Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A Very Long Line Entering MCIA? Ows?!

A very long queue to enter the Mactan Cebu International Airport? Does that happen? Well, yes, sometimes?! Which side? Usually the domestic departures. But for a line to that departure area to be extending all the way outside the building at about noon must be unthinkably ridiculous! It happened? Somehow, according to another dear friend who called to inform me so. Here’s her story…

She arrived with her brother at the said airport just about past high noon to check-in for a flight to Tacloban departing around 3PM. Alighting from the cab, they were dismayed at the long line but just quickly joined it anyway. The end of this queue was right in front of that door she had known to be the entrance for so many years. But it is now an exit and the line snakes out to the other door before turning towards that restaurant and going up the usual rampway with blind musicians to the x-ray machines. That’s how she described it.

No problem she said, since it was still early for the opening of her check-in counters. And being a calm and collected executive, she totally understood that January 2 is still peak passenger season when everyone is returning home after new year’s celebrations. She had the same experience at Manila’s Terminal 3 just three days ago on coming to Cebu. There were very long lines entering Terminal 3 at both doors that the authorities decided to open a third which she fortunately got to, ahead of many others.

But this Cebu line was barely moving! At that rate, she imagined they wouldn’t be able to catch check-in for their flight. PLUS, her mother was already waiting inside the check-in area having also just arrived on an earlier flight from Cotabato so that they would all go together on that flight to Tacloban. Our dear passenger started to worry. She kept glancing through the glass doors and wondered why there seemed to be not so many people entering the x-ray area. She also overheard some thugs roaming the lines, telling some passengers something like “just two hundred pesos to SM Cebu”. Hmm… our dear sangkay started to cast doubts at her situation. She asked her brother to stay put in line and went forth to investigate…

Holy Guacamole Mana Lily! She found out it was not the line entering the departure area but a line for “just arrived” passengers waiting for their turn to get on a cab! Too few taxis during that time since most were out to lunch! Haruuuy mana! Half-running, she quickly grabbed her brother, went forth to the entrance door and made their way to the x-ray machine where just a few steps their mom was already waiting with mixed feelings as to where on earth her two adult children were being kept by a long line of passengers…

Here's a diagram I made to understand her “case”:
See the ENTRANCE? That door has not been used for a long long time. Then about a few months ago it became an “exit only”. And just recently, it is now the only entrance to domestic departure area! Yep, to the left of that door is the Cebu Pacific ticket office.

See those purple diagonal boxes? Those are the cars and cabs that bring departing passengers to the airport. The red lined box is where our passengers alighted from their taxi – since that is STILL where everyone does and should.

What are those little blue dots? Those are arriving passengers that throng from down the arrival area to get a cab!

What are those little pink dots? Departing passengers. Actually few when our dear friend came!

See the big “X” at left? That WAS the way of arriving passengers in the recent past. They would go up the stairs to reach the taxi stand. It is now an off-limits “MCIA employees only” area.

Ah, those little white rectangles? Those are your white taxis. As has been in the past, you fall in line and get your turn for a cab over near the big X. Note that some of them white cabs, the remainder that is, wait on the other side of the road (hotel side) all the way to where that road bends.

The two red dots in front of EXIT? Those are our two passengers. Now imagine where they should go since that door is NOW an EXIT.

So the area between ENTRANCE and EXIT is a dizzying mix of departing and arriving passengers. Easy to get lost, right?! Imagine too if you just came from NAIA 3 where you may similarly go to an entrance further left after alighting from your vehicle. Your orientation is about the same, right? Now what happens if you see a line? You join! That’s what our poor passengers did! Yes, I also laugh at their unfortunate experience, but seriously, not really totally their fault.

The orange box (2P) is the Air Philippines ticket office. PR is PAL and DFS is the Duty Free Shop. Everything in front of them is a dead space where porters and thugs - a.k.a dispatchers (of colorum vehicles) hang out.

Okay readers, what do you think of this little “case”? What’s your verdict?

For me, in fairness to our passengers, it was easy to mistake that line as something that goes towards entrance since that entrance is ridiculously over at the end and far from where you get off your taxi. Boo to whoever instituted this ridiculous arrangement!

One might initially think that our subject passenger was dumb. But for me who pass by at least two airports a week, I can dare say that someone out there is dumber or dumbest. I should know, I was also there just 3 days ago. And though I did not get lost, I was a bit disoriented at the new layout those bright boys from city hall (oops, from MCIAA, I mean) have instituted. Why did they do it so? Probably for lack of anything to do that would merit a newsman’s attention. Gosh!

All I could say to our dear passenger who happily celebrated New Year’s in Cebu was/is “I am sorry this happened to you, but trust me, not all Cebuanos are that dumb to make you go around in circles and to disregard the simple common sense that departing and arriving passengers SHOULD NEVER AT ANYTIME meet and mix for indeed that would be chaos”. Amen?!

Now now children… all above is “departure”. Did you know there is also something cute down at arrival? Ah I have two emails and one personally recounted story from those who passed by that place. All I could say was “yes, I know, I was also there and experienced it just a few days ago”! And Sinulog is just down the bend… oh my!

Oh well, lesson/s learned: ahhh too many hehe! Let’s not wait nor even hope the authorities there will do something better. Maybe they’re thinking an airport is just like a city hall’s lobby hehe. Let’s just know what to do amidst these merry-go-rounds by informing traveling friends how things go nowadays and how those can quickly take bizarre twists! So folks going Sinulog, take note which left, right, up or down you have to take at Mactan Cebu International Airport! Yes yes, am thinkin of also doodling a layout for the arrival area maze for both international and domestic flights!

Have a “fun” flight always – in 2012 and beyond! Smile!


Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is big help. Saan na po daan kung sasalubong since bawal na sa X?

Anonymous said...

sa "ENTRANCE", then lakad ka pababa - pasalubong sa lahat ng dumadating, until yo reach the alumnum fence. tas pag dating na yun pasahero mo, sabay kayo pabalik, akyat dyan sa ramp papuntang "EXIT" :)