Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ozamiz Airport Squatter: Cebu Pacific Air

Every good trip has to end and there is always that reluctant goodbye. This was my case in Ozamiz. I was so slow in preparing to go and was indeed uninterested in going back to the airport hehe. But a zero-fare flight is a zero-fare flight, any attempt to extend it means thousands of pesos. So I took a trike and went for the Ozamiz Airport.

Thanking the trike driver, this was it I told myself and I managed to merrily hop towards departure area. What I encountered next was an unbelievable sight I could not easily fathom. OMG! I silently asked myself “is this where I am going to check-in?, is this an airline? Is this an airport?”. My goodness, what an ugly sight.

Entry requirements
Together with other passengers, I had to present my ticket and ID to a guard by the perimeter gate OUTSIDE of the Airport and the queue was literally under the sun. My God! See that picture? Those were two passengers ahead of me presenting their documents to the guard. And to think they are “dressed” pa naman for business. I thought this was just utterly unbelievable.

Security check
Three steps of the perimeter fence I was asked to lay my backpack on a low table where another guard rummaged through all my things to ascertain if anything was questionable. I did not ask but just thought “why are these guards inspecting my things, isn’t it supposed the AVSECOM”? Anyway, I thought those officers won’t bother coming out here in the open and under the sun. See?! Di naman pala kelangan ang totohanang security check! Especially if the security command's personnel won't be in air-conditioned confines! Sus!

Check-in
This was the ugliest check-in area I have seen ever since I had a mind of my own. Gosh! How was it done? I step to the back of the guard who inspected my bag. AND that was the queue for check-in. Check-in counter? A make-shift table where the airline placed their computer and printer to be able to do check-in. Then there is a table to the right, for attending to those with security items and excess baggage. To the left, the cargo counter. All of these outside of the airport terminal in a space not even bigger than a 2-car garage! Under what roof? Well, just look at the pictures. Grabe!

This calls for me to go up my imaginary pulpit (in rage hehe)…

Should I be mad at Cebu Pacific? Probably a bit, for operating flights to a city where they are not going to be accorded a respectable airport space. But what if they were promised something that did not materialize? I cannot believe that Cebu Pacific wold just go on and operate a flight even if their passengers will risk their safety comfort and convenience. I was almost some politicking happened here.

Doesn’t the airport really have any small space to accommodate Cebu Pacific? Or probably PAL is wielding influence to let their competitor suffer? And to think the Ozamiz Airport is newly refurbished! I looked at the PAL check-in counters and of course it is wide. Couldn’t they and the airport authorities really provide any space in there for Cebu Pacific to have a decent check-in counter? Couldn’t those check-in counters be used commonly the way counters are used at Terminal 1? Doesn’t the local government have a say on this? Or they all probably conspired to make Cebu Pacific look so poor out in the yard? What are they trying to portray? That Cebu Pacific is a “iskwater” in this airport?

What for anyway? So that passengers won’t ride Cebu Pacific? Poor judgment and primitive attitude towards competition! Don’t they all know that the common Filipino has the propensity to favor the underdogs?

Ah, I just hope this does not go on forever for that only does not put Cebu Pacific’s personnel in an ugly working condition BUT it is tantamount to disrespect of the airport terminal authorities to passengers who are also taxpayers in this country. Isipin nyo naman kaming mga pasahero, we check-in for a flight out in the open?! Thankfully it was not raining but my goodness the place no bigger than an airport's comfort room and was unbearably hot from direct sunlight. Cebu Pacific is after all a duly registered airliner in this country therefore the Civil Aviation Authority must respect its right to do business and give a respectable place INSIDE an airport and not in its yard! What a shame?

Anyway, for Cebu Pacific, there is a Burmese proverb that when translated says something like this… “with suffering comes benefit”!

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