Caught (up) in traffic

Home » Air travel

Category Archives: Air travel

On airport congestion again

I have been traveling a lot the past months and most of these trips require air travel. We’ve experienced quite a number of delays including waiting for about an hour inside an airplane. That happened after boarding and being informed by the pilot that they have been instructed by Manila air traffic control to standby where we were. Where we were was one of the major cities in Mindanao so that meant instant delay to our travel. Other times, we were on time; leaving around the original ETD and landing around the original ETA. To be fair, my most recent flights were quite okay with our plane landing 15-20 minutes ahead of the ETA. This recent variation in the travel times show that congestion is not necessarily a big a problem as it was months ago or even a year or so ago. Perhaps there have already been adjustments, for example, in airlines’ juggling their fleets to reduce turnaround times. Air traffic control may also have been optimized for various airports. This challenge to reduce airport congestion both on the ground and in flight is a continuing effort by airports and is not limited to Manila.

Aircraft queuing for take-off at Changi Airport in Singapore

Aerial photos of Cebu and Mactan

I enjoy taking aerial photos when the opportunities present themselves. Leaving Cebu for Manila a couple of weeks ago, I was able to take some nice photos as or plane took off and cruised over Mactan Island. Here are some of the better photos:

A view of Mandaue and Cebu cities across from Mactan Island as our plane took off from the airport

Here’s a first look (a bird’s eye view) of the ongoing construction of the third bridge connecting Cebu and Mactan Islands. This is part of the Cebi-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) project.

Here’s another view of the island with the airplane engine in the photo.
Here is a close-up photo of the island where tall columns will be built to support the CCLEX bridge. The viaduct in the photo is the one connecting downtown Cebu City with the South Reclamation Project area that includes the SM Seaside development.

The SM Seaside as seen from the air

Here’s a view of the South Reclamation Project area with SM Seaside as our plane turned north towards Manila.

Another view of Cebu City and the SRP

Here’s my favourite shot of Cebu and Mactan Islands with the SRP on the foreground, the CCLEX bridge under construction and Mactan International Airport

Back in Zamboanga – arrival

I was back in Zamboanga last week for a short workshop. We were supposed to arrive just before 6AM as we took the first flight from Manila. Our flight was delayed, however, and we arrived around 7:30AM instead. I will write about this in another post. Meanwhile, here are some photos upon our arrival in Zamboanga International Airport.

We deplaned from the rear door of the aircraft and that afforded me this shot of the plane and the terminal.

I admire the architecture of the airport terminal. It is an example of architecture appropriate for the city/locale with its rich cultural heritage.

Luggage of arriving passengers are unloaded from the aircraft while a tanker refuels the plane. You can see the fuel hose attached to the wing of the aircraft.

Passengers enter the arrival area of the terminal

Passengers and stevedores crowd around the single baggage conveyor at the claim area.

We found this interesting tarp as we exited the airport terminal showing some statistics on Zamboanga’s population.

Aerial photo: Diliman, Quezon City

The aircraft we were flying on in a recent trip circled on the approach to NAIA and we were afforded some terrific opportunities to take aerial shots of Quezon City. This was before the rains of the Christmas holidays so the skies were clear of clouds. Here is one of the photos I took showing the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

That wide road on the left is Commonwealth Avenue and you can see part of the Elliptical Road at the bottom left. There are few large patches of green in Metro Manila and many are in the largest city – Quezon City. You can see that these include the campus and Balara.

Aerial photos are no longer that rare these days as there are many who take shots from drones. Then, of course, there are shots like these you can take from the plane you’re riding. Have a nice Sunday!

On inflight meals again: Emirates

I decided to take Emirates for my recent trip to The Netherlands as I opted to have a stopover in Dubai to have some recovery time. Travel time between Manila and Dubai took about 8 hours and between Dubai and Amsterdam about 7 hours. I thought (and friends have also told me) that this was better than having a very long flight where you’re practically confined to the aircraft. I have also been informed that the inflight meals on Emirates were better than most airlines even on economy. I must agree with that observation and I’m now posting some of the “stolen” shots I took of the inflight meals.

