Thanks to airfare being far more affordable now, the average person reading this will probably find themselves on a plane at least once in this lifetime.
Traveling is undoubtedly exciting, regardless of your reasons for doing it. Going beyond the confines of your backyard, achieving a literal change in scenery, and taking part in some relatively different ways of doing things can be invigorating. Getting on a plane is also a marvel in itself, especially when you realize how your great grandparents had to travel by boat to far-flung areas a little over a century ago.
If you’ve already gotten the hang of traveling, good for you. If you still haven’t and are grappling with some pretty common passenger issues, worry not, for we’ve got some suggestions that just might help:
1. Hidden Charges.
Okay, not naming names here, but have you ever logged on to an airline’s site to avail of their piso fare promos, only to see that Php1 rapidly climb to a four to five-digit figure each time you hit the “next” button?
With gasoline prices skyrocketing, I can’t exactly blame airlines for passing on certain charges to their customers, but you can mitigate the damage on your credit card by carefully reading the terms and conditions whenever you purchase tickets online. Sometimes, you can shave pesos off your total by opting out of add-ons like in-flight meals (provided you’ll be on a short-haul flight) or additional check-in baggage. If you can get your travel insurance somewhere else for a cheaper price, feel free to check that off during the purchasing process too.
Whatever you do, read each promo’s fine print. Some might only be open to certain credit card holders, others might only be good for a travel period that’s outside your preferred dates, and so on. Knowing all such details can prevent you from getting blindsided and going well over your budget.
2. Delayed Flights.
Imagine this. You’ve booked your ticket, applied for your visa and work leave, packed your bags, and are now in the airport waiting area after checking into your flight. Your body is thrumming with excitement and adrenaline and you eagerly await the call to board the aircraft….only to hear that your flight will be delayed.
Few things can kill any traveler’s buzz as much as announcements regarding delayed, or worse, cancelled flights do. They can certainly get your trip off to a bad start or perhaps even ensure that it doesn’t happen at all in the worst cases, and there’s very little you can do about it if it happens.
What you do have in your corner are your rights as a passenger, and depending on how long your flight has been delayed, these can range from vouchers to a free meal to the gratis rebooking of your ticket. And get this, it’s also possible to oblige your airline to endorse you to another carrier in the event of cancellations, free of charge.
You can read up on the passenger bill of rights here for further details.
3. Bad Customer Service.
Generally, cabin crew and ground staff are trained to be unfailingly courteous and polite to passengers. There was even a story circulating on social media about a Filipino cabin attendant who went so far as to personally cut up an elderly passenger’s food on a flight.
Still, as with any industry, there are bound to be some bad apples. Should you encounter an inefficient, disinterested, or downright rude airline employee, assert yourself politely yet firmly. State your concerns in a direct manner, and remind them of your rights as a passenger, as mentioned in the previous item.
You may also escalate matters to the staff in question’s direct supervisor if things appear to be heading nowhere.
4. Missing or Stolen Baggage.
Sad to say, our country is notorious when it comes to luggage going missing at the airport or getting mishandled prior to boarding. *sigh*grumble*
While they try to get a handle on things, we passengers can take preventive measures by keeping our valuables in our carry-ons and applying for excess valuation charges for our checked-in baggage, just so we have a safety net in case things get lost.
Furthermore, you can also pack at least one set of clothes in your hand-carry as a precaution. This ensures that you’ll have clean underwear, among other things, to change into should it take the airline a couple of days to retrieve your misplaced belongings.
5. Uncomfortable Seats.
Unless you’re one of those Crazy Rich Asians who can afford first-class seats, the narrow, cramped ones in economy will likely be a constant annoyance.
There are a few things you can do to get a more comfortable seat, however. One is to get upgraded, and the other is to book seats near the exit row or bulkhead. Mind you, the former might involve opting to give way if your flight turns out to be overbooked while the latter comes with a few extra charges (albeit far, far less than you would have to pay for a business class seat with just about the same legroom), along with a responsibility to help the cabin crew out in case of a flight emergency.
Whether you’re a first-time flier or a seasoned traveler, you’re likely to run into some unforeseen challenges while making the trip. These, of course, are no picnic, but so long as you keep a clear head and stand firm within your rights, things should turn out just fine.