The Philippines reportedly has one of the worst airports in the world. Some even argues that we actually have the worst. It’s a common recurrence in the news to hear about NAIA ranking in the list of the most terrible airports worldwide.
Though our country face worse problems in a daily basis, there’s no denying that our own airport can cause much stress to travelers, locals and foreigners alike. There is a need to improve the facilities and service, and voicing out our dilemmas about our airport terminals is one way to solve the problem. We often cannot wait to follow our wanderlust, but traveling can be pretty stressful, too.
For Filipinos, the stress of traveling start in our own airport. Before we can even pass immigration, we are bombarded with questions and asked for a bunch of documents to prove our right to leave the country. It’s not just international airports that can cause a traveler headache, though, because even our domestic airport can make traveling a painful experience.
1. Paying a hefty terminal fee and travel tax
No one likes to be presented with a money problem the moment they step into the terminal. Sadly, that’s how things go in the country. Seat sales can be so misleading. Piso fare promos sound so promising, but you’re faced with more payment once you get to the airport. Scoring a flight to Singapore for less than 2,000PHP sounds incredible, but your expenses don’t end there. Besides the crippling surcharge, you also have to worry about paying the terminal fee and travel tax before you can go through immigration. It’s almost unheard of in other countries to pay a travel tax before checking in. Besides, paying the travel tax wouldn’t hurt so bad if we could see where our money’s going.
2. Long lines at check-in counter
It’s necessary for passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight, because they’re faced with long lines at the counter. If you do not want to be stressed out trying to arrive on the right boarding time, you can do a web check-in at least 24 hours before your flight. Some airlines have also solved this problem by providing self check-in kiosks. But if you have check-in baggages, you cannot avoid the counter.
3. Being heavily questioned in the immigration even though you have a Visa
Due to the large number of illegal immigrants, the immigration officers are diligent in sniffing out Filipino travelers who have intentions of finding work abroad despite only having a tourist Visa. So even for travelers whose only desire is to backpack across a foreign country, they’ll be questioned thoroughly before being allowed to pass.
4. Being denied in the immigration even when the country you’re visiting doesn’t require a Visa
Philippine passport holders can visit other Southeast Asian countries without applying for a visa. So technically, we can visit our neighboring countries without having to worry about being stopped in immigration. But due to the serious case of human trafficking and thousands of illegal Filipino workers abroad, immigration officers can’t be lax about it. It can cause anxiety even for travelers who are only traveling for leisure, but there’s no other way but to comply with what the officers desire.
5. Providing enormous amount of proof that you’re leaving just to travel and nothing else
Be prepared to be asked for your flight ticket, certificate of employment, proof of where you’re staying, and even a sponsorship letter! Don’t forget to bring your company I.D. or your student I.D. for further proof that you have a reason to come back. It can be nerve-wracking but keep your composure. Prepare for all of it beforehand so you won’t panic when asked to present your documents.
6. Arriving early at your boarding gate only to learn that they moved your flight’s boarding gate elsewhere
Sadly, overhead speakers in NAIA Terminal 3 can’t be heard in all corners of the terminal. We almost missed our flight to Ho Chi Minh because the announcement didn’t reach our boarding gate. You can be lucky and hear passing attendants that the boarding gate is moved or unfortunate and miss your flight.
7. Learning that all your plans won’t push through because they won’t let you leave the country
There are many reasons why one is denied of leaving the country. It’s better to be educated of the usual reasons one is suspected of planning to work illegally abroad. It’s better to avoid these problems. However, there are times when the reason can be as simple as carrying way too much luggage for a vacation. So to avoid this very stressful and depressing situation, prepare for the worst.
Our airports have a long way to go before we can be proud of it. Though Filipinos have a lot more to learn about traveling, we still believe that our airports can be improved. If we want to push tourism in our country, it’s essential that our airport terminals deliver a quality kind of service for locals and tourists alike.