Breakfast served on the Manila-Dubai leg of my trip

Breakfast on the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my trip

Menu on the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my trip

The lunch selection was okay and I always thought that one doesn’t have to gobble up everything served to you inflight. Eat and drink just enough so you won’t feel hungry or thirsty on a long flight. Check out the food if the taste suits you. If you don’t feel eating or it doesn’t taste right to you then perhaps you should pass or opt for some light snacks.

I refrained from taking photos of my meals back to Manila but they were again alright compared to most inflight meals I’ve had. I guess the better ones I’ve had would be on my long haul flights to the US with Japan Airlines (JAL). Of course, I am sure other people would have other opinions about inflight meals including those who categorically state these are unhealthy. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but keep it to yourself and don’t even try posting it here. 🙂

On inflight meals

I remember having full meals during domestic flights I took with my family back in the 1970s and 1980s. Morning flights provided for a good enough breakfast, noon had a good enough lunch, and evenings had good enough dinners. I say “good enough” because there seems to be a general aversion to airline food among passengers. To be fair, the meals served on Philippine Airlines (PAL) domestic flights in the 1970s and 1980s were okay. They were not gourmet or what you’d expect at good restaurants but the meals are not garbage or awful as some people would state. I think many people expected too much from airline food. Perhaps they want the food served on First Class or Business Class to be the same served on Economy?

I enjoyed my meals on Economy Class on Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines and Thai Airways. And recently, I also enjoyed the meals served on my Qantas flights between Manila, Sydney and Melbourne. Here are some photos from those flights:

Healthy snack on my Melbourne to Sydney flight with Qantas

Beef  and steamed vegetables on my flight back to Manila

Ice cream bar for dessert

Afternoon snack – the noodles were good

Airport terminal transfer in Sydney

My flight to Melbourne was via Sydney. I chose Qantas because of the more favorable schedule as well as the cheaper fares the schedule provided compared with Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines (via Singapore). And so knowing I would have to transfer at Sydney airport, I decided to have more than an hour’s layover there. It turned out to be a good decision as we had to pick-up our luggage, clear customs and then walk over to the transfer area at the international terminal to have our check-in luggage tagged and dropped off before proceeding to ride a transporter (bus) to the domestic terminal. It was also a good thing that Qantas already thought about such transfers and had good facilities and service for such. Needless to say, the transfer was smooth/efficient.

We had to get our baggage after clearing immigration

We had to walk towards the Qantas transfer facility to have our baggage tagged and dropped off for our connecting flights. In my case, that was for my journey to Melbourne.

After dropping off our luggage, we waited to board the bus that would take us to the domestic terminal. The service frequencies are shown in the sign above.

I was near the front of the line is I was able to board early and take a photo as people were just filling the bus.

Scenes of aircraft ground operations while we were in transit from the international terminal to the domestic terminal includes this American Airlines jet replenishing on inflight meals.

Here’s another view of the same jet getting serviced at the airport.

This is how the bus looks once it fills with people

This is the scene when we arrived at the domestic terminal. Passengers at the terminal were also waiting to board the bus bound for the international terminal.

En route to my boarding gate, I took a few photos of the corridor lined with various shops.

There were also cafes and restaurants for those wanting to have or grab a quick meal or drink.

I arrived at the boarding gate with much time ahead of my flight. There were, however, many passengers already waiting, too.

It seems crowded but there were enough seats for those wanting to relax while waiting for the boarding call. Others seem to prefer just standing (healthier?) there. It was still early in the morning so most people were just quiet or conversing softly with fellow travelers. I myself was a bit sleepy and looking forward to taking a nap on the 1.5-hour flight to Melbourne.