Our first vacation trip abroad this year happened to be during the peak holiday season in the Philippines, and we flew out during the Holy Week in early April.
Prior to our departure day, we already planned on going to the airport way ahead of time to allow for any potential airport congestion from the check in counters through the Philippine Immigration. So on departure day, we took a Grab car to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, and arrived at the airport good five hours before our scheduled takeoff. It was that early because a couple of days before, friends who flew out to Japan reported to having spent 2 to 3 hours in line at the Philippine Immigration. These same friends also shared that when they got to Japan, they spent another 2 to 3 hours in line at the Japan Immigration.
Now these wait times and airport activities are the things I like least about travelling (second is the long flight time when flying Economy), so I readied myself wearing my most comfortable sneakers and bookmarked a couple of ebooks I’ve been meaning to read, thinking for sure I’d get through at least one of them while standing in line. D’s fully charged powerbank was likewise ready in my purse. Though we had checked in online, we still needed to line up at the Check In Counters to drop off our bags. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the day we were scheduled to fly was not as busy as the previous days, and fortunately we breezed through Immigration in no more than 10 minutes.
Because we were able to check in quite early, D and I headed to the Marhaba Lounge at the top floor. It is a complimentary lounge that our credit card was accredited to, and we quite like using the facility as it is clean and comfortable. The lounge offered some good snacks and drinks, and a view of the runway.
When we got there, however, the Marhaba Lounge was full, and the reception said we may wait for about an hour when some of the guests would be boarding their plane. D and I formulated Plan B on a whim and figured we would just spend time at a cafe before going to our gate to wait until boarding time.
Luckily, on the way down, we saw a signage of a new pay lounge that just opened this January, A Lounge.
Entrance fee to A Lounge was 1,500 pesos (around US$25), and the space here was much bigger. The staff service was good, and the lounge also offered a good view of the runway. However, I think the food here was not as great as Marhaba’s, and while the seats were more stylish and the lounge offered some private partitions, what lacked was power outlets which were limited to just some of the seats. Despite my minor observations, I find staying in this new lounge to be comfortable. It was a good starting point for our two week vacation, and I’d use either of these lounges again when I am in NAIA Terminal 3 in the future.
I’ve only ever stayed in an airport lounge once, and I can say that they’re a life-changer– it beats having to wait around with hundreds of other passengers, and depending on the lounge, you have access to food, workspace, and rest areas. I enjoyed reading this different type of post from you! PS the formatting on this blog post is kind of blocky and not spaced out, nor are there photos (unless you didn’t post any)? Just wanted to let you know!
LikeLiked by 1 person
So true about lounges. Especially here in my city there is not much to do in the airport so lounges for me are a must. Thanks for letting me know about the formatting, I’ll give it a fix.
LikeLiked by 1 person