There I was on seat 15A waiting for my 5:15 PAL flight from Cagayan de Oro – Manila. I thought I wouldn’t make it to the airport on time as I got on the bus from Malaybalay in Bukidnon close to 12:30 already as the two previous a/c buses were full. I told myself that I would have to wing it on a non-a/c bus once the clock strikes 12:30. Fortunately, a bus came along and I snagged a seat. I arrived at the Agora terminal with enough time for a quick lunch of liempo and chorizo at Botoy’s then took a cab to the airport. Checked-in and found a seat at the overflowing pre-departure area.
A bald officer-looking guy came on board and asked if anyone would like to volunteer to de-plane and in exchange be given hotel accommodations, transport, and cash for the extra night in CDO then take the 8am flight the next day. The volunteer also gets a FREE RT ticket to any PAL domestic flight. Of course, I volunteered! The PAL guys were really happy as it solved a big headache for them. I retrieved my backpack from the overhead bin and followed the bald guy who turned out to be the Station Supervisor. He booked me for the morning flight and handed my my boarding pass. My luggage would arrive in Manila with the 5:15 flight and I would retrieve it tomorrow morning. Just to make sure, they called the Manila airport to hold on to luggage. At his office, he filled out a voucher for my hotel stay and handed me Php 300. Other officers came and thanked me profusely and shook my hands. They really looked genuinely relieved.
From what I gathered, they needed an extra seat to accommodate a group of seven people who seats were given-up already as they did not meet the check-in time due to delays caused by them not being able to show the credit card they used for their online booking. As it happens, since they were technically not checked-in, the slots were opened.
So the group got on the flight while I got an extra night’s vacation and a RT ticket. How cool is that! All’s well that ends well. The officers were telling me that the cabin crew including the pilot were watching the scene inside the aircraft and when I deplaned they commented that I was the only passenger they saw deplaning while laughing.
It was just like a repeat of the scene when my Vegas-Manila flight was cancelled and I was given hotel accommodations, food vouchers, transport and of course an extra night at The Strip. Who would complain?
I love this life!