USAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3387 times:
FLIGHT: Singapore Airlines SQ 73
ROUTE: Manila-Ninoy Aquino (MNL) -> Singapore-Changi (SIN)
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300
DEPART: August 2, 2003 - 14:15
ARRIVE: August 2, 2003 - 17:30
I was advised to show up at the airport three hours before departure, since Manila security is quite strict. So my relatives and I made the trek from Quezon City Project 8 to Ninoy Aquino International Airport. We left a little after 9:30AM, and the unusually light Manila traffic meant we arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 at around 10:45AM.
My relatives and I had to say good-bye at the curb because the whole terminal building is restricted to departing passengers only. At the door to the terminal building, a passport and ticket check was done, then all bags were screened before reaching the check-in counters. The Singapore Airlines check-in was virtually empty and I was checked in right away for a exit "window" seat 36A on the B777-300. I was advised to clear security early as they close 30 minutes before departure, and was advised of the Silver Kris lounge location next to Gate 7.
Before clearing security, one has to pay the Philippine airport tax, which is PHP 550 or US $11. First you line up to pay the tax, then you clear departure immigration control. After clearing immigration you needed to find the proper wing for your departure gate, which in my case was Gate 5. After turning toward the left wing, there was yet another security checkpoint. The bags were checked again, and then a brief body search was conducted. For this, you have to stand on a platform while the guards pat you down for weapons and other contraband. There were both male and female officers doing this, and you line up to the one who you want to perform the pat-down. The Philippines has always had security incidents happen from time to time, which is why security is always very strict.
After going through this maze of security, I found the Silver Kris Lounge. It was virtually empty when I arrived, so I quickly found a desk and wrote some emails and postcards. At this time there were not many planes at Terminal 1. While waiting for the flight I encountered an Asiana B767-300, EVA B767-200, China Airlines A300-600R, JAL B747-400, Thai A330-300, Gulf Air A340-300, and a host of PAL aircraft. A Korean Air flight was also boarding, but I didn't see that aircraft.
Shortly after 12:00 noon the SQ B777-300 landed, so a little after 13:00 I packed my things and went to the departure gate. The waiting area for SQ 73 was cordoned off, and yet another bag security check was conducted before entering the waiting area. Boarding procedure was explained, and we boarded a few minutes late.
I found my "window" seat, 36A, and found it to not be a "window" seat. It is by the #3 exit door on the B777-300, but there is some space before the windows start up again. Unfortunately, the windows start up after row 36 - meaning that seat 36A was next to a wall, not window. Perhaps they should call it "wall seat." So, I decided to try and hunt for a good window seat, as it was a day flight and I wanted to see if I can get some nice aerial shots. Apparently the only seats available were at the very last row of the plane. So I ended up snagging the right window seat 61K.
Pushback took place, and we followed a Japan Airlines B747-400. It seems that everyone decided to depart at around the same time. Aside from the PAL aircraft (which get their own terminal 2), the only aircraft at Terminal 1 when we took off were the Thai A330-300 and Malaysia B737. Takeoff was very quick, and there were nice shots of Manila Bay and Lake Taal that I was able to take. Unfortunately the clouds blocked the view afterwards.
A light meal was offered - it was your choice of chicken or Filipino-style pork. I chose the chicken with rice. It was pretty good, considering that I was not expecting a meal on such a short flight.
The routing took us along the long island of Palawan, then went down into Indonesia. After Palawan, the ride became bumpy and the seat belt sign was turned on several times. Then we turned west for the landing into Singapore about three hours later.
After landing, we taxied past the SIA Engineering building and past two SIA A310-300s. Both had the engines covered in red tarp - apparently stored and out of service. Arrived on time, and found that this aircraft would continue to Jakarta. For a big aircraft, SIA sure likes to use them on short sectors.
It was a long walk to immigration, and the immigration officer offered me some candy as he was processing my papers. After that, I walked to baggage claim where my bag was already waiting. Customs just waved me through.
I then caught the airport shuttle to the Furama Hotel, where I would stay one night before the next leg of my trip back home.
