The travelers who were stranded at Ninoy Aquino International Airport due to the Xiamen Airlines aircraft skidding off the runway last August 17 must have experienced a very stressful trip not to mention the dismay and frustration at how some of the airline companies and the airport authorities have handled the situation as they waited for their flights.
Many of those who were greatly affected are OFWs who have already left their pesos knowing that they will not have use for them in their destinations.
Such is just one of those that a travelling OFW experiences during his or her stint as worker in faraway lands. Although the Xiamen incident might have been an exception, there are annoying incidents that many (if not every) OFW have experienced during their travels. Here are some of them and how to pleasantly deal with them.
1. The Padala that filled your luggage to the brim.
Don’t get me wrong. I am for the little thing that we can do for our kabayan. But sometimes, we agree to this padala not knowing exactly how big this thing is. Only to find out, that when we were packing our suitcase, we are forced to choose which one from our own pasalubongs are to be left behind to accommodate our kabayan’s padala.
Instead: Tell kabayan how much space you have in your box/luggage before you agree to this padala. You did not refuse your friend’s request, but you have informed him/her of the situation. In which case, he or she would know not send bulky or heavy object.
If you’re the one sending the padala, limit yours to things which you yourself wouldn’t mind bringing with you. Your washing machine is best sent thru the cargo company.
2. The kabayan who wants to share with your baggage allowance.
At the airport, your fellow OFW saw that you have only a small luggage which means that your baggage allowance of 40kgs would not be maximized while he has to pay extra for his excess luggage or leave some of them behind to a friend who is waiting. He approached you and asked that his extra luggage be under your name and he will just take it from you at your destination. You don’t know exactly what is in his luggage. You were reminded of news and movies of Good Samaritans who agreed to such requests ended up being apprehended at the airport for contrabands in the luggage that are not even theirs.
Instead: Say no, politely. Explain the rules. Also, if the baggage did not arrive with the passengers, as in some cases, he will not be able to retrieve the luggage as he doesn’t have its claim stub.
Related article: Luggage Retrieval at Saudi Airlines
3. Your hand carry that was asked to be left behind near the entrance of the aircraft.
You know it is a hand-carried baggage and that it will be next to you during the duration of the flight. So you didn’t care much about the safety of its contents. You didn’t put your tiny padlock in it. Its zipper will do and you could retrieve whatever you need inside. Then, you see the ones before you, putting their hand-carried luggage near the aircraft door as instructed by the friendly flight steward. You start thinking what are inside your own hand-carry. What might you need to use during the flight that could be in this bag? You think whether it is safe or not to leave the watch which you bought for your mother inside. Because this bag would not be accessible to you during the duration of your flight. You scramble to transfer some of its contents to your other smaller bag which will be near you during the flight. You do it as you squat and block the other incoming passengers. (And I hope you are also dressed for this task or still cloaked in your protective abaya. Or in your annoyance, you don’t really care).
Instead: We saw this happen several times. Take into account that this might happen in any of your flights, sooner or later. Be ready with the needed padlock. Don’t put valuables to a luggage which you cannot watch during the flight.
4. The long wait for the recipient of the padala.
The time of your limited vacation starts ticking. You wanted to distribute your pasalubongs and your padala to their recipients. You arrange to meet with them. They made you wait for an hour or so because of everyone’s favorite excuse – traffic.
Instead: Arrange to send the padala via courier such as the LBC. The cost of the delivery may just be the same as the cost of your fare (plus the snack while waiting). You save yourself from the stress of the traffic and the irritation of waiting.
5. Your pasalubong to your co-worker was confiscated at the airport.
On your way back, you brought ube halaya for your co-workers and friends. You put it in your hand-carry so they don’t turn rancid during the trip. Unfortunately, they were confiscated at the airport because they were in glass containers. Glass containers can be made into a weapon. And a lot of other sharp objects in your luggage.
Instead: Put your food pasalubong in sealed plastic container which will go with your checked in baggage. If it is something perishable, keep it frozen for a day or two, wrap in several layers of papers to absorb the moisture once it thaws and pack it last in your check-in baggage. Ensure that its moisture will not seep through the other delicate items in the same box.
6. The man manning the x-ray machine asked you to open your bag.
You were almost there. You have retrieved your luggage and ready to go out. Then the security personnel manning the x-ray machine saw something in one of your luggage. He asked you to open it within the full view of all the other passengers next to you.
It is indeed inconvenient, especially if they ask you to open your box. You don’t have the tape to seal the bag again.
Instead: Do not put something you know which would draw the suspicion of the security personnel. If you know of an item (food or religious icons) that is not allowed, do not insist. Put your leftover tape in the check in bag. If they ask you to open the box, you can use it to seal it again.
Let us try to deal with these events ahead of time before they become inconveniences so they don’t mess with our vacations or we start our back to work in high spirit.