On a recent family holiday (travelling with a small child), we transferred from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2. Here is our experience and what you need to know about NAIA terminal transfer system.
There are four (4) terminals in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). These terminals are located 2km to 5km apart, with no dedicated walkways for passengers to safely and easily walk in between to catch their connecting flights.
Manila Airport provides a transfer bus to shuttle passengers between terminals, however we found these buses quickly become over crowded making it difficult if you are getting on the bus with small children, elderly or passengers who need assistance.
The middle section of the bus is dedicated to luggage, however everyone’s luggage is stacked up by the driver at least 2 rows wide and 2 or 3 rows high. If you are carrying fragile items in your luggage there is a risk of damage.
When you reach the next terminal, everyone piles out of the bus and crowds around the door waiting for their luggage to be unloaded by the driver. If you are carrying large amounts of luggage, it may be difficult to keep track of all your items as they come off the bus!
On our bus trip from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2, the bus firstly stopped at Terminal 1 departures area. Once everyone exiting the bus (except for us), the bus driver very kindly shifted our luggage to the front of the bus so that we could get out at Terminal 2 first. I am so glad he did as when he picked up passengers at Terminal 1 arrivals the bus was once again over full.
Based on our experience, consider taking the bus between terminals if you are:
- Carrying a small amount of luggage that does not contain fragile items
- Do not mind being squashed into the bus
- Are fit and able
- Have allowed plenty of time to catch your connecting flight.
- Are budget conscious (transfer bus is a free service)
- Luggage contains fragile items
- Infants, small children, elderly and disabled passengers
- Large amounts of luggage which may make it difficult to keep track of.
- Concerned that you may miss your next flight
- Suffers from claustrophobia
- Costs around 100-300 pesos to catch a metered taxi or Grab.
How often does the Manila Airport Transfer Bus operate?
The NAIA Manila airport shuttle service operates 24 hours a day, transporting passengers between Manila Airport terminals 1 to 4. Furthermore, the bus ramps have accessible transit options for the disabled, however there may be no space on the bus due to crowding.
These buses pick up passengers every 30 minutes between 05:00 AM to 11:00 PM and every 50 minutes from 11:00 PM to 05:00 AM.
How much does a ride cost?
Transportation is totally free. These buses, however, are only available for transfer passengers. So, you need to show your flight ticket (ongoing) to use this free service.
Where to find the shuttle bus stops:
- MIAA Terminal 1: Don’t exit the terminal. Head to the arrival level, and make your way to the extreme right side.
- MIAA Terminal 2: Exit the terminal building, and go right.
- MIAA Terminal 3: Don’t exit the terminal. Head to the arrival level and turn left. Afterward, take another left.
- MIAA Terminal 4: Immediately head left once you enter the arrival zone.
When in doubt, look for signs or ask the ground airport staff.
The Philippine Airlines Service transfer bus
Philippines Airlines, or also known as PAL, has a dedicated shuttle bus service for passengers transferring between Terminal 2 to Terminal 3.
To spot this service, just look for signs in both Manila airport terminals. Alternatively, you may ask the Philippines Airlines ground staff to assist you.
This shuttle service is exclusive for PAL express and PAL passengers. If your onward flights is with a different airline, you’ll have to use the standard Manila airport bus, metered taxi or grab.