CEBU PACIFIC (5J) AND TIGERAIR PHILIPPINES (DG)
Cebu Pacific has the most automatic add-ons when you book online. That amounts to between Php1000 to 2000 in additional charges which you may not need or want. There are a lot of steps to follow to get rid of them. After selecting your flight schedule and fares, you will be asked to fill-out your details. Below your details are the first set of add-ons.
Cebu Pacific's first automatic add-on is baggage allowance. For a round-trip domestic ticket, 20kg is automatically selected at Php336 per way for a total of Php672 both ways. You can lessen this to 15kg or remove it totally if you only need the free 7kg carry-on bag.
But remember, they will weigh your check-in bag to make sure it is only 7kg. If you go beyond that, you will be required to check-in the bag at a more expensive price.
Always remember that they are very strict with baggage allowance. If you go beyond what you purchased, even if it's just 1 or 2kg over, expect to be charged extra at the airport. So estimate the amount of luggage you will bring.
Tip: It's best to add baggage a few days before your trip. In fact, you can add baggage on CEB up to 4 hours before your flight. When the trip is near, you can better estimate how much you need. And if you don't push through with the trip, at least you don't waste money on forfeited baggage allowance which is non-refundable.
On international flights, CEB automatically selects pre-ordered meals for you. And it's an expensive Php350 per meal on regional flights and an even more exorbitant Php500 on long-haul flights. Unfortunately, I find Cebu Pacific meals really bland. And you have to bring your own salt since they don't have any on board. To remove meals, click on "no thanks" or "change meal" if you want another dish.
Tip: It's best to add meals a few days before your trip. If you don't push through with the trip, at least you don't waste money on forfeited pre-booked meals which are non-refundable. You can pre-book meals up to 24 hours before your CEB flight.
Cebu Pacific automatically selects a seat for you, usually one at the middle or back. And you get charged at least Php145 per way. You can remove them by clicking on "remove seat" beside the price under your name. Another way is to look for your assigned seat on the map, and clicking the blue icon for assigned seat to unselect it.
The last automatic add-on is what many people miss. Travel insurance is not required. It's an automatic Php325 charged to you. To remove it, click on "no thanks" or "manage per guest."
You know that you've been successful if the amount you will pay remains the same throughout the process. So that's about it for Cebu Pacific.
AIRASIA (AK), AIRASIA ZEST (Z2), AND AIRASIA PHILIPPINES (PQ)
AirAsia has two automatic add-ons. Here are steps you have to follow to remove them.
AirAsia automatically selects 20kg both ways. To remove it, simply click on "no, thanks" or from the drop-down menu, select "no checked bag" or lessen to 15kg.
Tip: It's best to add baggage a few days before your trip. In fact, you can add baggage on AirAsia up to 4 hours before your flight. When the trip is near, you can better estimate how much you need. And if you don't push through with the trip, at least you don't waste money on forfeited baggage allowance which is non-refundable.
For international flights, meals on AirAsia are not preselected. But I highly recommend that you purchase a meal or two because the food is really good. AirAsia is the gold standard for budget airline food. And at an affordable Php168 for a Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rice, among many others, you'll never go wrong.
Tip: It's best to add meals a few days before your trip. If you don't push through with the trip, at least you don't waste money on forfeited pre-booked meals which are non-refundable. You can pre-book meals up to 24 hours before your AirAsia flight.
To remove the Php300 travel insurance, click on "no, thanks."
Seats are also not automatically selected. And you are not required to select any seats.
PHILIPPINE AIRLINE (PR) AND PAL EXPRESS (2P)
Philippine Airlines has only one automatic add-on which is travel insurance.
All you have to do is uncheck the box for travel insurance which costs Php350.
2. Note on PAL check-in baggage
PAL does not have preselected baggage allowance. So your allotment is 0kg to 10kg check-in (please check when you select your flight) and free 7kg carry-on luggage. If you need to purchase luggage, it's best to do it at the time of purchase because the Philippine Airlines website is the least user-friendly among the three.
If you opt not to purchase check-in baggage when you book online, and later on, decide that you need it, you will not be able to add baggage online. You have two inconvenient choices to add baggage:
– Go to the nearest ticketing office and purchase your baggage allowance there.
– Call the PAL hotline (02) 8558888 and purchase your baggage allowance through the agent. This will require you to give your credit card details to the agent.
You have to add baggage at least 4 hours before your PAL flight. Note also that any purchased baggage on PAL is non-transferable and forfeited if you change your flight schedule.
I hope this helps you weed through all those airline add-ons!