Airlines waive rebooking fees

LOCAL carriers are waiving flight change fees to allow travelers to still pursue travel plans even on a later date.

Passengers of Cebu Pacific (CEB) whose travel plans fall between March 10 and 31, 2020 can now rebook their flights for free.

Cebu Pacific hub development specialist Aaron Parcon, on Thursday, March 12, said this option will give passengers the flexibility to adjust their flights.

The free flight rebooking can be used once and a minimal fare difference may apply.

“We are now re-calibrating our policies to adapt to challenging times,” said Parcon, referring to the travel restrictions caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The free flight rebooking is applicable to both local and international destinations.

Meanwhile, passengers booking new flights between March 10 and 31, 2020 (regardless of travel date and route) can also avail themselves of the flight change service for free.

The airline said its value-added service CEB Flexi enables travelers to rebook their flights up to two times and up to two hours before departure. Fare difference may apply.

Parcon also re-echoed the airline’s recent pronouncement that traveling remains largely safe, especially around the country.

“Cebu Pacific has always been committed to upholding the safety of all our passengers and personnel. Preventive measures are in place to manage the risk of infection from Covid-19. These measures include thorough disinfection of aircraft, on top of the regular cleaning; providing our crew with personnel protective equipment such as face masks, gloves and disinfectants; restriction on transferring of seats during our flights; and use of Hepa air filters, that block 99.99 percent of contaminants and viruses,” CEB said in a statement.

“We hope this provides a measure of confidence as passengers consider their travel plans. We will continue to monitor the situation with regard to Covid-19, and provide updates as necessary,” CEB said.

Amid the virus scare and the travel ban to and from Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China and North Gyeongsang Province, including Daegu City and Cheongdo County of South Korea, Parco said domestic bookings remained healthy.

“We see high bookings to Palawan, Dumaguete and Boracay,” he said.

To boost domestic travel, CEB will hold a one-day exclusive hub Piso sale on March 13 to domestic and international destinations from hubs like Cebu, Clark, Davao, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro cities. Travel period is from Aug. 1 to Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, its rival airline Philippine Airlines also announced that it is allowing one-time free rebooking for international tickets purchased on or before March 31, 2020, except for tickets originating in Japan and Korea.

PAL said requests for free rebooking should be made at least seven days before the original flight departure date, for travel at any time within the validity of the ticket. This offering applies to all fares.

“We will not charge you rebooking fees or penalties for this change. However, if seats for the same fare type are not available on your chosen flight, the fare difference amount will be charged. For succeeding (second) rebooking, penalties and charges may apply in line with the stated fare conditions,” PAL said.

The airline noted that the one-time free rebooking offer is not valid on flights within the Philippines. However, the offer is valid for passengers holding PAL tickets on code share flights operated by its key partner airlines. (KOC)