I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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During my three-and-a-half-week expedition through the Philippines, I managed to visit four separate islands throughout the country with the help of a very prominent airline, Cebu Pacific Air.
Cebu Pacific is the most flown airline in the country, carrying more passengers throughout the Philippines and nearby countries than its competitor, Philippine Airlines.
If you plan on traveling through this country, chances are you will board one of Cebu Pacific’s planes at least once during your journey.
Cebu Pacific is a large airline in Southeast Asia, with higher flight frequency within the Philippines and surrounding countries than any other airline.
Currently, Cebu Pacific offers flights to 37 Philippines destinations and 26 international destinations from all over Asia, Australia, the United States (via Guam), and even the Middle East (like Dubai).
First of all, is flying with Cebu Pacific safe?
Personally, while aboard each Cebu Pacific flight, I never once questioned my safety on these flights. Both takeoff and landing were smooth and precise, even when weather conditions were not ideal.
According to the Airline Ratings website, Cebu Pacific currently holds the highest rating for safety, based on the airline’s IOSA (International Air Transport Association Operation Safety Audit).
Cebu Pacific is rated at 7 stars (the highest ranking) based on safety audits conducted throughout the last couple of years.
While this is not required when traveling within the Philippines, it is required if you’re traveling from an outside country.
According to the Cebu Pacific website: Guests must have a return or onward ticket and be able to satisfactorily prove, upon request, sufficient means of financial support during their stay in the destination country.
Keep in mind, this isn’t just a requirement of Cebu Pacific specifically, but of other airlines flying into the country as well.
On our flight to Cebu from Los Angeles, the check-in counter asked us to show proof of a return flight out of Cebu as well as proof of booked accommodations.
The return ticket doesn’t necessarily have to be out of the country, as we showed documentation of our flight from Cebu to Palawan, which was sufficient for our airline.
Guests must have a return or onward ticket and be able to satisfactorily prove, upon request, sufficient means of financial support during their stay in the destination country.
Yes, booking your flight with Cebu Pacific is possible without providing a passport number. Keep in mind though, you will need it for check-in purposes and certainly will need your passport on the day of takeoff.
Another thing to remember is that there needs to be at least six months of validity on your passport to travel.
This is something I learned the hard way, as it resulted in my denied entry onto my flight from Manila to Hanoi. Because I did not have at least six months left on my passport, I was required to stay in Manila to get issued an emergency passport from the U.S. embassy.
It’s quite the story! I’ve written in more detail here in this post.
This rule is something airlines will rarely ever disclose to you when booking flights, but I did find this little snippet in Cebu Pacific’s fine print:
Guests traveling outside the Philippines must possess a passport, with at least six (6) months validity from the date of departure, and valid visas, if applicable.
For being a small, budget airline, Cebu Pacific was quite comfortable. Don’t expect any luxury or extensive legroom.
Still, for the price, the seats were comfortable, the bathrooms were clean, and the aisles were wide enough to walk comfortably through.
If you want more legroom, try snapping a seat next to an emergency exit. This brings me to my next point…
The short answer is yes; you can pick your seats if you choose to. Upon booking, Cebu Pacific will automatically assign you a seat. You can change and select your seat for an additional fee if you wish.
This will depend entirely on the flight you take with Cebu Pacific. Most of this airline’s domestic and short-haul flights do not offer Wi-Fi inflight. But, on some of their international flights, Wi-Fi can be purchased.
The service is offered through OnAir and costs 5 USD for 25 MB or 10 USD for 50 MB.
When traveling through the Philippines, My partner and I had four bags in total. Three of our bags were backpacks, and one was a handbag.
Two of the three packs were our backpacking, heavy-duty backpacks that do not fit as a carry-on. This made us nervous because we had no idea what the baggage policies were for Cebu Pacific.
Thankfully, we had no issues. Every passenger is allotted one hand-carry baggage with a maximum weight of 7 kilograms (about 15.4 pounds) and one small personal item (such as a purse or handbag). The handbag and the smaller backpack met these requirements.
Cebu Pacific does allow check-in baggage for a small fee. Prices range based on the size and weight of the check-in bag. Plan on spending roughly anywhere from 600-3800 Philippine pesos for checked baggage. This all depends on the bag’s size, weight, and whether the flight is domestic or international.
The weight is strict, as all bags (including carry-ons) will be placed on a scale to obtain an exact weight.
When checking into your flight with Cebu Pacific, the check-in counter opens four hours before international flights and two hours before domestic flights.
If you’re doing online check-in, you can check-in online from 72 hours up to 4 hours from departure.
It’s also important to know when the check-in counter closes so you don’t miss your flight!
The check-in counter closes 45 minutes before departure for international or domestic flights. You must also be at your gate no later than 30 minutes before your departure time.
Unfortunately, canceled flights do happen, ESPECIALLY in the Philippines. This isn’t only related to Cebu Pacific Air, but other Philippine airlines as well.
During our travels, I had two flights canceled (and one denied entrance). This was a total of three missed flights while traveling throughout the Philippines.
While canceled flights put a damper on your travel plans, remaining flexible and open-minded is best. There are a couple of actions you can take when dealing with a canceled flight with Cebu Pacific:
I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and plant-based nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. This blog is designed to bring you travel and health advice while sprinkling in some fun life stories.
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How cool that you got to see so much of the Philippines. Although I’ve been this close to traveling there for work over the years, it never quite fell into place. But man, oh man, my Filipino co-workers have the most GORGEOUS photos of the islands and beaches of their homeland!
The Philippines is definitely up there on my “favorite countries” list! I truly hope you’re able to go sometime and experience it!
Great story about Cebu Pacific, cant say I ever heard of them but I will keep them in mind. I would love to see the Philippines. Have to say got pulled into your post about having to stay in Manila to get issued an emergency passport from the U.S. embassy. Pretty crazy but I guess it happens.
Yes! That incident was a nightmare! I had no idea about the “six-month validity” rule until we tried to leave the Philippines. I had to learn the hard way I guess.
I havent been fortunate enough to travel to the Philippines, therefore havent flown with Cebu. It is good to know that your passport has to be valid for 6 months after entering the Philippines. This is something that a lot of countries require and travellers dont realize.
Agreed! I honestly had no idea until I tried to leave the Philippines, as my passport was valid when we left LA but surpassed the six-month mark during the three weeks we were there. Thankfully we were in the only city in the entire country that had a U.S. Embassy and I was able to receive a limited-validity passport.
Going to the Philippines is one of my dreams (especially snorkelling there) I knew that some countries require that the traveller’s passport is valid 6 months after the date of their return. I found out the hard way! I missed a trip because of that, so now I also double-check the validity of my passport when I am travelling outside the EU.
When I hear “Don’t expect any […] extensive legroom.”, my alarm goes off as I am fairly tall and I have been on flights with almost no legroom before . Those were no fun…and painful. Luckily, I believe flight times within the Philippines are not too bad. What was your longest flight in the Philippines?