Thursday, November 22, 2007

airport woes

after four days, i finally find time to write about my singapore adventures. but before i get to my experiences, let me start with my PAL centennial terminal experience.

i never completely understood the need for arriving two hours before your flight until my experience last thursday. my flight was at 720am, and i arrived at around 530am. checking in was a breeze, but it was the other processes that came after that were real hassles.

as much as i love how the centennial terminal looks, it was obvious that they did very little planning on its layout. they provided more than a dozen check-in counters, but only two booths for terminal fee payment. imagine the line that wormed around from the terminal fee counters.

after that, you're up at the immigration booth, which had even longer lines. about five or six booths were provided, at the corner of the airport, so that people were squeezed in such a small space by the wall. what's more, there were no airport officials to facilitate the lines. the booths closer to the wall had less people and shorter lines, but nobody was telling the other people that there were other booths available. the number of people were so much so that you won't be able to see the other lines. thank god i was traveling alone, and easily wound my way around crowds.

another hassle was that after having your passport stamped at the booth, you will have to fight your way back through the crowd just so you could get to the boarding gates. unlike in hong kong or singapore (or probably other countries), where you can then walk past the immigration booth to baggage claim or the boarding gates, here, you will have to walk back and go to another section of the airport.

on my way back through the crowd, i told the other people to line up at the booths closer to the wall, just so the volume of people wouldn't be concentrated by the tiny entrance to the immigration area. i swear, if only they used a little more brain power to construct a more efficient flow to the process, things would be so much better.

i finished with the entire process at 7am. a few days later, at singapore's changi airport, i arrive 45 minutes before my flight. check-in and immigration took all of 10 minutes. now why can't that happen here?

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