Suggestions as MIAA puts fragrance in airport to improve passenger experience

October 31, 2023 - 3:00 PM
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NAIA Terminal 1
Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 file photo (Philippine News Agency/Cristina Arayata)

Airport authorities were told to focus on improving its whole service to travelers instead of its new initiative — putting fragrances in some areas of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) officer-in-charge Bryan Co on Friday, October 27 said that they are testing the use of a signature “Christmas scent” at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

It is integrated with the air conditioning system of the said terminal.

The official said they are replicating what is supposedly being done in premier hotels and leading airports worldwide to improve passenger experience.

“Meron tayo na-deploy today na pina-pilot this weekend, may kinabit sa air-conditioning system na scenting. Kanina sa Terminal 1 departures, Christmas scent,” Co said before, as quoted by ABS-CBN News.

The report said select areas in other airport terminals also have a scent, but the OIC clarified they were still testing it to ensure it wouldn’t be too strong for some passengers.

The report added that the scent would be considered relaxing.

Co also said that the fragrance is hypoallergenic and won’t negatively affect one’s health.

MIAA said that the initiative is one of the improvements it has implemented to elevate passenger experience.

While the move is aimed at improving the ambiance of the international gateway, it failed to impress a number of Filipinos who hoped that the airport authorities could instead work on improving its overall services.

“System ang kailangan ayusin, ‘di pabango, [kaloka],” a Facebook user commented to the development.

“Cleansing ng mga tauhan diyan ang kailangan, hindi ‘yong pabango,” another Pinoy wrote.

“Hindi namin kailangan ‘yan… Ang kailangan [sa] NAIA is dalian nila ‘yung check in time at papuntang Immigration! Grabehhh, 5 hours kami nun! Kaloka! [Sa] pila pa lang, pagod [ka na]!” exclaimed a different Filipino.

“What would improve passenger experience is the efficient process na walang magnanakaw na staff! The petty cosmetic remedies like fragrances are useless and may even trigger allergic reactions. Kung totoong malinis ang isang gusali, there is no need to add scents. Amoy malinis is enough,” wrote another Pinoy.

“No scent ok na, just render the best service. Kahit luma at ‘di [high] tech, basta maganda serbisyo. Walang [kotong] diyan at corrupt, ok na,” a different online user said, referring to the airport personnel.

Last August, a study revealed that the NAIA was one of the worst airports in Asia in terms of passengers’ queuing experiences.

It was the eighth-worst airport in the region as only 18.11% of reviewers gave NAIA at least a four-to-five-star rating for queueing time.

Its airport personnel also earned flak for stealing cash and other valuable assets from passengers earlier this year.

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Immigration officers likewise drew the ire of the public for their tedious screening process of exiting passengers.

Last March, a passenger was offloaded after undergoing a lengthy interview with an immigration officer (IO) who also asked for her graduation photo.

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In July, another passenger was offloaded after failing to present documents asked by the IO. This included at least ten birth certificates of her family members.

In 2016, the airport was ranked the fifth worst airport in Asia following the prevalence of the “tanim bala” scheme.

NAIA was likewise ranked the worst airport in the world in 2011 and 2013. It was also named Asia’s worst airport in 2012.

Last June, MIAA said that the improvements done in the international gateway were being fast-tracked.

Other long-term projects include the upgrade of taxiways, expansion of closed-circuit television coverage and digitization.

“As we embark on all these tasks, we continuously appeal for understanding and patience from all our stakeholders. With everyone’s support, we can have a better NAIA that we can all be proud of,” Co said before.