Is anyone surprised that Ninoy Aquino International Airport is once again the topnotcher in the list of worst airports in the world?
The Sept. 30, 2014 post in the website Life Cheat Sheet said “Airports are often an essential and unavoidable part of traveling. Sometimes, you luck out and find yourself in an airport that has minimal wait times and is full of shops, restaurants, and polite staff. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.”
It listed 10 worst airports known for “having rude staff, long lines, poor facilities, and a chaotic environment. “
Life Cheat Sheet website cited NAIA1’s feature that beat competitors hands down: “This Manila-based airport struggles with the 32 million passengers who use its facility each year. That shouldn’t come as a shock, though, considering it only has the capacity for 6 million passengers, according to CNBC.
“Travelers complained about the airport’s rundown facilities, impolite staff and officials, and long wait times. There is, however, some good news for this Philippines airport: CNBC writes that the government there is planning to build a new one, which it hopes to have up and running in five years.”
The other nine in the list are Charles de Gaulle in Paris; LAX in Los Angeles; Bergamo in Italy; La Guardia in New York; Zurich International Airport in Switzerland; Ndjamena in Chad, Africa; Sheremetyevo in Moscow; Bill and Hillary Clinton International Airport in Arkansas; and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Calcutta, India.
If President Aquino can blithely rationalize the miserable traffic situation as a sign that “the economy is doing well because many vehicles are on the road,” he and his advisers can take a positive spin to the list and say that the Philippines is in good company.
Life Cheat Sheet website did not include the most annoying experience in NAIA which is when arriving flights are told to stay in the air (sometimes as long as one hour) due to aircraft congestion in the airport.
This is not the first time that the NAIA1 has topped the list of bad airports. Last year in the website “Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” it was also number one in the list of worst airports with almost similar criteria as in best and worst airports which are: Comfort: crowded terminals or uncomfortable/limited seating; Conveniences: terminal closes at night, no 24-hour food options or nothing to do on a layover; Cleanliness: dirty floors, bathrooms or food courts; and Customer Service: unfriendly staff or anti-airport sleeper policies.
It is worth noting that in both general and sleeping airport categories, the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia in that list.
In the list of 10 best airports voted by travellers, Changi Airport in Singapore was number one and number eight was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
The Guide to Sleeping in Airports website said, “While no airport is perfect, the airports on this list (best airports) realize that travellers want more things to do during a layover and they have introduced services and amenities to improve our airport experience such as: Free WiFi, movie theatres, tv lounges, mini-golf, bicycle rentals, gardens, aquariums, art exhibits, and showers. Airports may not have been built with sleeping in mind, but nowadays more of them are implementing rest zones and quiet areas to help us relax on our journeys. We like that!”
This is very helpful for those whose stopover lasts eight to 10 hours.
Travellers cited Changi airport’s special relaxation zones that feature reclining lounge chairs and padded seating and KL airport’s long movable benches that can be pushed and turned into small bed.
Officials of the Department of Transportation and Communication officials said the situation will improve next year when the renovations would have been completed and more airlines would have transferred to NAIA3.
Meanwhile, they can institute some common sense improvement like adding chairs in the waiting area. Two weeks ago, we were at NAIA1 for a 6:00 am flight. There were very few chairs, we had to sit on the floor. It was hot because the airconditioning unit was not functioning and the electric fan was not on.
An improvement: the toilets are new and have more cubicles than before.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.