Airports: Not More Fun in the Philippines

Users of the travel website, "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports," have once again voted the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 as the world's worst airport. 

The website released its latest rankings for 2013 on October 15. NAIA was voted not only the worst airport in Asia but also the worst airport in the world. This is not the first time NAIA Terminal 1 has topped the charts of the World's Worst Airport survey. In 2011, It ranked number one in the World's Worst survey while in 2012 it ranked worst in Asia.

In the survey, users rated a number of factors including comfort, convenience, cleanliness, and customer service. Users criticized the hard metallic seating and arm rests, crowded airport terminals, limited seating, and delays. They also complained about dirty floors, bath rooms, and eating areas. Travellers also reported a lack of 24-hour food options, nothing to do in transit and bad signage in the terminals.

When it came to reviewing airport employees and staff, reviewers commented that staff were rude and unfriendly, the airport was full of scams, immigration and security officers were more concerned with playing Angry Birds than processing travellers, and anti-airport sleeping policies were in place. Recently, two female employees of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration came under fire as a photo of them playing video games went viral across the internet while they were supposed to be on duty at NAIA Terminal 2.  
Travellers cannot help but wonder why the first impression of the country for so many tourists falls incredibly short of the government's highly popular, "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign. Based on the results of the survey and the feedback of travellers, airports are anything but fun in the Philippines especially when compared with Singapore's Changi Airport that topped the list as World's Best Airport for the seventeenth consecutive year. 

On the Sleeping in Airports website, user 'wanderingcat123' commented on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport page that "Everything seems to have been done to make the experience as horrible as possible." But officials at Terminal 1 are brushing off the reviews citing that the dilapidated facilities, dishonest airport workers and taxi drivers, long waiting times, and rude officials are all things of the past. According to Dante Basanta, Manager of NAIA Terminal 1, "These are old issues and that the problems are being addressed by the government." He did add however that the facility was overstretched beyond its capacity. 

The government has reassured travellers that the problems will finally be addressed when renovations and rehabilitation work on NAIA Terminal 1 starts in December. Work is expected to be completed by November 2014. Attempts to upgrade Terminal 1 have been on going for at least two years but changes in leadership at the DOTC and delays in selecting designers, engineers, and architects have hampered the progress of the project. Last June, the government revealed that designers Kenneth Cobonpue and Budji Layug along with architect Royal Pineda had been selected to be part of efforts to rehabilitate NAIA 1. 

Terminal 1 currently handles more than 56% of the passengers arriving in the country and departing for foreign destinations. Named after the father of President Aquino, the terminal has been plagued for years by lack of space, rickety facilities, and congestion problems. The terminal, which hosts all of the international flights of foreign airlines, was originally designed to hold 4.5 million passengers but is currently serving nearly 8 million passengers annually. 

In spite of the mediocre conditions at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, at least one traveller managed to get a good rest in Terminal 1 recommending the "Passenger Holding Area" on the third floor that comes complete with its own security guard. He added that using cardboard boxes from 7-Eleven can make a nice bed. 

The 2013 rankings were published on the Guide to Sleeping in Airports as follows:

Worst Airports
  1. Manila NAIA (Terminal 1)
  2. Bergamo
  3. Calcutta
  4. Islamabad
  5. Paris Beauvais
Best Airports
  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Seoul Incheon
  3. Amsterdam Schipol
  4. Hong Kong International Airport
  5. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport


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  2. was stunned to see relatives and friends seeing off passengers not allowed inside the airport, every where I have travelled these facilities have been provided for seeing off passengers and meeting them, wake up! Philippines

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