Which airline had most passenger complaints in Q1?

by Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2014 06:18 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2014 05:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Since the passenger bill of rights took effect last December 2012, the Civil Aeronautics Board received numerous complaints from passengers.

Based on the CAB summary of this year's first quarter monitoring (January to March 2014), AirAsia Zest topped the list with 39 complaints. During the same period last year, AirAsia Zest ranked fifth with only 12 complaints.

"Sa AirAsia Zest ang complaints nila refund kasi marami silang kinakansela na flights tapos nagsususpend na sila ng ruta," Wyrlou Samodio, head of CAB legal division, said.

Cebu Pacific fell to second place, with 21 passenger complaints in the first quarter as against 44 in the same period in 2013.

CAB said delayed and cancelled flights, refunds, suspension of routes were the top passenger complaints against airlines.

Other complaints pertained to re-booking, denied boarding, overbooking and lost luggage.

"First quarter pa lang ito so konti pa lang yan. Last year dumami kasi nagkaroon ng bill of rights kasi nagging aware na ang mga tao sa karapatan nila as passenger. Kasi ang purpose natin ma-educate ang tao sa rights niya, and yun duties and responsibilities ng airlines sa mga pasahero nila, and at the same time obligations nila sa mga pasahero," Samodio said.

The purpose of the data of the passenger complaints is for monitoring. This is where CAB checks if there are non-compliant airlines.

These complaints will be one of the basis for violations. Penalty for a violation will cost the airline P5,000 only.

CAB explains that the penalty is too low because the Chicago charter is too old. They are already asking the Congress to amend the charter.

Complaints from passengers

An exchange of tweets from Syashmi Jasrin, a Malaysian passenger of Air Asia Zest, said that he was trying to reach the airline but was disconnected. He is in Kota Kinabalu going to Cebu. His original flight was suspended that is why he is asking to change his booking. It was just today that he learned his flight was suspended.

According to Jasrin, the reason for the suspension of the flight was not clear but it has something to do with the network. He is currently waiting for a pre-flight team to confirm the reroute.

Meanwhile, Hans Manapat already filed a complaint against Cebu Pacific because his guitar was damaged during the flight.

Tina Perez, an employee of ABS-CBN Entertainment, also complained about AirAsia's cancellation of their flights to Cagayan. She said she booked a flight to Cagayan last July 2013, but the airline informed her only on Tuesday that the flight is being cancelled due to network re-alignment.

In response to the complaints, AirAsia Zest executive vice president and chief operating officer Joy Caneba said the airline is addressing any issues some passengers may have with their service.

"AirAsia Zest is committed in providing the best quality service to all our passengers at the lowest fares possible... With this please trust us that refund issues will be addressed immediately. Any passenger may directly email me at [email protected]," she said.