Friday, August 06, 2010

The Airport, The Airline and Others

The Airport is not the Airline and the Airline is not the Airport – even if there’s only one airline flying to/from that airport. That’s how it is here and virtually everywhere else in the world. Except probably the likes of North Korea hehe. Why am I talking about these? Well, that is for many passengers I have encountered that most often bark at the wrong tree!

The airport is not like your Philtranco or Victory Liner Terminal in Pasay where the bus company owns the terminal structure and so on. The airport is more like Megamall. O sosyal di ba? That means, the owner of the building is not any airline but the government. Its just like many of the shops inside megamall, they’re not owned by SM. Rather, they all pay rent for use of the mall. Likewise, all airlines pay hefty sums to the government for using an airport. Clear? Alright, yey! But why are we talking about all these?

Let’s hear these so you don’t bark at the wrong tree:

Case 1 – Lady flaring at Terminal 2's Terminal Fee Counters
The dear lola was delaying us other passengers in line because she was complaining why she had to pay another P200 when she already paid the airline ticket and excess baggage. Hmm, halatang matagal na sa isang sulok ng America ang matanda at bihirang dumaan sa terminal fee counters. And am sure you can imagine the “confidence” of those our kababayans na naka-apak na ng America or blue kulay ng passport, di ba? She was oozing with confidence and was in a debate mood as if she was really being robbed.
Hasuuu, good that another old lady told her to step aside and look for the manager if she wanted to complain because we the other passengers needed to pay our terminal fees and pass through. Hah!

Much as I also hate paying any terminal fees and I loved that the lola was challenging it, her line of reasoning was off tangent. Walang kinalaman ang airline sa terminal fee. They don't own the airport!

Case 2 – Passenger talks bad about terminal fee for wrong reason
We have just landed from San Jose and I overheard a fellow passenger talking to his companions saying “kapal ng gobyernong ito maningil ng terminal fee tapos palalakarin lang tayo pagkababa ng eroplano! Ni hindi man lang tayo mabigyan ng gate sa dami nyan”! He was of course complaining as to why our plane parked at an open space beyond the farthest gate of Terminal 3, and we had to walk far to enter the building and walk more towards arrival area. His concerns were valid, but the government (or NAIA 3 owners) have nothing to do with this scenario!

First point, the plane used by Cebu Pacific was small to be able to match or reach those aero-bridges at every gate of the terminal. Though the airline could of course still park at any gate so that passengers just have a short distance to walk (stairs) going to the air-conditioned arrival area. Second point, it is the airline’s choice where they will park those planes – and for those smaller planes, the farther the better. Why? Because its cheaper for them. The “parking fee” is a lot less if they park at those spaces (called “bay”) beyond the terminal building. Ayan, his rant should have been… “ang barat naman ng airline na ito…” Ganun!

Case 3 – Government official scolded airline for faulty aircon at lounge
This was a case when all international flights still used NAIA Terminal 1. Old as it is, there was one evening on my way to Europe with the government official as co-passenger where the air-conditioning of the whole airport was faltering. I sat in a little corner inside that first-class lounge; avoiding unnecessary movements as indeed, the airport was steaming hot. That is even if the airline spread something like 5 electric fans all over the lounge. Suddenly the respected official stood and demanded to talk to the manager of the airline. While manager was not yet around, she was mouthing so many things and that it was unbelievable this airline would not fix the problem for passenger comfort.

I wanted to stand up myself and tell her up front who she should be lambasting… HER government! Hello! All airports in Manila (including lounges) have centralized air-conditioning systems. Why it was hot she should have blamed her fellow government employee, the airport manager. I wanted to tell her she should ask her government to return all terminal fees paid by all passengers that day! Hmp! Ah, when manager arrived, he told her the MIAA authorities was really taking too long to fix the aircon, that the airline already provided electric fans since alangan namang butasin yun big glass panels ng building for the airline to install their own air-conditioners in light of the government’s failure to fix the centralized aircon. Beh, official sat down, and stayed silent until we were boarded. Beh! See?!

Let us leave Case No. 3 above and learn further that there are other entities in an airport that are not part of its direct administrative supervision. Most of them also pay rent. These the likes of shops, restaurants, the duty free, taxi and hotel services, porterage, customs bureau, immigration bureau, DSWD, DA, red cross and many other services. Oh in the case of NAIA, what are called the NAIA Police are of the airport - meaning deployed and managed by MIAA. But those who man the x-ray machines are not employees of the airport but of the Aviation Security Command or AVSECOM. All entities mentioned above and others more have their respective mother companies or government departments that are not at, or not related to the airport's management.

Case 4 – Government Official (new) probes wrong government office
Ah this was recent… a congressman was arrested in Hong Kong for possession of prohibited drugs. I saw it on TV, the justice department head said she ordered an undersecretary to conduct investigation how said congressman was able to leave the country with drugs. It startled me thinking, what has her Department of Justice got to do with it?! She even went to as far as declaring that there may be a need to revamp the Bureau of Immigration (which is under her department) because of this. Click this link for one version of that news. All I could say was… “hello?”! But patawarin na since she is new in that new assignment. Actually I also wonder why the reporters asked her that question. Only shows they are as "hello" as the person they asked hehe!

Ah well, this is where our little education via this blog should come in handy. If she and the reporters read this, they would probably learn something too hehe! Anywhere in the world, immigration officers are not guards who frisk passengers or rummage at their luggage for departure. All they do are ascertain if the documents (i.e., passports and visas) are in order for entry at their destination PLUS if passenger has the "right" to leave this country. Ganun! Saan naman pumasok yun usaping drugs dyan, aber? Unless you say the congressman hid his drugs inside his passport – even so, as if immigration officers are trained to ascertain what is drug or tawas hehehe! All said, you can file charges against an immigration officer frisking your body or inspecting your belongings for indeed it is not their role. Immigration is not security - matagal na!

Okay, with all four example cases, it does appear that many people need to pay attention to some rather taken for granted little details about the airport and its contents hehe. But its not shameful to realize you don't know something. See, even supposedly learned folks do have bloopers at airports, how much more us?! You can always ask around or ask me. Just dont start bitching around like the lola in Case 1, or declaring things on national television if you are not (yet) aware of how things go!

Alright, there are many more but let’s leave it at that this time. C ya on the next entry!


sachin bani said...

Really nice blog and helpfull too:
cheap flights to Sydney
Sydney flights

Smith said...

ATAB provide advice on how you can reclaim your taxes, a form for you to use to complete the process. If the airline won’t play fair we also provide information on how you can complain for APD Refund. Airlines unfairly benefit from millions of pounds in unpaid tax refunds. You yourself may well have missed and or cancelled a flight and you are entitled to a refund of the taxes.The charges you pay when you fly include taxes and charges which are payable to the Government. If you don’t fly, for whatever reason, these charges and taxes are not paid by the airline.

Ambey Elevators said...

Hello, I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wish you best of luck for all your best efforts. elevator manufacturer, passenger lift delhi.