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Amsterdam Schipol Airport railway station

My recent trip to Europe had me traveling from my entry point at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport to Enschede in Twente. I took the Intercity train to my destination city but not before taking photos around Schipol Airport and its underground train station.

This was my first look at the train station at Amsterdam Schipol Airport

Directional signs for arriving passengers

Ticket counters for various destinations from Schipol – one can purchase tickets for domestic or international destinations at the airport, which is a major gateway for Europe.

Cafes and shops at Schipol

Passengers checking their documents or verifying directions

Information booth at the airport

Travelers at Schipol airport

At the platform

Passengers boarding or waiting at the platform of Schipol station

Double decker car of an Intercity train headed for Venlo

My Intercity train ticket to Enschede

Back of the ticket

I like these clocks at railway stations and airports. They give me an opportunity to synchronise my watch with the clocks and the time at the country and city where I am at.

Transfer at Dubai International Airport

Arriving at Dubai en route to The Netherlands, we deplaned to be transported by bus to the airport terminal. Those of us bound for Europe boarded a different bus that took us to the terminal for what I assumed were for Europe-bound flights. This was good as we didn’t have to figure out the maze that was Dubai airport including passing through security and figuring out how to go to our designated boarding gate. Following are photos I took at Terminal A.

Upon arrival at the terminal we proceeded towards the security clearance prior to our transfer gate.

Information on the boarding gates were already posted when we arrived. The airline already issued my boarding pass for the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my travel but it didn’t have info on the boarding gate yet.There were directional signs including those for people transferring to another terminal/wing using the transporter.

Many friends have said that Dubai airport is practically a mall. My first look and impression was that it is with all the shopping options there.

I decided to walk around first in order to have some exercise after the 8-hour flight from Manila. More shops and cafes greeted me everywhere I turned. It was quite tempting to go shopping but for a personal rule I have to never shop when just beginning a trip.

It was early morning (4:30 AM Dubai time) when we arrived at the terminal so there were still few people around.

One thing I regretted later was not purchasing a model airplane (I collect these.) from the Emirates show near our gate. I thought I would have enough time to do so upon my return. 

This was our boarding gate at about 5:00 AM. Notice it was still dark outside.

This is the area near our boarding gate, which turned out to be a pre-departure area of sorts. Notice that there were already a lot of passengers at the time I took the photo (7:00 AM). That was understandable as we were to board an A380 to Schipol.

Here is our plane docked at the airport.

After we cleared the gate, we ended up at another lounge prior to boarding the plane. Its good though that the airline staff were able to manage the boarding sequence well and most passengers followed instructions. That was not to be on the trip back.

Airport airside congestion in London

My wife sent me this photo prior to taking off from London Heathrow on her way home.

That’s a very long queue of planes waiting to take off!

This reminded me of the articles that came out about a multi-billion peso plan to expand the Ninoy Aquino International Airport with a giant terminal forming out of connecting Terminals 1, 2 and 4. Even with a huge terminal building with a much higher passenger capacity, NAIA still would’t be able to solve its congestion woes with only 2 (intersecting) runways. Take it from the capital city airports in the region including Singapore’s Changi that has multiple parallel runways that allow for almost simultaneous take-offs and landings. Such allows the airport to handle more flights – plain and simple.

On airport runway names

There’s an interesting article on runway renaming that appeared on Wired. Ever wondered what those numbers on airport runways are about? Well, they represent the runway’s orientation, which is influenced by many factors among them the magnitude and dominant directions of winds. Historical wind data are collected and translated into a wind rose, which looks very much like a compass, and is used to determine a suitable orientation for a runway.

Davies, A. (2018) Thank the planet’s shifty magnetic poles for runway renaming, http://www.wired.com, https://www.wired.com/story/airports-rename-runways-magnetic-shift/?CNDID=37243643&mbid=nl_011918_daily_list3_p2 [Last accessed 1/21/2018].

NAIA’s main runway is 06-24 or 24-06 depending on the take-off or landing direction. Does it need renaming, too?

Overnight parking rates at NAIA T3 – some updates

I recently posted about the new parking rates at NAIA Terminal 3. I took this photo last night as we exited the Terminal 3 parking lot after our delayed arrival from a domestic trip.

There’s no mention in the signs about overnight rates. When asked about the latter, the staff at the booth simply replied that the information posted are their new parking rates. I assume this is just for Terminal 3 as that is what the signs stated and perhaps because only T3 has a multi-level parking facility. The other three terminals only have open parking lots. It’s easy to calculate your parking fees should you opt to leave your vehicles at the T3 multi-level building. If you find it expensive then perhaps you can just take public transport or have someone drop you off (and pick-up later).

New rates at NAIA Terminal 3 multi-level parking

Only last weekend I was surprised to have been charged 840 pesos for what was usually a  600-peso fee for the equivalent of 2 nights parking at NAIA Terminal 3’s multi-level parking. When I asked, I was informed by the staff that they don’t have overnight parking charges anymore effective a certain date. There was supposed to be a sign at the parking entrance but I didn’t notice this when I entered the facility very early (around 4:00 AM) last Thursday. Here’s a photo of the receipt issued to me.

Note that regular rates were applied and zero was charged for overnight parking. Also note the classification as a “regular” parker. Before, the staff just makes the assessment that the person is an ‘overnighter’ based on the info of time-in and time-out (quite easy to see) and issues overnight tickets of 300 pesos each (per night) for the assessed number for the Parker. [I posted about this previously.]

I have another colleague who was similarly charged despite just an overnight. I still have to confirm it but it seems that there really is no longer an overnight parking rate and they just charge you with the regular rates. That means they are now maximising the revenues from parking and no longer provide incentives for those leaving their cars while away on trips. Whether this is something like a progressive initiative for parking or not, its actually going to be a turn-off for many including individuals and families who usually leave their cars when they travel domestically or abroad for business or pleasure.

Ho Chi Minh City’s (Saigon’s) Tan Son Nhat International Airport departure

This is a late post about Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport – the Tan Son That International Airport. I meant to post it weeks ago but then other more interesting topics came by including those about articles that I could quickly share. So here it goes and with some photos I took at the terminal:

Airport terminal driveway

The driveway at the departure level actually reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own driveway. The resemblance is uncanny.

Taxi stand at the departure level driveway?

Unloading luggage from the taxi

Passengers may get carts to help them carry their luggage

Spacious check-in lobby

The layout of the lobby also reminded me of the NAIA Terminal 3

Duty free shops inside the airport terminal

Many terminal spaces have yet to be occupied

More shops inside the terminal

This large shop sells local items and I discovered that it is cheaper to get your coffee, chocolates and other souvenirs.

Vietnam manufactures many name brand items including leather goods, shoes, bags and clothes. You can get these legitimate ‘Made in Vietnam’ goods at the airport a bit lower prices because they are sold duty free. Of course, they will not be as cheap compared to the high quality knock-offs you can buy downtown.

The corridor to the pre-departure areas is lined up with seats and, of course, more shops

The pre-departure areas also have shops for the last minute shopper. I still had a few hundred thousand dongs on me so I ended up buying more coffee.

Korean Air plane being towed to the terminal

Passengers waiting for their boarding call may just opt to take a seat as others circulate among shops and cafes

Tiger Air plane berthed at the terminal

Spacious pre-departure area for our gate

The bridge to our plane back to Manila

Our boarding gate

Overall, I think the airport terminal was well-maintained and the procedures were quite efficient. It was not crowded despite the many flights handled by the airport.