A Glance at the Passenger Handling
of the Sky Logistics-Philippines at the Manila NAIA Terminal 2
and its Ex-PALers
By Apolinario Villalobos
Anybody who is observant will never miss the stylish women of Sky Logistics in their midi chic dark blue, red-bordered and short-sleeved uniform. The color of the figure-hugging dress, tastefully designed, complements those of Philippine Airlines. The company’s men are in white shirt and dark blue slacks, with the Duty Managers and Supervisors in their long-sleeved shirts or Barong Tagalog. The lady supervisors on the other hand, don an off-brown uniform but with similar figure-hugging cut.
The grace in the purposeful strides of the women who move with ease and promptness despite their semi-high heeled shoes is simply impressive. As the counters open at 2AM, the now-famous “Mabuhay!” greeting resonates at the right wing of the check-in area from those assigned at the Business counters led by the Duty Manager. The routine has been captured by many cell phone cameras and posted on facebook, both by local and foreign passengers of Philippine Airlines. Each shift is also preceded by a briefing of all the concerned staff, conducted by the Duty Manager inside the Operations Office that used to be the office/lounge of the PAL Customer Relations Office-NAIA.
At the east end of the Check-in Area is the Waitlist or Standby Counter which is always attended by several staff even before the Check-in counters open. A door beside the counter leads to the offices of the General Manager-Manila and President, minimally furnished, though with a truly business ambience that can be felt by the visitor as he enters.
The Boarding counter at the Pre-Departure Area comes to life at least two hours, as I observed, before the boarding time. By then, passengers can have all the opportunities for clarifications that they wish to ask regarding their flight. The ever-attentive staff on the other hand, never gets tired of answering questions with a smile. Still observably, those who have attended to the checking in passengers are also the ones who assist them on the boarding of their plane. It is bi-tasking at its best. I also saw a trim and pretty lady staff at the Check-in counter expertly pull a heavy luggage towards the moving conveyor without losing a bit of her balance while teetering on her semi-high heeled shoes!…a show of elegance with muscle!
The most acidic test for the nerve and patience of the Sky Logistics staff was experienced when the Terminal 2 suffered from a “system breakdown” many months back, that forced them to check-in the passengers manually – virtually, a tedious and exhaustive task. With few hitches that were expected due to the domino effect of delayed flights, the team was able to endure the technical storm.
At the airport, the Sky Logistics women, imposing in their elegant and chic uniform, as well as, the smartly- groomed men, virtually carry the name and logo of Philippine Airlines, a tough and heavy responsibility, as it entails the projection of the shining image of the country’s flag carrier. Fortunately, Sky Logistics made the best decision in hiring the airline’s former executive, managers, supervisors, and counter handling staff.
The ex-PALers who serve as the moving spirit behind the operations are, Francisco V. Yngente, who used to be PAL’s Vice-President for Airport Operations and is now its President; Marcial (Bunny) T. Gamalinda, Executive Assistant of the President; Analyn Castro; Marc Erik T. Lim; Jose Javier; Aileen Valero; Danny Baniqued; Jose Javier; Farah David; Tony Palencia; George Sarmiento; Fred Torre; Gerry Aquino; Victoria Guevarra; Loly Pancho- Moreno; Marianne Bringas; Adrialen Navarra; Madonna Gantuangco; Tina Lopez; Louvelle Capati; Alexandra Gonzales; Solleza Francisco; Pedro Oreta; Chinkee Maballo; Noel Corsino; Pat Manongson; Jan Gonzales; Rico Marquez; Alfred Abian; Cherrie Silverstre; Ambo Estrella; Federico Peἧalosa; Jhonas Nambio; Vladimir Buenaventura; Fe Oliver; Reynario Ledesma; Lemmuel Reboya; Bong Lazaga; and, Ramon Alonzo (there could be names that I have inadvertently missed, but will be added later).
The aforementioned ex-PALers developed their expertise spontaneously while on duty and when they underwent regular seminars when they were still with the flag carrier. Such hard-earned skill made them more than qualified for the various jobs entrusted to them by Sky Logistics. And, on their daily bonding with the fresh recruits, they are able to unselfishly share their precious airline operations knowledge with them.
According to Mr. Yngente, Sky Logistics President, they dispense their jobs in accordance with the high service standards of Philippine Airlines. Further to this, he mentioned about the desire of the airline’s current President, Mr. Jimmy Bautista to really have some kind of a melding of their service, in such a way that customers will not feel or notice that while at the ticket office, PAL employees serve them, at the airport, the Sky Logistics staff check them in for their flight. In this regard, all employees of Sky Logistics start by having chic and smart personality followed by a distinctive service that smack of total care for passengers, to deeply impress an image in their mind, to ensure their coming back. As what the flag carrier would want to happen, it should be one that could “shine through”… just outstanding all the way! It must be, because at the airport, for the ordinary passenger, they are known simply, as “PAL”. I personally learned about this impression when I heard a passenger tell his companion, “kausapin mo yong babaeng taga-PAL na naka-blue at may hawak na radio” (talk to the PAL lady in blue holding a radio).
Finally, there is no other better and remarkable way to give this impression on the spot, than initiating each shift with a resonant welcome of “Mabuhay!” from their heart!