Sunday, May 12, 2013

The NAIA Hurdle

It has been more than a month since my last post.

Sorry about that.

To continue the chronicle of traveling to UAE, the second challenge would be conquering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport jungle.  I'm sorry to say, this airport is worst than Divisoria,  At least in divisoria a lot of good stuff to buy and eat.

NAIA or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Terminal serves as the hub for international airlines except the flag carrier.  Most of the airlines are cramped inside this old building.  If you are a first timer traveler the place will totally keep you disoriented.  I myself will never get used to the chaos inside this airport.  A small tip, if you will be flying Etihad Airlines, their check-in counter will be on the right side.  If you will be flying Gulf Air their counter will be on the far left once you enter the building.

After the long queue, you will present your passport and ticket.  Again, this information will be very helpful for those who will be traveling internationally for the first time.   Be aware that you will be paying for a travel tax.  Some tickets already included the charge.  Check your ticket prior to checking in so you don't have to go back and forth to different counters.  If its not included in your ticket, you can pay the amount of Php 1,670.00 to the Philippine Tourism Authority counter.  This is near the main entrance of the airport. After checking in, you can now go straight to the immigration counter.

You will be surprised to see the long queue in every counter.  As much as I hate to admit this, most immigration officer in this airport can be "sneaky" be very careful in answering questions and providing necessary documents to support your travel.  There are horror stories experienced by Filipinos who have shelled out money just to have that stamp on their passport.  I was lucky the first time I traveled from this airport.  The same goes for my parents and brother.  However, a friend and some other acquaintance had to give these officers money just to board the darn plane.  Shame on those people who rob fellow Filipinos of money.  Shame on them.

Lastly, it is safe to say that if you have proper documentation in your travel, you don't have to worry.  If the conversation  between you and the IO is heading to the "asking-for-money" situation, ask for their name and report it.  I would gladly take their name and have them dismissed.  I don't have that power, but I am so willing to help to get rid of those people. 

By the way, the flight from Manila to Abu Dhabi takes about 8 hours.  Once you land of the zaby, follow the signage for the immigration counter (or better yet follow the crowd, you don't have to look crazy panicky)  before lining up at the immigration counter to have your passport stamped, go to the eye scan room.  This is the room on the far right of the immigration counter row.  This is only applicable for first timers entering UAE.  For the seasoned traveler of UAE no need to do the scanning all over again.

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