Ever since 2013, I have been dreaming about travelling to Batanes, Philippines. Seeing it on travel shows, the attraction grew every time I saw photos, articles dedicated to this beautiful destination. It has been on stand-by on my drawing board for the last couple of years, but at last in October I had the chance to visit the place.
From my unreliable knowledge, I know only 2 airlines fly directly to Basco, Batanes everyday.
- Philippine Airlines
- Skyjet Airlines
They both arrive early in Basco, Batanes around 7am everyday. When first reading about travelling to Batanes, it has always been suggested that you fly with Skyjet Airlines. Skyjet Airlines first entered the aviation industry in December 2012, so they have not been in the game for long. They advertised themselves as a leisure carrier to exotic locations in the Philippines, I even remember when they were featured on a local tv host’s show back in 2013, where the flight attendants were giving out gourmet cookies and pastries from a local well-known bakery from their carts. Oh how times have changed, I am looking at the new investors of January 2014 for their new approach to leisure travelling. Compromising quality for profit.
In hindsight, I also chose to fly with Skyjet for the double engine they boast, very handy for wild storms that may otherwise ground aircrafts or cancel the flights altogether.
Check-in was straightforward. Showed my passport, checked in our luggage and waited for the flight to board. My partner and I had reserved for 10kg for baggage each. We emailed to ask if we could combine it, there was no problem. It made our packing easier to combine all our things into one large baggage. More space, less to carry.
Ambiance:Supposedly a boutique airline, upon entry I did not feel any difference to a commercial airline. The stewardess did not even greet their arriving guests, and just stood there like mannequins. The seats are 3 seats by 3 seats, coloured in black in what I think is synthetic leather. The overhead carry-on luggage compartment was roomy, as was the aisle to move along to your seat.
Seating:Our seating was located right at the back of the aircraft, just enough for 2 people. I am 5’5 and it was roomy enough, with a little bit more space between my knees and the front seats. I guess the seats were comfortable, because as soon as we boarded I fell asleep and found myself landing 70 minutes later at Basco, Batanes airport.
We were given commercially-packaged mammon and water, not very boutique-like compared to their initial service of serving pastries from platters.
As it is only a 70 minute flight from Manila to Basco, there is no visisble entertainment for the customers.
For 2 adults return flight, during an off-peak season to Basco, Batanes cost approximately Php23,000 ($600AUD).
• Quick flight• Expensive flights, limits tourists to destinations
• Claims to be a boutique airline, seems to be more commercial to me• Outdated facilities, like their seats (tattered and becoming worn out)
I don’t mean to be difficult with how I rate my experiences, but I am just a big believer of word of honour. If you advertise you’re a boutique airline and you charge so, please exude the expectations. People are willing to pay for the services, please just don’t fail to deliver. With that I give this is experience 3 Katrina hearts out of 5.