I want to write about my Sunday morning but I feel drained just thinking about it.
I still feel the need to share about my experience though, so here’s my letter to the customer service department of Philippine Airlines.
I would like to file my complaint against your staff (Carla Patricia Fonturom) and supervisor (Adorable Espejo) at the PAL check-in counter located at Terminal 2.
My name is ________, a passenger for your PR 141 flight bound for Iloilo last December 7, 2008. I got my EconoLight ticket through online purchase made by my mother-in-law.
While I respect your company policy on the non-presentation of the credit card photocopy of the owner of the credit card used, I was taken aback by the unpleasant customer handling of the staff and the supervisor involved in my case.
I arrived early for my flight last December 7, 2008. This is not subject for contention as this was confirmed by Ms. Espejo after she was asked by your Branch Manager, Mr. Alfonso Tulay. I first tried to negotiate with Ms. Fonturom about my excess baggage but without much discussion, she immeidately referred me to Ms. Espejo. Right there, I noticed her very impersonal treatment but I did not make a big deal out of it. When I was about to pay for my excess baggage, she asked for the photocopy of my mother-in-law’s credit card. I explained that I did not have it. Of course, I recognize that this is a non-fulfillment of the documentary requirement on my part. But being there already, I tried to ask for understanding as I had a 2-year old toddler traveling with me. In fact, my husband talked to Ms. Fonturom on the phone and tried to ask for consideration as he will fax the photocopy as soon as he can, to no avail. Ms. Fonturom replied, “Wala kaming magagawa”. She turned the phone off on my husband and handed back the phone to me. Ms. Espejo’s treatment was the worst treatment I got from any staff, supervisor or manager in a service industry. I saw her walking and hastily shrug off my papers to her staff saying “Wala tayong magagawa dyan” in a very unpleasant tone of voice. I repeatedly went from the staff desk to the supervisor’s desk trying to ask consideration for my case with my 2-year old toddler. Ms. Espejo had to repeatedly tell me, “EconoLight lang ang ticket mo. Kung may dokumento ka, wala ka sanang problema”. I wasstill trying to look for alternatives for the predicament I was in but Ms. Fonturom called in another customer in line. I went back to Ms. Espejo’s desk because I wanted to ask howmuch I should be paying if I had to purchase another ticket in case I can still take that flight. Ms. Espejo refused to listen to my question and instead had to repeat several times her explanation that “wala kang dokumento. Kung sana dinala mo ang dokumento mo, wala kang problema”. “EconoLight fare ticket ka lang” was repeatedly emphasized to me. All these time, the explanation was done in a loud and angry voice. I had to tell her to stop and listen to my concern. When eventually she understood that I wanted to ask for the price of the ticket, she answered, “P3,000 plus bawat isa pero wala na akong maibibigay sa yo. Close na. Overbooking kami”. Did I sense in her tone that I cannot afford to purchase a P3,000 plus ticket? I cannot help to feel that as it was spoken in a condescending tone.
In all those times that I was trying to ask for consideration, no alternative was given or offered to me. Instead, “Wala kaming magagawa” was repeatedly smacked into my face. Is this the orientation of customer service in PAL?
What if I didn’t have the money to purchase another ticket? What happens to all those in similar situation as mine who do not have the money to purchase another ticket? No alternative is given? No consideration is given? Must this be an excuse for rough customer handling? Must this be a venue for your staffs and supervisors to show their uncalled for behaviors?
Noticeably, I heard “EconoLight lang” several times. While this promo package is attractively-packaged as “A more affordable way to fly”, I don’t think this shall be another venue for your staffs and supervisors to discriminate against travelers availing of this package. Even if “PAL EconoLight is targeted to the budget-conscious segment of the traveling market”, I think it is arrogant to assume that customers availing of this package can be treated differently, in terms of customer care, from those availing of other packages.
While I may be amiss in my documentary requirement, must this be a good reason for your staff and supervisor to display such callous treatment? Please note that I had to contend with a 2-year old traveling with me but I was made to walk from the staff’s desk to the supervisor’s desk several times and I had to bear the arrogance of your staff and eventually take the loud and angry voice of Ms. Espejo.
My husband, who was here in the Philippines for a business trip, had to postpone a Sunday morning meeting as he had to drive back to the airport to fetch me and my son. My son and I had to take a taxi back to the airport to catch the flight booked by Ms. Aileen Valero (from the Branch Manager’s office). If there is a person to thank for that day, it was Ms. Valero who promptly offered an alternative for me. If, indeed, my case was hopeless that day and I had to swallow the “denied boarding” verdict of your company policy, the least that I would have expected was an offer of alternative from your accommodating (or is this too much to assume?) staff and/or supervisor. I had to get this offer from Ms. Valero after I had to receive rough customer handling.
I appreciate that your Branch Manager, Mr. Alfonso Tulay, had to take the time to listen to my predicament last Sunday. I just think that Ms. Adorable Espejo was given a good edge to be able to receive a sound advice of preparing her defense against my complaint. This advice was given without my written complaint yet.
Summing up my Sunday morning last December 7, 2008 in Terminal 2 as an unfortunate incident is an underestimation of the emotional distress I had to go through. I would appreciate a prompt action from your end and I would appreciate it even more if I will be informed about any action on this.
That was a very, very bad morning. How bad was it? Aside from my letter above, picture this: I can’t stop myself from crying at the airport while talking to my Dad and my husband. During December, just how large is the crowd that you could imagine in the airport? As dramatic as it sounds, my tears were literally rolling down my cheeks until my husband appeared and he had to put our baggages back in the car. That was very humiliating there’s no way I am going to take this lightly against the supervisor involved.