Malilong: Sorry, PAL policy

The Other Side

PHILIPPINE Airlines has launched a new promotion obviously to attract more passengers to patronize the company.

Ironically, on the day that I read about PAL’s summer seat sale, I was fretting at the Iloilo airport about whether I could go home or not despite my having a valid PAL ticket.

My troubles appear to have started the day I decided to postpone my trip to the Ilonggo capital for the 17th national convention of lawyers to Wednesday instead of Tuesday, last week. By then, I already had a round-trip ticket with a Monday (the following week) return.

When my wife tried to rebook my departure, PAL told her that it would be expensive so why wouldn’t she just buy a new one-way ticket to Iloilo and use the old one for my return. She followed the advice.

When I left Mactan airport, I discovered that I exceeded the baggage allowance by two kilos. Unwilling to pay the scandalously prohibitive price of P200 per kilo of excess baggage on my return trip, I instructed my legal assistant to purchase additional baggage accommodation.

PAL, however, told her that they cannot sell any more baggage space because the aircraft was small but that I can arrange for additional baggage accommodation at the airport upon my departure. So I asked to talk to the PAL employee. Are you saying that your plane will grow bigger if I bought my baggage allowance at the airport, I asked her. Instead of answering the question directly, she offered another explanation: I initially bought only 10 kilos baggage allowance so I cannot buy more. PAL policy.

Fast forward to my return flight last Monday. The guy at the counter examined my ticket and had my bags weighed. Then to my surprise he directed me to go to the PAL ticketing office because I had a problem. I asked what the problem was and he replied that it was because I flew to Iloilo under another ticket. I protested. It was PAL that told me to buy another ticket, the previous was non-refundable so PAL gained a few thousand pesos at my expense and now they’re punishing me?

Sorry sir, he replied. PAL policy.

So I went to the PAL ticketing office, gave my ticket to the lone man at the counter and told him that I was asked to see him. “What is wrong with your ticket,” he asked me. I was shocked. “You’re PAL. You tell me!”

He quickly rose from his seat with my ticket. Ten minutes later, he came back. “Your ticket is okay,” he said. “Go back to the check-in counter.”

Unfortunately , it was still not okay to the check-in guy. He pounded the computer keys, glanced at the screen and shook his head while I cooled my heels. Meanwhile, an obnoxious lawyer (he was wearing an IBP jacket) who said he was bound for General Santos City, kept on asking “matagal pa ba iyan?” Thankfully, I was able to pay for my excess baggage and get my boarding pass before the obnoxious one could ask one more time. We could have been both disbarred for causing a commotion at the airport.

I left hurriedly for the pre-departure area but not before the PAL counter guy again told me: Sorry, sir. PAL policy.


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