Filipina says Cebu Pacific rebooked flight without her approval, alleges being ‘forced’ to pay fee anyways

Screenshots/Images: @ellasenpaii (TikTok) / Cebu Pacific
Screenshots/Images: @ellasenpaii (TikTok) / Cebu Pacific

A Filipina traveler alleged that low-cost airline Cebu Pacific changed her flight details without her approval, and was now charging her for rebooking fees that she did not push through with.

“If you’re traveling with Cebu Pacific, please be extremely careful especially when it comes to rebooking your flights,” TikTok user Ella Sarol warned in a video.

Sarol, who was in Japan when she recorded her video, said that she had been charged by the airline for a rebooking she did not approve after simply checking to see what the rebooking fee would be on their website.

“I just want to raise awareness about this policy so it doesn’t happen to you and you don’t end up wasting thousands of pesos like I did,” she said.

She said that she had flown with Cebu Pacific several times in the past without any problems, adding, “it’s always been such an amazing and a smooth journey.”

Sarol said she bought her flight tickets to Japan in November for PHP20,000 (US$357.37) when the airline had a seat sale.

Her trip was scheduled from March 30 to April 17 this year.

A week before her trip, she said she decided to check online how much it would cost to rebook her return flight from April 17 to April 12 instead.

“[But] upon seeing the rebooking fees are PHP33,000 (US$589.65), I decided not to push through with the rebooking,” she narrated, emphasizing that she did not pay the rebooking fee.

But when she checked her booking details, the airline already moved her flight from April 17 to April 12, and was “basically forcing [her] to pay the PHP33,000 [fee],” she alleged.

“This means even if I did not pay the rebooking fee, I have no other option but to pay for it because [Cebu Pacific] won’t revert back to my original flight. So customers have two options: either you pay the rebooking fee or you book another ticket entirely,” she said.

“This is so unfair to me because why would you change my flight if I didn’t even pay the rebooking fee? I’ve rebooked flights in the past with AirAsia and they won’t change my flight unless I pay.”

Sarol said that she reached out to customer service, who said that they could not help her with her situation as airline policy stated that if one voluntarily rebooks their flight, they could not revert it to their original flight.

The TikToker added that she looked up her situation online and saw that others had complained about the same scenario.

“I’m honestly grateful that I just built an emergency fund because if I didn’t have enough money to book myself another ticket, then I would have been stranded in Japan and I wouldn’t know what to do again,” she said, adding that she chose to book a new ticket with AirAsia instead.

Sarol’s account did not sit well with netizens, who prodded her to escalate the matter to other agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry or the Civil Aeronautics Board.

“Email DTI consumer protection and cc cebu pacific’s customer service. Sometimes they escalate your concern if you bring it up to DTI,” one commenter wrote.

“This passenger has to bring this to the attention of Civil Aeronautics Board. After declining my demand for a refund of double charging and issuing cebpass several times, [Cebu Pacific] yielded to CAB,” another shared.

“Are you serious with this policy, Cebu Pacific? Why will you change the flight details of a passenger who only checked how much it’ll cost to rebook their flight? Even if they intend to rebook but later on changed their mind coz it’s too expensive, no changes should be made,” Twitter user ricci_richy said.

A number of users shared that something similar had happened to them, but in terms of adding baggage.

“I tried to add additional luggage for one but it automatically added for all [three] of us in the group booking and [Cebu Pacific] won’t let me amend it after. Ended up paying for luggage allowance we did not need,” one user wrote.

Coconuts Manila has reached out to Cebu Pacific for comment.


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on