This Airport Guide sets out what departing passengers can expect to see and do in the landside (public) zone of Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3.
Post last updated from first-hand experience : 25 September 2022 (based on 10 September 2022 departure)
Post last updated using other information : 21 December 2022
NOTE: This Airport Guide should only be used for general planning and reference purposes. Details may change at any moment and without prior notice.
Let’s explore the landside (public) area at Terminal 3 (T3) of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (common abbreviation: “NAIA” / IATA code: MNL) – the main airport serving Greater Manila in the Philippines. For our purposes, “landside” means everything before border control and outbound security.
To learn more about Terminal 3’s airside area (i.e., the secure, passengers-only zone from the immigration desks to outbound security and beyond), please read my two reports documenting what you can expect to see in that part of the building. Click here for the international wing and click here for the domestic wing.
For a broader overview of Terminal 3, please click here to navigate back up to my portal post about the entire facility.
To learn more about the airport as a whole, please click here to view my comprehensive guide to MNL.
- Main departures hall (Level 3)
- Check-in counters
- Travel tax (international flights only)
- Other facilities
- Shops and restaurants (Level 4)
- Airport hotel (Level 4)
- Pandemic-related measures
The departures level of T3 has six main entrances, all facing the upper deck of the terminal building’s access road.
Only passengers are allowed near the check-in counters, so guards posted at the central entrances will ask to see your passport and airline ticket before allowing you through. Long queues just to get into the terminal should be expected at peak times.
Passengers leaving their cars in T3’s parking building can use a side door that leads into the departures hall.
Finally, it’s also possible to enter via the Runway Manila footbridge that connects T3 to the nearby Newport City leisure/hotel district. This path takes you into the public retail/dining zone on Level 4, from where you can take a lift or escalator down to the departures hall.
MAIN DEPARTURES HALL (Level 3)
The fringes of the check-in lobby can be accessed by the general public, but the central area – where the airline counters themselves are located – is for passengers only. You’ll be asked to present your travel documents before being allowed into that part of the main hall.
The check-in counters for domestic flights are in the northern half of the main hall, whereas those serving international flights are in the southern part. (Note: There is no physical separation between T3’s domestic and international halves in the landside zone.) Refer to the flight information screens for specific counter assignments.
Check-in procedures and counter arrangements – such as priority lanes for premium classes or passengers with special needs – will vary depending on the airline.
Despite the easing of pandemic-era border controls throughout the world, many countries still impose additional entry requirements (such as vaccination certificates). Whether or not these will be inspected at check-in depends on your final destination and transit point, as well as the specific requirements of the airline itself. As always, the responsibility for ensuring the completeness of all documentation falls upon the individual passenger.
Self-check-in kiosks are available for a handful of airlines, but bear in mind that travel document checks are required for international flights. Hence, using these kiosks for international flights won’t spare you from having to queue up at a counter to be verified by staff (whether or not you’ve got baggage to check in).
Travel tax (international flights only)
With limited exceptions, residents of the Philippines must pay a so-called “travel tax” of PHP 1,620 every time they fly out of the country in economy or business class. A higher rate of PHP 2,700 applies to first-class tickets. Certain travellers qualify for reduced rates or outright exemptions; refer to the TIEZA website for details.
Some airlines and travel agencies either include the travel tax outright or offer passengers the option of prepaying at the point of booking. (A direct online payment option is also available.) Check with your airline or agent to confirm if the price you’ve paid includes this charge.
If you’re subject to the duty and it hasn’t been settled in advance, you’ll need to visit the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) counter at the airport and pay what’s owed before the airline can issue your boarding pass.
***Please note that non-residents (including foreign tourists on short-term visits) are NOT subject to the travel tax.***
Keep in mind that the travel tax is NOT the same as the passenger service charge (PSC) levied on airport users. The PSC for MNL is routinely included in the price of ordinary tickets and doesn’t have to be paid separately at the terminal.
There are several cash machines (ATMs) and bureaux de change within the semi-restricted check-in area.
You’ll need to go outside the enclosure – either to the fringes of the main hall, or up to Level 4 – to access other amenities and services.
SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS (Level 4)
The retail zone overlooking the main hall offers an assortment of dining and shopping options.
The shops and restaurants on Level 4 are accessible to both passengers and the general public. However, only passengers can use the middle escalators directly connecting the retail zone and the central check-in area of the main hall. Security personnel posted at the top of these escalators will inspect your travel documents before allowing you through.
Some tenants have had to cease operations due to the lockdowns, but there’s still a variety of both shopping and dining options available.
There’s also additional seating available here, in case the limited space down on Level 3 is mostly taken up (or too crowded for comfort).
AIRPORT HOTEL (Level 4)
There’s no full-service hotel on the premises, but very very basic accommodations are available at The Wings Transit Lounge (official site / TripAdvisor reviews / Facebook). Their offering includes recliners, Japanese-style capsules, and private rooms fitted with bunk beds. Shower facilities are shared.
Bear in mind that this facility is located within T3’s landside (public) area. It is NOT accessible to departing passengers who are already in the airside (restricted) part of the terminal.
If you’re after a better class of accommodation, you’ll need to look outside the airport. Cross the motorway in front of T3 using the Runway Manila footbridge – more about that in a separate guide – and stay in one of the full-service hotels sprinkled across the Newport City leisure district.
The wearing of face masks remains mandatory on all forms of public transport (whether by land, sea, or air) throughout the Philippines. Executive Order No. 7 (dated 28 October 2022) sets out the current requirements in respect of public health protocols throughout the Philippines. Do note that whilst mask wearing is no longer obligatory in most settings – except in public transportation, medical facilities, and other sensitive locations as specified in the Executive Order – many locals still don masks both indoors and outdoors. Private establishments might also impose stricter requirements within their own premises and ask all patrons to put on a mask before entering.
Physical distancing (or “social distancing”) remains recommended, but is not rigorously enforced in practice.
Ready to pass through immigration and security? CLICK HERE to read my separate Airport Guide documenting MNL T3’s INTERNATIONAL airside zone.
Travelling within the Philippines? CLICK HERE to read my separate Airport Guide covering MNL T3’s DOMESTIC airside zone.
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Hi can I ask a question?
I’m coming from Doha to Manila by Qatar Airways. My arrival time is 16:10. And my domestic flight is 6:45 in the morning. Can I sleep or stay inside the airport? And also my son will come,can I pick him outside the airport and go back?
My apologies for the late response, I’ve been out travelling for a month and wasn’t actively keeping tabs on comments.
Although this reply is probably too late to be of use, since you’re arriving from overseas and transferring to a domestic flight, the most likely scenario is that you’ll have to pass through quarantine/immigration/customs and formally enter the Philippines after your flight from Doha. Then you’ll need to check your baggage in again for the domestic leg the next morning.
During that interval, you might consider using the Wings Transit Lounge (4F, on the level above the check-in counters) to get some sleep ahead of your domestic flight the next morning. (Alternatively, cross the Runway Manila pedestrian bridge over to the Newport City development and stay in an upscale hotel there, like the Belmont.) Since that level of the terminal is accessible to the general public, you can of course meet your son there before going back into the secure departures zone for the domestic flight.
This is assuming your international and domestic flights both arrive and depart at Terminal 3 (which Qatar uses). If your domestic flight leaves from another terminal – say, Terminal 2 if it’s a PAL flight – then you’ll also need to factor transportation time into the equation.