Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to Navigate the Dreadful NAIA

departure lobby (taken from www.miaa.gov.ph )

It would be more pleasurable to have a root canal than to endure the torture of passing through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal I which is coincidentally the Philippines' premiere gateway. I have read countless of reviews of NAIA from different websites and the tone of the reviews are unanimous. They are all disappointed with the experience passing through NAIA. Well, I can't blame them. I'm not posting this to add fuel to the fire, rather I would like to "warn" first timers on what to expect so they will not have the shock of their life.

I'll be going to Vietnam in a few days so this post will also serve as a refresher for me on what to expect. I plan to arrive there 4 hours before my flight so I can access the Sampaguita Lounge to devour their famous arroz caldo and take a nap before my red-eye flight. If you have 400 pesos to spare it would be worth it to wait for your flight at the Sampaguita Lounge and partake of the mini buffet or just lie down on their several sleeper rooms rather than spending hours at those cold metal seats at the departure lounge.

To avoid any added inconvenience it would be advisable to go straight to the Travel Tax counter first after the first security check in case your ticket does not include the PHP1,620 fee before going to the check-in counters. As much as possible, prepare an exact amount as they sometimes having a hard time giving change to everyone who are paying PHP2,000.

After you checked your luggage and claimed your boarding pass you have to pay PHP750 for the terminal fee (It's free for Overseas Filipino Workers). For me it is the world's most expensive terminal fee given the current state of the airport. You can't even compare NAIA with some BUS terminals in Malaysia and Thailand so paying the amount twice of the current minimum wage here in the Philippines is an insult with robbery.

Be sure to keep your passport, plane ticket and other pertinent travel documents whenever you check-in to your flight and having your passport stamped at immigration to avoid being an inconvenience to those at the back of the queue. A friend told me to choose a young lady immigration officer as they are more nimble processing your passport than their male counterparts. For me I just choose the youngest of them all regardless of their gender as the "veterans" tend to take their time more.

It would be too easy to enumerate the facilities of the airport but it is very hard to list down what the airport lacks and the things to improve as you need a very long paper to write them all down. Maybe in my next post I will try very hard to write about the positive sides of NAIA. I just need to experience them this time.

Postscript: If you need more information about NAIA don't bother checking their website because it's useless. I'm trying to view the realtime arrivals and departure for each terminal and I keep on getting error messages and to add that it takes forever for the page to load even if I'm using a broadband Internet connection.


the donG said...

thank you for the tips on this. i've entered it once and the airport looks old already except for the main lobby. the structure looks well designed but the structure itself is already old. my first reaction was really "ito na pala ang airport na dinadaanan ng mga tourists na pumapasok sa pinas???" when you reach the boarding area, you can see plastic chains separating from one flight to the other flight side. what i can see is that the airport can still be retained but maybe the system should be changed.

another thing is it is fully managed by the government. low budget, corruption is present and a applies a reactive system (dapat kasi proactive).

but some people in the airport try their best to improve the system only that they don't have the control to all its areas. i still have to thank these people who willingly stay and work in the airport giving their best to improve it. pero sa mga trapo... sana'y ma-realize nila na kailangan ng pagbabago.

kegler747 said...

@ the dong: Precisely, if we Filipinos are not proud with this airport how much more those tourists who live in Europe or in the U.S.

In terms of facilities, I have no more to say. But for those people who are working hard and decently I salute them for doing that given what their environment feels and looks like.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your post. So when i get to manila to transfer from Philippine air to malaysia air then i have to take a taxi to get to the NAIA terminal, and then pay the 750 pesos terminal fee even though it's a 2 hour transit? Thanks.