Expat Troubles with Philippines Airlines Online Booking

I have seen many expats complain about booking flights online when they are living in the Philippines. I’m not speaking specifically about the company Philippine Airlines (PAL) but in general terms.

The complaints I have heard most often involved Cebu Pacific (CEB). Most of those were a few years ago though. I don’t know if the problems still persist. I recently booked a flight with CEB and had no issues at all. I think the problem for expats with Philippine airlines booking online revolved around their Western credit cards. The complaints I read revolved around their booking their flights online, getting billed only to have the airline in the Philippines cancel the charges. Like ticket cancellations in the USA, it takes up to two months for the refund to be returned to their credit card account. I don’t know if this is still an issue but unless you can confirm otherwise, I recommend you do not use your Western credit card with Philippines airlines online booking. I would go to a ticket office if I had to use a Western card. If you know someone that did execute a Philippines airline online booking using a Western credit card, I would love to know how it turned out.

When buying tickets with CEB, you might see fantastic deals on the web and in their offices. Once you buy the ticket you’ll find it cost a good deal more. That is because they don’t include taxes and fees in their advertised ticket prices. It is often still a fantastic deal though.

I recently purchased tickets for Palawan. I think they were advertised at P799. I ended up paying about twice that for one way. Two tickets round trip with checked baggage was P6000.  I didn’t see an option for no checked baggage, if it was there I didn’t see it.  I upgraded the baggage weight I could take a little too.

It was still a good buy, normal pricing is about twice as much so I saved a good deal of money. With Philippines Airlines Online Booking you won’t know your full price until you get to the pay button. I think PAL does this to a lessor extent with their pricing. They use to make a big deal out of that in the ads I saw for them.

Philippines Airlines Online Booking From The Source

Cebu Pacific has some travel packages that seem to be exceptionally well priced. I have never used their tour packages though I came close to it for my Palawan trip. On my next “visa run” trip I’ll likely do that. I wish I had on my first one.

Visa run is the term expats living in the Philippines use when our time in the Philippines is up and we must exit the country.  I went to Thailand last time. I hope to go to Hong Kong next time. Thailand is usually the cheapest way by air.  Some take a ferry to Malaysia but I don’t think the savings is enough to justify the increased security risk. I don’t think the risk is severe but most Filipino tell me not to risk it. I listen to Filipino more than many do.

If you do take a chance and book online with a Western credit card with a Philippines based air carrier, please share your experience. If you don’t have a Philippines based credit card, I’d go to an office instead. I’ve heard too many problems with Philippines Airlines Online Booking using a Western based card to risk it myself.

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Filed under: Expats in the Philippines

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