The first flight abroad can be best described in two words – exciting and stressful.
Although it is true that an OFW looks forward to the day with great anticipation, anyone who has never been to the airport will feel some sort of anxiety along the way. Besides, flying for the first time brings many uncertainties.
All those things considered, I am hoping this simple blog post will help decrease your stress. Here are a few useful tips you should keep in mind before heading to the airport.
Don’t leave these important documents:
Your plane ticket, passport with VISA, POEA-approved employment contract, Overseas Employment certificate, Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar certificate, and OWWA or PhilHealth certificate should be with you.
A cellphone with Wi-Fi capabilities is highly recommended. With this, you can stay in touch with your family during the trip.
Having a notebook filled with important contact numbers (such as your employer) can be a good idea, too. This serves as a perfect backup just if your battery gets drained or in case you lose your phone. Carrying some extra cash can be helpful, too.
What to expect at the airport
Upon arrival at the NAIA, you should immediately grab a trolley so you can move your baggage easier.
Your first stop should be the OFW lounge. They will need to validate your OEC and employment contract. After that, you can proceed straight to your first luggage scanning.
As you make it to the departure lobby, you’ll have your baggage scanned again. You will then have to wait for your turn. Depending on what time it is, it will probably be a long wait. You can either play some mobile games or read a good book.
Once the check-in counter opens, then it’s time to fly. Lines can be long so it’s best to line up right away. Be ready with your passport and visa though because you will have to present that. Fill up the departure card before this one.
When you’re done checking in, you will only have your hand-carried baggage along with your documents and boarding pass. Do not lose your baggage claim tags.
Go straight to the immigration counter after that and make a beeline to the OFW express lane. You will be asked to present your documents.
After passing through immigration, you will have to pass through customs, where you and your hand carry luggage will be subjected to x-ray scans. You will undergo body searches and you may have to take your shoes off. After customs, you will find yourself at the pre-departure lounges, shown in the picture below, surrounded by duty-free shops and other stores and services.
Finally, you will have to wait for your flight. You can either wait at the pre-departure lounge area or at the boarding gate.
Hope this article can be helpful for you as you prepare to leave the country. Good luck on your work and welcome to the exciting world of OFWs!