Saturday, November 19, 2011

Transit at NAIA Terminal 3: Naga-Manila-Cebu

Fantastic sunset as we landed in Manila from Naga City. But I was not home yet! Home isn't Quezon City anymore. I was just passing by NAIA 3 on my way to Cebu since there are no direct Naga-Cebu flights. In fact I was already holding my MNL-CEB boarding pass issued at naga when I checked-in for this WNP-MNL flight. And I did not want to reverse my Cebu-Legaspi-Naga-Caramoan route because I had the luxury of zero-fares! I do not get to land in Manila at such a time of day since we all avoid it, right? Yeah, the excruciating afternoon traffic. But since I was just in transit to Cebu, I liked it that this flight was arriving MNL at about 4PM. Here’s part of that story…

Turboprops (propeller airplanes) do not use any of the gates at Terminal 3. And I know that. Its useless for an airline to use them anyway. Why? Because these planes are too small, they cannot be reached by the aerobridge (air tube) for a more comfortable disembarkation of passengers. And my flight from Naga was using an ATR, so it naturally ‘parked’ at an open area of the tarmac called a “bay”. Already near the old domestic airport actually. And we had to walk all the way to arrival area. Its not near! From entering the end of the building, we stumbled upon an escalator that does not work, so we used the stairs beside it. Then the long walk to arrival area was pure walk since none of the two “walkalators” were working either!

As other passengers waited for their luggage at the conveyor belts, I approached the supposedly “transfer desk” of Cebu Pacific (just before you emerge out into the arrival lobby). Only to be told the obvious… that I continue onwards to the arrival lobby, walk to the side and find that there are stairs going up to departure area, enter the check-in counter (but omit check-in since I already had a boarding pass), proceed to the terminal fee counters (and just show my Naga-Manila boarding pass to avoid payment of terminal fee), proceed to the security check (obviously) and find my way to Gate 120 (unfortunately the farthest) for my Manila-Cebu flight (obviously too, right?)!. If I compute the total distance I have walked from the arriving plane to the departure gate of my next flight, it would probably have been almost 2 kilometers, definitely more than just one!

Hey, I know airports and I might say I have known them quite well. And I know what a transfer desk is and what it should be. It is not just an information counter with an airline employee telling you where the arrivals lobby is and where departure area is. It is supposed to cut the hassle of walking around when transferring from your arrival flight to your connecting flight. There are many points at Terminal 3 where that could be installed by any airline, and there are better ways to let the passenger pass through. Instead of becoming just another arriving and departing passenger. Otherwise, there is no use checking a passenger through to his connecting flight. AND there is no use putting up a FAKE transfer desk.

I can point out the specifics on this but I get paid for that! The airline’s employees better use their brains. If at all, this “transfer desk”, a product of the usual old-fashioned way of thinking has had a use… and that is making things simpler for them as workers not their passengers. Why? Well, in this “check-through“ case, what was removed was the extra time and effort of a check-in agent in Manila processing me. Yun lang inisip nila, NOT the convenience or comfort of the passenger transitting on a flight from Naga to Manila and onwards from Manila to Cebu. Now imagine if I had a check-in baggage. Hmp!

Anyway, it was a nice afternoon departure from Manila to a nice evening arrival in Cebu! It arrived ahead of schedule, because we departed ahead of schedule hehe!

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these 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

1 comment :

  1. I also experienced this hassle when I flew Cebu Pacific from Puerto Princesa-Manila-Naga last summer. I was also thinking that there would be a transfer desk but there's none.