Fil-Am grandma shares NAIA Holy Week horror
MANILA, Philippines–Talk about Maundy Thursday torments.
A 71-year-old grandmother said she was made to pay P3,500 in grease money before being cleared to board her plane at Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 to a man who declared her carry-on luggage to be overweight.
Evelyn Brazie, a Filipino-American then heading back to New York, said a man who had the name “David” embroidered on his shirt asked for money after he transferred some of the contents of her carry-on bag to her check-in baggage.
“Maybe he did that because I was in a wheelchair … I had to pay because I was getting nervous and embarrassed. He had opened all my three bags in full view of the other people at the three counters,” Brazie told the Inquirer on the phone from the US.
“He was whispering to me that I should pay any amount so that there would be no problem. He gave me this piece of paper where I slid the money. There was no receipt,” she added. “We were actually bargaining.”
Reached for comment on Saturday, NAIA 3 manager Octavio Lina said he would initiate an investigation, but clarified that airline employees and not airport personnel are the ones who have direct contact with passengers who have excess baggage and need wheelchair assistance.
“Wheelchair and check-in counter attendants are personnel of airline companies,” Lina said. “There could possibly be a connivance among these people in order to extort money from passengers.”
Brazie checked in at NAIA 3 around 7 a.m. on Maundy Thursday for her All Nippon Airways flight (NH 950) bound for Tokyo, from which she would take a connecting flight to the US.
Brazie recalled that after her baggage was weighed at the All Nippon counter, the two female attendants referred her to “David.”
Brazie said the two check-in attendants did not tell her that her baggage was overweight and that she only learned about the problem from the male official.
She said the official told her that she had to pay $135 or P6,000, but she hesitated since she still had to pay the terminal fee.
Brazie added that when she arrived in the country on March 16, another attendant who was pushing her in her wheelchair also asked for money and told her to give some cash to the official at the immigration counter. With a report from Tina G. Santos
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