Friday, September 12, 2008

(In)Convenience of Online Booking

Who ever said online booking was convenient?

A week ago, I decided to book, my roundtrip ticket to Tacloban, with Philippine Airlines (PAL) online booking. Thinking that this would be more convenient since I am still in Ilocos Sur, won’t be going to Manila anytime soon and the ‘nearest’ PAL office is in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Laoag is a good 5 hours away from my area and this gives the word ‘nearest’ a new meaning.

A few days later, I found out that my Chuy is coming home on the day of my flight so I decided to re-book. Guess what? You CAN’T do that online. So I called PAL booking hotline (855-8888) and asked how can I solve my predicament? Thankfully, the CSR (customer service representative) understood my situation and re-booked my flight instantly. But she said that for my flights to be confirmed, I have to pay the re-booking fee ASAP in any PAL office. Now, we’re back to square 1.

My cousin Weng, who’s in Manila, volunteered to fix my rebooking for me. Just to make sure that I have my tickets come end of the month. The CSR she talked to said that YES, she can pay my rebooking fee FOR ME so long as it’s a domestic flight.

This morning, Weng went to PAL office only to be told that I am the only one who can arrange (which I did through phone) and PAY my rebooking (but your CSR said she can do this for me!). To make things more frustrating, the sales representative added that can always pay in Laoag, the ‘nearest’ PAL office from my area.

What?!? Did you say go to Laoag? First and foremost, know your geography since you work with the flag carrier. Even though Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte are neighboring provinces, it will take me at least 5 hours to get to Laoag.
Secondly, I don’t understand why your CSR and your office sales rep are saying different things. Thirdly, why are you making things so difficult? You have my credit card details for crying out loud! The very reason why I booked online is because going to a PAL office is such an effort. Now, you are making me wish I never booked with you in the first place.

You are defeating the purpose of it (online booking) all. Or is my frustration getting the best of me? Seriously, who ever said that online booking is more convenient? By the way, my tickets are still not confirmed. Good luck to me.

Photo from here.


Em Dy said...

That is quite frustrating. There are many things I wish the PAL site could accomodate: rebooking is one, booking tour packages another. I hope they fix these things soon or at least allow travel agents or banks to accept payments.

MerryCherry, MD said...

I totally agree Em Dy.

I failed to mention in the post that I actually did try to bargain if I could fix it with a travel agency near my area (even if I pay more). As you said, NO, it's not possible.

And I don't get either why you can't book the travel packages online. *sigh*

ness said...

what a bummer!

MerryCherry, MD said...

True Doc Ness :(

Anonymous said...

weh! fiasco eto doc ah. hope you get that one fixed soon. 'ngatz sa byahe. :-D

MerryCherry, MD said...

Thanks Linapuhan.

theworkingmom said...

Naku, now I know better than to book online. Mas mahirap pa yata.

Off topic: Have an award for you Cherry. Hope you like it:


MerryCherry, MD said...

Thanks Doc Joey. I'm honored and flattered at the same time. :)