Alaska was a nice little adventure for me, and now that that’s over, I’m back in the Philippines. I’ve made the trip once before without any issues but this time, I can’t say the same.
For this trip, I actually traveled with my younger brother. We’ve never traveled together and I’ve never traveled internationally with someone, so it was a bit different. We had four flights in total, which is standard for Portland to Davao it seems. The first flight was from Portland to Seattle, very standard, no issues there. The second and third flights were both through EVA airline (it was actually a joint flight between a few airlines but was operated by EVA) and this was where our problems started.
When we got to Seattle, we had about 2 hours and change to get all ready for our next flight to Taiwan. We found the gate really quickly and found a line waiting for us. We lined up to get checked in and from the line we saw we were gonna have issues. Just to put things into perspective, my carry-on was not light by any means, neither was my brothers. In addition to some clothes, I had some computer parts inside mine. Why? Well, I managed to get a cheap pc from the States and didn’t want to leave it because I knew that here in the Philippines, we didn’t have a computer that would meet the standards for my games. Now, my pc parts weren’t exactly light, and as we neared the counter, we saw that other passengers were having issues because apparently, the weight limit for carry-ons is 7kg… My bag was probably double that at least. My brother had the same issue, his bag was too heavy. Luckily, I had packed my brother’s duffel bag because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else. We ended up putting my pc parts and some of his stuff in his big bag and balancing the rest of the stuff between our duffel bags. The bag with my pc parts got checked (stupid yes, but necessary) and off we went- no, I wish that was what happened.
What really happened was another issue cropped up alongside this baggage problem. My brother and I are dual citizens, we have a certificate to prove it but we don’t have Philippine passports because of how messed up the system is to get them (I’m pretty sure I’ve written about it before). The good thing is, the certificate is basically a replacement for a Philippine passport, so we should have been fine, right? Not quite. These certificates, they are not widespread, therefore, these airline staff doesn’t know what to do if one happens to land on their counters. For those unaware, you need a Philippine passport, Visa or an ongoing flight to enter the Philippines. The guy at the counter had to call someone to verify these certificates, which honestly took forever. While we were managing our luggage, he went somewhere to ask someone about it. Soon enough, our parents called to check up on us and they kinda got worried about it because of the time constraints, at this point we probably had half an hour before we board. Of course, our parents worrying about us caused us to stress and we went up to ask about it. Just as we walked up, the guy asked if we were the Martins, to which we said yes and he said everything was fine and gave us our boarding passes.
A couple takeaways from this for me. First, why was there no mention of the 7kg limit for their carry-ons? I’m pretty sure it was not mentioned when we bought our tickets. Second, these people surely have to know about the dual citizen certificate, it even says so right on the paper that we are citizens of the Philippines. It shouldn’t have taken so long for them to verify it. What should have happened was “Let me call the office about this.” *one call to the office later* “Yeah, everything looks good, here’s your boarding passes.” But no, we had to wait and stress over a non-issue because they couldn’t read a sentence off a piece of paper.
We got into Manila, and just as usual, it was a mess. Lines? What are those? WiFi? Yeah, we have that, but you can only connect for 1 hour a day… Are you for real? How cheap are you? 1 hour in a day… Some people have to wait 12 hours for flights! Oh, but they have these other WiFi connections. Yeah, that requires a Philippine phone number. Overall, NAIA is still bottom-tier. No improvements since last time, still confusing, still the big mess it always is. An amazing first impression it is to foreigners, isn’t it?
Oh, and Air Asia and probably any other airline here, if someone is traveling internationally, PLEASE accept the 50lb luggage. 20kg isn’t enough, we actually had to pay over P1,000 to get an “upgrade” that we really shouldn’t have needed. Also, allow us to move to an earlier flight. We had to wait 8 hours because you wouldn’t let us switch to the flight 3 hours from when we landed.