Nothing in Particular would like to express its gratitude to Philippine Airlines, the technical staff who runs its Web site, and the marketing professionals who launched the company’s recent online promotion, “The Real Deal.”
Were it not for these brilliant, hardworking individuals, Nothing in Particular would have remained part of the cyberspace woodwork, a self-serving, self-referential, self-indulgent online journal of a media worker burdened with unjustified angst and unpaid debt.
But that all changed — at least temporarily — on the afternoon of Monday, April 27, 2009.
Eighteen hours after the airline launched its two-day online promotion, Nothing in Particular announced a set of reportedly “helpful” tips intended to assist prospective PAL customers in securing their discounted airfares through its Web site.
The so-called “tips” included a phone number that would bring callers directly in contact with customer management officers should they encounter problems with their online reservations.
So far, no one has yet said that the instructions were useful.
But then again, it’s the thought that counts.
After all, PAL’s Web site during those two days were inaccessible for the most part.
Besides rendering the instructions useless, it also frustrated the airlines’ many loyal customers.
Come to think of it, what’s new?
The airlines’ Web site is supposedly but an online manifestation of its reported real-world reputation.
Whoever said the internet enhanced efficiency has never bought a ticket from the Philippine Airlines’ Web site especially not during a promotion.
During those two grueling days, only a few were able to successfully book their flights and pay for them online.
A number managed to log onto the Web site, like myself.
However, this was more out of sheer persistence and perhaps even luck than anything else.
When time came for users to make a reservation, the software application that enabled them to pick a flight and choose a date was nowhere — it simply wouldn’t load on the page.
And even if users were lucky enough to book their own flights, some were unable to pay for them since their credit cards were rejected outright by the Web site.
Which was exactly what happened to me at about seven in the morning of Monday, just three hours after I decided to give it all up.
In desperation, I tried my wife’s credit card to no avail.
I later called to complain and was directed to customer relations who, in turn, helped process discounted airfares for my mother-in-law.
But I digress.
What I really wanted to say is that Nothing in Particular reached a record number of hits as Web surfers became curious about PAL’s overloaded Web site.
On Monday, hits reached 71, breaching its previous record of 61 in April 2007. The next day, the promotion’s final day, Nothing in Particular’s hits reached 178, nearly triple the record set two years ago.
For that alone, I only have Asia’s first airline to thank.
That, and a roundtrip ticket to the US West Coast that cost a little less than P26k.