CEBU Pacific flight 475 left NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City at 7:15 a.m. of August 15 and landed at the same terminal one hour and 15 minutes later. No, the pilot did not lose his way. He warned his passengers that the plane had developed some mechanical trouble and could not land at the Bacolod terminal, so he had to fly it back to Manila for an emergency landing.
A Ms. Laide, one of the passengers, told this writer that she boarded Cebu Pacific flight 475 at 7:15 a.m. on August 15, expecting to be with her family a little over an hour later.
But she and the other passengers found themselves back at Terminal 3, where they were advised they would have to transfer to another aircraft. Three hours later, the same passengers, now riding in a different aircraft, probably felt relieved to be finally on their way to Bacolod-Silay International Airport, the original destination.
Were they happy that they arrived at Bacolod airport at 11 a.m. instead of at 8:30 a.m.? Yes, they were. More importantly, they were safe.
For Ms. Laide, she did not want her family to worry about her safety. She said she texted her husband, who had expected her arrival at 8:30 a.m., only after Cebu Pacific flight 475 had landed back in Terminal 3. She told her husband there was no need to worry about the delay, she was completely safe.
Of course, the passengers of that flight should be happy that the plane got safely back to Terminal 3 although they were not told what was wrong with it. What they learned, more than three hours later, was that the pilots had to make a quick decision to fly the plane back to Terminal 3 after realizing they could not safely land it at the Bacolod terminal.
Yes, the passengers of Cebu Pacific 475 should be thankful that the worst-case scenario they may have imagined on board, as the plane was turning back to Manila, did not happen.
But then, in their eagerness to reach their destination, they forgot something that should have been volunteered by the people and managers of Cebu Pacific: they were hungry after a more than three-hour delay in their flight. Unfortunately for them, no one thought of providing them even a very light lunch.
Did the crew of Cebu Pacific flight 475 consider offering them snacks? After all, the “return flight to Manila” was due to an unforeseen mechanical trouble. Was it possible that the Cebu Pacific people were too busy trying to find another aircraft for the passengers of Cebu Pacific flight 475?
Well, the passengers of that flight could only give the Gokongweis, who are the majority stockholders of Cebu Air Inc., and their managers, the benefit of the doubt. During the time when their safety was at stake, all they could think of was that their pilots were prudent in deciding to head back to Manila and in the process they forgot to feed the hungry passengers.
Here is another question: Did the crew of Cebu Pacific even offer them coffee to ease their hunger? The answer remains a big ‘No.’
For the passengers, though, they were perhaps more interested not in the food or coffee that Cebu Pacific did not provide them but in joining their families who were waiting for them in Bacolod for a late breakfast. That breakfast turned out to be an early lunch or even a late lunch for those who still had to take a long ride to their barangays.