Transiting in Manila - What have I gotten myself into

15 replies

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 May 2017

Total posts 26

Hi all,

So, I booked business reward flights with Qantas to get from SYD - HND. It involved a transit in Manila (I know!!!).

The flights are QF from SYD - MNL and then JL from MNL - HND with a 4 hr 55min hour layover. I assumed the capital airport would be similar to other major airports and transit would be relative simple until I did my research and basically found out MNL is basketcase of an airport for transiting.

QF flies into T3 @ 1830h and JL departs out of T1 @ 2325h. Does anyone know if the luggage is checked all the way through to HND from SYD given it's a single booking and both airlines are OW partners. The complication here is a change of terminal which seems to require passing through customs and then re-entering customs at the departure terminal? Anyone had experience on this route/similar route can advise?

Apparently there is now a free terminal transfer shuttle bus, but its located in the arrivals hall which requires passing through customs, what happens to the checked luggage here? Any advice on transiting from T3 to T1 in general and rough idea of time required.

Neil R

Member since 28 Feb 2014

Total posts 52

Hi jeffllu88,

Transiting in Manila is something you only do once. My flight was MH KUL-MNL then PX MNL-POM. This was some years ago, and the transit was within the same terminal. There was a group of us in the end doing the same transit, and when the transit desk was found (This was part of the fun!), we were being told we had to clear customs, grab our bags, go outside, and re check in (even though our bags were tagged through to POM). This would not have been too big an issue, but this was back in the day when you had to pay a cash departure tax, which meant getting either USD or PHP to pay the departure tax. Some of the passengers in the group required visas to get into the Philippines to clear customs, so this was not going to work. In the end, transit staff went to the carousel to claim all our checked in bags, brought them through to us for identification, and they were put onto the POM flight. Our boarding passes were issued and we were escorted via a back stairwell up to security for processing. This was not a fun experience, and luckily, we had 4 plus hours transit time to get this organised, it was total mess.

My suggestion would be to claim your bags, clear customs, and transit to the T1 with your bags and then check in for your fight to HND. From memory, the departure tax is now included in your ticket (It has been a while, so maybe someone else can confirm this).

Good Luck!

wdeguara

Etihad - Etihad Guest

Member since 06 Apr 2012

Total posts 76

May be worth booking an Assistance service, such as https://manilafasttrack.com/. Not sure if they will handle your terminal transfer though. Worth asking the question nonetheless

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 May 2017

Total posts 26

Thanks guys for the responses.

I gave Qantas a call who advised bags go straight through as it's on the same ticket (booked through Qantas) and they have interline as OW partners - spoke to 2 agents on 2 different phone calls.

I'm still somewhat unsure on this point as you'd technically be "leaving" the airport and entering the country whilst your bags haven't. I will ask this again at the check in counters on the day - even then I can't be totally sure for a place like MNL.

Only fail safe method is to stand around the carousel for a bit, with bags priority tagged, they should be one of the earlier ones out if they are indeed coming out.

CBR boy

Member since 12 Feb 2015

Total posts 61

Originally Posted by jefflu88

Thanks guys for the responses.

I gave Qantas a call who advised bags go straight through as it's on the same ticket (booked through Qantas) and they have interline as OW partners - spoke to 2 agents on 2 different phone calls.

I'm still somewhat unsure on this point as you'd technically be "leaving" the airport and entering the country whilst your bags haven't. I will ask this again at the check in counters on the day - even then I can't be totally sure for a place like MNL.

Only fail safe method is to stand around the carousel for a bit, with bags priority tagged, they should be one of the earlier ones out if they are indeed coming out.

You should check what destination tag is placed on the bags at check-in in SYD. If the tag says HND via MNL, then it will go through.

rob01

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 10 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Originally Posted by Neil R

Hi jeffllu88,

Transiting in Manila is something you only do once. My flight was MH KUL-MNL then PX MNL-POM. This was some years ago, and the transit was within the same terminal. There was a group of us in the end doing the same transit, and when the transit desk was found (This was part of the fun!), we were being told we had to clear customs, grab our bags, go outside, and re check in (even though our bags were tagged through to POM). This would not have been too big an issue, but this was back in the day when you had to pay a cash departure tax, which meant getting either USD or PHP to pay the departure tax. Some of the passengers in the group required visas to get into the Philippines to clear customs, so this was not going to work. In the end, transit staff went to the carousel to claim all our checked in bags, brought them through to us for identification, and they were put onto the POM flight. Our boarding passes were issued and we were escorted via a back stairwell up to security for processing. This was not a fun experience, and luckily, we had 4 plus hours transit time to get this organised, it was total mess.

My suggestion would be to claim your bags, clear customs, and transit to the T1 with your bags and then check in for your fight to HND. From memory, the departure tax is now included in your ticket (It has been a while, so maybe someone else can confirm this).

Good Luck!

The only thing worse than a Manila transit surely is a flight with PX!

