NAIA Terminal 1 voted 'worst airport in Asia'

Disorganized taxi lanes, chaotic atmosphere outside the Ninoy Aquino Int’l Airport’s Terminal 1, are among the reasons why it was voted ‘worst airport in Asia in 2012 by the readers of the online travel site The Guide to Sleeping in Airports. ‘With its collapsing ceilings, overcrowding, rampant bribery, and taxi drivers scamming travelers on fares, it’s easy to understand why ‘disappointed’ and ‘unbelievable’ are just a few of the words travelers use to describe the place.’

“There was lack of seat, but I slept on the floor on my own camping mattress.” – Urban Nomad

With its collapsing ceilings, overcrowding, rampant bribery, and taxi drivers scamming travellers on fares, its easy to understand why “disappointed” and “unbelievable” are just a few of the words travellers use to describe Manila’s Terminal 1.

After the honour of winning last year’s “Worst Airport in the World” title, authorities were impressively quick to start releasing some of the airport tax money for improvements on the struggling terminal. A rehabilitation project began in January 2012. Judging by the thousands of people who sent us their feedback and voted in the polls, these improvements can’t be finished fast enough.

In the meantime, travellers continue to complain about the long and numerous queues that begin outside the terminal. Once inside, there will be no time for naps and certainly no place for quiet rest and enjoyment as you’ll be busy going through various queues for the next few hours as you proceed to your gate.

While the terminal does have a VIP lounge and Day room for transiting passengers, Terminal 1 is not for sleeping. The overnight sleeper awaiting early morning flights should go to Terminals 2 and 3 where there is armrest-free seating (landside). Terminal 3 is very clean and modern, but it is not operating to full capacity.

“at this airport you have to have your itinerary to enter the terminal. i forgot it that day and so the police said if i give him 10 USD he’ll let me in.” – beaniebaby

If you are transiting to another terminal, the shuttle bus departs when there are enough people on the bus to make the journey worthwhile. If you are in a hurry, you’ll probably end up taking a taxi, but look out for meter tampering as some drivers rig their meters with a gadget called a batingting that speeds up the meter and increases your fare. To the airport’s credit they did crack down on this practice in March.

More disconcerting are the number of reports we’ve received indicating officers asking for cash payments to expedite normal procedures. Shame!

In Summary: Use Terminals 2 and 3 when possible.

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

Services/Facilities: Free WiFi • Pay Lounges ($) • Prayer Rooms