Following the government’s ban on all forms of travel-land, air, and sea—to and from Metro Manila for one month starting March 15, the country’s three largest commercial carriers have announced their respective responses relative to the suspension of flights.
President Duterte announced during a news conference in Malacanang Thursday night that the government is adopting the draconian measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. So far, the country has recorded 52 confirmed cases and five deaths from the deadly disease.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) said 65 daily round-trip flights would be affected, while AirAsia said 102 flights would likely be to be dropped “between Manila and outlying domestic destinations.”
On the other hand, Cebu Pacific (CEB) did not give a tally, claiming that the matter of suspension would be studied closely “since March 15 is still two days away.”
“We are awaiting official advice from our government regulators. We will provide updates as soon possible,” said CEB spokesman Charo Logarta-Lagamon.
“In the meantime, should you wish to forego travel, you may opt to take any of the following options:
Free rebooking-Change fee is waived. Fare difference may apply.
Travel fund-Put the full cost of the ticket in a travel fund. The travel fund can be redeemed within 180 days and can be used for bookings as far as 12 months out.
Lagamon said CEB flights continue to operate as scheduled, while at the same time, saying the airline continue to receive rebooking and cancellation requests from their passengers due to concerns over Covid-19.
CEB said passengers traveling to Philippines and international destinations from March 10 to April 30, 2020, would be offered “free rebooking, place the full cost of the ticket in a travel fund which can then be used as payment for a future booking.”
The travel fund is valid for 180 days and can be used for bookings as far as 12 months out.
Lagamon said new flights booked from March 10 to April 30, regardless of travel date and route, can avail of CEB Flexi for free. CEB Flexi enables travelers to rebook their flights up to two times, fare difference may apply. Simply select the “CEB Flexi” add-on during booking,” Lagamon said.
Legacy carrier PAL, meanwhile, advises passengers of affected flights to avail of any of the following options:
- Rebook their flight to a new travel date after April 14, 2020, with waivers of rebooking fees.
- Refund the full cost of the ticket with waivers of fees.
- Reroute their ticket on the same fare class, fare difference rules apply.
PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna urged holders of tickets issued by travel agents to contact, or visit, the nearest partner travel agency for their rebooking needs.
“Our international flights and domestic flights on routes to and from Cebu, Clark and Davao [other than Manila] shall continue to operate within the period March 15 to April 14,” Villaluna said.
“PAL will provide further updates and as of this time, the airline is awaiting the official guidelines in relation to the implementation of the temporary suspension of domestic flights to/from Manila,” she added.
“Rest assured that we will comply with all government mandates and continue to coordinate closely with the government authorities in the interest of the health and safety of all our passengers,” Villaluna said.
On the other hand, AirAsia announced that flights not bound for Manila out of other AirAsia’s hubs in the Philippines – Clark, Cebu and Kalibo – will continue their normal operations.
“Guests may check on their flights via the ‘Flight Status’ function on the airasia.com web site and mobile app.”
AirAsia said all affected guests will be promptly notified via e-mail, or SMS, and strongly encourages guests to update their contact details using the “My Bookings” feature on airasia.com to ensure that they receive timely notifications.
AirAsia is making provisions for guests affected by the flight cancellations and travel restrictions following the Philippine government’s latest directive, as follows:
- Move flight: One-time flight change to a new travel date on the same route within 90 calendar days from the original flight time without additional cost, subject to seat availability, or
- Credit account: Retain the value of your fare in your AirAsia Big Loyalty account for future travel with AirAsia. The online credit account is to be redeemed for booking within 180 calendar days from the issuance date for your travel with us. The actual travel dates can be after the expiry date as long as our flight schedule is out, or
- Full refund: Obtain a full refund to your original payment method for the amount equivalent to your booking.
The carrier said “guests whose travel plans are affected by restrictions or cancellations are advised to refer to the Covid-19 Refund Request Guide or visit support-airasia.com and speak to Ava for 24/7 assistance. Guests may reach AirAsia Philippines’ emergency hot line at (02)8722-2742.
“We are experiencing a higher than usual volume of queries and requests at this time following the Covid-19 outbreak. We continue to do all we can to best assist any guest affected by a disrupted service during this period and thank them for their patience,” AirAsia said.
The airline said they understands the urgency of customer queries relating to the current health situation and any changes to their travel plans. “The company has made it a priority to persistently work with various partner organizations, including banks, to immediately address guests’ concerns,” the airline said.
Guests may view an up-to-date status of their refund requests by logging on to their Big Member Account on airasia.com.
AirAsia assures passengers that their safety and well-being and Allstars is their top priority. “AirAsia is complying with advice and regulations from the local government, civil aviation authorities, global and local health agencies, including the World Health Organization.”
AirAsia is closely monitoring this situation and reserves the right to announce further policies responsive to the latest developments.