I was at NAIA terminal 1 last week to say goodbye to my sister. And truth be told it was voted as the “fifth worst airport in the world” by an online guide, I was taken by surprise. All the while, I thought the old, moldy Terminal 1 was the worst airport in the world.
The check-in area is a confusing Divisoria of winding queues. The Duty Free area is cramped, the shelves filled with pathetic remnants of dated items. The snack counters offer little more than overpriced sandwiches and dimsum. And of course there are the much-denigrated “comfort” rooms with cracked tiles and inoperable faucets. I remember one restroom with a huge plastic barrel, from which passengers were expected to scoop out water to wash their hands or—eeuww—flush the toilets. And you wonder why airport users resent having to pay the airport terminal fee?
I felt ashamed as a Filipino. If a poorer country like Cambodia could update its international airport—apparently in a bid to take advantage of the country’s growing tourist trade—why couldn’t we have a new, improved airport or at least refurbish the old one?
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: NAIA served as a whole served around 24.5 million passengers total back in 2009.