December 13, 2008

Roaches attack Zest Air passengers...eeew!

LAST week I received an email w/c apparently has been making the rounds of several friends in the tourism business and email groups. I am publishing it to warn travelers about the hazards of riding on Zest Airways (formerly Asian Spirit), which in the past, I've written about because they flew w/o any insurance. I forwarded the same email to Butch Rodriguez, the carrier's VP for Commercial Affairs and official spokesman, but have not received any reaction to email writer Ms. Polintan's concerns.

Gee, Seair's Nikos Gitsis must be thanking his lucky stars he didn't accept the buy-out offer of Zest Airways' Alfredo Yao.

Here's the email:
On Tue, 11/25/08, Marge Polintan <******> wrote:

Customer Relations/ZEST AIR:

We are a party of 17 (15 adults and 2 minors) who all took the Manila-Caticlan on Nov. 22 and returned to Manila on Nov. 24 via Kalibo-Manila when our return flight was diverted from Caticlan to Kalibo.

We checked in all 17 of us at Caticlan about 4:10PM only to be told that we have to motor to Kalibo as our flight was diverted. When we asked why, we were given the most stupid reasons that only a moron can accept. Your MR. RODEL URGUELLES informed us that the plane could not take off as sunset was at 5:20. (1) Our flight was supposed to leave at 5:00PM so clearly we would have been up in the sky when sunset was supposedly setting in. (2) Another stupid reason given to us was that the Caticlan airport had no runway lights making it impossible for us to take off!!!! Why in heaven's name do you schedule late afternoon flights knowing that the Caticlan airport is not fitted with lights (I seriously doubt if is this is true). (3) We also asked why we were not contacted to let us know that they were moving our flight earlier. They were able to contact us before we left Manila that our departure was moved to an earlier time. (4) We informed your Mr Urguelles that we had a pregnant lady in our party and were concerned about the long trip from Caticlan to Kalibo. We were asking for a guarantee that should she suffer a miscarriage, the airline will be made answerable for it. Of course he could not give any guarantee. Having no choice we took the risk and motored to Kalibo for a good one hour motor ride. Upon reaching Kalibo, we found out that two other Zest Air flights were likewise diverted. We were made to wait some more as the planes coming from Manila were delayed. I surmised that this was the main reason why our flights were moved from Caticlan to Kalibo.

We were finally herded to an airplane for our flight to Manila. With grumbling stomachs and exhausted from the trip from Caticlan, we had to make our way inside the airplane in darkness. When we asked the flight attendant why there were NO cabin lights, we got another STUPID response and were informed that they are conserving energy and therefore we have to grope for our seats in darkness without any airconditioning. Madilim na Mainit pa!!!!!! What would have been a one hour flight seemed like an eternity as it took us about an hour and a half to reach Manila in darkness.

Having undergone all these nerve wracking experience what was more irritating apart from the stupidity of your staff is the fact that they did not even offer any apology for all the inconvenience we were experiencing. I think you should all go back to school and take courses on basics of good manners, effective management and people skills. Your staff is sorely lacking in all of these!!!!!!

This is our first and last time we are flying ZEST AIR. You can be assured that the 17 of us will be your worst advertisement and will make it a point to inform all our friends and other concerned agencies.


AFTER two weeks, below is the response of Zest Air's Customer relations department. Geez, not even a personal call to apologize to Ms. Polintan? No offer of a comp hassle-free trip next time? How totally lacking in respect for their passengers. Tsk, tsk.

From: Customer relations
To: Marge Polintan <******>
Sent: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 3:53:54 PM


I apologize for the inconvenience and have noted your concerns and complaints, the old planes will be grounded and 5 new planes will be in placed.

Best regards

NOW I know Rodel Arguelles, who has been Asian Spirit's Caticlan station manager for the longest time. I've never had a problem w/ him. He has been one of the more efficient employees I know in Asian Spirit. So I'm not so sure what has happened to him. Could be a reflection in the change of management style and their policies.

