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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

Zamboanga airport arrival

We traveled to Zamboanga City last August for a project there. It was my first time in Zamboanga so I made sure to take lots of photos as we went around. Of course, I took a lot of photos of the airport upon arrival and as we departed the city after a quick 3-day stay. Here are photos taken when we arrived at the airport.

The airport terminal has a unique architectural design

View of the control tower from our taxiing aircraft

There was light rain when we arrived so the tarmac was wet

Airline staff provided an umbrella for each passenger as we walked from the aircraft to the terminal

A look back at our aircraft as our baggage was starting to be off-loaded

Greetings in the local dialect, which is a mix of Visayan and Spanish

The baggage claim area greets arriving passengers

View of the terminal exit from the arrival/baggage claim area – the space reminded me of GenSan airport, which has practically the same layout

Baggage claim area

Pier type tracks

Arriving passengers cross the driveway to meet up with relatives, friends or whoever’s picking them up. Some proceed to get a tricycle to the city.

A lookback at the airport terminal exit

Airport terminal driveway – view of the departure wing from the arrival wing

View of the arrival area from the parking area for CAAP employees

Egress road from the airport

There are no taxis in Zamboanga and tricycles provide the main mode of public transport for arriving or departing passengers.
Airport entrance and security check

NAIA terminal transfer guide

I was able to get the following photos of a couple of pages from the Philippine Airlines (PAL) inflight magazine Mabuhay. The photos show an airport terminal transfer guide for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which has 4 terminals. Since I get a lot of traffic and questions about terminal transfers in this blog, I thought it practical and informative to just post these here for everyone’s benefit.

I hope these are helpful!

Sydney airport airside

As our plane pushed off, taxied and took-off for the return flight to Manila, I took a lot of photos. Here is the collection of photos but I won’t be making a lot of comments on any or each as my purpose it to have these available here for future reference for my lectures or projects.

I also took some photos of Australia as our aircraft flew over the continent. I will be posting those soon to share these views from thousands of meters above.

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.