GotAirbus From Singapore, joined May 2001, 851 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3304 times:
There were both male and female officers doing this, and you line up to the one who you want to perform the pat-down. The Philippines has always had security incidents happen from time to time, which is why security is always very strict.
Yes, I've experienced that...however, my encounter with the "pat-down" officers was streamlined as we were the only ones about to enter the cornered-off airline gates.
(gotAIRBUS?) - (Got Commonality?) - (Have A Nice Flight!)
Trickijedi From United States of America, joined May 2001, 3266 posts, RR: 5 Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3254 times:
Once again, a nice report!
After turning toward the left wing, there was yet another security checkpoint. The bags were checked again, and then a brief body search was conducted.
Didn't you find this redudantly annoying? I remember last year, I was in a slight hurry to catch my CX flight out of MNL and as I approached what seemed to be the 8th security checkpoint, I finally asked them why the hell they have to overstaff their hallways with so many checkpoints. I disagree with you... I don't think they do a very thorough job... just a half-assed frisking job and a simple pass through of the wand. Ocassionaly while they pat you down they make you take stuff out of your pockets and show them the contents they want to see but during the times that I've experienced security at MNL, I've 1) never had to take my shoes off, 2) never seen any of the conveyor belts actually stop to meticulously investigate the contents of my bag and 3) while my bags are going through the belt, never been required to empty out the contents of my pockets for anything metal and place them on the small bins and into the conveyor belt. From past experience, this has basically been done more out of request rather than necessity. I presume that a more rigid security measure at the first checkpoint would completely negate so many other security checks thereafter.
After going through this maze of security, I found the Silver Kris Lounge. It was virtually empty when I arrived, so I quickly found a desk and wrote some emails and postcards.
Is the Silver Kris Lounge at MNL accesible to all passengers? I thought they were only reserved for F or C Class passengers? Also, to echo Ex_SQer's question, how was the lounge? Was it comfortable with a nice variety of food and drinks?
Thanks for the report USAJPNflyer. I plan to take this flight soon so I'm trying to gather input. Sounds like you a pleasant flight... Can't wait to hear about Part 3.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
USAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3138 times:
Thanks for the input everyone - answers to your questions:
* The Silver Kris Lounge was not too big - I figured about 30 seats in the main area, plus two computers and two desks in an adjacent area. When I get to upload my pictures, I will post them here.
* As this lounge has a Star Alliance logo at the entrance, it is accessible to F, C, and KrisFlyer/Star Alliance Gold cardholders. As my UA *G status was printed on the boarding pass, the receptionists at the MNL Silver Kris lounge did not ask for my Mileage Plus card.
* There were both hot and cold foods available for the taking. The drinks included both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including Jack Daniel's whiskey, San Miguel Beer, Coke, and others. Other than the whiskey and hard liquor, the beer and soft drinks were in cans in the refrigerator. As for the food, there were cold sandwiches, pastries, as well as hot foods and snacks. The hot foods included pancit (noodles with vegetables - a Filipino dish), lumpia (like spring rolls), bite-sized pizza, and some others. The dishes seem to change every hour or so...
* The security is quite annoying. It does make it hard to tour the airport since there is a security gate at the entrance to each wing (half) of Terminal 1. While I was in the SK lounge, I needed some stamps, and tried to hunt for them. As there were none in the few shops in the departure lounge next to Gate 5, I ran back to the bank of shops before the departure gates. In doing so, I thought I would be stopped by the security. Luckily, they let me back into that section, and didn't check my bags when I went back (after not finding the stamps). But they went through the body search (which is just a pat-down of your back).
I didn't try to go to the other half of T1, but I don't think you can go there without a boarding pass for a flight leaving from that area. So touring the terminal areas (other than your flight departure gate) can be a bit hard.
* Crew on this flight were quite efficient, considering this plane had well over 300 passengers on it for a flight time of just about 3 hours. I personally didn't ask for much, but the crew did have time to assist two Indian passengers next to me with filling out the comment card and the duty-free service - and even gave them SIA playing cards.
Any other questions please feel free to post them here. I am actually still traveling right now.. but soon I will post PART 3: