Friday, October 8, 2010

First SEAIR Experience

I had my first experience riding a SEAIR flight today. The family took a weekend vacation at Boracay and we took SEAIR straight to Caticlan Airport. We normally go through Kalibo but the extra land trip is just too tiring and a major waste of time. A direct flight to Caticlan sounded more enticing.

We got to the airport before 2pm for our 3pm flight. The flight was delayed by 25 mins due to late arrival of aircraft. Hmm... why is it that when I ride an airline for the first time, its always delayed? We were all a bit anxious as it is Cols' and the kids' first time to ride a small plane. The SEAIR Dornier aircraft had a capacity of about 30 passengers only.

The seat layout is 2 on one side and 1 on the other side, for a total of 3 seats per row with an aisle in-between. Cols and Ethan sat on Row 4, while Caitlin and I were on Row 5. It was very warm inside the plane as they apparently do not turn on the air-conditioner until the engine has revved up and is ready to fly (Cebu Pacific's propeller-based planes are also supposed to be that way). As the plane taxied on the runway, it creaked here and there while Caitlin kept asking where the sound was coming from.

Since it was a small plane, we only had one flight attendant. I have to say, she did a good job multi-tasking because not only did she have to do the airline safety demonstration, she also had to do the commentary on the PA system. Since she did not have a headset, that meant she had to talk on the handset first; put it down; do the demo; pick-up the handset again and explain. I guess a solo dancing flight attendant performance was too much to ask! Har har.

After the quick take-off, we were flying at fairly low altitude -- at least compared to jet-based airlines. This had the added advantage of getting to see the view closer to the ground. For example, we could clearly see Taal Volcano and its crater lake as we passed through Southern Luzon going towards Visayas. As the sun shone through the window, Caitlin noted the absence of windows shades. She's right -- the windows do not have those pull-down shades. Hmmm... the seats (especially the arm rests) could also use a little bit of refurbishing as I'm sure they have seen much better days.

The actual flight from Manila to Caticlan took about 35 to 40 mins. As advertised, it is supposed to be the fastest flight to Caticlan by a commercial airline. Overall, the flight was good. We arrived safely. We even had in-flight snacks (okay, so it was just water and peanuts, but that's a lot better than getting nothing from Cebu Pacific).

Overall, I would recommend SEAIR to other passengers. Visit their Facebook site at

1 comment:

orly_andico said...

Hi Dick,

In general, turboprop planes really suffer from the "lack of air-conditioning until the plane is running" syndrome.

Jet aircraft have a dedicated small turbine to provide "hotel power" when the main engines are off. But turbo-props use a coaxial generator attached to the main engine to provide this power.

Some turbo-prop engines have this capability to disconnect the propeller so they can turn the "hotel power" generator even while the plane is stopped. But this requires revving the whole main engine and is not very fuel-efficient.