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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?

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.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) airport arrival

It was my first time to travel to Vietnam and so the opportunity to take photos of the international airport at Ho Chi Minh City presented itself. I wanted to see for myself how the terminal compared to Manila’s considering other airports in the region such as Changi, Kuala Lumpur and Suvarnabhumi are definitely better than NAIA.

View of the tarmac from our tube after we disembarked from our aircraft

The airport had a linear layout similar to NAIA’s Terminals 2 and 3, and so we had to walk some distance to the immigration counters. The moving walkway was functioning well and speeded up our walk.

Descending from the second level after clearing immigration, you get this view of the baggage claim area. Frankly, it reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own baggage claim area.

The view of the bottom of the stairs

The baggage claim area was as spacious at that level 

Another photo of the baggage claim area. After clearing customs and exiting to the arrival lobby, you can change currencies at the many banks offering these services or perhaps purchase an item(s) at the shops.

The taxi stand is along the terminal driveway where you can also wait for an Uber or Grab car. Ridesharing/ridehailing apps Uber and Grab are very popular in HCMC and are definitely cheaper than getting a cab so this option is highly recommended for travelers.

The arrival area is spacious and features several  outdoor cafes/restaurants

Here is one cafe beside the aircraft departure and arrival information boards

Another cafe, this one near the taxi stand

Zamboanga airport departure

Returning to Manila after our business in Zamboanga was completed, we rented a van to take us to the airport. I also took the opportunity to take more photos of the airport.

I think the sign should state “departing” instead of “departure”

The check-in counters have windows, which I found to be unusual as similar counters in other airports like Cebu, Davao and Iloilo are open.

Spacious check-in lobby of the terminal

Posted on the windows at the check-in counters are information on items to be declared and those prohibited or not allowed on carry-on (hand carried) luggage.

Here’s another sign pertaining to valuable, fragile and prohibited items for checked-in and carry on luggage

Ground floor pre-departure area

The airport has a relatively spacious pre-departure area considering the terminal is older than the likes of Iloilo, Bacolod/Silay, Puerto Princesa and Laguindingan.

At the back are wood and steel benches typical of what you might find in parks rather than in an airport terminal. Perhaps these were placed here to provide more seats to waiting passengers?

At the Second Floor are concessionaires selling food, drinks and souvenir items.

A view of our turnaround aircraft

Approaching to board our aircraft bound for Manila

A look back at the Zamboanga airport terminal