There are only 2 airlines currently flying Manila-Bacolod v.v. - Philippine Airlines(PAL) and Cebu Pacific(CEB)
I was travelling to Bacolod City. A city in the Central part of the Philippines. I was supposed to be flying with Philippine Airlines. But I found out that their baggage allowance (at that time) was limited to just 10 KILOS per passenger ONLY.
In early 2013 they had a re-branding and re-structuring. Domestic flights were transferred to PAL Express. PAL Express was the once budget airline Airphil Express. All of Philippine Airlines' domestic destinations are now served by PAL Express. No difference from PAL at all. Just the name. The ticket comes with a FREE 10 KILOS. If you got extra bags to check-in, you have the option to purchase additional baggage allowance.
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific had a more established baggage scheme. The ticket comes with NO BAGGAGE, so you have to pay additional if you have bags to check-in. Applies to both Domestic and International flights of the airline.
I chose Cebu Pacific because: I brought with me a bag weighing 29.7 kilograms! I purchased a ticket with additional 30kg of baggage allowance. PAL's luggage scheme that time would cost me a fortune in excess baggage! The additional baggage option was still non-existent the time I booked this flight.
————————————————————————————————————————————— Contents of the Trip Report includes:
1. NAIA Terminal 3 2. Boarding and Flight 3. Landing
CEBU PACIFIC AIR 5J473 MNL-BCD Aircraft: Airbus A320-200 RP-C3260 Seat no.: 30A Estimated departure time: 04:55am (GMT +8) Actual departure time: 05:10 (GMT +8) Estimated arrival time: 06:00am (GMT +8) Actual arrival time: 06:05am (GMT +8)
1. NAIA Terminal 3
After clearing immigrations and collecting my bag from the previous flight, I had a very uncomfortable transfer from NAIA Terminal 1 to NAIA Terminal 3. It was a shuttle bus transfer, NOT FREE. It costs around 20 Php.
Half past midnight, I arrived at the terminal, looked for a place to sit and RESTED. There were already a lot of passengers at the terminal. All are taking the early morning domestic flights.
I actually loved the ambiance of the terminal. Very relaxing. It was midnight and I WAS STARVING, good thing some coffee shops are open 24/7.
Check-in counters for the morning flights will open at 2am. The first flight leaves at exactly 4:00am. If you are flying with Cebu Pacific you can actually use their Check-in kiosk. But, bag drop opens the same time as the regular check-in counters.
Exactly 2:00am people started to line up. Sorry for the blurry shot. I was so sleepy.
Quite a lot of people. Disorganized lines! 2 ground staffs are meant to handle 2 lines.. but they had 5! Carts and bags everywhere. Ground staffs had to check passengers tickets one-by-one in a very slow pace. It became more and more crowded.
When it was my turn: Ground staff: Good morning, sir! Me: Good morning!I already have my boarding pass from the kiosk. I just need to go to the bag drop. Ground staff: That's great! (expressing his delight that I used their kiosk) Bag drop is this way, sir! Me: Thank you!!
Well, that was fast! But not until I reached the bag drop counter. THERE WAS A LONG LINE.
The ground staffs were so energetic early in the morning! Very accomodating and cheerful! I didn't mind waiting in line.
From lining up at the check-in counter to clearing pre-departure security? 1 HOUR AND 30 MINUTES. Some flights were already making their final call and ground staffs had to escort remaining passengers who were still at the security area.
The pale looking Terminal 3 domestic. More shops have opened recently. 116-120 - Gates with jetbridges. 131-134 - Bus gates.
Our flight leaves from Gate 134
Sorry again for this! Gates 131-134 handles almost ALL the domestic flight departing from T3. It gets VERY crowded during the day. You either STAND or find a decent seat in the upper gates. You need a lot of patience if your gate is from 131-134.
Around 4am, an announcement was made. Our gate assignment has been changed to Gate 116.
Gate 116 is a floor below the upper gates, and a floor above the lower gates. It has NO WINDOWS. You won't see even sunlight from this gate.
2. Boarding and Flight
Boarding. It was 4:30am already. STILL NO SLEEP! 30 HOURS AND COUNTING.
Take-off at 5:10am.
It's just your typical budget airline A320. No IFE. Buy-on-board service. And the signature FUN GAMES of Cebu Pacific was conducted. Legroom was small, but it was OK since the flight just an hour. Service was OK for a Low cost-carrier, the crew are attentive, friendly, and cheerful.
I actually felt very uncomfortable the whole flight because the floor under my seat had something STICKY on it. Maybe juice or soda that spilled the previous flight. There is that squishy-sticky feeling every time I lift my shoe off the floor.
GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE!
Just 30-minutes into the flight, we started our descent.
Final approach to Bacolod Airport
Touchdown at 6:05am.
Turn pads. Very common to most domestic airports in the Philippines
Philippine Airlines A320-200. The flight which I was supposed to take.
I chose seat 30A, 2nd to the last row of Cebu Pacific's A320 so I could get a chance to walk at the ramp.
They just have 30mins turn around time. To make disembarkation and boarding faster, they board through the front and the rear doors. Recently, turn around time is extended to 40mins and uses the front door only.
Built in 2007, the airport is still called NEW . WELCOME TO BACOLOD!
– END –
THANK YOU! I hope you enjoyed.
Manila - MNL
Bacolod City - BCD
Cebu Pacific is NOT as bad as people say it is. It is a budget carrier, no need to expect too much.
Baggage options are very good. The buy-on-board had a lot of good snacks to offer (It's already my routine NOT to buy anything from the BOB when flying with Cebu Pacific. Well, unless I'm really hungry.)
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