My experience riding SEAIR's 19-seater LET plane to El Nido, Palawan

June 2, 2011

My experience riding SEAIR's 19-seater LET plane to El Nido, Palawan

Outside the plane

Arrival at El Nido Airport
As you can see, runway is not paved.

 More views of our small plane

Departure from El Nido airport
You can see the walking distance from the departure lounge to the airplane

 Boarding the plane at El Nido airport

Inside the plane
You can see the 1-2 seat configuration of the plane
View of the seats
Pilot and co-pilot are at viewing distance

What's different about riding a 19-seater plane

1. At check-in, you are weighed together with your hand carry luggage. 

2. You cannot choose your seats. 
Your seat assignment depends on the combined weight of yourself and your hand-carry luggage. So the airline personnel do not assign seats until they know your weight. I presume that the purpose is to keep the plane's balance during flight.

As you can see above, the seat assignment is handwritten.
You find out your seat assignment only upon actual boarding of the plan.

3. There is no toilet inside the plane.
You  should visit the airport toilet just before boarding.

This is what should have been the location of a toilet

4. The cabin is not pressurized so at take off and landing the aircon is turned off.

5. The whole flight is very noisy. 
Because the plane is so small, you can hear the engine running all throughout the flight. 

Here  is a video of the SEAIR plane taking off from El Nido airport.

6. You cannot recline your seats.

7. There is no stewardess on board. 
The airline personnel informs you about the safety precaution after your board the plane and prior to take-off. Then he/she leaves the plane before take-off.

8. The plane flies low. 
Because the plane flies low all the time, you have a great view of the islands and buildings you pass during the whole flight.

9. The plane can leave earlier than the indicated departure time if all the passengers have already checked in. 
Our flight from Manila to El Nido had only 12 passengers. Once the 12 passengers had  checked-in and the plane deemed ready for flight, we were called to board the plane 30 minutes earlier than the actual boarding time.

My tip:

1. Make sure to stay within the allowed weight limit of free luggage. 
Even if you're willing to pay for excess baggage, you cannot be sure they will accept your luggage at check-in for safety reasons.

2. Use the airport toilet just before boarding the plane to make sure you won't need to use one during flight. 
The airline personnel are considerate about a slight delay in boarding due to this reason.

3. Do not transfer seats or walk around during the flight. 
Seats were assigned carefully for the purpose of keeping the plane's balance during flight.

4. If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure to drink bonamine at least an hour before the flight (or at most, 24 hours before your arrival at the next destination). 
When a small plane encounters air pockets during flight, the turbulence is more strongly felt . The plane shakes a lot.