I’m off to the Philippines again tonight – and booking tickets with budget airline Cebu Pacific through their website is still a nightmare. I’ve found a couple of workarounds though.
A couple of months ago I wrote how Cebu Pacific, a Philippines budget air carrier that flies between Bangkok and Manila, has mysteriously stopped accepting UK and USA issued Visa cards as payment. They now do actually acknowledge this on their website, but brilliantly not until AFTER you’ve put in your credit card details and they’ve been refused. You could phone someone in Manila to order the ticket on the phone, but the phone call would probably cost more than the ticket itself.
Despite the baffling business incompetence behind this ongoing fiasco, I still like to fly with Cebu Pacific as they are by far the cheapest carrier between Bangkok and Manila. They are about three times cheaper than any other comparable fare I can find on flight comparison site Kayak – which shows Cebu Pacific flights against numerous other airlines.
If you’re looking to book a flight with Cebu Pacific but only have UK or USA issued credit cards, you have two options. If you’re in Bangkok, you can use Pacific Travel, who are one of the few travel agencies to deal with a budget carrier as their commission is so low. Pacific are extremely efficient – email them at ptm [at] pacifictravel.co.th and you usually get a response within 20 minutes. They can also have tickets delivered direct to your hotel or guesthouse. I have used Pacific several times and found them to be an extremely reliable Bangkok travel agent.
If you’re not in Bangkok, UK travel website Opodo provides online booking of Cebu Pacific flights without requiring to go to Cebu’s site. Opodo do add an agent’s commission somewhere along the line which is about 10 UKP as far as I can work out from some rough calculations.
Having successfully got a flight ticket, I’m off to Davao in the southern Philippines tonight, spending a week down there on a scuba research trip and hunting down the Philippine Eagle as well. (Oh OK, I’m going to a bird sanctuary).