A couple of weeks ago, I returned to Terminal 3 (T3) of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) for the first time since the pandemic began. Although T3 seemed pretty much unchanged from pre-corona days — in that it was just as bland, boring, and miserable as before — my visit to one of its lounges added a veneer of modern comfort to an unremarkable airport experience.
Welcome to the PAGSS Lounge.
Note: Unless otherwise specified, the information and pictures presented here are drawn from my own experience of using the PAGSS Lounge on 03 June 2022. Operating hours, admission criteria, lounge facilities/services and other details may change at any time without prior notice.
Airport name : Ninoy Aquino International Airport (commonly abbreviated as “NAIA”)
IATA code : MNL
Country : Philippines
Major city served : Greater Manila
Terminal served by this lounge : Terminal 3 (T3)
Lounge name : PAGSS Lounge
Operator : Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions
Location : Airside 4th Level (one floor above Departures), MNL T3.
Operating hours : Open daily from 0400 to 0030.
Date of visit documented in report : Friday, 03 June 2022
My lounge entitlement basis : Business Class ticket for Qatar Airways flight QR929 (MNL-DOH).
Related links : Qatar Airways / All Nippon Airways
The PAGSS Lounge is located on Level 4 of MNL T3, one floor above the international departures level. It’s within the terminal building’s airside zone — i.e., the restricted area after immigration and security — so you’ll need to check in and complete all pre-departure formalities before you can access the lounge.
After passing through the final security checkpoint, keep an eye out for (and follow) the signs that read “Airline Lounges”.
When you reach Gate 114, turn right at the “Airline Lounges” sign and take either the lifts or the stairs to the level above.
From the lift vestibule, turn right at the sign shown below and walk all the way down to the end of the passageway.
The rest of the floor is currently blocked off, so the PAGSS Lounge will be the last set of doors to your right.
Next, let’s talk about what’ll get us past the reception desk.
The PAGSS Lounge is contracted to serve passengers of several different carriers. Admission requirements will depend on the airline you’re flying with. (Please note that the following list is not exhaustive.)
All Nippon Airways (“ANA”) : Lounge access is complimentary for Business Class passengers travelling on ANA-operated flights. Certain high-tier loyalty programme members also qualify for lounge access (with an additional guest permitted). Details are available on the ANA official website.
Etihad Airways : Lounge access is complimentary for Business and First Class passengers. Details are available on the Etihad official website.
Qatar Airways : Lounge access is complimentary for passengers flying in Business Class or higher, as well as for Privilege Club members holding Silver Tier rank or higher. Details are available on the Qatar Airways official website.
If you’re flying out of MNL T3 but don’t have complimentary access, you’re still welcome to use the PAGSS Lounge by paying a walk-in fee of PHP 1,262.00 / USD 25.00 per guest. Cash and credit cards are both accepted. (Source: I enquired directly with the lounge on 15 June 2022.)
The lounge is also listed as a Priority Pass network member (see here). Check directly with Priority Pass for current eligibility and pricing.
Right, that’s access all sorted. Let’s head inside.
The lounge is fitted with four distinct seating areas, each furnished differently from the rest. (Note: These so-called “areas” are my own way of describing the interior layout, and are not official designations used by lounge staff.) There’s one right after reception…
…a second next to the food/beverage buffet space, appropriately equipped with dining tables and chairs (including one large table suitable for group use)…
…a spacious third section — screened off from the first two by a glass partition — at the end of the main axis…
…and a small, fourth group of seats all the way at the tip of the space occupied by the lounge.
The second and third areas are also fitted with counter seats along the outer wall. The windows they’re next to look out over the tarmac, which should in ideal conditions make them especially appealing to plane spotters. Sadly the view is spoilt somewhat by a projecting roof and poorly maintained window glass.
During my visit (which was on a Friday night from around 9 to 10:30 PM local time), I observed that areas one and two were the most crowded of the four. Given their proximity to the entrance and the buffet tables this is only to be expected.
Lounge patrons can help themselves to a buffet of hot and cold dishes. The food on offer at the time of my visit was fairly limited in range, but included popular favourites such as dim sum and classic Filipino arroz caldo. (Many of the food labels also showed basic information in Japanese, which is likely intended to benefit the ANA side of the lounge clientele.)
Facing the food buffet is a self-service bar laden with tea, coffee, juices, lemon water, and chilled items such as wine, beer, and soft drinks. There’s also a small selection of stronger alcoholic beverages on offer (just out of view on the other side of the refrigerator).
There was a separate drinks bar in the third seating area at one point, but it was out of service at the time of my visit (you can see the empty counter in one of the images I posted earlier).
Internet Access and Power/Charging
WiFi is available throughout the lounge (access code available at reception).
Many seats — though not all — have easy access to power outlets, a few examples of which are shown below. Electricity is supplied at the local standard of 220V 60Hz.
Toilets and Showers
The main washrooms are located near reception. This picture shows part of the gents’ facilities.
There are also self-contained accessible facilities (complete with toilet, urinal, and washbasin) next to the third seating area at the far end of the lounge, right by the smoking room.
I observed shower room signs installed above a couple of doors near the main toilets. Regrettably, I neglected to take a peek inside so I’m unable to comment on their interior fittings.
There’s a small smoking room deep inside the lounge, near the third/fourth seating areas. Bear in mind that only two people are permitted to use it at any given time, and for 15 minutes at most. Food or beverages cannot be taken into this room.
The first and third seating areas are fitted with flat-panel television screens. At the time of my visit, most of these were fixed soundlessly on CNN or set to display flight information.
As of the date of my visit (03 June 2022) and as of this writing, the wearing of face masks remains mandatory in all indoor public spaces throughout the Philippines. Please bear in mind that their use is required by the Philippine government and is not within the discretion of the lounge. Hence, under current rules, all guests must wear face masks except whilst eating or drinking. (Needless to say, the rule is not consistently enforced in every corner of the country, but spotty implementation offers no defence if some random official chooses to bring the hammer down upon you.)
There is a digital temperature reader set up by the lounge entrance, next to the reception desk. I took a reading as a matter of course — it’s standard procedure for indoor public spaces in the Philippines — but I don’t know if anyone refusing to do so will be turned away on the spot.
Hand sanitiser dispensers are available throughout the lounge.
Whilst perhaps not as posh in terms of interior fittings or catering as T3’s airline-exclusive lounges (such as the excellent Cathay Pacific Lounge, currently closed due to the pandemic), the PAGSS Lounge more than ticks all of the boxes on my list of lounge essentials. Comfortable seats, a decent buffet, internet access, power outlets, guest-only washroom facilities: everything I normally expect and require is present and correct. Indeed, this operation compares very favourably against the Marhaba Lounge — called the “Skyview Lounge” at the time of my last visit there — with PAGSS featuring better furniture and a classier interior design. (To be scrupulously fair to the Marhaba Lounge, I’ve not used them for a couple of years and improvements may well have been introduced since that time.)
All things considered, I was perfectly satisfied with my experience at the PAGSS Lounge and will happily visit them again.