Another 100 Filipino domestic workers traveling home for Christmas were stranded in Hong Kong on Tuesday due to a booking problem by PEYA Travel – bringing the total number of victims to about 300.
On Sunday around 200 domestic workers were stranded at Hong Kong International Airport after their plane tickets, issued by the travel agency, were allegedly not paid for.
On Tuesday evening, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong advised the public not have any dealings with the travel agency for the time being.
“The public is advised not to transact with PEYA Travel until such time that this issue is resolved and all aggrieved parties have received just compensation,” the Consulate said in a statement on their Facebook page.
The Consulate urged the complainants to remain calm and warned PEYA Travel to settle the ticketing problems.
“The Consulate expects PEYA Travel to take responsibility for this unfortunate incident and take all possible and necessary steps to settle this matter to the satisfaction of the aggrieved parties,” it said.
Two hours later, PEYA Travel issued a public apology to all the affected passengers. “We deeply apologize to those affected by the problem. We are taking full responsibility and are doing our best to resolve the situation,” it said in a statement on their Facebook page.
It was still unclear what had caused the ticketing problem. A director of the travel agency said earlier it may have stemmed from a computer virus.
A customer of PEYA Travel told Asia Times that she was among the hundreds of victims as the agency failed to book a Philippine Airline ticket for her. Fortunately, her boss – a westerner – was generous and paid the extra cost of HK$1,035 (US$132) for a Cathay Pacific ticket for her.
“We understand how important Christmas is to our Filipino friends and we stand ready to help,” a spokesperson Cathay Pacific posted a statement on Facebook.
“While our flights to Manila during the holidays are already quite full, we invite affected passengers to contact our global call centre at 2747 3333 or through private message on Facebook or Twitter (@cathaypacific). Our team will advise possible options for you to consider.”