This is what a $25 plane ticket will buy you in the Philippines. This morning I had the opportunity to fly Cebu Pacific economy class. Cebu Pacific is another Filipino LCC similar to airphil express. Both airlines fly from Manila Ninoy International Airport terminal 3. I won’t go into details about MNL terminal 3, as I have written about it in the past.
Upon arriving for my 5:30 am flight at 4:45 am terminal 3 was already hopping. I found the checking area specific to flights to Cebu on Cebu Pacific, told the women I was flying to Cebu and she let me pass the ropes to the Cebu Pacific check in area. There were only 4 lines open and each line had approximately 10+ people in line and each person was checking bags. I then notice a window open that read “standby ” and another that read “last minute check in”. Both lines were empty so I headed over to last minute check in and asked the women to check me in. Although I knew this wasn’t the correct line for me, I was also aware that I wasn’t checking bag and it shouldn’t be a problem. The gate agent was friendly, smiled, and was more than willing to help since I wasn’t
After receiving my boarding pass, what looked more like a receipt of payment, I headed over to security. The process was the same as last week, the security guard reviewed my boarding pass and then allowed me to enter the departure area where I had to pay my 200 pesos (~$5 usd) terminal fee and then pass through security.
This time when getting to security the line for males was twice as long as the female security line. However thankfully right when I walked up, the second security line opened and I was passing through security in a matter of minutes. Its very quick and efficient and NOTHING like the queues at US airports! In additional this time I was able to bring through multiple bottles of fluid that were more than 3oz (sun screen, deodorant, face moisture) without being bothered by security. The beauty of a domestic flight!
At about 5:15 ( 15 minutes after boarding should have begun) an announcement was made the plane was delayed due to additional servicing that was needed to the aircraft, but that we would start boarding within 10 minutes. Surprisingly at 5:30 we started boarding. The plane boarded quickly, and again no one checked my ID. The only ID check was done at initial check in. As I went to board the aircraft I realized our plane wasn’t at gate 120. Remote Stand here we come!
As I walked down the jet bridge I found myself walking down a set of steps and onto the tarmac to board a bus. 100% handicap inaccessible. The bus finished boarding and we were racing down the tarmac away from the domestic section of terminal 3. A few minutes later we were at gate 106, within the international section of T3. Up the steps and I was boarding my first Cebu flight on an a320.
The decor of the plane was plain and simple yet elegant. Laid out like most LCC, there was only one class (economy) and there were a few select plus seats such as those in the bulkhead and
exit rows. The plus seats provid extra leg room. Lucky for me, I was seated in the exit row! And the 2nd exit row so I in addition to the the added legroom, my seat also recline – and no I did not pay for this “upgrade!”
After boarding the cabin crew did this safety demo in English and then a prerecorded recording came on repeating it in Tagalog. Shortly after this we pushed back and we were off to Cebu without any traffic related delays.
Shortly after take I fell asleep. However the last thing I remember was the recording stating they would be dimming the cabin lights to provide better views of the cities, not safety like most airlines claim. This certainly made me smile!
I did not wake up for cabin service but Cebu Pacific is like most LCC in Asia and requires one to purchase any snack or drinks for $1-$5.
Right before landing I woke up and found myself in Cebu in only a short 65 minutes! The airport was much smaller than I imagined and the baggage area was equally as small. I had no baggage so I
headed outside to catch a taxi.
Tip: when flying into Cebu yellow airport taxis pick you up at arrivals and charge almost 2x the price as regular taxis. To catch a regular Taxi, exit baggage claim, cross the street, head
upstairs towards check in and find the Taxi cue here. The white colored Taxis are MUCH cheaper!
Seat: 8/10 for econ. LOADS of leg room (in the exit row) but missing the left arm rest against the window. Also the seat leaned back to far for comfort and did not have head rest flaps. Service: I slept through it Reliability: Cebu Pacific is the Philippines’ largest airline. With only 37 aircraft it is surprising the largest!