Singapore Trip: PAL Flight Delayed

Am all for supporting our flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, everytime I can. When your flight, however, PR 501 to Singapore, in our case, is delayed first by an hour and then by 3 hours, you begin to think about Jet Asia and the other airlines.

Our flight was supposed to leave for Singapore at 2:50pm. Upon checking in, we noticed that the time of departure had been changed to 4:00pm and the reason given was that we were waiting for a plane from Cebu.

It is one thing to wait for a delayed flight. To wait for a delayed flight, in a hot airport is another matter altogether. I had read in the newspapers previously about passengers complaining that the airconditioning at Terminal 2 could not cool the airport enough in our summer heat. I thought the people complaining were at first exaggerating but it is true. Wow Philippines! How can we expect tourism, domestic or otherwise to pick up during the peak summer months when we can't even keep our airport cool? Can't anything be done about the airconditioning at Terminal 2? It was really horrible.

As we waited in the hot airport, the 1 hour delay was lengthened and our flight was to leave at a later time of 6:05pm. This time, we were waiting for a Davao aircraft. PAL personnel hardly explained the reason for the delays (which I think they should do in greater detail) and upon asking, I finally got the reason: there was a lack of aircraft. Not only our flight was delayed, by the way. From time to time, we would hear fleeting announcements of other flights which were to be delayed.

It didn't help that we saw Mr. Lucio Tan himself at the airport. For a minute there, I thought of walking up to him to complain. Of course I knew that would not really help any and so I just contented myself with feeling bad and eating the dry hamburger snack and softdrink that they gave away. Thanks for the sandwich -- I appreciated it but I would have appreciated a discount on the fare much better for every minute of delay. How's that for a proposed bill - "the rebate for every minute of delay" bill? That should make passengers happy. It should also make carriers more aware and careful with departure and arrival times.

Anyway, we arrived in Singapore at about 9:30pm. We visited my brother who has been Singapore-based for the longest time and after a quick drive around the city at night and after unpacking our stuff, we were in bed at past midnight. During our drive, we passed by the Esplanade (officially pronounced in a way that rhymes with lemonade -- never mind if the Europeans cringe), the cultural center shaped like a durian; the Merlion, the Raffles Hotel, Parliament building, etc., etc.

The next day, we were off to Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari so more on these in the coming days. But what a difference, really, a delayed flight makes. :-(

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, May 11, 2005]

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