Showing posts with label SEAIR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SEAIR. Show all posts

Seasonal flights of SEAIR (Southeast Asian Airlines)

August 10, 2012

Seasonal flights of 
SEAIR (Southeast Asian Airlines)

I tried finding flights to Caticlan for a friend of mine and discovered as of this writing     that SEAIR, who's famous for having the shortest flight to Boracay thru Caticlan, currently has no flights to Caticlan. The reservation officer said that Caticlan flights are expected to resume in October 2012. So check this out in October. 

So I decided to make this post on the seasonal flights of SEAIR because a lot of people are asking me why these routes cannot be booked online when they have it in their route map in their website. The routes that currently cannot be booked online are their seasonal flights.

What are seasonal flights?
These flights stop during low travel season in the Philippines and begin during peak travel season. In the Philippines, the low travel season are from mid-June to mid-October, November to mid-December, January to mid-March. At SEAIR the seasonal flights usually involve flights using small turbo prop planes, which are usually 19-seater or 32-seater planes. The seasonal flights do not fly during low travel season. These involve the ff. SEAIR routes:
Manila- Basco (Batanes)-Manila flight 
Manila-Tablas Island (Romblon)-Manila flight 
Manila-Caticlan (Boracay)-Manila flight.
SEAIR stopped flying to El Nido
In our trip to El Nido last April 2011, we used roundtrip SEAIR flights to get there. Sadly, since March 2012, SEAIR no longer flies to El Nido airport. At present, the only airline using El Nido airport is Island Transvoyager.  

Island Transvoyager is the official carrier of El Nido resorts. So the Manila-El Nido flights are usually reserved for El Nido resorts guests. If you are not an El Nido resorts guest, the Manila to El Nido flight is only bookable 5 days before the flight. Email Island Transvoyager for more information.

The El Nido-Manila Island Transvoyager flight, however, can be booked in advance through El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe. 

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.

Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) Flies to Vigan

February 16, 2011

Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) Flies to Vigan!

Starting February 25, 2011, SEAIR will fly direct from Manila-Vigan. This is great news since Vigan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And before the launching of this route by SEAIR, the only way to access it directly from Manila is by two ways:
(1) by taking a 9-12 hour long road trip; or 
(2) by taking a Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific flight to Laoag and then taking a 1 1/2- 2 1/2 hour land trip from Laoag to Vigan. 
Now, there is a third option. With the launching of this route by SEAIR, visitors who want to visit Vigan for the weekend and maximize their time can fly direct from Manila to Vigan via SEAIR. Flight time is only 1 hour, and with SEAIR's schedule, you have two (2) full days already to explore Vigan. 

Right now the flights offered are as follows:

Fri, Sun: 230pm departure from Manila-330pm arrival in Vigan
Vigan to Manila: 
Fri, Sun: 350pm departure from Vigan-450pm arrival in Manila
Check out what UNESCO world heritage sites you can see in Vigan here.

NOTE on airfares:
Manila to Vigan (roundtrip) via SEAIR is around 5000 pesos ++
Manila to Laoag (roundtrip) via Philippine Airlines is around 4000 pesos ++
Manila to Laoag (roundtrip) via Cebu Pacific is around 2500 pesos ++.

At least with the opening of the new route, foreign visitors with limited time in the Philippines can have Vigan as an option. And for domestic travelers, the schedule allows us to have Vigan as a weekend vacation option.

Below is a sample booking of the Manila to Vigan flight

SEAIR Resumes Flights to El Nido and Taytay in Palawan

October 8, 2010

SEAIR Resumes Flights to El Nido and Taytay in Palawan

Source: Seair newsroom


SEAIR announces the resumption of its flights to El Nido and Taytay in Northern Palawan on December 1, 2010. The flights to El Nido will be every Wednesday, Sunday and Monday, while the flights to Taytay, Palawan will be daily.

21st Philippine Travel Mart Sale

September 1, 2010

21st Philippine Travel Mart Sale 
(September 3-5, 2010 at the SM Megamall, Megatrade Halls)

Seair Sale
Seair is the first to announce the promo fare available only at the Philippine Travel Mart. Details are as follows:

1. Manila to Batanes roundtrip promo
  • Buy 1-take-1 roundtrip tickets for only P14,344 all in.
  • Good for travel until December 19, 2010.
  • Tickets must be bought on September 3-5 at the Philippine Travel Mart at Booths 108-109.
2. Manila to Boracay roundtrip tickets
  • Roundtrip rate of P3,500 all in per person, good for travel until October 15, 2010.
  • Roundtrip rate of P4,463 all in per person, good for travel from October 16, 2010-December 19, 2010.
  • Tickets must be bought on September 3-5 at the Philippine Travel Mart at Booths 108-109.
3. Manila to Tablas roundtrip tickets
  • Roundtrip rate of P3,500 all in per person, good for travel until October 15, 2010.
  • Roundtrip rate of P4,463 all in per person, good for travel from October 16, 2010-December 19, 2010.
  • Tickets must be bought on September 3-5 at the Philippine Travel Mart at Booths 108-109
I will update you of details of other sale on this event as soon as I know. Please be back...

