Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

It pains me whenever I publicly air my frustrations with huge corporations online (there goes the dream of free air travel haha) but after everything that has happened this year, last night was the final straw. If you know someone very important who works for Philippine Airlines, please be sure to forward this blog entry. I’m calling upon the powers of the Tsinoy (Filipino-Chinese) bajillionaire boys club mafia in the Philippines (trust me when I say they own EVERYTHING… these people are richer than air!!!) to get in contact with their hombre Lucio Tan. I know for a fact there’s a few of you ladies out there reading my humble blog.

Philippine Airlines, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2

Now. I went to the ticket office at the international airport yesterday because John Galliano sent a private jet to pick me up and visit him in Paris to redeem my Philippine Airlines frequent flyer miles. Click click click!

Some of my hard-earned miles were expiring and I did not want to see them go to waste. I booked myself a little weekend trip somewhere to visit a friend. In this day and age of online bookings and e-tickets, Philippine Airlines, the MOST innovative AND technologically-advanced air carrier (can you detect the sarcasm?) on the face of the planet, is still stuck in the dark ages.

Most international carriers and frequent flyer programs allow you to redeem miles and book everything online. It’s efficient, it’s streamlined and speaking on a business perspective, it’s very cost-effective AND productive – not only for the airline itself but also for the passengers.

But no. Not with PAL Mabuhay Miles Vile.

It’s already annoying having to pay all sorts of taxes and surchages
when redeeming a ticket (proof that there truly is no such thing as
free lunch) but what truly irked me the most is the way their redemption system works.

They have this heinous system where you are required to fill out a stupid redemption form and present that with your passport and your reservation details IN PERSON (either by yourself or your authorized representative) to claim your redemption ticket at any of their ticket offices.

There are two ticket offices near where I live. There’s one in the city (Makati) and the other one is located at the airport. I’ve been through this route before and I spent a little over three hours at the Makati ticket office. It was horrible.

I thought I’d try the ticket office at the airport this time around. They have better hours than the one in the city which, unless I’m mistaken, operate during regular business hours. The airport ticket office closes at 10PM. The idea of queuing for hours to no end horrifies me so I went there near closing time. In fact, I got there at 8:30PM.

The guard gave me a queue ticket. 748 was the magic number.

Philippine Airlines Ticket Office Queue Number

Lo and behold when I got to the waiting area, they were only servicing ticket number 635!

In other words, there were over 100 people waiting to be served… before they even call my number!

I wasn’t amused. It was crowded. There’s nowhere to sit in the room. I saw tons of people standing and some were even sitting on the floor.

What pissed me off the most is how there were only four or five manned “counters” serving everybody.

I thought I’d go out for a quick cigarette instead of waiting in a room packed like sardines. I took a few photos here and there thinking ok fine whatever, I could do this, I’ll be patient, blah blah yaddi yaddi yadda.

Philippine Airlines, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Departures

I asked the guard what time they close on a Monday and he said 10PM. Airline reps will serve the last person on the queue. as long as we’re inside the office by 10.

After 45 minutes of waiting, I had enough. It was ridiculous. I’ve been out the entire day, I was hungry and I was dead exhausted. The last thing I want is to wait until the cows come home.

I left when the counter was at 680 (or something like that). Can you imagine? It would probably take them at least 10 years before they even call 748.

I called one of my friends on my way back and our conversation went something like this:

Me: Ugh! Philippine Airlines is the worst.

C: I know. That’s why I’ll never, EVER fly Philippine Airlines.

Me: The queue was so long and they only had a few people behind the counters. I need to get my ticket because my miles are expiring.

C: It’s your fault for accumulating them. You shouldn’t fly PAL.

Me: I fly PAL because of the convenience of non-stop flights to some destinations and the new airport is better than the old airport.

C: Look at what’s happening to you then. You shouldn’t fly PAL. You should never, ever fly PAL.

It went on and on and on and on and on like that for a few minutes before I finally got the message.

Think about it. As I’ve said, we live in a digital age. We should be able to do most things online. A simple task such as redeeming an award flight ticket should be easy to do. Look at all those no-frills, budget airlines like Easy Jet, Jetstar,
Air Asia, Ryan Air, so on and so forth. Most of them operate their business primarily
on the internet. Doing everything online eliminates the need to go to a ticket office. It also eliminates queuing, waiting and the need to deal with airline staff.

Looking at this page
made me laugh so hard I spewed hot coffee outta my nose. Philippine
Airlines should be barred from using the words “convenient”, “easier”
and the phrase “hassle-free” because queuing for almost an hour (AND NOT BEING ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING OTHER THAN WASTE GAS) on a Monday night is, hands-down, inconvenient.

Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

Philippine Airlines, please, for the life of god, make this easier for the rest of us.