PAL passengers bound for Japan stranded in Davao; scammed by travel agency

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 06 January)  – Passengers of Philippine Airlines bound for Nagoya, Japan via Manila on Thursday and Friday were stranded at the F. Bangoy International Airport (formerly Davao International Airport) here after they were scammed allegedly by a travel agency.

Alvin Zulueta, 22, a passenger of a 9 a.m. flight bound for Manila told MindaNews Friday he was shocked to learn there was no ticket booked under his name by Double A Travel Agency.

He said he immediately called Arlyn Parantar, owner of the travel agency with whom he made the transaction, but got no answer.

Zulueta said they immediately called the PAL office at the airport only to be told they received similar complaints on Thursday from around 50 passengers transacting with the agency.

He said PAL confirmed there were reservations in their names but no tickets were booked for them by the travel agency.

Zulueta paid for a round trip ticket but as it turned out, only the one-way December 6 flight from Japan to Davao was booked for him.

He said he trusted the travel agency, this being his third time to transact with them.

A migrant of Japan for six years, Zulueta stayed in the city since December 6 to visit his relatives and marry his long-time girlfriend.

He asked his wife to check the travel agency’s office at 118 Palma Bldg. along Ponciano St. on Friday morning but was told the office was closed since Wednesday.

Some passengers and their relatives gathered outside the travel agency’s office in the hope to meet Parantar, who promised to meet them on Friday morning. As of 3 p.m., Parantar had not showed up.

A report by the San Pedro Police Station last Thursday said Parantar earlier promised to meet them on Thursday but she did not show up.

An agent for Double A who requested not to be named said complainants who gathered outside the travel agency’s office on Thursday were escorted by a few police officers.

The agent claimed to have been duped of around P190,000 for 11 round trip tickets that was paid in two tranches – last week of December 2016 and January 2.

The agent was dismayed after learning the agency did not settle the bookings with with PAL.

Parantar sent a text message to the agent on Thursday claiming she had no money to pay for the tickets of the passengers.

Angelica Tao-on, 22, also a factory worker at a car company in Japan, said she booked with the agency sometime in June 2016 and paid some P30,000 for a roundtrip fare from Japan.

She arrived on December 19 and spent the holidays with her relatives.

Tao-on said she was booking another flight to Japan as she is worried she will be terminated if she fails to report for work on Monday. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)