Air Swift moved into the Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport’s Domestic Terminal 4 in March 2016. I have to say that I miss their (nicer) old private terminal that I’ve been flying in and out of for the past 11 years, but it is much more convenient now that their terminal is located inside the main airport. I’ve been in Air Swift’s new terminal six times since they moved, and have lots of tips to share!
The fastest and most convenient way to get from Manila to El Nido is by taking Air Swift, (formerly known as ITI). Flights are 55 minutes on a 50 seat plane and depart daily from Manila and El Nido. The schedule varies depending on peak/off-peak seasons (typically 3-4 flights/day) so please check their website for the most current information. Flight rates range from around 4000 pesos – 6500 pesos one way. You can book tickets directly through the Air Swift website.
Please note that there is a strict 10kg (22 lbs) baggage allowance for checked in luggage, not including carry-ons. There is an excess luggage charge of 200 pesos per kg you are over. You can, however, purchase 10kg extra luggage allowance for 200 pesos — most people are not aware of this (we weren’t for years and constantly paid overage charges!). This is not an option when you book your ticket online, so you must email Air Swift in order to get the extra luggage allowance added to your ticket. We would highly advise you to take advantage of this option as it is affordable, 10kg luggage allowance is easy to go over, and the overage charges are very high!
Your carry-on luggage is not weighed, but please note that standard carry-on sized luggage exceeds their size allowance. If your carry-on bag is larger than they allow, you will have to check it in and it will count towards your 10kg checked in luggage allowance. So take smaller bags on the plane such as backpacks, tote bags, and shopping bags ( I take all 3!).
HOW TO GET TO TERMINAL 4 FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL
Do not, we repeat do not take a taxi to Terminal 4 from the international terminal. More likely than not the cab driver will identify you as a tourist and try to charge you much more. There is a free airport shuttle and you may have to wait up to 20 minutes for it, but it is well worth it because:
- they will help you with your bags
- it’s free
- it takes less time than a taxi because it cuts across the middle of the airport (where taxis do not have access).
- you don’t have to deal with a taxi driver
We would suggest that you allow at least 3 hours between connecting flights.
GETTING TO MANILA
If you will be spending the night in Manila, get into the metered taxi lane in front of Terminal 4 which has yellow taxis. These are regulated by the airport. If a driver shows you a rate card instead of turning on their meter, hop out right away. This is completely illegal, though still commonplace, and fares will often be 5-10x much as they should be.