Thursday, October 23, 2008

Roaming NAIA Terminal 3

After the breezy check-in, I saw on my phone that it was just 5:03AM and I thought “here I go again… a long and useless wait” which I was later to know was even more hehe.

So I killed time walking around the big expanse of the check-in area, looking at the various fixtures and everything else that caught my attention. There was the time I tried sitting on those many lounge seats niftily scattered all over the place. I thought they were comfy aside from being lovely to look at. Even visited a comfort room… clean so far. Climbed up to some kind of mezzanine or loft and there was a coffee shop even fastfood stalls. Walked the entirety of the terminal fee counters and I was amused why they have different names!!

For Domestic flights, your P200 is a 'Terminal Fee' and these are the counters (right side) that block your way going inside and unto the waiting lounges/areas. For international side (left and contiguously beside the terminal fee counters) these are called “Airport User’s Charge” counters. And that is how your P750 is called! What’s the difference? It’s the same building, floor, roof that you the domestic and international passengers trod on anyway! Ah, whatever!

At least in this area (or at least at the time I passed), there were ample terminal fee collectors to get your money and attach that ceremonial piece of paper on your boarding pass. So there was not much of a queue. And this area is so expansive I even found time to play with a little tot romping around with her mom trying to catch up! Now, remember where you pay Terminal Fees at the old domestic airport? Argh! That old and dilapidating building should be torn to pieces now.

After I thought I had more than enough time wasted aimlessly walking the check-in and terminal fee areas, I thought I would better go inside. And so I did. After paying my terminal fee, I followed other passengers guided by a guard to skip the row of empty immigration counters since this was a domestic flight. After that, I had to reluctantly abide by the usual “security–check–again” where one has to remove footwear and cellular phones and coins and belts to be placed in plastic trays. This area is at least expansive too on the other side with more seats (and even a red carpet) for you to gather yourself and re-wear your stinking footwear hehehe! No turning left after this place since that would be the artificial wall separating domestic and international passenger operations!

Witty for them airport authorities to have placed those food and coffee shops/stalls right after the final security area! The tendency of a harassed passenger is to look for somewhere to sit, eat and drink just to recover. Thus, many passengers would really truly patronize what they’re selling – even if on other occasions they won’t! Take me as an example, I was not even that harassed but got a bit wary and hungry at that security-check ceremonials! Thus, passing at this area, I had to dive for the overpriced bola-bola siopao and ridiculously priced bottled water hehe!

I decided to roam the whole pre-departure area before going to my assigned gate. Oh, when I checked, my flight would be boarded at Gate 134 – which I readily discerned would be one of the “bus gates”. Yep, a “bus gate” is a term that friends and I use for boarding gates that use no aerobridge but instead haul passengers by bus (or sometimes on foot) to the aircraft. So I told myself, okay walk the top floor first, then go down to my bu gate.

Oh hey, gate 116 is cute – meaning the entrance to it is not easily found unless you ask a guard as it is in some kind of “still under construction area” behind a tiangge-style stall. And it’s actually at 2nd level (departure area is 3rd floor level of the building) in the same floor of the arrivals hall! At the stairs going down to gate 116, you’d be normal to hesitate and ask if you were going in the right direction since it’s as if you’re going down an emergency exit hehe. Good there is always a guard stationed at that area. But hey, once there, you’ll realize it’s the biggest gate of them all with a very very very wide space for a “waiting area”. It’s like a convention hall hehe!

After gate 116, went back up and walked all the way to Gate 120, just to see how things are in this terminal as I can’t sit still for two hours waiting for my boarding call.

The comfort rooms are clean so far – though this had never been an issue for me ever since terminal 1 and that old domestic airport. There always are janitors to keep the place clean, tidy and dry.

The smoking lounge is wide and with a respectable type/strength of air-conditioning. And yes, like at terminal 2, there is a coffee shop inside. Whoa, one of the glass panels (ok, window) can be opened to let the smoke escape from the building.

Finally went via the tall escalator going down to my boarding gate – ground level and below the arrivals hall. Oh, there is the “other” smoking lounge right across my gate! How convenient. And this place has no coffee shop! Just chairs and ashtrays and trash bins. It’s also all glassed up like upstairs but there is no panel that can be opened. The ionizer though seems to be working well – or there were not too many smokers during the time I was there. Whatever!

And so, I waited for my flight at this smoker’s lounge.




For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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