Cebu Pacific, a low cost carrier, has recently started flying to Australia, which is great news, since that means that my Oz friends will be able to visit me for less, and I will once in a while be able to go back to Sydney for a reasonable price. A friend of mine got a return flight Sydney – Dumaguete for 350A$ in a sale!
The international flight had no in-flight entertainment on the seat backs, which is ok, since I rather have a cheap fare than a lot of Hollywood mass entertainment on my fingertips. The seats were basic, but there was enough space (even for the powerlifting Pacificklaus), and everyone in the plane and on the ground was friendly. The food cost extra (but not much, and I could have booked it), and was also basic: rice dishes, cup noodles and chips, but again, I’d rather get a cheap airfare than a pseudo gourmet meal! Nothing wrong with cup noodles, it brings back grad student days.
A bit funny: For the international flight I had to check in my camera bag, since only 7 kg of carry-on were allowed, and they were quite strict about that. For the domestic flight I had to rearrange again, since the rules for carry-on were relaxed this time, but I had not had the possibility on the webpage to book for more than 20 kg of check in when making the online-booking. Oh, well. Again, only a minor inconvenience for a really chap fare.
Flight attendants: 10.26/11 on the Pacificklaus scale for female hotness (which of course goes to 11). Little goddesses, especially on the domestic flight. The uniforms of Singapore Air are more elegant, though, that cost them a few fractions of a point. At the end of the flight they staged a quiz show where we passengers could win airline merchandise. The ladies really had a good time playing quiz mistresses. It’s more fun even on the way to the Philippines!
Else: In the 5 years since I have been coming to the Philippines, the airports have come a long way. It used to be that international flights left & arrived at Ninoi Aquino International Airport, terminal 1, which is a noisy, unpleasant large hall with no coffee. From there one had to take a shuttle bus or taxi through the city to go to the domestic terminals. With Cebu Pacific, both international and domestic flights arrive & leave from the new and shiny terminal 3, with lots of quality gastronomy and places to sit down. The lack of need of a dash across Manila reduces the thrilla but makes traveling more comfortable.
Equally, the airport in Cebu City (Mactan) has improved from a somewhat filthy place with shady characters hawking taxis to a really nice & clean small airport. When I arrived this time, a group of teenagers did a welcome dance performance, and smiling employees of the airport handed out tasty chocolates with dried mango chunks. Nice!