Stories of Stranded Passengers at NAIA Can Stop You in Your Tracks
Image Caption: Stranded passengers wait at Terminal 1 for their flights to resume after Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737-800 Flight MF8667 overshot the runway upon landing at Ninoy Aquino International airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila in Philippines, August 17, 2018. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)
By Dan Manglinong
A Xiamen Airlines flight that overshot the main runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport set off a chain of events that led to flight cancellations and delays over the course of five days. Thousands of travelers were affected and unable to get into their scheduled flights. These are some of their stories.
Three times cancelled
One twitter user narrated how she experienced three cancelled flights during the chaos.
She related having to pay P7000 as her rebooking fee and wait in line with hundreds more ahead of her at the ticketing office.
Troubles with her baggage added to her struggle with finding another flight. She also related how she had to traverse Terminal 2 of the airport to be a chance passenger after her first few attempts at rebooking failed.
Despite her struggles, the traveler observed how the facility was undermanned and felt sorry for the airport employees some stranded passengers took their frustration on.
“Not only was this fact slowing the queue, it has also become a place for these agitated passengers to outright bully and speak so rashly against these two staff who were obviously doing the best they could to accommodate as much they could,” she wrote.
Another passenger also voiced out his complaints after his flight at Terminal 1 was delayed.
He said there were very few employees present to assist the thick crowd. There was no one manning the check-in counter at one point and the queues to the different airlines had tangled with each other.
He described the commotion as a “free-for-all.”
“Where are your employees? Where is the organization? There is nobody here to give answers,” he said.
Footage from the chaotic weekend has also made it to YouTube.
In this video uploaded by user Kin Enriquez, absurdly long lines without any legroom at NAIA Terminal 2 can be seen as confused tourists and disgruntled passengers walk around the facility.
All the way to the parking lot
One Twitter user revealed how the queue on the day after the Xiamen Air accident reached the parking lot.
The long lines spilled outside the terminal in a picture he uploaded.
One Facebook user meanwhile posted a video allegedly showing disgruntled overseas Filipino workers stranded due to the cancelled and delayed flights.
A number of OFWs have complained about the grounded flights risking their employment.
One OFW who requested not to be named related how he could face jail time if he failed to return to Saudi Arabia before his exit visa expired on Monday during an interview with dzMM.
He claimed that authorities took no action on their grievances and that all the assistance they received was their boarding passes being replaced.
What is being done
Xiamen Air, the owner of the Boeing 737-8000 that overshot the runway of NAIA on Thursday evening has apologized for the incident. Recovery of the aircraft paralyzed operations at NAIA for two days.
More than 60 uncoordinated recovery flights are believed to have caused the series of cancellations, leading to a pileup of stranded passengers over the weekend. Close to 200 scheduled flights were cancelled as a result of the confusion.
Airport authorities are currently investigating the incident on the runway and the ensuing commotion.
Manila International Airport Authority Ed Monreal has estimated that it will fine Xiamen Air a total P15 millions from the costs of the incident.