How Early to Arrive at Manila Ninoy Airport (Domestic & International Flights)

Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport serves 45 million passengers a year. As such, it’s one of the busiest airports in Southeast Asia.

To accommodate the number of flights and passengers, Manila Airport has four terminals. I therefore recommend arriving at Manila Airport 2 hours before a domestic flight or 3 hours before an international flight.

The terminals at Manila Airport are not connected. To travel between terminals at Manila Airport, you can take the shuttle or a grab taxi.

When to Arrive at Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport?

You should aim to arrive at Manila Airport 2 hours before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight. This should give you enough time to:

  • Arrive at the airport
  • Check-in for your flight
  • Drop your bags
  • Clear security
  • Walk to your gate

It’s always better to arrive at the airport a little earlier and have some time to spare than late and potentially miss your flight.

Why Do You Need Longer for International Flights?

If you’re flying internationally from Manila Airport, you should arrive 3 hours before the flight departs. This gives you extra time for:

  • Checking visas
  • Entry requirements
  • Immigration control
  • Clearing customs

Long-haul international flights also typically use larger planes with more passengers. As such, these aircraft have a longer boarding period to give everyone enough time to board the plane.

Other Factors to Consider When Flying From Manila Airport

There are four other factors you’ll want to consider when flying from Manila Airport:

  1. Getting to the airport: Traffic in the Philippines can be crazy. For example, Makati to Manila Airport is just 6km, yet the journey often takes upwards of 30 minutes.
  2. Time of year: There’ll likely be more people if you’re travelling over major holidays. As such, traffic and queues may be longer.
  3. Checking in: If you have to check in in person at the airport, you may need to wait in line longer.
  4. Checked luggage: If you have bags you need to check in, you’ll need to allow extra time for this. Most bag drop locations close one hour before the flight’s departure (exact times vary).

Which Manila Airport Terminal Do You Need?

Manila Airport has four terminals. Here is a list of which airlines currently operate out of each terminal:

Terminal 1

  • Air China
  • Air Niugini
  • Asiana Airlines
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Eva Air
  • Gulf Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jeju Air
  • JetStar
  • Asia Airways
  • Korean Air
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Oman Air
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Xiamen Airlines
  • Jet Star Japan
  • Hong Kong Airlines
  • STARLUX Airlines
  • Scoot
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Royal Air

Terminal 2 (Centennial Terminal)

  • Philippine Airlines
  • PAL Express

Terminal 3

  • Air Asia
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Etihad Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Cebu Pacific Air
  • Delta Air
  • Emirates Airline
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Pan Pacific Airlines
  • CebGO

Terminal 4

  • Air Asia
  • Cebu Pacific
  • Skyjet
  • Air Swift

Certain airlines operate in multiple terminals at Manila International Airport. As such, you should always check the terminal listed on your booking confirmation and boarding pass.


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