IF THERE was a video about the funniest airport scenes, I'm sure Chiara, AA and I would be in it.
I remember the time we were parking at Clark airport when we heard our names being called over the loudspeaker. The check in counter was closed, that was the last call for us to contact the airline's ground crew.
I literally flew out of the car, and like a swirling top, ran to the scanner, then to the counter, forgetting I had a bag in the X-ray machine. Good thing the two were trailing behind.
I pleaded with the crew to let us board the flight, then zoomed all around looking for someone to let us through. We were extremely lucky one of the immigration personnel who were on the way out was kind enough to return to the booth to check our passports.
Another super memorable experience was our flight out of Siem Reap. We had just completed a meditation retreat at Angkor Wat and were resting while waiting for the van to bring us to the airport. My youngest sister, who joined us, rushed to our room, frantically knocking at our door to tell us that our flight was 10 p.m. Philippine time, not Cambodia time! Philippine time is an hour earlier. We had to make it to the airport in 15 minutes!
At the hotel lobby, the manager told us there were no more vans available to bring our group to the airport. Luckily, he was able to contact their tour bus driver who had just finished his stint and was supposed to be on his way home.
We were all silent in the tour bus, you could literally feel that all breaths were bated as we sped to the airport. Mentally I was calculating that we would need to exit through Poipet, ride the bus to Bangkok and fly home from there. Am sure the others were torn between wanting to wring their necks for not checking the time and praying hard to make it.
We made it. Check-in counters were closed, but they let us board. Whew.
One of the most traumatic trips we had to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was when we had to finish some client calls before heading to Manila. We were advised to take the Sta. Barbara route, but when we did, there were so many detours because of the Balut Festival.
Although we could have made it, traffic was super bad from Balintawak. We arrived at the airport just as our flight left. We tried to catch the next available one through NAIA 2, but the route was also congested. It took us an hour just to get there from NAIA 3.
After a few missed flights, as well as embarrassing panic scenes including me accidentally leaving my passport in the X-ray scanner, we've developed a system so we make it before our scheduled departure.
Aside from making sure we arrive with ample time to spare including traveling to the airport's vicinity a day early, here are some tips to make sure you get there in time.
1. What is the first thing you pack aside from your underwear? Your passports! I know of 2 groups on 2 separate occasions who left theirs. They remembered their passports when they were near the airport already. Translation: almost missed their flight.
2. Download the Waze app. With traffic the way it is, particularly to NAIA airport these days, the Waze app can give you an estimate of the time you will arrive at your destination, plot out the fastest route to get there, show you traffic conditions and even the location of traffic enforcers.
3. Be aware of time zones. Thailand time is an hour later than Philippine time. Singapore has the time zone of the Philippines. Check also that the flight is a.m. or p.m. Be wary of military time 00:00 is 12 midnight. 01:00 is 1 a.m. 17:00 is 5 p.m., not 7 p.m.
3. Get travel insurance. Cebu pacific has the 'fly me next option' to cover for the fare difference if you miss your original flight.
4. Take the routes you're familiar with to the airport. Getting lost will take up a lot of time. Don't take unfamiliar detours.
5. Wear comfortable shoes so you can run if you need to.
Enjoy your next flight!!!
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Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 13, 2016.
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