Thursday, April 16, 2009

The true Zestair Experience

I will admit it first that I like tradition. I've always liked comfort zones and I always patronize what is already reliable to me. It takes a strong feeling,bravery and the need for me to stick to alternatives. For example, I don't shop that often and whenever I do, I always know which stores to go to. If I want comfort, I go immediately to reliable restaurants that serve my most favorite comfort foods. If there is something that I have to spend for and with tons of risk involved, I always go to the traditionally reliable ones. This also goes for airlines.

I got this airlines specification from my father. Ever since I was a kid traveling to Cebu for every single year, my father would always book flights and he would always book it with PAL. I've been accustomed to its service and I am still alive aren't I? PAL for quite some time has monopolized the domestic flights and they have built their reputation to be the country's flag carrier. Being a flag carrier with more experience to boot, they do not fool around. They're reliable and they're trusted. Until of course other players tried to take some market share. Cebu Pacific entered the waves, yet they have had misfortunes in their earlier years. This,together with trying to break the public loyalty to the already trusted giant airline carrier PAL ,gave hardships to Cebu Pacific. My father wouldn't even consider flying Cebu Pacific. Even now he's still loyal. I've gotten that from him until I learned how to explore and break free from the monopoly.

I've tried Cebu Pacific when I was already working. Apparently they've developed a campaign that hits practical travelers like me. Their rates and Go-Lite fares encouraged people to travel. They re-opened the public's perceptions on how to see air travel in a different light. For a few years running, they've led expansions due to strong demand. They've began to collect steam and with the continuous flights, their reliable reputation is being developed. Now they're flying to more local destinations and international destinations in attractive rates. They've started acquiring new units and they've clinched the top spot for domestic sales. Now people have two major choices for air travel.

When the competition seems healthier more minor players entered the scene. With various Philippine destinations opening up, more people have begun to travel. With other demands on this highly consumer life, a good value for their money is always a main consideration. Small airplanes and jets to smaller airports in unusual destinations gave birth to minor players like SEAIR and ASIAN SPIRIT. With the trend of popular destinations on the rise like CATICLAN and PALAWAN, Cebu Pacific joined the bandwagon. Tight competition also further led to a new acquisition, which product is ZESTAIR today.

Since it's a new "airline" company, it's normal to speculate. We don't immediately jump the wagon that easily. With the airplane's convenience and operations, it also needs to generate utmost trust from consumers. Without losing any time to bigger competitors, they immediately joined the same Price-drop campaigns to entice people to travel and look for more options for cheaper rates even if they only start as an alternative. And being the less popular and less experienced, they had to fend off numerous airline jokes as well. Being a budget carrier, they too have lots to prove.

For my Boracay trip this year, we hunted for the cheapest rates in the season. Cebu Pacific and PAL have relatively higher rates and thus we checked ZESTAIR. Fortunately we chanced upon a promo that they offered which slashed off rates compared to Cebu Pacific's and PAL's. Before the actual booking, a certain part of me speculated. I hesitated, actually. I have not tried ZESTAIR before and I'm not that ignorant with the airline jokes. I may be comfortable with planes, but security and comfort are things that I really have to consider. I may be practical, but I am more willing to pay for my security. But I figured to end the intrigue and finally experience a totally new airline company for a change, also the price for me is a driving factor. When some of my office mates knew that I booked a flight, they reminded me to give them a full feedback on what it was like flying with Zestair, with a comic gash here and there to text them if I reach the plane alive. Har-Har I said.

This morning, Mitch and I with two of our other friends prepared for our first Zestair experience. Sad to say for newbie haters and paranoids, our Zestair experience, from the plane, facilities and landing were excellent.


Zestair planes are stationed in the Domestic Terminal 1. It may be an old airport, but the whole check-in and waiting lounge were too huge for only one airline company to operate. Since Cebu Pacific operates in the new Naia airport and PAL has their own terminal, Zestair has the original domestic airport all to themselves. No hassles, no market noise, just one big and breezy terminal.


The plane, despite that it is powered by a propeller based engine, is relatively new, well at least the interior. No cheap material and scotch tapes. We found out about this because of the smell, the paint and the upholstery. Although, expect that the plane is smaller than the usual Airbus. It only has a double seat for each side and it could be pretty cramped for a jet setter. The plane's vibration and engine sound are more distinguished than normal jet planes, but this is not charged to Zestair's incompetency. It happens in all propeller powered planes anyways. Aside from the sound, the functionality of the plane is solid and the ride is smooth. Not to mention, this is the only domestic plane that I've ridden most recently that offers newspapers and a choice between sealed water and juice for refreshments. The juice is Zest-O of course.


I don't know if it was because of the pilot, but this particular landing is one of the most smooth landings I have ever experienced.

All in all, ZESTAIR is a budget airline that really delivers. It has broken down the false stigma and turned the inexperience upside down. They have impressed me with their service starting from the airport terminal to reaching our destination. We got to our destination on time and I have no complaints whatsoever. Zestair might even give Cebu Pacific and PAL a run for their money. This is definitely a worth it, confident experience.

To book for cheaper rates or to look for other airline options, try Zestair. It could be your alternative, your much better choice and a new unforgettable experience on what real flying should be all about.

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