After being crowned the world’s worst airport in 2011, the Philippine government initiated some changes to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, which generally services international flights, to try and improve its rankings and ultimately the customer’s experience of an airport that has needed improving dramatically for such a long time.
After relinquishing the title this year of the world’s worst airport to Pakistan’s ISB, which The Inquirer likened to “a central prison”, many pointed to Terminals 2 and 3 as the contributing reason as to why the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has improved its rankings slightly. NAIA Terminal 2 and 3 services both domestic and international flights. However, the airport still has a long way to go if it wants to be recognized as one of the better airports, if not best, that could very well help the country in boosting their tourism industry, so this article will focus on the main areas in which NAIA Terminal 1 needs to improve its services, functionality, navigation and overall customer experience.
1) Service roads
Currently the airport is only serviced by one road, and navigating out of the airport can be extremely difficult especially during peak hours. There’s also little or no traffic wardens patrolling the airport so during busy periods of the day it can turn into utter chaos.
It’s a well known fact that the world’s leading airports are nearly always serviced by two roads making accessing the respective airports easy as well as exiting them. However, this isn’t the case with NAIA T1, which was designed extremely poorly. Let’s take London’s second largest airport for example: Parking4Less denotes that “the airport has terminals that are serviced by trains and roads.” If this were to be implemented at NAIA it would vastly improve the transportation routes that service the airport.
2) Parking services
Unlike our Western counterparts there isn’t any particularly secure parking services at NAIA Terminal 1. Recently, PhilNews reported on how “poorly kept, terribly designed, its uncovered parking lots with questionable security,” that NAIA has after interviewing a disgruntled customer.
The overall cleanliness of NAIA T1 is substandard at best. The toilets, although maintained regularly are less than appealing, that is unless you are in Terminal 2 or 3 where everything looks relatively new and well-kept. Outside of the airport where the waiting area for the arrivals is can be extremely dirty as well – cluttered with large amounts of litter.
One of the things that aren’t necessarily essential to help NAIA climb the rankings is improving its décor – although, its drab décor certainly doesn’t make it any easier on the eye. Apart from the aforementioned Terminals 2 and 3, some of the terminals look they have seen a lick of paint for 20 years and lack the contemporary edge of its new refurbished terminal.
Selective scanning by the security and immigration officers means that inconsistencies often occur at the airport. There’s also minimal checks for anyone that comes to pick up people at the airport so make sure you keep all of your pricey possessions hidden from sight as well as your bags locked and secure.
The parking services also have minimal if any, security regularly patrolling the cars parked in the lots. Like in the early documented PhilNews article, you should always check the fine print as well if you decide to use the parking services, as there can be some costly penalties if you are unable to pick your vehicle up at the specified time.
As NAIA Terminal 1 strives to improve its standing in the ranking system initiated by “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” with an aim to appealing a little more to travelers the world over. And although this isn’t one of the most contributing factors to someone booking a holiday – the bad press regarding NAIA certainly isn’t welcomed by the Philippine Tourism Board.
Note: This is a guest post by Adrian Williams.