‘Worst airport’? Dutch TikToker laments cash-only options at NAIA

Screenshots: Travel Tomtom (TikTok)
Screenshots: Travel Tomtom (TikTok)

Despite cashless options being common in other parts of the world, it seems the Philippines — let alone its international airport — has yet to catch up. 

A Dutch TikToker has taken to social media to air his frustrations about the cash-only establishments at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2, where he was unable to purchase a meal due to the lack of card payment systems.

The kicker? The only ATM at the airport was not working, either.

“Is Manila the worst airport to transfer?” Globetrotting blogger Tom Grond, known as Travel Tomtom, wrote in his video subtitle.

“Let me show you how amazing it is to transfer in Manila International Airport Terminal 2,” Tom says at the beginning of his video before placing a palm to his forehead.

@traveltomtom Think twice before transfering through #manila in the #philippines on a #philippineairlines flight! No cash = no food: I am officially HANGRY! 😬 #airportlife #philippinestiktok #tiktokphilippines ♬ original sound – Traveltomtom

Tom shared that he had gotten off a six-hour flight from Papua New Guinea and was catching a connecting flight at the Manila airport.

“So we’re hungry and we want to get something to eat, but…” he trails off and points to a Cash Only sign at a shawarma restaurant. The blogger then begins to point out all the Cash Only signs at the restaurants available for transiting passengers, and shows that the only ATM available was unable to dispense cash.

“So you think you go to the ATM to get cash, it says ‘Sorry, I’m temporarily closed.’ This is the only ATM [where you] can get cash. Yeah, how [do I] get something here, Philippine Airlines?” he asks, before making an X sign. Meanwhile, he captioned his video with: “Think twice before transfering through #manila in the #philippines on a #philippineairlines flight! No cash = no food: I am officially HANGRY!”

NAIA Terminal 2 exclusively services Philippine Airlines’ international flights and domestic flights from its subsidiary, PAL Express.

Tom’s followers, including Filipinos, sympathized with him.

“Damn, [it’s not him] who should be prepared, the airport should be prepared for this, it’s 2022! Cash only is unacceptable,” one user said.

“It’s high time that the Philippines accepts card payments in these establishments and pretty soon crypto establishments too,” another commented.

Yet others questioned why he didn’t carry cash with him.

“Always keep in mind when traveling to always carry some cash because the system may be down,” one said.

Others defended the traveler, saying that money changers and ATMs are not available to passengers who are only transiting between terminals.

“When you are traveling between multiple countries, it’s not always possible to carry cash from every country,” one said.

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