Why I Won't Go For Zest Airlines Again

Posted Monday, June 6, 2011 by lucky_witch
I am now starting to look for a promo airfare for our vacation next year. I am booking this early, because when it comes to finding the best deal from airlines, the earlier the better. But since our last vacation, I have promised to myself that we will only fly with highly reputable and professional airlines-- Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. The reason for this, I had a very bad experience with the staff of Zest Airlines.

Last May, we had the chance to avail of their midnight flight on our way back here in Aklan. I was carrying a paminta (pepper) plants which I got from Cavite. I called their customer hotline inquiring about the permit that I need so that I can take it with me. The customer assistant told me that the plants need to be quarantine and everything will be done in the airport. I made it clear that we were travelling at midnight and asked if the quarantine office is still open during that time, and she said yes. I was a happy bee, happy and relieved.

So on the night of our flight, I was very confident that there won't be any problems. But as I reached the Old NAIA, during the first x-ray, they informed me that I can't bring my plants because the quarantine office was closed already. I explained to them that I already called the customer support of Zest, blah, blah blah! They allowed me to bring my plants inside but instructed me to put it inside the bag. So, I did.

During the second and final x-ray, they stopped us and told us that if we don't have the quarantine permit, we have no choice but to leave it there. I approached the Zest staff, where we got our ticket and boarding pass and explained to her what happened. I was shocked because the only thing she said was I can't take it with me if I don't have the quarantine permit.

I agree that we have to abide by the rules. But since their "customer agent" was the one who got me into trouble, I was expecting that they will assist me in dealing with the situation. I can't just leave it there as if it was just a bottled drink! Even their manager during that time just passed by without paying attention to me. She just instructed her staff that I can't take it with me.

So, the good news, one of the airport staff had the heart and helped me. He removed the soil, packed the plants with a tape, and carefully placed it in my hand carry bag. Good thing is that he knows that it was really a paminta plant.

Can you please train your employees how to professionally deal with your customers and at least inform them when the operating hours of the quarantine office so they will know what to answer to their callers!

By the way, here is our pic at the airport after the disappointing encounter with the ZEST staff.