Thursday, May 11, 2017

Travel Nightmare : Delayed Flight and Missing Luggage

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I was writing this blog post while traveling (up in the air) to Kuala Lumpur to attend the Social Influencers Fest 2017. This is a series of unfortunate events that started in Davao. It's a travel nightmare and it's the worst I've had so far. (Read: Homeless in Singapore : How Expedia Ruined My Vacation)



Here's a timeline of what happened today.

4:50AM

I arrived at the airport for my Philippine Airlines flight at 6:30AM. Everything seemed okay. And so I thought.

Around 6AM

The turnaround aircraft has arrived so I thought our flight will depart on time.

Around 6:15

The ground staff announced that boarding will be delayed due to additional servicing of the aircraft. I patiently waited until the next announcement.

Around 7AM

The ground crew announced again that it will be further delayed. I went to the counter this time and asked for the new ETD, they have no idea so I explained my situation. I told the ground staff that if worse comes to worst and the flight will be delayed further, I should be re-accommodated to the next flight so I won't miss my connecting flight. She understood so I went back to my seat.

Around 7:30

The ground staff announced that the new ETD is at 10:40AM. I kinda panicked because I am pretty sure it will be delayed again because of the air traffic situation in Manila. (I was right, I checked when I arrived in Manila and it was further delayed)

Around 7:35AM

I went down to the check in counter and explained the situation to the staff. He told me that I am on standby for the next flight. I asked him when do I know if I can make it to the next flight, he replied to wait. I asked about my luggage and he said to approach the guard to have it on standby. I approached the guard and he said to go to the supervisor's office which is kinda weird. I told him that the ground staff told me to approach him but he insisted that I should go to the supervisor's office. I  asked the ground crew and he was oblivious so I went to the office. The queue was long. There were a lot of passengers lining up. After about 30 minutes of queuing, I gave up. I went back to the counter. There was only one counter that could help me and her previous transaction took her about 20 minutes.

About 8:30AM

I finally talked to the lady in the counter. I explained my situation and she seemed to understand. She said I am on standby so I waited for 5 minutes more in front of her. She did not have a sense of urgency. She left the counter without saying anything. That made me mad. When she returned I had a little outburst and told her I am losing my patience. I mean it's less than 45 minutes so the check-in counter should have been closed. She would immediately know if there is an available seat or none but for some reasons they were waiting for I don't know what.

Around 8:50

The ground staff finally gave my new boarding pass. She said she will not be re-tagging my luggage and assured me that will be transferred to my new flight. I reiterated how important it was to have my luggage. She re-assured me. I heard her call the radio to transfer my luggage so I went to the boarding gate.

Around 9AM

Boarding has started. The pilot missed the original sched so the he was waiting for another signal from Manila. We're supposed to leave at 9:55 but he missed it again so the new ETD was moved to 10:30AM. I was worried, I might miss my connecting flight to KL. 

Around 10:35AM

The plane took off.

12:05PM

We arrived safely in Manila. I went to the carousel and waited for about 15 minutes. I didn't see my bag. I went to the ground staff and asked if she can trace if my luggage was loaded to my new flight. She said it should be okay since she did not find any inaccuracies in my baggage tag. I went back to the carousel and waited again. After few minutes, all bags were picked up. I still didn't see mine. I became furious because I was assured it will be on the same flight with me.

Around 12:40

I went back to the ground counter and told them about my situation. I kinda lost my cool but I was trying to be as nice as I can be coz the Manila crew has nothing to do about what transpired. The ground crew said that they will be forwarding it to KL but it will be on the next day via Singapore. I remember Malaysia Airlines has a flight at 3PM and they are sharing code so I asked the crew if they can take it to KL via MH today. They said it's possible but they have to check it first. I wanted to insist and talk to a supervisor but I really had no time. I am sure I will miss my connecting flight if I wait longer. So, I filed a report then asked the crew to allow me to use their internal transfer even if I am connecting on another airline. He obliged, after all it's their fault.

1:05PM

Waiting at the transfer desk.

1:20PM

Still waiting for the bus transfer. I approached the lady at the transfer desk counter and asked her of the sched. I was worried I will miss my flight. She said in a bit. I can't do anything at that point so I waited.  

1:25PM

The bus departed from terminal 2 going to terminal 3. There was a little traffic around terminal 4 so imagine how I felt.

Around 1:40PM

The bus arrived in Terminal 3. I ran to the counter to print my boarding pass since I already checked in online earlier. The boarding was supposed to commence at 1:40PM but there was a little delay. The lady at Cebu Pacific counter allowed my to go through. I hurried to pay the travel tax and got my boarding pass from the counter. I went straight to the international departures and the ground crew of 5J assisted me in the immigration counter. He  escorted me to the airline crew counter so I can make it to my flight.

Around 1:50PM

I passed the immigration and baggage security counters. I was running towards my gate assignment. My gate was at 105, the farthest!!! I was already excessively sweating. I heard my name once for final boarding. When I was at gate 107 I heard my name again. I ran faster, sweating and losing my breath. Luckily, I made it to my flight.


While waiting for the plane to take off, I sent a private message to PAL's twitter and facebook page. In fairness, someone replied in about 10 minutes. I gave the details of my luggage and when I arrived in KL I received a message again that it was taken care of. For now, I got a confirmation that it was loaded to a PR flight going to Singapore and it should arrive in KL tomorrow morning via Malaysia Airlines. I really hope it will.

Do you have a similar travel nightmare? Let us know in the comment below.

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