we have grounds to believe that AirAsia is just ZestAir painted in red. -HANA

Update:

Here’s a short account of what happened after 10AM

10:30 AM – Passengers of the cancelled flight started towards the check-in counter, hoping that they’ll get ‘chance passenger’ seats on the 11:40AM flight. They were told to check again at 11AM.

11 AM: Only three ‘chance passenger’ seats available. Disgruntled flightless passengers continue complaining at the check-in counter, demanding food & drinks.

After this, news of the shooting incident in NAIA Terminal 3 broke out. Most CEB-MNL flights delayed. The 11:40 AM flight departed at a later time. But finally, the flightless passengers were given tickets to the 3:15 PM CEB-MNL flight.

Unable to do anything, I kept tweeting the AirAsia Philippines and Ask AirAsia Twitter accounts, in case they weren’t informed about the situation in Mactan International Airport. The only response I got was some generic replies at an attempt of reassurance that whatever inconvenience this caused was ultimately for the safety of the passengers. The Ask AirAsia Twitter account asked for the booking number and contact number of my passenger and I promptly provided the information requested. The only reply I got after that was the news that these passengers were already scheduled to take the 3 PM flight, and that the new itinerary was sent to the e-mail addresses of the passengers. I also asked whether they had any plans to provide food and drinks, since, you know, the passengers are waiting for the end of a six-hour departure delay that they weren’t informed about. No reply on that inquiry.

2:30 PM: I checked on my passenger and learned that the AirAsia management provided lunch at 2 in the afternoon. They were set to take the 3:15 PM flight. I started on my way to the Domestic Airport to wait for my passenger.

2:50: My passenger has not boarded the aircraft.

3 PM: No aircraft yet. Further delay in departure expected. Aircraft estimated to arrive the Mactan Airport at 4 PM.

4:50 PM: I heard from my passenger that they were already about to board the aircraft. Goodness. After eight hours.

5:30 PM: Plane has not yet taken off because of runway traffic. Further delay in departure, but passengers already boarded the plane. I, on the other hand, already made it to the Domestic Airport. Found a seat on the Waiting Area.

5:45 PM: My passenger informed me that they look like they’re about to take off. He said goodbye.

I expected that they’ll be arriving Manila at 6:50 PM. At 6:45 PM, I received news that the plane has not yet taken off the runway. Passengers stayed inside the aircraft for two hours.

6:55 PM: AirAsia cabin crew finally announced that the plane was ready to take off. Passengers of the uber delayed flight cheered. :))

8:10 PM: My passenger FINALLY arrived Manila. After twelve hours. WOW.

My passenger also told me that the management committed to provide dinner on the way to Manila. During the flight, no food and drinks, not even a glass of water, were offered. Talk about consideration.

I hope that AirAsia learns some techniques on DAMAGE CONTROL. These passengers whose flight was cancelled and were made to wait almost twelve hours on the airport are pissed, impatient, angry, and famished. The least you can do is show that you are apologetic about the whole incident and try to appease the passengers for all their troubles.

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