PAL suspends int’l flights until Apri 14

THE country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), announced the other night that its remaining  international flights will be suspended temporarily, starting from March 26, 2020, Thursday until April 14, 2020.  All domestic flights had ceased as of March 17, 2020.

In a statement, PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna said that ‘after careful consideration, we concluded that PAL could no longer sustain even a limited number of international flights for the following compelling reasons: the strict travel and entry restrictions imposed by more and more countries; the resulting collapse in demand for travel and  continuing challenges in staffing our Manila airport hub during the ongoing lockdown.

‘Accordingly, our last flight to depart from Manila this week will be PR 104 bound for San Francisco at 10:10 PM on March 25.  Several flights will continue to arrive in Manila on March 26 from Los Angeles, Tokyo Narita and Jakarta, and on March 27 from New York JFK, San Francisco and Los Angeles,’ she said.

Villaluna added: ‘ Our firm goal is to resume operations starting 15 April 2020, if warranted by Philippine and international authorities, global public health conditions and the travel environment. Please stay posted for announcements on our website www.philippineairlines.com and our PAL Facebook and Twitter social media accounts.’

‘We shall now turn our attention to the task of conserving our resources in anticipation of the recovery and caring for the needs of our PAL team members, while we keep our fleet ready for the day that we resume flying. We shall continue to make aircraft and service personnel available for special flights to retrieve stranded passengers as well as cargo flights to keep intact critical supply chains across our islands,’Villaluna said.

Given the current circumstances, Villaluna assured that PAL will do its best to keep its customer support network open to serve their needs, including its website and our customer Global Reservations Hotlines at (+632) 8855-8888 (Manila) and 1-800-435-9725 (USA/Canada).

‘For your options, please check:  https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/faqs/2019novelcoronavirusncov.  We understand that this pause in operations will be an inconvenience, and we hope for your understanding as we at PAL look to the safety of our colleagues and our families as we all face this global contagion. We are deeply thankful to our PAL employee family for their dedication and courage in the face of these unprecedented challenges, and to all of our service partners and government authorities who are working with us. We will stand together as the world deals with the COVID-19 virus,’ PAL said.

Meanwhile,  budget carrier Cebu Pacific said that in line with the situation surrounding COVID-19, it has made further changes to its booking policies to provide its passengers with flexibility and peace of mind, in case they would like to change their travel plans.

CEB spokesperson Ma. Rosario Lagamon said: ‘While we plan to operate flights by April 15 as scheduled, passengers with confirmed bookings on any Cebu Pacific domestic or international flight from April 15 to June 30, 2020 have the following options: Free Rebooking - Rebook flights on any travel date with change fees waived. Fare difference may apply. To reook the flight, use the “Manage Booking” portal in the Cebu Pacific website (http://bit.ly/CEBmanageflight);   Travel Fund - Place the full cost of the ticket in a Travel Fund which can then be used as payment for a future booking. The Travel Fund is valid for 180 days and can be used for bookings as far as 12 months out. To avail of the Travel Fund option, use the “Manage Booking” portal in the Cebu Pacific website (http://bit.ly/CEBmanageflight) to cancel their booking and store the value in the Travel Fund.

Lagamon said new flights booked from April 15 to June 30 (regardless of travel date and route), on the other hand, include CEB Flexi for free.  CEB Flexi enables travelers to rebook their flights up to two times, fare difference may apply. For more details, please read here bit.ly/CEBCOVID-19FAQ 

‘For any concerns, please contact Cebu Pacific via http://bit.ly/CEBrequest . You may also contact our customer hotlines through http://bit.ly/CustomerHotlines .

We apologize for the delays in reverting to messages and long wait times for calls. This is due to the high volume of passenger concerns being addressed by our team. Please bear with us,’ Lagamon added.