Three-peat! NAIA is the World’s Worst Airport for 2013!

Actually, this wasn’t really much of a surprise if you think about it. I called it last year; considering how lethargic Philippine government officials and agencies are, and how the Philippine bureaucracy is an absolute hindrance to progress, I would have been slightly miffed if we weren’t at the top or near the top of that list.

Just to remind everyone, this poll can be found on the website Sleeping in Airports. Travelers vote in an online poll, given certain criteria dictated by the website, and they can also submit online airport reviews.

Where are the Pinoy pridesters? We topped a poll, guys; where are the Pinoy Pride shouts?! Come on! WOOHOO!

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Arriving passengers lining up at the passport control counters at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1

I can even paste a section from my article last year about what people complained about when it comes to NAIA 1, and it would still apply this year:

Traveller Complaints: (Anything and everything) Poor Transit Facilities • Queues • Bribery • Crowded • Insufficient Seating • Delays receiving bags on belt • Poor quality restaurants • Taxi Scams

I just noticed, however, that the one consistent complaint missing from the above portion is the lack of clean bathrooms.

And how do those in charge of the airport reply? With pretty much the same nonchalance they’ve been exhibiting ever since time immemorial. Filipinos, especially those who work for government, after all, aren’t too keen on taking criticism very well.

“These are old issues,” Manila airport Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta told AFP, adding that the problems were already being addressed by the government.

But then, I found a statement by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Emilio Abaya:

“That survey concentrates on sleeping in airports. Definitely, (Manila is) not a regional hub and NAIA is not designed to be slept at. You cannot demand hotel facilities from a house,” Abaya told reporters in a briefing yesterday.

…which is nothing but absolutely infuriating simply because: (a) it totally misses the point; (b) it continues the “couldn’t care less” attitude that those in charge have with regards to complaints about NAIA; and (c) it is a reply consistent with the ”pwede-na-yan” ethic that Filipinos apply to pretty much every aspect of their lives.

No, no, NO, Secretary Abaya. The website was very clear that NAIA was the World’s Worst Airport for overall experience. Airports are rated in terms of comfort, conveniences, cleanliness, and customer service. Even if something is being done about it, for your information, it’s been going on for two years. Where are the results?

From the website:

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.
Customer Service: unfriendly staff or anti-airport sleeper policies.

And also for your information, Mr. Abaya, sleeping in airports is becoming a reality for many more travelers nowadays. Not only are there more people traveling on tight budgets (I think cheap young backpacker is the term used), early morning flights, long layovers, flight cancellations, and inclement weather are only a few more reasons why more and more people are deciding to sleep in airports.

Do you remember the saying “first impressions last?” The international airport, especially if it’s the only one of consequence in the entire country, is your welcome mat. How many times do you people need to be reminded that the airport IS the ultimate first impression that any country, any aspiring tourist destination, for that matter, is going to make on any visitors? If the airport remains dilapidated, unwelcoming, or generally in a state of disrepair, then chances are your tourist destination won’t get a second look. How hard is that to understand?

Brushing off visitors’ criticisms about the airport, telling them what they can or cannot do in your airport, and simply saying that “the airport is not for sleeping”, are tantamount to telling them to f*ck off and go somewhere else. Once again, Philippine government FAILS at its attempts to entice people to come to the Philippines, all because they refuse to act any faster on criticism, and because they set abominably low standards of conduct for themselves.

Aside from being tagged as the world’s worst airport this year, it is also interesting to note that over a hundred flights were cancelled last October 23 supposedly due to radar maintenance. What, they haven’t been upgrading their equipment for some time? See what I mean? Is the government really serious in its efforts to improve the airport for the sake of tourism? Flights cancelled is not going to help that, people.

Same thing happens every year. Whether or not the efforts to renovate NAIA, or move to a completely new location are underway, the fact is that the results speak for themselves (hint: they are dismal). It’s hard to tell if the government is really serious about promoting the country and tourism when they can’t even get the welcoming mat in order.

World’s Worst Airport for 2014, we’ll be expecting you. It would be a great thing, though, if we weren’t even on the list.

[Photo courtesy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell]

28 Replies to “Three-peat! NAIA is the World’s Worst Airport for 2013!”

  1. Even the airport personnel don’t do much to spruce up the surroundings of both NAIA 1 and the Centennial airport, which is decades newer than its predecessor. They simply don’t care.

    Taped up and makeshift signs everywhere, broken screens that travelers use to check their flight schedules, pop-up massage stalls, smoking areas whose stench wafts into the waiting areas, out of service ATMs… even the carpets look like they want to commit suicide in that place. How can anyone say it’s more fun in the Philippines when we’re offering up a shit hole as a welcome to our visitors?

  2. this is true..sleeping in the airports are now common specially if your are waiting for your next flight (layover), and getting a hotel is expensive and also afraid of missing a flight…my Singaporean friend did just this during his trip to Europe, he had to sleep in one for the airport in Germany waiting for the next flight to other country.Ask the backpackers or young travellers, and we can relate to this.

