Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wisdom from the Road #20

On connecting flights
Do not trust the connecting flight schedule.
Unless you want an adrenaline rush.
(This applies to Cebu Pacific domestic+international connecting flights
and may or may not apply to other airlines.)

Maybe this is what we get for being too cheap. Too cheap to buy a connecting ticket (you know, when you book on Cebu Pacific, you click on Cebu to Taipei, and it gives you Cebu–Manila–Taipei all in one click) because connecting tickets do not ever go on sale.

We bought our Cebu–Manila and Manila–Taipei tickets separately for a total of about half the price of a connecting ticket. We chose the same schedules as the connecting flights. We're on the same schedule as a connecting ticket so the plane would never leave us behind even if the first leg is delayed, right?

The first leg was—what else is new?—delayed (good thing we already paid for our travel tax in the international departure area in Mactan Cebu International Airport) and we arrived panting and wheezing at the check–in counter for the Taipei flight just as it was closing (for international flights, passengers who have checked in online must still go to the check–in counter for checking of travel documents). Add to that an error in our companion's Travel Authorization Certificate and our hearts raced as her fingers raced to fill out the online form not once, but twice (first through smart phone, but it did not generate a pdf file of the certificate; second time through a laptop). A Cebu Pacific agent was shouting "Last call for boarding for Taipei! Last call for boarding for Taipei!" and we had to run like the Flash from the check–in counter, to the international terminal fee counter, to the immigration counter, and to our boarding gate...which happened to be the farthest gate!!! We were involuntarily cast as contenders for a 500–meter dash.

If getting a connecting ticket means [1] having your passport and visa checked at the first airport (in this case Mactan) and [2] tagging your bags as check–thru baggage (bags are tagged through to their final destination and you don't have to pick it up when you arrive at your layover destination) then you won't have to go through all that impromptu exercise. Those are the only two things I can think of as advantages of having a connecting ticket (that's if [1] applies...which I am not sure of).

Lessons learned from this trip:
1. Do not trust the connecting flight schedules. Expect delays especially when going via Manila. A 2.5–hour leeway between flights (especially if the second flight is an international flight) might not be enough.
2. Pay your Philippine travel tax (applicable to Filipino citizens) at the first airport (if it's an international airport).
3. Take advantage of the web check–in. Check in online and print your boarding pass.
4. Ensure your travel documents (passport and visa) are complete and have no errors.
5. Gadgets can be lifesavers. (In our case, Companion #2's effort of bringing a laptop and having data connection paid off when Companion #1 had to redo her Travel Authorization Certificate.)
6. If possible, just bring hand–carried bags.
7. Wear comfortable clothes and running shoes. Just in case.

For more lessons from the road, please visit Go Learn.

Taiwan Series:
Tourist Visa for Taiwan
Taiwan Preparations
What's in a (Business) Name? Taiwan
Wisdom from the Road #20 (you're here!)
Welcome to Taiwan
Taipei Accommodation: Fun Taipei Backpackers
Free Taipei Tourist Stops
Wisdom from the Road #21
An Artist's Playground
House Visits: Shilin Main Presidential Residence and Lin Family Mansion and Garden
Life in Mini
Time to Count My Money, Taiwan
Tasting Taipei, Starting with Breakfast
Tasting Taipei, Splurge Section
Tasting Taipei, Shilin Market
Tasting Taipei, Random Food Finds


  1. i can just imagine how stressful that ordeal must have been for you and your group. traveling, especially those that involve connecting flights, do need a lot of allowance as far as time is concerned. more so if you're navigating through an entirely unfamiliar and huge airport.

    that's how i felt the first time i flew to melbourne. even though i had about 4 or 5 hours to get to my terminal, i felt like i had to rush. that way, i'd have time to spare in case i get lost in the sterile jungle of changi airport. (i did get lost, though. sort of. haha.)

    1. more so if you're navigating through an entirely unfamiliar and huge airport. <--- Definitely agree.

      Have you tried having a connecting flight on the same airline? Do you have to check in for every flight or is it done at the first airport? That's what I am wondering. The last time I had a connecting flight/ticket on the same airline was seven years ago and I don't remember if I had to check in again on for the second leg of the trip.

    2. It would be weird if we have to check-in again if it is a connecting flight. I can't recall doing that with CX.

      We usually discourage our friends who have flights at NAIA1, from taking a same day domestic flight to Manila (NAIA2/3/4). Aside from the possible delays, there's also the unpredictable traffic in Pasay. If only these 4 airports are linked by a reliable transport system...tsk, tsk, tsk.

  2. I had to check my tickets after reading this post. We do have a 5-6-hour layover at NAIA3, but here's hoping still that there won't be any delays or some freak weather by then.

    1. Don't worry, there won't be! Ikaw ra man mo wish ug freak weather on your friends hehehe :D