11 January 2010

Cebu Pacific's Discriminating Attitude

Cebu Pacific
Last 23 December 2009, Cebu Pacific personnel purportedly asked Mylene Alcantara's 10-year-old son to get off a flight from Hong Kong bound to Manila. The crew explained that based on their manual, mentally-ill persons are not allowed to board the plane.

Despite the humiliation of being asked to leave, Ms. Alcantara patiently explained that her child has Down Syndrome which is obviously different from the insanity claim of the airline personnel. If only Cebu Pacific conducted proper briefing and training of its personnel, they would have known that 'special children' are not qualified as mentally-ill.

Nobody is stupid not to know this, maybe except the personnel that Cebu Pacific hires. Because it seems that the power-hungry and ignorant personnel would rather have the flight delayed for an hour rather than admit that they are wrong. This is not to mention that their actions would have triggered curious onlookers who are puzzled on what was happening.

"They might have thought I committed a crime or whatever. It's very discriminating," she said in a television interview.

Cebu Pacific denied that it has a policy that discriminates against persons with special needs:

"The attempt to offload a passenger with developmental disability on a December 23 flight from Hong Kong to Manila was a result of the cabin crew's misinterpretation of government regulations designed to assure the safety of passengers," CEB vice president for marketing Candice Iyog said in a press statement that is as breathtaking as it is nauseating.

The damage has already been done and no amount of public apology and hypocrisy can diminish the fact that it took airline personnel an hour to sort things out and acknowledge that they made a mistake.

Aside from informing the public about the incident, Ms. Alcantara and her son's welfare can be better understood and appreciated if they file a case and pursue charges against the airline.

Meanwhile, anybody who has a copy of Section 34 of RA 7277, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, may like to send a copy to the oxygen-wasting personnel of the airline. Copy furnished their Board of Directors because "It's time everyone flies".