    Philippines is still long way to go? or those assigned airport authorities are living in their own bubble,disconnected for the real situation on the ground, name it, i say all the people in the airport!

  3. Old issues? Really?! HAHAHAHAHA! Few months back – NAIA T1 still the same 2 yrs ago. Hardly any improvements. The Jurassic era miniature baggage carousel. The soooo limited toilet. The carpet full of stains and fading color. T3 is way much better. Shitty transporation going to other terminals.

  4. 3-peat is wrong! NAIA has been the WORST airport since 1986. That’s the year we left and not one toilet has improved since. Also, not informing passengers that they have to pay travel tax at the front counter/customer service, then would be held-up at the Custom/Immigration/Departure area- for much higher fee (with no available change) is the best SCAM that airport is thriving on. Interior finish is deppressing, exterior structure is worst, surrounding zone is a blightful sight. If the rating were based in these conditions (not sleeping-on-the-floor- privelege), NAIA should have garnered this title 30 years in a row, not 3-Peat only!

    1. Ive been to several countries and I haven’t encountered such thing as “TRAVEL TAX” & “TERMINAL FEE” only in the sh!thole called Pinas.

  5. I’m not surprised….obviously what NAIA’S management thinks is “enough” is not enough as the typical foreign observer sees it…..

  6. sa tatlong taong worst airport ang NAIA at tatlong taong panunugkulan ni GM Honrado… hindi ba dapat palitan na nang marunong mag manage ng AIRPORT TERMINALS??? Nakakahiya na ang Pilipinas dahil sa POOR MANAGEMENT NG GENERAL MANAGER.

  7. The ridiculous Terminal Fee, where the hell is that money going? For more shitty services? After the LOOOOONG line up on immigration that tires and starves you and you being greeted with uber expensive food in the terminals together with unfriendly, sarcastic tinderos/tinderas, and think of this—to an international airport those food stalls don’t accept credit cards. (yes after paying for the terminal fee—-which drained me to the last two hundred pesos), and my last few hundred pesos can only afford a cola and a sandwich, even the soup which my sister bought is “Lasang vetsin”.

    I also noticed that our airport is very noisy, a big part of it is coming from the constant useless PSA which is useless, instead of just paying attention when you are going to board your flight you will constantly bombardment by the announcement of “to prepare the boarding pass as for the terminal gate for such airlines going to such cities will open anytime soon”—which usually take for another 45 minutes or so and this PSA goes on and on for every 10-15 minutes!
    Speaking of terminal gates—your boarding pass are COMPLETELY USELESS— it supposedly shows where is the terminal/gate you’re supposed to wait for your plane, then without any announcement (remember the PSA) other than the constant remainders to prepare your boarding pass, they changed your gate!—so you have to be a psychic and don’t believe whats been printed on your boarding pass!!!

    I am proud to be Pinoy to have such a shitty international airport!

  8. This airport, if you are an OFW, or seem to be one, will treat you like s__t. So much for the OFWs being one of the national economy’s pillars. They will milk the OFW, from the taxicab up to immigration. And the airlines wouldn’t treat you any better. This country sucks big time all because of the idiocy they call “kalayaan” way back in 1986.

  9. Getting scammed by the taxicabs as soon as the traveler walks outside the doors of NAIA is the #1 turn-off to visiting the country….besides everything the traveler has to deal with when the plane arrives at the terminal.

  10. 10 years in a row is it now? now even the staunchest supporters of the admin must realize how full of it the people who run the airport are. they said they would fix these problems and yet here they are again!
    ‘tha baffrooms is da grossest mang!’, LOL!

  11. Not quite ‘THE’ worst airport in the world! – They forgot to mention Riyadh, Baghdad, and Sana’a! Closely followed by Sharjah, and Dubai T2 (Evidently, NAIA has not been used to the ‘Manila Envelope’going in the opposite direction!)

    BTW What has happened since all of the hype about Consultants and Contractors refurbishing NAIA T1 for free? – Sorry, I remembered, that was before the election.

  12. No matter how and what he would say, I can only occlude that he is a lousy DOTC administrator. There is only one thing that he does not want to resign,it’s because of power and money, in other word, you are not fit for the job.

  13. I travel in and out of the country almost 4x a month for 24yrs and believe me, NAIA is the most stressful airport! Not to mention those power tripping and corrupt security guards. Kadiri to the max talaga! No amount of words could describe this horrific situation encounter by travellers.
    1) Departure~OFW Immigration counters -siksikan ; Foreign Passport wala pila
    2) ARRIVAL ~Filipino passport-NASA DULO; SIKSIKAN
    The only airport that DISCRIMINATES its own people!

    I really dont understand why we still have those incompetent airport managers around? The president should just send of them to Spratly! Mr. President wake up!!!! Time to FIRE AND CHANGE those “no care and no how” people at DOTC and AIRPORT, ASAP!!!

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