Passengers of Manila-Saipan flight cry foul


United Airlines is again getting a lot of heat after several passengers from a flight that originated from Manila last Friday night had to endure an almost two-day trip in order to get back to Saipan.

Saipan Tribune tried to get the side of United Airlines, but their press relations representative has yet to respond at press time.

Leigh Gases, one of the passengers of that delayed flight, posted a video on Facebook with the following message: “Our flight was delayed in Manila for two hours. Then delayed in Palau for 14 hours then delayed in Guam already 13 hours. We’ve been delayed for almost two days. We were supposed to be back on Saipan on the 21st.”

“They also almost threw us out of the airport with nothing. Had we not speak up; we would probably be out in the streets until Aug. 2 as they said that’s the next available flight. We have work that we’re unable to show up because of the lack of preparation, consideration, planning, and human decency of United Airlines,” added the clearly frustrated Gases.

Former Saipan senator Maria Frica Pangelinan, former Commonwealth Cancer Association board member Maggie Camacho, and Magdalena George were also among the over 50 passengers on the same flight.

Some of the passengers that got stuck in Guam had to spend twice their original airfarce after they decided to fly via Star Marianas just to get back to Saipan, as their United Airlines tickets could not be refunded.

UA 192 was originally bound for Manila-Koror-Guam late Friday night with the over 50 passengers making a connecting flight from the A.B. Won Pat International Airport to Saipan. The passengers were supposed to arrive Saturday but things got messed up.

First, their 9:45pm flight (UA 192) last Friday to Koror from Manila got delayed and the passengers boarded at 10pm and the plane left at 12am. The plane arrived in Koror at 4am.

UA 192 had to drop some passengers in Palau while also picking up others who were either going to Guam or had Saipan, CNMI as their final destination.

Gases told Saipan Tribune that United personnel in Koror had to inform them that they cancelled the flight to Guam because the crew’s flying time had already expired.

“The good thing there was they gave us accommodations. They rescheduled us and we were supposed to leave Palau at 4pm (Saturday) but then got delayed again because we were deplaned due to a security check plus my seat was messed up. They double booked the seat along with three others,” she said.

They were able to leave Palau at 6:20pm last Saturday and United’s staff in Koror said that accommodations will be provided to them when they arrive in Guam since their flight to Saipan is scheduled for 7am Sunday.

“However, when we got here to Guam, the agents said they have no idea about our delayed flight. They told us that they don’t have accommodations for room and food for us, and that we’re on standby for the 7am (Sunday) flight. So we left to K-Mart to eat because we have not eaten dinner and we’re starving.”

United then provided them with complimentary rooms when they got back but they only slept for almost three hours since they had to go to the airport to make it to the 6:25am boarding time. That’s when they found out that they were still not included to the 7am flight to Saipan.

Gases said that’s when she decided to take a video when they were speaking to several United personnel in Guam. “We even have people with disabilities in wheelchairs and a minor with special needs traveling with his family.”

Another passenger, who asked not to be named, told the same story adding that no United staff in Guam assisted them when they arrived. “When we approached the [airline] counter, they all looked lost saying that Palau United did not informed them about us.”

“We patiently waited with our empty stomachs for someone to assist us and it took a while for them to give us answers with our questions. One agent said that they couldn’t decide at the moment because no one is in charge.”

The passenger added they got mixed up with other passengers who are making the connecting flight to Saipan from Tokyo. The passenger said they were already complaining, especially the passengers from Guam, after their flight from Koror to Guam got cancelled but the plus side was they were given complimentary rooms.

They were finally informed in Guam, while waiting at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, that they would leave at 4:55pm. They arrived at around 6pm yesterday.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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