Monday, January 04, 2010

Windows but no Vista on Cebu Pacific

My New Year’s resolution for 2010 was to keep my blog up to date. (I didn’t do a very good job of that in 2009!). So here I am four days into the new year and posting my first entry for the new decade. And unfortunately I have to start with a gripe – about Cebu Pacific airlines. We arrived in Puerto Princesa (Palawan) earlier this evening after two flights with Cebu Pacific from Singapore via Manila. On both flights the aircraft – an A320 and an A319 – had the dirtiest windows I have seen on passenger aircraft since a flight I took with Ariana Afghan Airways about six years ago.

I know not to expect too much from budget airlines, and I am normally very tolerant of shortcomings if I have paid a low fare, but if they never bother to wash the windows, it does make you wonder what other areas of maintenance on which they may be taking short-cuts. For a photographer like myself, one of the pleasures of traveling by air is being able to capture the odd good aerial shot – but there was no chance of that on my Cebu Pacific flights – the windows were so dirty it was like looking into fog.

The picture below was taken under a clear blue sky over the South China Sea and ought to show the distinctive outline of Linapacan Island as a green land mass in a turquoise coloured sea – but through the dirty window of my Cebu Pacific A319, it was only barely possible to see.


But maybe you have to pay extra to have a clean window? These days with budget airlines, everything is an extra. An extra 200 pesos for a seat with extra legroom, an extra 400 pesos for another 5 kg of baggage, and so on . . . so maybe I missed clicking the box that said “Clean window: 200 pesos extra”.

But to finish on positive note, we’ve just had a nice meal at Kinabuch’s Bar and Grill in Puerto Princesa of fresh tiger prawns, vegetable curry and rice, a buko shake, and a mango and ginger shake – all for the grand price of 625 pesos (about US$13) – that’s about half the price a similar meal would cost at a restaurant of equivalent quality in Malaysia.

It started raining lightly about halfway through the meal, but we were seated under a coconut palm so the fronds kept most of the rain off us. It was nice and cooling given that it was a very balmy evening.

We took a tricycle back to the hotel – that set us back all of 20 pesos.

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