Taiwan: The Journey
It is on year 2016 when I last boarded AirAsia. They have ceased their flight to our province hence I only have CEB and PAL to choose from.
When the visa requirement to Taiwan was lifted, I really wanted to go. But luck was not on my side on promo fares and the cheapest I saw was an EVA Air flight for 6000 Php roundtrip. I know that is already cheap. Apparently, due to waiting for that fare to go even lower, I was stuck with a much expensive fare.
So I extended my patience and luckily I snatched a 4000+ Php AirAsia roundtrip ticket, with two meals, sans the check in baggage baggage.
I think that is already a steal, considering that I purchased the ticket just 45 days prior to the trip, plus the fact that I don’t have to pay for the 2000+ Php visa fee. And the most important thing, it is not a red-eye flight!
I was so excited because my last flight to another country was six months ago and from a different airport terminal. It was last year when I took an international flight outbound from NAIA-T3.
I left my hotel in Pasay at 4:30 AM, arrived at NAIA-3 after 20 minutes. The check-in counter of AirAsia is still closed but the line is already too long. Same with the travel tax counter, the queue is also long. Good thing I was able to pay my travel tax online, and since I have a hand-luggage-only, I proceeded to the check in kiosk.
In the kiosk, after you check in, you will be asked to scan your passport. Have a little patience since the passport scanner is tricky (at least on my experience).
Around 5:30AM, I am already queuing for immigration. And boy was the line long and full! There were only 4 lanes not working yet the queue is still long. I guess I was queuing for about 50 minutes and I really feel for those who are in a hurry. A lady attempted to cut the line but the IO shouted that we should not allow any cutting on the queue.
After I was cleared by the IO, I still have 30 minutes before our boarding. So I took the chance to have my first coffee that day! Good thing a new Starbucks is inside the pre-departure area. Our check in was smooth and our flight departed on time.
Since my flight is 7:50AM, I was not able to have breakfast yet, hence I pre-ordered an airline meal. I chose the Uncle Chin’s Chicken rice meal, served with coffee which costs 180 Php.
The advantage of pre-ordered meal is that you will be served first. The meal is surprising good, at a cheap price. We arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at around 10AM, not delayed. The flight is on time contrary to what I expected and what I past experienced with AirAsia.
On my TPE-MNL flight, since it is lunch time while on air, I also pre-ordered the Nasi Lemak meal. Unfortunately, it is not that good. I have tasted Nasi Lemak in Singapore and Malaysia and it has become one of my favorite dish and I think the one served by Air Asia is lacking something. But still, it is worth it at the price of 180 Php, with coffee or water.
Overall, both inbound and outbound flights were on time and efficient. Except for the situation on my flight back where someone was sitting on my window seat and when I told the FA, she pointed me to seat in the nearby aisle seat, which I did not really like. Anyway, as long as the flight is safe and my food was served, no need to fuss.