By: Lyanna Jyan
I booked my very first international trip last December to Hanoi, Vietnam to start one of my first adventures. I’ve never flown internationally before. I just turned 20 and I’ve never left our mother country nor set foot on foreign soil.
I was a little paranoid because I’ve heard so much horror stories about Filipinos being denied to board the plane. Imagine on your very first international vacation, after months of preparation, budgeting and finalizing your itinerary only to be denied!
Going to the Airport
It was advised that you have to be at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. But for me, I decided to arrive 4 hours before my flight. So many thoughts are running in my mind. What if there is a long line? What if I don’t make it?
The first thing that you need to remember is going to the right Terminal. That detail should be included when you purchased your ticket. Always keep your documents in your hand like your tickets, your passport, and visa (if applicable).
If you haven’t paid the travel tax, which is P1620 then you’ll have to pay for it before checking in. Don’t worry, they are very easy to find. Checking in is quite easy. Just show them your ticket, passport. They will also weigh your baggage. But beware of extra fees if you have exceeded the limit or you’ll have to pay extra.
Once you are done checking in, the next step is through the immigration.
Passing the Immigration
Immigration is the scariest part in my first time. This is where I was thinking What if they won’t let me go? What if they think I’m not going back here? Since I’ve read in forums about other Filipinos’ horrible encounters about immigration and how they will interrogate you, I was extremely nervous.
I even brought every single document with me even though it wasn’t necessary. Vietnam does not require a visa for Philippine passport holders. I brought my company ID, my certificate of employment and even my bank certificate to prove that I can afford it. I’ll admit it was a little bit over the top. I was just so afraid that they won’t let me in so I brought every single proof to show them I am coming back to the country.
You have to fill up the departure card. It’s just a form about your personal information and details about your trip. Make sure you have the correct details. It is also important that you must know the address of the place you are staying in.
When it is my turn, the immigration officer asked for my passport and show my ticket. A return ticket is a must have because if you don’t have it, chances are they will deny you. The officer just asked me normal questions such as is it your first time flying? Who are you with? How long are you staying?
The officer just asked for my job and my company ID and we’re done! He stamped my passport and he’s like off you go! Phew! It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
Waiting for Boarding
After passing the immigration, all you have to do is sit and wait! There are plenty of shops and restaurants around so you won’t feel bored. I was so early so I’ve had like 2 hours of waiting before the flight.
To be honest, I did not know what I was so afraid of. Flying is fairly easy. You just have to make sure you have everything you need, your passport, tickets, IDs and all of the documents you need for your flight. Be honest with the immigration officer and they won’t see any reason why they shouldn’t let you fly.