Bautista: Right... Wrong

IT IS disturbing to see something go viral about an airline being over-booked and treating passengers in a way it is the passenger at fault.

What is even more disturbing is the way an apology was made, but it just made the situation from bad to worse. It was nothing personal or apologetic at all. They sure did pay the price for it. Airline stocks lost about 1.2 billion dollars in two days. Good for you.

Mom and Dad in the past were always in the belief that it was better being delayed on a flight. Food was served and time was when airlines would give out a hotel room voucher to passengers for the cancelation or delay. Time is money.

Allow me this, it is not what Juan might think from what is viral now. Every Juan is talking about it. And the airline paying for it, big time.

The night before our flight with Mom and Dad to Singapore, the airline asked us if we were willing to move our flight time to an hour later. In exchange they say was an international travel round trip certificate of our choice in the future and a breakfast voucher to be claimed upon check-in. We said OK!

The day of our travel we left at just an appropriate time. We went to the counter and informed them of our change in flight which they already were aware of. They thanked us for what we did and apologized. They overbooked as explained.

While inside the boarding area and after Immigration, we had our free Jollibee breakfast. Soon after we heard our names being called over at the PA, and asked that we go to the counter. We presented ourselves. We might have thought that our names were still in the manifest of the earlier flight since we were there. Not so.

They asked us if we were still willing to give up our seats for the second time around, on a flight after lunch instead. The offer other than the previous one was for two other round trip international flights for us three and a lunch voucher. Again we said, Sure! That was now for three international round trip tickets for us three. Yippee! The Ilocano in us.

One time for a delayed flight we were given food vouchers to any restaurant in the airport, this was in KL. Once in an ordinary day and in an ordinary flight delay, we were all served Jollibee Chicken Joy, oh my joy for it.

The lady seated beside was so happy, at first she didn't want to take it. I mentioned it was free from the flight delay. We became buddies right after. Most of the passengers couldn't understand why there was free food.

Many today would assume that flights are just delayed getting into the Manila airport. So it was never an issue. But when free food came, every Juan didn't mind the delay. The atmosphere after an announcement changed from sighs to smiles. In fact, even when they announced for free food nobody really took notice. I do.

I just love airline and airport food. I never mind delays. Most airports anyway, well Terminal 3 included. Airports are places I don't mind being delayed for if ever. Especially coming home. Normally my activity has been finished so no rush coming back. I sometimes wish again for my name to be called. In most occasions we are also informed of a delay by text (sms) or email.

As soon as we get the information we just hold out a little bit more before heading for the airport. It was never a problem. While in the airport I always wonder why a lot of passengers are pissed off. Either they don't read their emails or get a text message. Still I wonder if it can be just us or they are just them.

Anyway what happened with United Airlines is a different story. A lot of protocols were not followed. I will understand if I get bumped off because I checked in later than the others and that my seat was given to chance passengers. Another, once a boarding pass is already given it is improper to take it back or pass it on to some Juan else.

In cases where Juan gets the same seat, the in-flight crew will just move or re-seat Juan away but never taken off the plane. Once when we travelled as a family, we were all separated, we pleaded to the flight crew of our plight with my kids and soon after the crew asked for some to exchange seats because of our predicament. It is obvious that a mistake was made.

I believe despite an offer of a thousand dollars was made, nobody budged. In that case it just has to be sweetened until somebody bites. That's protocol for the mistake made. For the Asian elderly doctor in the United Airlines flight, a thousand dollars was just not worth his while. He explained that he had patients waiting for him.

Choosing at random to me is totally unfair. What if I was the one, I will just say that I cannot leave my family or Mom and Dad to travel without me, so, sorry. I would however if the offer was worth it and it included us all. Now you know why I always travel with my Mom and Dad.

In this case, Juan will surmise that he must have been profiled to be the one who won't mind being taken off the flight. They didn't think he had stature and was making up a reason to stay in the flight. I also doubt that a computer randomly selected whom to take off before takeoff.

I am no expert on this but all I can show for is that I have travelled quite a lot. I have also had my fair share of lousy in-flight service, being discriminated upon, but never that way. I too have seen westerners being given bad treatment the other way around for Asian flights. Patas pastas lang, hehe.

In the end of all this, no Juan deserves to be treated that way no matter what. We all have our rights, be it human or passenger. That was just not right!


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