And yaaak! Ipis! I've also heard that the planes' toilets are not cleaned well. Plain soap and water are used instead of that blue toilet-duck product. So Zest Air management would rather cut expenses that make sure their passengers are safe from health risks huh? Sweet.

There was a time when Asian Spirit was one of the best and most efficient budget carriers in the country. Now that it's been transformed to Zest Air, it is just sh**. Sad.


Anonymous said...

To date I have not received a decent apology from ZEST AIR's Customer Relations. All I got was a cryptic response saying they are replacing their old planes with 5 new ones. I can not see the connection with my complaint of inefficiency and dirty planes with the new airplanes. As I said this campaign to let people know about their gross disservice to the flying public will not stop until I get a decent apology.

Stella Arnaldo said...

I suggest you write Ambassador Alfredo Yao directly. He holds office at the Export-Import Bank along Chino Roces Ave., near the corner of Buendia Ave., Makati.

I truly empathize w/ you. I used to ride Asian Spirit a lot, until I found out the present owner, Mr. Yao, tried to get away by not paying airline insurance, and thus, endangering its passengers. Check out my previous post:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comments. I will definitely write Ambassador Yao about this incident. I have a feeling that this incident is being swept under the carpet by middle management. I can assure you that this crusade will not stop until I get a decent explanation. Sorry they got a persistent passenger who will stand for her rights. Margarita S. Polintan

Anonymous said...

and today they had a crash landing in caticlan. they should be stopped from operating before they kill people!

Mariel said...

My tourmates and I also have similar experience with Zest Air. On the way to Coron, Palawan, our flight supposedly at 8am was resked to 1pm and has been again delayed to 3pm. So much inconvenience. And on our trip back to Manila, we were informed the night before our flight has been cancelled and we're being transferred to PAL express. When we reached the airport, of course the original PAL customers were prioritized. When it was our turned, PAL express informed us that they can no longer occupy us since they didn't expect that Zest Air transfer their passengers to PAL. And they just have a small plane which can only occupy 45 to 50 pax. So the 8 of us, were being sent back to the resort and have our flight resked the next day! So much hassles caused by Bwi----ZET Air!

Stella Arnaldo said...

That's really unfortunate Mariel.

I suggest that you write a letter of complaint as well to Zest Airways management, copy furnished to the Civil Aeronautics Board and Air Transportation Office such as Ms. Polintan has done. As you know, our gov't authorities only pay attention when they receive the complaints directly. And perhaps, because they know you have written the gov't agencies concerned as well on this matter, Zest Air management will improve their planes and their service.

Anonymous said...

Zest Air is totally mismanaged and will never improve their service as long as the present management is there. Amb. Yao should change his people and find managers who know the business and who can build up an airline in way friendly to customers and friendly to his investment and return on investment. The present management will just screw-up the reputation and his investment. Sorry to say that but these are facts.

Stella Arnaldo said...

To Anonymous 9:35 am:

I agree w/ you a hundred percent! My same observation. I've met the managers Amb. Yao has brought in to run his airline and they look like losers to me. They have no business running an airline considering they failed in that one airline they were handling before. Tsk, tsk.

Anonymous said...

Who is in a position to make clear to Amb. Yao to fire ALL of his senior managers and get in a new management team to protect his investment? Or does he still believe in these guys and has enough money to be flushed down the drain?

Stella Arnaldo said...

Try his son, Jeffrey, or his business adviser Bobby Atendido.

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of them but I petty the guy. He went into such high risk business and he only has people around him who can run down this business.

Anonymous said...

ATTENTION: ZEST AIR= THE WORST, INHUMANE AIRLINE SERVICE AVAILABLE! Managers, employees, the whole nine yard! Their airline is so repulsive. Just looking and smelling what's around basically made me want to cut off my nose and eyes!
SHUT THEM DOWN! Im sure constant reports made by all customers should give one the initiative to do a good deed. People need to know the truth!