Much has been said and written about the congestion at the immigration area at the Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. My most recent experience was a mix of good and bad as the lines were quite long prior to my departure for Bangkok.
A very crowded immigration area when I joined the line. Note how far I was to the immigration booths and the meandering arrangement to maximise the space for queued travellers. I reckon that it took me almost an hour to get to a booth. Perhaps the airport can place some signs indicating how much time is estimated for one in line to get to the front? I wrote about this back in 2014 and proposed something similar to what I saw at airports like Narita and Incheon.
Meanwhile, the lines were shorter and faster upon my arrival a week later as shown in the following photo:
Believe me these lines are shorter and faster moving. There were many immigration personnel the night of my arrival including an old friend from high school. Only, there were only 2 plane loads of passengers so it will definitely be worse during the peak hours when larger aircraft with more passengers arrive at the terminal.
It is a good thing that the airport is installing machines for express lanes soon. That will surely expedite processing for, at least, Filipinos returning from abroad. I think the departures would be quite tricky since there are many requirements particularly for workers leaving for their overseas assignments as well as government employees who require travel authority (TA) for them to travel abroad for whatever purpose. I think its Terminal 1 that is more notorious for the long queues as I didn’t have similar experience when using Terminals 2 or 3. Airport and immigration officials should exert more effort to ensure such congestion is minimised especially as the country targets more passenger traffic through its international airports.