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Queues on arrival at NAIA Terminal 2
Arriving at NAIA’s Terminal 2, one has to prepare the QR code generated via the e-travel site of the Philippine government. Doing this prior to you flight or your arrival will save you the hassle of accomplishing the form upon arrival. The queues for both the e-arrival processing and immigration are bad enough for experience that you don’t want to add spending more time in a crowded area to that.
Area and booths for the e-travel (e-arrival) processing
Arriving passengers have their e-travel QR codes scanned at one of the booths set-up at the area in the middle of the international and domestic wings of the terminal.
Passengers queuing from their arrival gate to one end of the international wing (right) and after their e-travel QR codes are scanned, proceed to the immigration counters via the other end of the terminal (left).
Arriving passengers may queue at the manual immigration counters or the new machines now installed at Terminal 2. Foreigners only have the option to queue for the manual process. The queues for the machines though can get long fast if the person transacting is not familiar with the automated process or has trouble scanning his/her passport that it takes more time per transaction.
Crowded NAIA Terminal 2
Before the pandemic, NAIA’s airport terminals were already very crowded. Recently, I’ve been to both Terminals 2 and 3, and I can say that they are practically back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of their being crowded or congested. There are the long lines at the check-in counters and travelers and well-wishers ‘encamped’ or circulating around the terminals.
The area just after the final security check does not seem to be crowded. People don’t usually congregate or linger in the area.
The empty seats belie a crowded Terminal 2. That white wall eventually turned out to be the area for where arriving international passengers have to have their e-arrival QR codes scanned.
This is what is behind the white wall in the previous photo.
Arriving passengers (right) queue towards the e-arrival scans. Those finished with their e-arrival scans (left) proceed to the immigration counters via the other end of the terminal.
NAIA Parking Rates as of April 2022
Here’s a quick share of information about the parking rates at the NAIA airport terminals:
The infographic is from the DOTr Facebook Page and should be useful for those picking up people at the airport or who would be leaving their vehicles there as they travel again with the easing of restrictions due to the pandemic.
Flying again – NAIA Terminal 2 Departure
It’s been more than 2 years since the last time I went on a trip via aircraft. We finally decided it was safe to take a brief vacation and to take advantage of the still few tourists heading to resorts out of Manila. Here are a few photos taken at NAIA Terminal 2 as we set out to travel to Panglao Island in Bohol for a much needed break from work and from Covid-19.
Check-in counters at NAIA T2 were already busy when we arrived at the airport
The scene at the terminal lobby was as if there was no pandemic (technically, we aren’t out of the Covid-19 pandemic yet).
Past the final security check and into the pre-departure area
Some sections were less crowded. This section where we had some light lunch as we waited for our gate to be announced was usually reserved for international flights. Here were gates for US destinations and it was spacious because of the number of passengers and the gauntlet-like security checks required for US-bound passengers.
Our boarding gate for our flight to Tagbilaran-Panglao Airport
Passengers waiting for their boarding calls near our gate
We can only imagine how much more crowded this terminal could still be once we go back to “normal” or pre-pandemic travel conditions. It is good to see at least most passengers wearing masks. All adults at least were wearing masks and only small children and infants weren’t. We also hope that airport terminal staff do their part in ensuring the facilities were disinfected regularly so as to minimize the risk of Covid-19 and other infections.
On the old overnight parking rates at NAIA
I found a couple of old parking tickets from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Both are for overnight parking, which shows how cheaper overnight rates were before. The amounts to be paid then were also simpler to calculate since an overnight is automatically computed as either 40 or 300 pesos. Note that the 40-peso overnight fee was for the open parking lots of NAIA T2 and T3. The 300-peso fee was for the multi-level building of T3. I’ll just put these photos here for reference and those throwback moments.
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!
NAIA Expressway – T2 to T3
This is a continuation of yesterday’s post on the NAIA Expressway. This time, I am posting on the trip back from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3. It cost us 45 pesos, which is the same toll fee we paid for the reverse direction. Here are photos I took of NAIA X with some comments on the sections and signs.
Vehicles coming from Terminals 1 and 2 would have to take the on-ramp after the intersection of NAIA Road and the Paranaque-Sucat Road (Ninoy Aquino Avenue) and just before the intersection with the Domestic Airport Road.
That’s the Park’N Fly building that is located at the corner of the NAIA Road-Domestic Road intersection.
Vehicles bound for Terminal 3 and the Skyway should keep right.
Traffic will merge with those coming from Macapagal Boulevard.
Speed limit and signs for merging traffic
The three lanes include the merging lane at right.
Noticeable along the NAIA X is the lack of shoulders. Although the lanes appear to be wide, drivers may become uncomfortable when two vehicles are side by side due to the perception of constricted space.
There are lots of reflectors installed on the media barriers. There are also a lot of ad space with tarps installed on each lamp post along the expressway.
Sign informing travelers of the toll plaza coming up ahead.
Directional sign guiding vehicles bound for the Skyway or Terminal 3. My colleagues and I agree that instead of just stating “Skyway”, the sign should state “Skyway/C5/Nichols”. Travelers who are not heading south and unfamiliar with the NAIA X off-ramps would likely take the Terminal 3 exit and end up passing through T3. There is actually another off-ramp leading to Andrews Avenue and eventually Sales Road (formerly Nichols) so you don’t have to pass through T3. We made that mistake and ended up going through T3.
