Pros: Extensive Domestic and Modest International Network at a very fair price.
Cons: Delayed flights, tatty interiors, tired crews.
My reason for flying Cebu pacific,
Recently I flew a well known Filipino Budget airline called Cebu Pacific Airlines from Singapore's Changi Airport to Clark Airbase on Luzon Island in the Philippines accompanying a very bright and rather beautiful female Malaysian friend who wished to join the Clark Institute of Aviation located on the Clark airfield. Interestingly Cebu Pacific Airlines is the main sponsor of this fantastic flight school where for a mere 75000 American dollars you are more or less guaranteed a job as an Airbus pilot after one year of intense studying. According to some pilot friends of mine in Indonesia this is one of the cheapest and best flight schools in the world. I was very much looking forward to the two day tour around this property. From Singapore Changi Airport both the low cost Tiger airways and Cebu Pacific offer direct flights to Clark Airbase. We chose Cebu pacific because the red eye departure would get us into Clark in the early morning so we could immediately go over to the school saving time as Tiger airways only offers daytime flights.
Booking Cebu Pacific at http://www.Cebupacificair.com,
Although a pretty easy website to navigate it comes with its share of annoying problems especially concerning the payment. I have heard so many horror stories about foreign credit cards being rejected but still charged. Anyway Cebu pacific is one of those very few low cost airlines that does pay commission to travel agents so you might find it cheaper through an agent anyway. No need to put your precious card details at risk here.
Check in at the Singapore Changi Budget terminal,
We checked in at the Budget terminal in Singapore airport 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. The budget terminal is primarily used by Tiger Airways with an additional three daily flights from Cebu Pacific Airlines. Just after its opening I was pretty much appalled by the basic and simple construction that is built so cheaply by the Singaporean government. I must admit I have slowly gotten to like it, mainly because of its incredible ease to pass through the whole departure process and it's remarkable quietness. At check-in today the rather business like female clerk in a bleak blue uniform announced the usual 4 hours delay as a simple matter of fact and she was not very apologetic about it at all. She violently slammed the boarding pass on the counter and waved us away almost irritatingly demanding the next in line to hurry up. Luckily a very decent self service restaurant is available at the budget terminal almost right next to the check-in counters. We had a very filling late night supper consisting of some crispy fried cot fish, a fresh salad and some very nice looking oven baked apple pie. In the wee hours of the morning just minutes before sunrise our flight was finally called for.
Boarding the tired Cebu pacific Jet,
The budget terminal in Singapore has no aero bridges so we boarded the well lit Airbus A-319 jet by a couple of basic stairs after a sweaty walk across the humid tropical tarmac. At the door we where welcomed by a incredibly and alarmingly tired looking female flight attendant dressed in an almost laughable heavy wrinkled uniform. The pantyhose that covered her shapely long legs were torn pretty badly. A loud guitar solo by a Filipino heavy metal band served as background music during boarding. Not much in the form of other traffic at this hour of the day so the pilots sped the little baby Airbus down the dark taxiways of Changi airport and turned her onto the runway with the creativity of a prize winning formula 1 race car driver. Without any doubt TOGA thrust settings were used on the trust levers upon take-off because the little bus almost jumped into the sky getting airborne within seconds leaving the well organized island of Singapore behind in no time.
In flight service in the view of smeared lockers,
After take off the rather moody tired flight attendants came around with the on-board fun shop offering simple snacks and drinks for sale. As we had a long day ahead of us on the premises of the Clark Flight academy we ordered some strong cafe mocha accompanied by a chicken curry pie. A total of six American dollars for two pies and two coffees can only be considered very reasonable. The sun rose over this part of Asia while overflying the Malaysian island of Tioman with its nice white sand beaches. Just another 2 hours and 45 minutes of flight time ahead of us. Having the cabin lit by daylight the slightly shabby state of the cabin was very well visible. The seats were stained worn and very dirty. The overhead lockers partly smeared with dirt and some red substance that resembled blood while the carpet looked like it needed a very serious and good clean up.
Flight attendants napping unflatteringly with their mouths open,
The flight attendants did not re-appear during the flight. I found most of them napping in the jump seats rather unflatteringly with their mouths open. I know its a tough job. Understandably most passengers felt sorry for them and left them alone. The weather at cruising altitude was mostly fine with very little turbulence. Some excellent views on the exotic North Coast of the island of Borneo were to be had.
Landing at Clark through a hair raising thunderstorm,
The Cebu Pacific Airlines Airbus A-319 came a screaming halt, burning rubber that was instantly cooled down by the plenty full water that had formed in massive pools on the bumpy concrete runway of the Clark airbase. Gloomy storm clouds filled the tropical sky while the sound of threatening thunder announced serous menace to come. The dare devil pilots had managed to guide the little European built jet through it all giving the unprepared passengers an unsuspected and free roller coaster ride straight through early morning tropical stormy weather patterns over Luzon island in the Philippines. We taxied to the small chaotic terminal that handles a handful of daily international flights. Our Cebu Pacific Airlines flight had come to an end. We had arrived 3 and a half hours late. We had just one hour to go to our appointment at the Clark flight academy.
Cebu Pacific is A Filipino styled budget airlines that has had a massive impact on the prices of domestic and international flights in and out of the Philippines. On the Singapore - Clark route I would opt for Tiger Airways in the future as they are more punctual. Domestically Cebu pacific offers a similar product to Philippine airlines but usually at half of the price. As always with Low cost carriers the more you book in advance the cheaper they are as they follow the capacity seat management system in their booking. NEVER presume they are the cheapest. Anyway just 15 kilograms of luggage here to check in and no free In flight service. The choice is as always yours.