In early September Geoffrey James wrote about his awfully disappointing experience of Manila and the exact, unimpressive aura of the Ninoy Aquino International airport that it has since time immemorial (stress on this two precise places). As expected, hate comments came pouring in and sad to say, those came from my fellow Filipinos. Well, those who either turn a blind eye to the country’s stagnant stature or simply those with misplaced pride. The article is solely about the author’s experience and does not reflect the city nor the Philippines as a whole. James wrote what a frequent foreign traveler have observed for more than 15 years. Anyway, what he did pinpoint of the airport are the same sentiments I have.
To support his claim, CNN’s article on the ten most hated airports would be helpful. Since we’re talking about the NAIA let’s go with the 5 most hated starting from the top.
1. Charles de Gaulle, Paris, France
It was in 2002 when I first set foot on this huge airport. I was traveling with my year-old daughter and it was a good thing that we had 3 hours waiting time before boarding the plane to Vienna. There were shuttles available but I didn’t get to board for lack of experience traveling then (and I don’t remember why we don’t have a stroller that’s supposed to be provided by the plane). I wasn’t sure about the signs leading here and there — I even got into the wrong line once. Long story short, I was able to find the platform for our connecting flight via a long distance, we only had to wait 30 minutes and for the positive in it, I walked/exercised. ^_^
The last time I was at the CDG Paris Airport, we were at the other terminal meant for shorter flights (European) so the area is not as congested as that for international flights.
2. Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, United States
LAX, hubby said, is chaotic in the sense that….he just shrugged his shoulders and gave me this link…a summary of what travelers have experienced.
“Worst airport, long lines, horrible, grumpy people and nasty staff” are some of the descriptions I read a lot of times.
3. London Heathrow, London, England
Parking messes. Busted baggage carousels. Deadlocked security lines. Long walks (or, more commonly, runs) between gates to a frenzied soundtrack of “last call” announcements are among the many concerns in the famous airport of Love Actually.
It must have been better days when I was there, I enjoyed the airport, hassle-free compared to Gatwick.
4.Toncontín International, Honduras
According to the article Tincontin’s runways are too short even if lengthened by 300 meters.
5. Ninoy Aquino International, Manila, Philippines
I have been going to the Ninoy Aquino International (NAIA) airport since I was a kid, it was still named MIA then or Manila International Airport. I was 7 when it was changed to NAIA – Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but that could be the only thing that has changed…particularly in Terminal 1…if it did, it is perhaps for the worse.
Terminal 2 or the Centennial terminal fares very well opposed to Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is the exclusive terminal of the Philippine Airlines and is used for both its domestic and international flights. Last time I was there was in 2009, waiting to board our plane going to Singapore, there I spotted Kris Aquino, the daughter of whom the airport’s name was changed to, with her then husband waiting for their flight to Hongkong.
Many has aired concern about the big difference in the two terminals but nothing, of course, has been done. Obviously for me who pays a fee when leaving the country after a vacation and another 700pesos for each of us (we’re 5 in the family) – terminal fee which is said to be used for maintenance of the airport, I would wonder where the money goes.
Edit: Terminal Fee is 750pesos, not 700. 🙂