Fact checks on online scams

FACT CHECK: PAL not offering six months of free flights for P168


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FACT CHECK: PAL not offering six months of free flights for P168
Philippine Airlines spokesperson Cielo Villaluna says official announcements on promos are posted only on PAL’s website and Facebook page

Claim: To address the lack of passengers on some of its flights, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) launched a travel card promo that offers six months of free flights for P168.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The majority of the Facebook posts containing the claim came from the page “Philippine Airlines-Main Page,” which misrepresents itself as the official account of the airline company. 

According to the post’s captions, PAL launched the “special promotion” due to a supposed “lack of passengers” on its flights. Several Facebook users also commented on these posts, with pictures of the alleged travel card that they supposedly received after availing themselves of the promo. 

The posts instruct interested buyers to click the “Apply Now” button to register for the travel card, which directs to an unverified website.

The facts:  In a February 5 Facebook post, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna belied the alleged promotion, saying it could be a phishing trap. (READ: Phishing 101: How to spot and avoid phishing)

“No such promotion. Fake news/site. Do not fall for this phishing trap!” she wrote. 

Official announcements on promos are posted only on PAL’s official website and Facebook page, she added.

Altered materials:  A Google reverse image search showed that one of the pictures of the alleged flight card was a Visa gift card that was deliberately altered to include the PAL logo and the text “Card for 6 free flights.”

The fake PAL Facebook page also altered a photo from PAL’s website taken in March 2023. The original photo shows PAL officials and Australian airport authorities holding a welcome banner that reads “Welcome to Perth” and “Manila to Perth Inaugural Flight,” not “6 na buwang libreng flight sa Philippine Airlines sa halagang P168 lang” (6 months of free flights on Philippine Airlines for only P168.)

Same scheme: The fake PAL page followed the same scheme of a supposed travel card promo by the Department of Transportation offering 12 months of free subway rides for P168, which Rappler has debunked

Aside from offering the same price, both Facebook pages were flooded with fake testimonials in the comment section from users who supposedly used the travel cards. 

Official accounts: For official updates on PAL’s promos and announcements, refer to its official website, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram accounts. – Larry Chavez/Rappler.com

Larry Chavez is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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