After a couple of frustrating / laughable airport experiences (see below) we are finally Philippines bound. After a night in Manila, we head to Tagbilaran, Bohol where the fun really starts! We (my boyfriend, Harry and I) have planned to visit Bohol, El Nido and Coron. What happens while we are there is completely down to the weather and what tickles our fancy!
But before I let my excitement take over, I’ll start by giving a couple of airport tips to (hopefully) avoid what we went through at the airport (but, hey, we were coming from China and, from experience, disorganisation is far from uncommon there).
Tip One: Ensure all traveller’s details are entered before checking in at the airport
This might sound obvious, and I’ve booked my fair share of flights so I’m usually pretty thorough. However, when we went to check in at Chengdu airport, we were told that both our passport numbers were wrong. I knew that wasn’t the case, but we went to the Xiamen Airlines desk and our guardian angel of airports helped us out big time. Basically, when we booked through BudgetAir.co.uk (a site we found through a Skyscanner search) we were never asked to enter our passport numbers. So, although we were booked onto the flight, we couldn’t check in.
I tried and tried to call both the “emergency” number and customer service number provided by BudgetAir but to no avail. Fortunately, our man at the Xiamen Airlines desk (he deserves a reward!) phoned through to Xiamen Airlines and inputted the missing information for us and we received our boarding passes. Yay!
Tip Two: Check your boarding pass before leaving the check-in counter
Naturally, after receiving our boarding passes, we headed over to security. We both felt rather relieved that we had finally sorted out that mess. That feeling ended when we reached the front of the queue at security and were told that our passport numbers were still missing from our boarding passes and we couldn’t proceed. Back to the check-in desks we went!
Our passport numbers had both printed as 000000000 on our boarding passes. This was easily resolved at the check-in desks and new boarding passes were printed. Back to security!
The rest of our experience at Chengdu airport was pretty straightforward. We arrived in Quanzhou, Jinjiang collected our luggage and made our way to Xingtai Hotel where we would be spending the night.
Everything was going well, until the next day when we arrived at Quanzhou airport. Because of the problems we had had the day before, we gave ourselves plenty of time to check-in and resolve any potential issues. However, we were told that check-in wouldn’t start until 1.5 hours before departure. So, we waited patiently.
Quanzhou airport was different to most airports I’ve experienced before. Once we were allowed through to the “passenger-only” area we first had to scan all our luggage. This was all before reaching the check-in desks. We started queuing to check-in and noticed it was taking a longer time than usual (despite them only checking the Quanzhou – Manila flight that we were also on). This brings about tip number three!
Tip Three: Have your return ticket printed*
*This could just be for flights to the Philippines / flights to the Philippines with Xiamen Airlines / flights to the Philippines from Quanzhou airport*
We were checking in as normal. The lady behind the desk wanted to see our tickets which I had ready on my phone to show her. She then asked about our return tickets, which were also on my phone. We put our luggage on the belt, she checked that in and sent it away. Then told us we couldn’t check in because we need to print our return ticket. So much for saving the planet by reducing paper usage…
So, we went back out, through the first security check, and to the Xiamen Airlines counter. Of course, in a fashion I’ve become very familiar with in China, there were several people “working” but only one had the power to print things… So we joined the “queue” to get our itinerary printed. Then we headed back with our itinerary printed on the finest of A4 paper, back through security check number one where we had to re-scan our bags (minus our checked baggage – that was heading to Manila with or without us), and back to the check-in desk.
The lady behind the desk proceeded to check us in, then handed back our passports, boardings passes and our freshly printed itineraries!?!
To cut a long story short(ish) we boarded the plane just as the announcement for final boarding was being called.
Tip Four: Have a return ticket booked
Although this wasn’t our problem, we did meet another passenger who, unfortunately, had not realised a return ticket / onward ticket was needed for travel to the Philippines. While we were stuck waiting for our itinerary to print, he was waiting to try and find a flight out of Manila to book.
He made it on the plane five minutes after us and we all happily went on about our journey.
After finally being on our way to the Philippines, we just can’t wait to explore! Let’s see how many of the Philippine’s 7000+ islands we can visit in 2 and a half weeks!
Be sure to subscribe to lunarbella.com for blog updates, photos and videos of our time in the Philippines. And don’t forget to follow @lunarbella on Instagram and Lunarbella on Snapchat for more regular updates while we are Island hopping all over the place.
Have you been to the Philippines and have any tips for us? What food should we eat? Where should we go? And what must we do? Leave a comment below.