Our Stressful Quest to Fly After a Flight Cancellation

What would you do if an important flight is cancelled 10 hours before your schedule?

I never thought that I would encounter such situation but, unfortunately, my family and I, along with my sister and her baby, found ourselves facing that predicament last Wednesday, December 18, 2019.

To make a long story short for those who don’t have time to read my blow by blow account of that stressful experience, here’s a gist of what transpired between 8:00 PM of that night to 6:59 AM of the next day.

  • I received emails from Philippine Airlines informing us that “due to adjustments in their (our) flight operations”, our flight originally scheduled at 6:00 AM of December 19, Thursday, was rescheduled to next Thursday (26th). The emails were sent at 8:01 PM on Wednesday evening, about 10 hours before the scheduled flight. (We were actually lucky. My sister and her baby who are supposed fly with us on that December 19 flight were rescheduled to fly out on December 29.)
  • PAL initially offered to reschedule our flight to the 22nd for free, but we deemed this unacceptable. We were adamant that we fly out on the 19th.
  • I spent 787.50 pesos on nine calls between 8:29PM of Wednesday and 6:59AM of Thursday, begging for cellphone load in the middle of the night from my relatives because loading stations were already closed.
  • We were forced to travel to NAIA Terminal 2 from Clark Airport, spending almost five hours in a P2P bus during Christmas rush/travel season, without any guaranty that we can fly out that day to Iloilo.
  • In NAIA, I went to the wrong PAL office to follow up on our tickets. Luckily, after spending almost an hour there, the customer service agent named Bianca, was able to help us in following up the approval of our rerouted flights without paying for fare difference and terminal fees.
  • Just when we thought all was well, we hit a snag at the check-in counter. The agent wanted us to pay for check-in baggage as our original baggage allowances and prepaid baggage were not reflected in our rerouted flight. Thankfully, agent personally followed up the issue at their Office while we waited for 15 minutes or so at the check-in counter.
I expected to be in Antique before 8:00 AM on the 19th and made plans accordingly, Needless to say, all my plans for that day were cancelled, as we spent the day traveling during the Christmas rush traffic, being stressed out, and did I mention, hungry? I was just relieved and happy that before midnight, we’re already at my parents’ house. Tired but grateful for God’s hand in everything that happened that day. And, of course, very excited to finally have our one-week Christmas vacation with my side of the family.

So, what would you do when your flight is cancelled 10 hours before your schedule? Based on our experience, I’ve learned four things:

  1. Know your rights (so you can fight for them).
  2. Be persistent.
  3. Stay calm.
  4. Always pray and trust God’s will – even when you think nothing is going your way. Especially when you think that nothing is going your way!

And, of course, to always take selfies, no matter how haggard and stressed out you are.

waiting to board flight at the airport
Waiting for boarding at the NAIA 2 Terminal after our stressful ordeal due to PAL’s flight cancellation of our original flight 10 hours before the schedule.

Visit the following links for a more detailed recounting of our experience:

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