By RUBY ANNE M. RUBIO
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) Web site was unable to handle the huge volume of transactions from travelers wishing to avail of an online promotion that halved ticket prices.
As a result, complaints regarding the Web site have already reached the company, sources familiar with the matter told GMANews.TV on Monday morning, hours after the two-day promotion was launched.
The complaints involved Internet users’ failure to access the Philippine Airlines’ home page, make and hold an online flight reservation, and pay for these through a credit card, a source said.
The system “reached the maximum and was unable to handle the volume," a separate source told GMANews.TV through email on Monday, adding that the Web site has been “experiencing an unusual number of visitors who want to avail of its online promotion."
This was disclosed by the source on the first day of the two-day online promotion called “The Real Deal," which began twelve midnight of Monday, April 27.
The promotion covered local and international routes, encouraging travelers to flock to its Web site, PAL said, failing to disclose the number of average visitors its Web site receives in a day.
The company “is implementing measures to get in touch with these customers to assist them in completing their transactions," the source said.
Customers who may want to verify results of their transaction may get in touch with the PAL Reservations Center through telephone number 855-8888.
They may also send an email to email@example.com for assistance.
Despite this assurance, an official said that the company has “no way of determining who were affected," the executive told GMANews.TV in a telephone interview.
Since the promotion became “too attractive" to prospective passengers, “the system did not expect the deluge of customers," the official said. “They all visited the Web site at the same time.
Until 12:00 PM of Tuesday, April 28, PAL will be offering roundtrip flights to Taipei from Manila for $38 and $418 roundtrip flights to its US and Canada destinations.
These rates are about half off current non-promo rates.
In its Web site, PAL said the prices are exclusive of government taxes and other fees collected at the airport.
Travel to US and Canada are valid for outbound travel from June 1 to December 25, 2009.
Travel to Asia and Guam are valid from June 1 to October 15, 2009.
Given the response, the source nevertheless admitted it was a successful promo for PAL.
PAL is not a stranger to this kind of marketing strategy as it usually offers attractive promos.
"There are different ways of booking a flight and getting a ticket. You can call a landline for reservation or go to the ticket office," he added.