Toll plaza prior to the T3 exit ramp
Section just after the toll plaza
Standing vehicles right next to the off-ramp with their drivers likely waiting to fetch arriving passengers. It is practically impossible to make a hard left to avoid going into T3 so you have no choice but to go through the terminal via the departure level (elevated) or the arrival level (ground).
NAIA Expressway – T3 to T2/T1
Last Friday was our first time to use the NAIA Expressway. This was one of the major projects under the last administration and under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program and became operational last year after being delayed (It was not operational during the APEC summit in 2015.) for some time. I also commented on the need for NAIA X in one post before as I preferred to have a transit system instead. NAIA X is basically and mostly beneficial to cars and not necessarily for public transport. It also practically limits if not eliminates the possibility of having elevated transit (e.g., monorail or AGT) to connect the 4 terminals among them as well as to areas outside the airport zone (BGC, Makati, etc.).
I thought this post would be a useful one for travelers especially those coming in and out of the airports at this time of the year. A lot of people are departing or arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which is a main gateway to Metro Manila and adjacent regions. It can get congested along the roads between the four terminals of the airport and since there is not internal transport system linking them, travelers would need to travel along public roads. It cost 45 pesos (less than 1 USD) for the stretch from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 (same if you’re headed for Terminal 1), and I thought it was well worth it considering it can really be quite congested between the 4 terminals. That congestion has already victimized a lot of people before with many missing their flights. But then perhaps one major cause of that congestion was the construction of the NAIA Expressway?
Entry ramp across from Terminal 3 and before the Sta. Clara church at Newport City
Toll plaza where travelers pay upon entry to the tollway
Just before the toll plaza where most booths are for mixed ETC/cash transactions
Upon exiting the toll plaza, travelers have to deal with multiple lanes merging into two
Two-lane section with neither shoulders nor “elbow room”
Directional sign providing guidance especially for vehicles headed to Terminals 1 &2
Directional signs for vehicles bound for Cavite and Macapagal Blvd (left) and Terminals 1 or 2 (right)
The tollway section goes underneath the section headed towards Macapagal Boulevard and the Coastal Road
The lane from Terminal 3 merges with another from the Coastal Road
Signs showing which side to stay along towards either Terminal 2 or 1
Fork in the road – the tollway branches our to either Terminal 2 or Terminal 1
Next: Terminal 2 to Terminal 3
Queuing at NAIA immigration
A lot of people get angry or feel aggravated when they arrive at Manila’s international airport and encounter the long, chaotic queues at the immigration section. This is particularly the cases at NAIA’s Terminals 1 and 2, which handle the most international arrivals among the 3 terminals. Terminal 3 has significantly less passengers despite it being the hub of Cebu Pacific, which currently enjoys higher passenger loads compared to rival Philippine Airlines but apparently serves less international passengers than PAL.
Multiple queues seem to merge into one mass of people, all eager to get to a booth for their passports to be stamped. Early on, you will hear a lot of people already complaining about the queues and stating out loud how the system could be improved.
Another photo showing multiple queues at the immigration section for arrivals at the NAIA Terminal 1.
The solution to this problem is quite simple and is actually already being implemented at the immigration section for departing passengers at Terminals 2 and 3. In both cases, there is only 1 queue for passengers that is served by several booths. This same approach to manage queues of arriving passengers is already being applied in many other airports elsewhere including Japan’s Narita and Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi where they have to handle even more passengers. Perhaps, also, a couple of booths and a separate line can be provided as courtesy to citizens of other ASEAN countries. There are such courtesy lanes in airports in other ASEAN countries, with whom we have existing agreements for visa free travels like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. An illustration of the system is shown in the following diagram:
I posted the figure above to be clear about the systems I’ve seen in other airports that worked quite well in being able to handle the large number of arriving passengers at the airports. It is more orderly and efficient, and to me at least, it is fair for all passengers who tend to shift to lines they think are moving faster but eventually are frustrated when the line turns out slower than their previous one. We’re hopeful that airport or immigration staff can improve the system and really soon as this will effectively cut down the times people spend at the airport terminals.
NAIA Terminal 2 international check-in
I took a few photos near the check-in counters at NAIA Terminal 2 as I myself checked-in for a flight to Bangkok. There was less confusion now compared to the last time I used PAL for an international flight and their ground staff were relatively unexperienced. This was the result of PAL rationalizing their workforce and opting for outsourcing ground services prior to San Miguel’s takeover of the financially-challenged full service airline. During the transition period, queues were longer as service times at the check-in counters were longer. Ground staff took some time to process each passenger as perhaps they had little training (if any) and thrust into the real work provided an initial shock that translated into slower services.
Passengers checking-in at NAIA T2. There are no internet check-in booths (for those who already checked-in online and would just drop-off their luggage) or automated check-in machines at Terminal 2. PAL needs to work on these services for more efficient services at the terminal.
A single queue with multiple servers means more orderly services for passengers. This is actually something that Philippines immigration should implement in all airports whether for departing or arriving passengers. I don’t get it why for departures, immigration can implement this simple system resulting in more efficient processing for travelers while the same cannot be implemented for arrivals.
Passengers lining up to pay terminal fees. NAIA is one of very few terminals still charging terminal fees. Elsewhere, these fees (if any) are already integrated into the plane fares and so passengers don’t need to queue and spend time for another transaction.
Travelers fill out immigration cards before lining up for the immigration counters. There are still many who seem oblivious to this requirement. While some are really the hard-headed type who end up stalling the queue, these people can easily be filtered by immigration or airport staff managing the queues.