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How To Survive Naia During Papal Visit?


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I am scheduled to arrive at NAIA2 with Philippine Airlines on January 15th at 8 pm, just after the first papal airport closure, and depart back to the USA with Delta from NAIA3 on January 18th at 9:30 am (no scheduled airport closures on 17th or 18th). My fiance and 8 month old son will fly with me on the 18th. Had I known about the airport closures when I booked the tickets I would have scheduled different week, but rescheduling at this point would cost me over $1000 in losses and fees, and a delay of several weeks would cause lots of consequential cost and trouble for various reasons.

So, since both flights are still showing as scheduled my current plan is to try and stick with the plan. Presuming that our flights wont get cancelled at the last minute, my key concern is the traffic to and from NAIA those days. We are renting a van with a driver both days to travel between our apartment in Cavite and NAIA, but I am wondering how bad will the traffic be even during the night hours those days. Especially on the 18th when we have our baby with us I don't want to get stuck in the traffic for hours or miss our flight and be stuck at the airport for days waiting for the next available flight with seats available.

I guess what I'm looking for here is some ideas what to do to avoid major trouble, as rescheduling at this point us nearly impossible.

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On regular days, without papal visits, Manila traffic is bad, early to late morning, may let up for a few minutes before lunch and it locks down tighter than before during lunch time. May lighten up 2 pm to 3 pm then it gets bad again until 7 pm to 8 pm.

 

It's an ill wind that blows no good, I usually take flights that arrive or depart at poor times in stride because at least the traffic won't be bad from airport to hotel. This time my hotel was 25 kilometers from the airport and the driver told me "very far" and I replied that it better not be, not this time of night 11:45 pm. It took just over 30 minutes to go 25 kilometers. If your flights are at decent hours, I would want to be staying as close to the airport as possible or I would allow plenty of time for slippage. Someone else may have a different experience, mine mainly involved Quezon City and surrounds.

 

I just consulted a calendar and see the 18th is Sunday, you may catch a break, my experience was with weekdays and people rushing to work. Those going to church probably attend locally.

Edited by robert k
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Thanks for the input Robert. I realize I should have mentioned that I have done these trips many times during "non-papal times". The trip from NAIA to our apartment typically takes about 90 minutes late evening, and the reverse direction about 45 minutes when I leave our place at 5 am.

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The Pope is scheduled to leave on the 19th so I would think there would not be any real effect on your outbound flight early morning on the 18th. It's a Sun morning, I would leave at whatever the usual unless you hear otherwise. The inbound flight on the 15th could be delayed since your arrival is just after his. There could be quite a crowd at and near the airport on the 15th.

 

That's quite a turnaround to and from the Philippines in less then 3 days. Good luck. 

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I came back to the Phills last January on the 20th and ran into the sinulog at Cebu city that was bad enough but I shudder to think what it will be like in Manila when the pope visits

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Your flight might be delayed if it coincides with the papal arrival and airport ceremonies. The Pope is considered a head of state. The delay may include landing at another international airport like Cebu or Iloilo.

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That's quite a turnaround to and from the Philippines in less then 3 days. Good luck. 

 

Just want to be with my fiancee and son when they enter the USA for first time, so no need for a longer stay in the Philippines this time.  I'm little less worried about having a delay flying in as long as everything with our trip to the USA on goes okay on Sunday.

 

Your flight might be delayed if it coincides with the papal arrival and airport ceremonies. The Pope is considered a head of state. The delay may include landing at another international airport like Cebu or Iloilo.

 

Is it normal that they close NAIA for all the flights for five hours for both arrival and departure?  To me it seems that Pope is getting treated above and beyond any head of state.

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Is it normal that they close NAIA for all the flights for five hours for both arrival and departure?  To me it seems that Pope is getting treated above and beyond any head of state.

 

I heard that domestic flights are cancelled for the duration of the Papal's visit. If your flight in is changed to Cebu, then what????

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Is it normal that they close NAIA for all the flights for five hours for both arrival and departure?  To me it seems that Pope is getting treated above and beyond any head of state.

Yes. If something were to happen to the Pope, it would be a catastrophe for the government. Southern Philippine is Islamic and there are threats from extremist groups.

I heard that domestic flights are cancelled for the duration of the Papal's visit. If your flight in is changed to Cebu, then what????

You wait either on board the aircraft or in the terminal until flight operations in Manila return to normal. Hopefully they remember to prepare sandwiches and drinks.

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Is it normal that they close NAIA for all the flights for five hours for both arrival and departure?  To me it seems that Pope is getting treated above and beyond any head of state.

 

I heard that domestic flights are cancelled for the duration of the Papal's visit. If your flight in is changed to Cebu, then what????

 

 

That is only partially true based on the various news releases I have seen.  NAIA will be closed for all air traffic for 5 hours on the 15th when Pope arrives and 5 hours again on the 19th when he departs, and Tacloban airport will be closed for the day when Pope will be visiting there.  The airlines have already published some lists of flights they are canceling based on these interruptions.  Cebu Pacific had the most I have seen, about 200 flights including couple of international flights to Hong Kong.  Other than that I have not seen any cancellations of international flights yet, though I would expect some more due to those 5 hour NAIA closures.

 

If the airline diverts me to Cebu, it is their responsibility to eventually get me to my ticketed destination which is Manila (at least in the rest of the world that is).

Edited by Pettersson
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