- Filipino workers in Hong Kong are stranded after discovering that their tickets are fake
- The tickets were bought from travel agency Peya Travel
- Cathay Pacific airline offered to help the OFWs
Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers got a devastating surprise at the Hong Kong International Airport on December 20 when they discovered that the flight they booked and paid for months ago did not exist.
The disaster affected mostly domestic helpers. All travelers booked flights to the Philippines with different airlines through Peya Travel.
The Filipinos tried getting answers at the travel agency but the office was closed.
Peya Travel released a statement on Facebook seeking apology for the fiasco.
According to a South China Morning Post report, around 200 to 1,000 travelers were affected.
"I was already at the airport with loads of luggage and I had to drag them back after realizing the ticket I had booked was not valid," said an unnamed OFW in a report by Gulf News.
Other OFWs opted to buy another ticket just so they could be home for Christmas.
Maricho Leja, a nanny in Hong Kong who has not been home for five years, was interviewed by Gulf News. She bought her ticket last August 7 and was given a "confirmed ticket" for December 20.
"I was already in panic mode when news broke about the non-existent tickets, so I called up the airline to double check if I was indeed assigned a seat, but I was told my name was not on the list of booked passengers," said Leja to Gulf News.
The situation forced Leja to shell out her hard-earned money to buy another ticket.
"I spend 8,770 Hong Kong dollars just for the ticket. That's roughly P56,000 back home. I had to spend some of my pockeet money just to get a second set of tickets," said Leja.
She's hoping she and the other affected OFWs will be able to get their money back. They had already filed a complaint against Peya Travel.
The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong has already advised the public not to transact with Peya Travel until the issue is resolved.
The Consulate is also assisting the passengers for the filing of complaints today, December 21.
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific announced that it will try to help the affected travelers by offering a special ticket fare to Manila.
However, since it is already the Christmas rush, Cathay Pacific's flights are almost full. The airline said they are looking into the possibility of using a bigger aircraft to accommodate the troubled passengers.
Still, it looks like many of the OFWs will be forced to spend Christmas away from home.
"The next available flight with vacant seats is on the evening of December 25th. As most of our flights are reaching full capacity in light of the peak holiday travel season, we are trying to see how to increase capacity to help OFWs get home to the Philippines," said Cebu Pacific in statement.