THURSDAY 18TH NOVEMBER

Hello there!

I’m currently writing this journal while I’m sitting in an Indian sit position in a not-so-soft couch-y benches at the transit area of Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand. It’s currently 12 midnight here, local time. I’m so exhausted and I can pass out here anytime, so I figured I can ramble some stuff here to keep myself awake.

Today I’m flying out of Manila to embark on my ‘Great European Tour’ to celebrate my 30th birthday. I’m no longer feeling anxious or scared (unlike yesterday), so I think it’s a good sign and I think I’m very fit to fly today.

This is it. This is the day.

I checked out from Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport to proceed to the airport. My flight is around 7-ish at night, but I was at the airport as early as 2PM. Apparently, nobody is allowed to enter the airport unless the check-in counters for your flight has opened. I was told that my airline opens its check-in counters around 5PM, so I spent the next few hours sitting outside the Departure Area of NAIA Terminal 1, together with other passengers who are flying out of the country.

While waiting, I tried my best to be productive (just like what I’m doing now as we speak). I was able to edit and upload my Instagram reel from Holiday Inn. I was able to check some emails for a few minutes. I updated my family of my whereabouts. I’ve booked a Grab rider to buy me more of my meds (because the batch I bought yesterday will run out before the end of my trip), as well as some essential toiletries that I apparently forgot to bring.

FIASCO #1: At the Airport Security

On top of the Airport Security not letting in passengers unless the check-in counters are open, I almost did not make it inside the check-in area. When I handed my ticket to the security, they were asking for my RT-PCR test results (which I do not have because I confirmed with the airline that it’s not required as long as you’re already fully-vaccinated). Also, one of the guards was insisting that the counters for my airline are not yet open when the screen is telling us otherwise. I told them about the information the airline relayed to me, and after around 7 minutes, I was allowed to get in.

FIASCO #2: I almost did not make it to Bangkok

The check-in counter of the airline for my Manila-Bangkok flight was hesitating to check me in because they were informed that there was an advisory from Finland border control not letting in flights from Thailand, something I am not aware of. Trust me, I double-checked all information before I pursued this trip, and if there will be sudden changes along the way, I’m sure there will be remedies to it.

After a loooooong time of waiting at the queue (I am the only passenger left, btw, including one Australian who has some travel insurance issues and two girls flying to Warsaw which also have the same Bangkok-Helsinki flight as me), I made it past the dreaded immigration counter (Filipino immigration officers are notorious for being rude and condescending, btw), down to the boarding gates.

FIASCO #3: Flight to Bangkok was delayed

You heard me.

FIASCO #4: I almost denied entry to Suvarnabhumi Airport

Right after I set foot outside the aircraft, the airlines staff were looking for me and the two girls who will be flying to Helsinki the next day. They told us that there were no check-in counters for transit flights and we should have our tickets for the next flight already printed back in Manila.

But how is it possible if it’s a totally different flight? I don’t know, but is it actually possible? The two airlines are not sharing codes, so I don’t think so.

There was another option: we can have our passport stamped and exit Thailand and then go back to the airport the next day to check-in at the departure counters, but since we did not apply for a Thailand Pass (not required for a transit flight), we cannot enter Thailand.

So what do we do now?

After a looooong time of waiting, we were allowed to enter the transit area. We were told to just take chances in checking in directly at the boarding gate of our next flight 4 hours before the flight.

Since there were no hotels inside the transit area and most of the lounges are closed (the open ones can only allow us to stay for maximum of 2 hours), we slept on the benches at the waiting area.

Yes, we did. This trip hasn’t even begun and I’m already out of energy and good vibes.

More trip fiascos to come,

Sher

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