Thursday, February 21, 2008

Philippine Airlines Versus Cebu Pacific - Which one?

Lately there have been many travel sale from 2 of the biggest airline companies in the Philippines - Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Airways. Both claim to be the number 1 airline in the country. But when I asked my friend to join us in our Hong Kong trip via Cebu Pacific, he said he preferred to travel via PAL. I cannot fathom the logic.

While Philippine Airlines is the first airline company and is therefore the most established, it cannot be denied that Cebu Pacific is now gaining popularity mainly because of its very low rates to both domestic and international destinations. Funny how at the start PAL did not seem to mind the competition and not until perhaps a couple of years back did they come up with rates comparable to that of the competitor's. Were they so confident of their market position?

PAL has its following. No doubt about that. They have set their mark on the philippine airline industry that is hard to disregard. I have always used their service. Well, not always really because there was one time when I couldn't get a booking that I tried Cebu Pacific. However, in a country such as the Philippines where buyers and consumers look out for value-for-money commodities, Cebu Pacific is able to win the crowd. Mind you, that's a large chunk of the pie. Imagine being able to fly to a place you have not gone to for less than 3/4 of the price? Who wouldn't want to travel anyway?

Not just for the money, Cebu Pacific has now added several destinations to their existing ones. Where can you find a price of about 4,500 pesos to go to Hong Kong? Never did I imagine. But yes, they did offer that. For that particular flight, the airfare only cost 888 php.

What's really unthinkable is how Cebu Pacific is able to bring down their prices with as little as 1 peso to fly to, say, Puerto Princesa or Davao? Or maybe 888 to go to Shanghai or Singapore? Of course these do not include the taxes and some charges which you will have to pay for in addition to the airfare. Why didn't PAL think of such a deal in the first place? They would have had a lot more loyal customers what with the decades of advantage they have.

Some say that PAL's advantage is the quality of service that you get. Hmmmm... I can't say the same. Cebu Pacific's service is low-cost. But in the domestic routes, isn't PAL going towards that direction too?

So, the bottom line is it doesn't matter which airline is chosen because they get to their destinations in one piece - both of them. The battle is now a matter of how much it will cost.


Anonymous said...

PAL is not a low cost carrier so it won't go towards the Cebu Pacific direction of selling amenities on board. Mind you, the fact that PAL is offering promo fares with all the onboard amenities (drinks, food, pillow etc) is already more value for your money. Add na rin the use of NAIA 2. Service wise, PAL is still better specially in handling flight cancellations or delayed flight situation. They don't just leave the passengers waiting there. The quality of the seats on board, the movies you get to watch, the Mabuhay lounges and of course, the Mabuhay Miles Frequent Flyer program.

PAL has the smoothest landing ever....and the pilots are trained for that.

jane said...

hmmm... you might be comparing the international flights because in the domestic route, pal is no longer giving out food. Well, biscuits or cookies aren't food to me. I have yet to take Cebu Pacific's International flight which I am scheduled to do this April. I agree that Philippine Airlines has a smooth landing. In fact I'm one of those who give them a hand everytime they do so. But, in one of the flights I took to the US, the landing wasn't as smooth. Also, I couldn't agree to that for their domestic flights. Our Davao trip last year was not a smooth land either. Don't get me wrong I still would in PAL's defense. Just wondering what took them so long to adjust their rates. They only did so after Cebu Pacific became very popular.

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