Cx925 HKG/CEB arrived Cebu on time, other plane is blocking runway. Tower says 20 minutes till clear. An hour later we head for MNL to "refuel" and return to Cebu (per the captains announcement). Instead, we land 9 pm MNL and sit until 10 pm. Then we are deplaned and stored in a waiting area inside the gate while "the immigration department is having a meeting to discuss options and then give us advice, sir," (per the FA's statement.)
An hour later we are herded along through immigration where nobody looks at our passports, then walking all the way to the curb outside the terminal to form lines and board buses ( at this time we are looking at 3 LARGE hotels across the street). The Cathay crew and immigration take until 12:15 am to get everyone loaded on buses. An hour drive to the farthest possible hotel from terminal. The crew take possession of everybody's passports ( assume to give to immigration official later, but don't know). An hour check in. Sleep at 3 am, woken at 6:30 am to have breakfast, stand in line for buses for 1 hour plus, then an hour bus ride back to airport, 3 hours waiting at airport to prepare for the 50 minute flight to Cebu.
Throughout the ordeal it became overwhelmingly apparent that NOBODY from Cathay OR immigration had any idea what to do or what the process would be. Assume that if your Cathay flight is diverted to Manila, you will experience the same TOTAL SNAFU.
HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE. Cathay needs to completely rethink its process for this type of occurrence. Incompetent, ineffective, abysmal are the only words to describe.
By the time we landed in Manila, the Cebu runway had reopened, we could have refueled and returned. Instead we were subjected to a marathon of ineptitude. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!!!
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