11 December 2011

what most people go through at naia terminal 1

We all know that NAIA Terminal 1 was declared as the world’s worst airport a few months ago, but I just wanted to share the experience we had there when we left the Philippines. We didn’t have any problems with the authorities or anything, but this just goes to show what a pretty lousy system they have.

After having our OFW papers stamped and verified or whatever at the OFW Lounge, we proceeded to the entrance of the Departure Area. The queue we went to was pretty long, and probably because one of the personnel saw that we had a toddler, he directed us to the other side where he said the queue was shorter. But contrary to what he said, we found that there were also a lot of people waiting in line to have their luggage screened. Since we didn’t want to walk all the way back to the first line, we just stayed where we were and waited for our turn.

After having our baggage screened, we went to the area where we could get Caila’s travel tax exemption certificate. Just for your information, here are the rates for the travel taxes:

First Class
Full Rate: P2,700
Standard Reduced Rate: P1,350
OFW Dependent: P400

Economy Class
Full Rate: P1,620
Standard Reduced Rate: P810
OFW Dependent: P300

Processing Fee: P200 (per certificate)

As soon as we received the exemption certificate, we headed to the check-in counter. Once we located the area, we saw there were lots and lots of people in several queues just for one flight. Since there was no proper sign or notice or person to direct the people what had to go first (even though we saw a few personnel who were just standing or walking around, looking at the passengers), we just followed the others. Big mistake because it was the wrong queue. As I mentioned, there were several of them. The first one where the luggage that was going to be checked in would be counted and weighed was really ridiculous. I mean, what are the weighing machines at the counters for if the baggage is going to be weighed beforehand?! When we pointed this out to the lady there, she just said that it was how they did things now. Honestly, I think this was just something the airport authorities added so that their people would have something to do. It was totally a waste of time and space! Anyway, fine, we went through that with no problems. Then, we had to go to another line to have our visas, passports, and OECs checked. After the guy at that counter verified our documents, we followed the queue leading to the check-in counters.At the check-in counter where we again presented our passports, OECs and tickets, the lady did whatever she had to do (which didn’t include weighing our baggage anymore). However, when she told me our seat numbers, I was surprised because I had asked our travel agent at the time the tickets were issued for the five of us to be seated beside each other or in the same row, but the lady told us that Ate Cel’s seat was completely far from us. I even showed her the seat numbers that were assigned to us on the e-ticket I was holding. After she checked their system and called someone (which took all of 5 minutes), she finally corrected the seat number on Ate Cel’s ticket.

We then proceeded to the Terminal Fee collection area (for OFWs) where we had to present our OECs (again) and boarding passes. Hubby had to queue at the normal counter to pay for Caila’s terminal fee which cost P750 for passengers above 2 years old.

And then we had to queue again at the Immigration counters for the exit stamp in our passports. Here we had to present our passports, boarding passes, and the completed Embarkation Cards (which were given to us earlier while we were waiting in line to check-in). This took a really long time. The people at the OFW-designated counters were soooo slow! The ones at the normal counters were much faster, considering the passengers there had more documents to present.

After that we had to fall in line again, this time for our hand-carried stuff and shoes to be scanned and inspected. There were only 2 being used for the large number of passengers (one for men, one for women), even though I could see that there were a few more at the side. Either they just wanted us to suffer a bit more or the machines were broken and useless. You figure it out. Finally, we headed for the gate of our flight. The last time I travelled from NAIA, there were around 5 employees at a table who inspected the passengers’ hand-carry bags before they could enter the waiting area. And if you were carrying any bottles of liquid, you had to surrender these as well. This was in addition to the scanning and inspection procedures after Immigration. This time however, there were only 2 employees at the table who just checked the boarding passes.

When we heard the announcement that those with kids could board, we stood up immediately and fell in line for the last time in NAIA (for now). Again, Caila was given a bag with all sorts of goodies, which (again) she asked us to open right away as soon as she settled in her seat.

After a while, the plane proceeded down the runway; and by the time it was in the air, our daughter had fallen fast asleep...and within minutes, so had Hubby and me.


  1. this post was helpful pam since we are going on vacation to philippines. at least we know what to expect at the airport when we are fying back to Dubai. i processed the travel tax exemption for the kids here para wala na hassle duon sa atin and here it was for free

  2. glad to help :) buti pa kayo, uuwi for the holidays. kainggit! :) nung time kasi na nag-apply kami ng oec papers sa polo-owwa dito, sabi nila sa pinas na lang asikasuhin yung travel tax exemption. kaya siguro nila sinabi yun para magbayad kami. hay!

  3. Thanks for this, Pamela. Now I know what to expect and what to prepare for at NAIA.


Popular Posts