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During our three-and-a-half-week expedition through the Philippines last year, Dustin and I managed to visit four separate islands throughout the country with the help of a very prominent airline, Cebu Pacific Air.
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), for example.
First of all, is flying Cebu Pacific safe?
Personally, while aboard each Cebu Pacific flight, I never once questioned my safety on these flights. Both takeoff and landing were very smooth and precise, even when weather conditions were not the most 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 enough 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, it is possible to book your flight with Cebu Pacific 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 keep in mind is that there needs to be at least six months 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 that 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, bathrooms were clean, and aisles were wide enough to walk comfortably through.
If you are looking to get more legroom, try to snag 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. If you wish, you can change and select your seat for an additional fee.
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, Dustin and I had four bags 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 are 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!
For either international or domestic flights, the check-in counter closes 45 minutes before departure. You’re also required to 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, Dustin and I had two of our flights canceled (and one denied entrance on). This was a total of three missed flights while traveling throughout the Philippines.
While canceled flights put a damper on your travel plans, it’s best to remain flexible and open-minded. There are a couple of actions you can take when dealing with a canceled flight with Cebu Pacific:
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