When to catch SEAIR promo flights to Batanes

June 3, 2010

When to catch SEAIR promo flights to Batanes

For the past few years, I noticed that the best time to watch out for SEAIR promo flights is during January, February and September.

SEAIR anniversary sale (released January)

Last January 2010, to commemorate their anniversary on March 25, they offered a Php1,400 peso discount for roundtrip airfare to Batanes for March to May peak season travel.
Date of travel: March to May 

SEAIR Travel Tour Expo Sale (held every 3rd weekend of February)
This is the biggest sale they offer for peak season travel. They offer buy-one-take one flights to Batanes. The fare is Php 14,344, inclusive of taxes, good for two people.
Date of travel: March 15 to June 15
When to purchase: only during the Travel Tour Expo 

It's cheapest to travel to Batanes from June 15-October 15. Fare is around Php 7,647 roundtrip per person, inclusive of taxes. 
Date of Travel: June 15-October 15 
When to purchase: at the Travel Tour Expo weekend in February till May 

SEAIR Philippine Travel Mart Sale (held every 3rd weekend of September): 

They usually offer buy-one-take one flights for September to October 15 travel. The fare is Php 14,344, inclusive of taxes, good for two people.
Date of Travel: September-October 15 

How to go to Batanes

How to go to Batanes

New!! Updated as of Feburary 9, 2013: Manila to Batanes flights (Airlines, Schedules, Fares)

Updated as of April 6, 2012: Skyjet flies from Manila to Batanes starting March 27, 2012
Updated as of August 10, 2012: There are currently no SEAIR flights to Batanes because they stop flights during low season. Read more at Seasonal flights of SEAIR

At present, the only way to reach Batanes from Manila is to fly via Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR). There are no other commercial passenger planes that flies direct from Manila to Basco, Batanes except SEAIR. Batanes airlines and SkyPasada flies from Laoag or Tuguegarao. (see other ways to go to Batanes)

Updated as of August 16, 2012:

There are three (3) airlines flying Manila to Batanes. The current status of these airlines are as follows:

Southeast Asian Airlines: has seasonal flights to Batanes, which means it has flights only during peak season travel, and suspends its flights during low  season travel. As of this writing, it has no flights to Batanes. The reservation officer said it may begin flights in October 2012. 
Skypasada Airlines: they have early morning flights twice a week from Manila to Batanes (Wednesday and Fridays), and afternoon flights twice a week from Batanes to Manila (Thursdays and Sundays). You can book flights online here.
Skyjet Airlines: they have weekly early morning Saturday flights from Manila to Batanes. It  currently cannot be booked online. See my post How to book Skyjet Airlines to Batanes

There are no RORO routes so it cannot even be accessed by motorbikes or other means of transportation. You can motorbike to Laoag or Tuguegarao but you still have to ride a plane from there to go to Batanes. You have to leave your motorbike in Laoag or Tuguegarao because the small planes landing at Basco airport cannot carry it. Even if the planes are willing to carry it, you will be charged at least 2 passengers worth of airfare. And that will be too expensive for the privilege of riding your motorbike around Batanes. Overall, it's cheaper to fly then to rent a motorcycle from the locals.

Another airline that may fly to Batanes soon is Air Philippines. According to their Chief Executive Adviser, Brian Hogan, "the company intends to open more “missionary routes” such as El Nido in Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo, Basco in Batanes and many more local destinations now served by roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) vessels." (see full article)

I will update you when this happens. For now, SEAIR is the only airlines flying direct from Manila-Batanes.

How to book SEAIR Flights
Regular flights of SEAIR from Manila to Batanes and vice versa is once a day. So it's best to book early. Seair uses the Dornier 328 planes, which only has 32 passengers per flight. This means only 32 passengers arrive in Batanes per day.  

During Spring (which is March to April), they have two flights per day. The second flight they open, which is the 5am flight, is usually delayed by an hour or two. So it's better to book the 8am flight rather than the 5am flight. You don't have to wake up too early only to end up leaving almost the same time as the 8am flight. Then in May, they increased flights again to three times a day. The rest of the year, they have only one flight per day. 

Read more on The Experience of Flying Seair

Cost and booking policy of SEAIR
You can book Seair online at Total cost per person for roundtrip Manila-Batanes-Manila is :  
Php 13,647.20 per person
Fare : Php 11,670.00
Taxes and fees: 1,977.20
  •  there are no child fare discounts.
  • the online payment can be made using Visa or Mastercard.
  • the online buyer is required to present the card that was used to purchase the ticket. Therefore, they require that at least one person in the group is the online buyer.  
More information on WHEN to catch SEAIR promo flights 

Airport Terminal Used by SEAIR
SEAIR currently flies from the Manila Domestic Airport. There are only two airlines flying from the Domestic Terminal. So, even during peak season, this terminal will not be crowded.