3 PH teachers stranded in China reach settlement with Chinese airline

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2019 02:38 PM

MANILA — Three retired Filipino teachers who were stranded in China for over a week without contact with their families have decided to refrain from taking legal action against the airline that was supposed to bring them back home from a vacation in the US, their brother said Friday.

Pacita de Guzman, 77, Erlinda Varela Guce, 72 and Josefina Varela, 70 Baysic accepted China Eastern Airlines' settlement offer, their younger brother Nestor Varela told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

The 3 sisters were supposed to return to the Philippines last August 10, but their connecting flight in China was cancelled due to a typhoon.

The trio said they went back and forth between hotel and the airport, at times spending the night at the terminal, all the while allegedly failing to get assistance on how they would fly home.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila earlier this week said China Eastern Airlines "actively provided services to the passengers, properly arranged free accommodation and notified passengers to take available follow-up flights from the same day on."

However, the retired teachers failed to get in touch with their families due to the mobile phone failure and unfamiliarity with hotel communication methods, said the Chinese Embassy.

It added that the Manila office of China Eastern quickly contacted the families of the 3 passengers once it learned they were returning to Manila on August 18.

The embassy also said the head of China Eastern's Manila office visited the trio in their home last August 21.

The statement quoted the China Eastern manager as saying, “We have attached great importance to the investigation of the service with the relevant flights under abnormal weather conditions."

The manager added the experience of the retired teachers will help them improve their services, particularly for elderly passengers and those with special needs.