The Philippines is a country of islands, there are over 7,500 of them. The travel options between them are twofold, you can catch a boat or a plane. As we were taking a short trip, we chose to take the air option, and so we found ourselves travelling between Caticlan and El Nido on AirSWIFT.
At least I THINK it was, the safety card and onboard announcements both said Platinum Skies. Well, for the sake of clarity, let’s stick with AirSWIFT.
When you leave contingency time, sometimes you end up arriving far too early for things. It was just so for this flight. We spent an hour sitting on the floor of the tiny check in area, wondering absentmindedly why there were no signs for AirSWIFT.
At minus two hours, an airport worker came around to find all the AirSWIFT passengers. They had rolled out the red carpet for us, and we were able to check in at the Philippine Airlines desk. It was a little unorthodox but the red carpet was a nice little touch.
Our luggage allowance was 10kg each. We were both about 0.5kg over and so the check in agent gave us a second to grab some items out and put them in our hand luggage. They were friendly and efficient.
We walked through the security arch straight into the gate area. Here there were only two gates, so you won’t get lost.
Our inbound plane was delayed, and we were informed of when it would land. They called us all forward to board the bus to the gate and whilst waiting to cross the runway, our plane landed in front of us.
The bus continued to our stand but we then sat there for ages with freezing air conditioning keep the bus quite uncomfortable. A few passengers started to kick off but the poor ground staff were waiting for information and couldn’t help.
We finally boarded the plane at 17:00, two hours later than scheduled.
The first things I noticed were the heat, and the dark. The cabin was very warm, perhaps it was the result of sitting on the stand with the door open for so long. Maybe it was just in comparison to the chilly bus.
The lights were very yellow, and not very bright. It was a stark contrast to the daylight outside, even on the dull day that it was. The other reason could be the windows. These are spaces quite widely apart and are quite thin ovals. This doesn’y let loads of light in. Finally, any time your wings are above your windows, you are going to lose a lot of natural light coming in.
AirSWIFT has a strict hand luggage policy, one piece at 7kgs. This is just as well, as there isn’t a lot of space in the over head bins. In fact, these are only located on one side of the aisle. It’s best that you keep your belongings under the seat in front.
The seats were quite close together. If you are any taller than Mr Fluskey’s 5’6″, then you may find the space a little restrictive. If you have an exit row, however, you should be fine.
The blue “leather” was comfortable but getting a little worn. More signs of aging can seen with the seatback pocket. This drapes awfully and so you may end up with the contents leaning on your knees.
In the seat back pocket there is a sick bag, a safety card and an inflight magazine. Mine was wrinkled like it had gotten wet and two of the pages were stuck together. From the quick flick through I had, it looked like a mixture between a lifestyle magazine and a social update. There were photos from red carpet events in the Philippines and profiles of famous Filipinos.
My safety card had a slice through it…not too reassuring!
No pillow, blanket or anything of the sort was provided.
As this was such a short flight, just 45 minutes, I didn’t mind the lack of inflight snack.
There was none, so it all about the view…which was pretty nice.
This wasn’t the best flight we have taken, and I think I’d have preferred to travel with Cebu Pacific or Air Asia. There was definitely a bit of novelty travelling on a propeller jet, but the plane just seemed a bit dusty and dark. Plus, the safety announcement was made at the front of the plane where I couldn’t see or hear it, which was a little worrying.
I’d have to give AirSWIFT 5/10