ACM

Member since 05 Sep 2017

Total posts 12

Hi Jefflu88,

Other have covered the baggage issue, the transfer between terminals is another story. Arrival should be ok, I have never experienced any problems arriving on QF19. Yes, there is a shuttle bus and in theory a schedule but I would not take a lot of comfort from that, things happen in their own time in MNL. Also the public roads around MNL can be congested beyond comprehension and T3 to T1 is a long journey around the exterior of the runways. Don't discount getting gouged by a taxi driver as a quicker alternative to the shuttle bus because security delays at T1 can be extensive just to enter the building let alone getting to the gate area. These days I keep my MNL experience solely to T3 on QF, CX and domestically 5J avoid the terminal transfer hassles.

Last editedby ACM at Aug 27, 2019, 03:53 PM.

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 May 2017

Total posts 26

Originally Posted by ACM

Hi Jefflu88,

Other have covered the baggage issue, the transfer between terminals is another story. Arrival should be ok, I have never experienced any problems arriving on QF19. Yes, there is a shuttle bus and in theory a schedule but I would not take a lot of comfort from that, things happen in their own time in MNL. Also the public roads around MNL can be congested beyond comprehension and TI to T3 is a long journey around the exterior of the runways. Don't discount getting gouged by a taxi driver as a quicker alternative to the shuttle bus because security delays at T3 can be extensive just to enter the building let alone getting to the gate area. These days I keep my MNL experience solely to T3 on QF, CX and domestically 5J avoid the terminal transfer hassles.


ACM, thanks for the response.


It's QF to JL - so T3 to T1. I will be entering T1 rather than T3, not sure if that makes any difference. But from your experience with QF to CX or vice versa, both being OW, did your bags go straight through?

From what I read, even though you are within the same terminal, you still exit through customs and then re enter through departures to transit onto your next flight (or is this only in T1 or is this not true)? If this is the case, it's not to different in principle to what I'm doing other than changing terminals, the exiting/entering the country still happens.

ACM

Member since 05 Sep 2017

Total posts 12

Jefflu88, yes with QF/CX baggage is fine but as someone else noted pay attention when checking that this is properly tagged. Sorry got my terminals the wrong way around but the road transfer is the same, as are the security protocols to enter the terminal.

Neil R

Member since 28 Feb 2014

Total posts 52

Originally Posted by rob01

Originally Posted by Neil R

Hi jeffllu88,

Transiting in Manila is something you only do once. My flight was MH KUL-MNL then PX MNL-POM. This was some years ago, and the transit was within the same terminal. There was a group of us in the end doing the same transit, and when the transit desk was found (This was part of the fun!), we were being told we had to clear customs, grab our bags, go outside, and re check in (even though our bags were tagged through to POM). This would not have been too big an issue, but this was back in the day when you had to pay a cash departure tax, which meant getting either USD or PHP to pay the departure tax. Some of the passengers in the group required visas to get into the Philippines to clear customs, so this was not going to work. In the end, transit staff went to the carousel to claim all our checked in bags, brought them through to us for identification, and they were put onto the POM flight. Our boarding passes were issued and we were escorted via a back stairwell up to security for processing. This was not a fun experience, and luckily, we had 4 plus hours transit time to get this organised, it was total mess.

My suggestion would be to claim your bags, clear customs, and transit to the T1 with your bags and then check in for your fight to HND. From memory, the departure tax is now included in your ticket (It has been a while, so maybe someone else can confirm this).

Good Luck!

The only thing worse than a Manila transit surely is a flight with PX!

True Rob01!

magicalC

Member since 27 Aug 2019

Total posts 1

Manila airport is the worst airport i have been too, will never transit there again

OJA

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Feb 2015

Total posts 5

Hi Jeff, Your luggage should be fine if it's tagged through. Not such a big deal to transfer from T3 to T1. The arrival time for QF19 is not peak and its usually quick to get through. After you exit out you turn left and left again until you arrive at the transit area. The wait for the free shuttle can be as long as 30 minutes but it will be fine. T1 is better these days although the lounges remain sad. I wouldn't stress about it. you have plenty of time.

jefflu88

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 May 2017

Total posts 26

Originally Posted by OJA

Hi Jeff, Your luggage should be fine if it's tagged through. Not such a big deal to transfer from T3 to T1. The arrival time for QF19 is not peak and its usually quick to get through. After you exit out you turn left and left again until you arrive at the transit area. The wait for the free shuttle can be as long as 30 minutes but it will be fine. T1 is better these days although the lounges remain sad. I wouldn't stress about it. you have plenty of time.

Great info. Confirm the transit area is downstream of arrivals immigration right (as in you are already "in the country"). The free shuttle - does this use air side roads or the public roads? As I get into MNL at 630pm on a friday night - it will be rush hour(s) on the public roads, which is why I'm keen on this supposed free shuttle which uses airside roads, not to save the ~$5-$10 cab fare.

OJA

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Feb 2015

Total posts 5

Hi Jeff, Yes you are already "in the country" when you get on the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus uses air-side roads for most of the way. It's quicker than a taxi as traffic will be heavy at that time of the evening. Taxis are not that nice and you would have to get pesos cash as they don't accept credit cards which means you may also have to go to an ATM or money changer. Not worth the hassle.

OJA

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Feb 2015

Total posts 5

As you are flying business class (you probably have a good status with Qantas) I would expect that on arrival one of the ground staff will have your name on a board and they will provide you with assistance. You will be fine.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Transiting in Manila - What have I gotten myself into

Attach Files