Saturday, September 5, 2009

Panic at PAL

Cols is still in GenSan so I was having a quiet morning eating siopao for breakfast when I got a cellphone call from Cols. She was at the airport already (this was around 9am) and she was in a panic. Apparently, the online ticket from PAL that I bought for her required that she bring along a photocopy of the credit card I used and an ID. She said that the counter was already closing and that I need to fax the data straight to PAL GenSan where they are waiting.

I hurried scanning my credit card and ID (had to leave my siopao behind) and ran to our fax machine. When I was a few feet away from the fax machine, it suddenly dawned on me -- our PLDT number at home has NDD disabled! Yikes! I did not enable it because in the past, we've racked up bills due to the maids calling their friends and relatives on their mobile.

So I had to go next door to my aunt (thank goodness for relatives/neighbors) and borrow her fax machine. Dialed the GenSan number of PAL where it rang... and rang... and rang... without answering! I gave Cols a call again on the mobile telling her I can't get through. And as it turned out, she was able to get her brother to pull some strings at the PAL office (you know how it is in the province where "connections" get you a long way).

I have bought tickets for Cols using my card several times in the past and this is the first time that the airline actually asked her for my card details. Or maybe it was because I mostly buy her Cebu Pacific tickets and CEB is not that strict whereas PAL is stricter. I guess all the credit card fraud is taking its toll in the airline industry. From what CEB told me, they previously required the passenger to show the card upon check-in, but eventually decided to stop doing it because it was too much of a hassle and that there were many legitimate purchases of one party of a ticket for another party (ie. the foreigner boyfriend buying ticket for his Filipina girlfriend -- how stereotypical).

Alternative forms of online payment like direct bank debit is really the better way to go. PayEasy will be supporting that hopefully by 1Q 2010.

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