Flying budget airlines

The plane refueling at Singapore's budget terminal.

Thanks to budget planes, people can now fly to Singapore at never before prices. How these companies managed to get their prices so low is a modern day miracle. I’m already planning trips for 2010, the earlier, the cheaper – I hope that some crazy promo pops out in time for the Chinese New Year. A flight to Singapore takes about 3 hours, add the time you wait in the airport, its about 4-5 hours which is not bad, traffic in EDSA will keep you longer. During the days of Aguinaldo, Rizal and the other patriots, it takes a week to reach the ports of Singapur from Manila, so there really is no reason to complain. I usually pick morning flights, I never travel at night partly because it frightens me. I try to get the cheapest deal ahead of time-the extra saved money I spend in reserving a window seat. Looking out of the plane window keeps me awake, makes the journey shorter because seeing everything above is unbelievably amazing, it makes you forget about time. It would be nice if there’s a PA system that would tell people where the plane is. I know that the route would fly over places like Kota Kinabalu but how would you know, you see dozens of these small islands from above. I’ve always been fascinated with flying, I’ll never get used to it and this cheap flight is the best thing that ever happened to a budget conscious traveler like me. The plane departed NAIA III pass 6am so we were expected to be in Changi at 9am. I think the pilots kicked in to high gear midway that we arrived ahead of schedule at around 0845am.

I was sitting beside a German Father and son duo, the kid was really funny, he was watching cartoons in his father’s ipod and was showing it to me. Everything was ok until the Father took his NB sneakers off! Our section smelled like the divisions of Dante’s inferno, I wanted to open the windows [impossible of course!] hoping that the guy gets sucked out of the plane! I don’t know how I managed to stay conscious for hours with that horrifying stench. Amazingly, no one seems to mind, except maybe me but I was too shy to complain, I was thinking of the kid also, I don’t want trouble so I just sat and tried to take my mind out of it.  Good thing the flight wasn’t an intercontinental one. It’s just mind over those stinking feet!

Changi Budget Terminal

Singapore is our second home, it’s a place where many Filipinos live and enjoy life outside their home country. This small island state has blessed us with so many beautiful memories and it has provided opportunities to better our lives, circumstances often force us to live our lives not quite as we would prefer to live them. Everything looks different in Singapore, maybe because everything is in order and I’m used to chaos and dysfunction. There is no trace of poverty in Singapore and for those who are struggling financially there are extensive government aid – their citizens are their priority but they don’t spoil them, they very strict with their laws. I can’t help but dream about having the same government in our land but I think we’re not ready for a Singapore type of governance because we can’t tolerate strict governance, we have too much freedom, sadly, discipline is something we understand outside our homeland. It’s good to take a break [and eat eat eat Indian food in Singapore!] every once in awhile, but for some strange reason after some weeks, you long to come back to Filipinas!

The flight back home was long, this time I chose to land in Clark.  I’ve never been there so I thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take that route this time. It was fine; I think the plane is a DC, its smaller but not much difference from the airbus. I only had a daffle bag with me so I wasn’t worried about baggage this time. The crews were Singaporeans including the pilots. It was a smooth flight; the only turbulence we had was when we were already in the Pampangga due to thick clouds around the area according to the pilot. A relative in Singapore told me that the planes are really not good for the faint hearted as it tends to be more wobbly during turbulence compared with the other planes but I’m cool with all planes – small or big, old or new, there’s little you can do when it falls from the sky anyway. Our fate is in God’s hand.

Tiger is Australian owned but their flights are mostly in the South East Asian region.

Welcome to Clark aka Macapagal Int'l Airport

I was surprised to find that there are Philtranco trips that goes straight to the Megamall and it cost only 300 bucks. But if you live down south and doesn’t like traveling far, Clark is not for you. The airport was very basic and simple; I guess that’s why they call them budget terminals. But who needs first class amenities when you won’t be staying for long. I left the place as soon as I got my bus ticket. Slept and woke up somewhere near Cubao. Now that I’m back, I’m planning when to go back!

December 2009


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