Philippines Air’s JFK Debacle Leads to Lawsuit

QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) – A woman whose flight to the Philippines from JFK Airport was mysteriously canceled – and who was then bounced around from hotel to hotel and never rebooked – has sued Philippine Airlines for $10 million.
     Cherilyn Darilag is the lead plaintiff in the May 26 class action filed in superior court over a May 17 flight to Manila via Vancouver that was allegedly grounded for mechanical problems and then never rescheduled.
     After waiting three hours in the Airbus jet while it sat on the tarmac, Darilag and about 250 other passengers were then told to deplane because of a mechanical problem, according to the complaint.
     Darilag claims the passengers were told they would be put up in a hotel for the night and then flown to the Philippines the next morning. However, no airline representatives met her at the Radisson where passengers were to be put up for the night so she had to transfer to another hotel, she says in the complaint.
     The next day Darilag waited for the afternoon flight after being told the morning flight was fully booked, the lawsuit states. Those plans fell through as well since the afternoon flight-which was the same plane she exited from the previous day – was again grounded for mechanical problems, she says in the complaint.
     The airline issued flight transfers to Manila-bound flights run by EVA Air and China Airlines to Darilag and other passengers, but those transfers were not honored by those other airlines because they were not properly filled out and lacked validation stamps by Philippines Airlines employees, according to Darilag’s complaint.
     Airline agents and ground staff were not present to help her or other passengers on the flight, and Darilag says she still has not heard from the airline as to when she can next fly out of JFK to Manila.
     Darilag’s attorney and media representatives from Philippines Airlines could not be reached for comment.
     In a May 20 statement e-mailed to the press after the flight debacle, Philippines Airlines representative Maria Cielo said that the grounding was due to a maintenance check.
     “We empathize with the passengers knowing fully well the inconvenience of the extended stay due to the grounding. But safety remains a priority,” Cielo wrote.
     In March the airline was given permission to fly out of New York after an 18-year hiatus first due to economic hardships and then to safety concerns.
     From 2008 to 2014 Philippines Airlines failed to meet minimum safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
     During that period Philippines Airlines had flights out of Honolulu and San Francisco.

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