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Friday, August 3, 2012

Flying Through Clark International Airport for the First Time

It was actually Vic who informed me about using Clark International Airport instead of NAIA, after he told me about the budget fares of Air Asia. Well, it’s something I would strongly suggest you try using if you are in the following situation:

#1 You have a car and a driver who can pick you up and send you off. I don’t know how people commute to this airport and I assume seeing how far it is, how convenient it would be considering that you’d have to lug your stuff around.

However, if you have a driver and a spare car like me, it’s pretty convenient since there is no traffic to contend with and it’s just a straight drive starting from Mindanao Avenue, then to NLEX, then to SCTEX, then to the DMIA (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport).

Another disadvantage though is the toll fees you’d have to pay. I paid 45 pesos entering NLEX, then 178 pesos exiting it, then another 4 pesos entering Clark. That’s just one way. Make sure you leave money to your driver so that he can pay the toll going home.

Another disadvantage is the gas. The budget would be around 2000 pesos back and forth. My brother put 1000 pesos in the gas tank when I went and I left the driver another thousand pesos for his trip to pick me up when I arrive.

So basically, you add 2500 pesos to your plane fare, if you use Clark International Airport.

However, you also have to remember that even if you use NAIA, and considering that I went to the airport during rush hour, I think I would’ve used the same amount of gasoline going to NAIA from Quezon City – back and forth. And we’d have to contend with the horrible rush hour traffic in rainy Manila – and you very well can imagine how terrible that is!
I assure you, the drive to Clark is stress-free.

#2 You live in Quezon City, preferably near SM North or Trinoma or Novaliches or Mindanao Avenue.

#3You want budget fares which Air Asia offered to me at quite a steal! Because I NEVER get lucky with the budget fare promotions of Cebu Pac, I always end up paying the ‘real fare’ which in my computation would be the fare I would have to pay for two people flying in Air Asia. That’s why I thought it was a good deal because for the price of one person in a Kuala Lumpur flight in Cebu Pac, I got it for two people in an Air Asia flight.

#4 You want less stress in immigration and queueing. Oh God, even the Cebu Pac flights in the new Terminal 3 have looooonngggg queues already – since they bunch up all domestic and international passengers. When I started using that before, I thought I was in heaven because there were not many queues, but nowadays, la situation est terrible!

However, it’s heaven at the Clark International Airport. Even if it’s small, the number of passengers is manageable and the queue was immediately handled in about an hour. The queues in both the terminal fee and the Immigration Counters were not very long. And in one skip and a hop, you’re already in their waiting area, which is also pretty small.

One hitch though is that when it rains, you’d be wet because you’d have to walk on the tarmac to the plane. Ditto if it’s very hot, you’d be under the heat of the sun. It was drizzling when I boarded the plane but none of the Air Asia staff offered me an umbrella so I had to run in the rain to the waiting airplane. Good thing, di siya masyado malakas so I wasn’t really drenched.

Oh well, budget airline e! Problem ko lang is if I bring Mama with me because she definitely could not run in those circumstances. Oh well, I’d really have to ask for an umbrella, at least, for her. I’m sure they’d have one.

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