ZestAir A320 Iloilo-Manila
Zest Air is a relatively new airline in the Philippines servicing flights to many destinations in the country. They offer lower rates than their competitors and are using brand new planes (though others air saying that it’s actually just newly acquired from a foreign airline). Because of this a lot of people are interested to fly with ZestAir but are a bit skeptical about it because of its acquired reputation from Asian Spirit. Hopefully, my experience flying with ZestAir can help would-be zest air passengers, who’ll read this post.

Booking a flight

I bought a Iloilo-Manila-Iloilo round trip tickets for only P976 during my Aliwan 2009 trip through ZestAir’s online booking service. I don’t have a credit card of my own so, at first, I decided to visit their ticketing office at the Iloilo Airport, which was listed in their website. When I got there, I found out that their ticketing office in the airport is actually just a table/desk with one lady behind it. The lady informed me that the actual office of Zest Air is in Marymart Center back in the city and I can only make my bookings there. I decided not to have to deal going to Marymart because I was already upset about being misinformed and wasting time going to the airport. I borrowed a credit card from my relative instead and made my booking online, which was much more convenient.

Going to Manila flight

I arrived at the Iloilo Airport 30 minutes before my scheduled departure flight. I was already a bit anxious because I know I should have arrived earlier since flights can sometimes be rescheduled at an earlier time without notice. The check-in was good, though they still aren’t using computerized systems. You can check in your baggage with no additional charge unlike when you get promo tickets from Cebu Pacific, PAL, or AirPhil. Last time when we bought go-lite Cebu Pacific tickets, we had to pay an additional fee just to check in our tripods, because apparently you can’t hand carry them in the plane. The terminal fee in the Iloilo Airport is P200 by the way. I then checked the LCD info screen for departures and my heart raced when I didn’t see my flight. I hurriedly went to the an airport official and asked her about my flight status, she said my flight was delayed for an hour and explained that they still haven’t updated the airport’s system to display the status of ZestAir flights. Waiting was very inconvenient because we passengers have almost no idea on the exact time our plane will arrive. I heard from other people that ZestAir flights can be delayed for as much as four hours, fortunately, my plane did arrive at just an hour 30 minute delay.


ZestAir planes do not use the terminal bridges in the Iloilo Airport you have to go down to the runway to get to the plane.

Other airlines are conveniently using the bridges :(

Cebu Pacific Boarding

ZestAir Inflight

The plane does look fairly new and the cabin is quite spacious inside with ample leg space. The take off was very very smooth. The flight attendants look great but moved really amateurish. The service was great! They offer unlimited zest-o juice, coffee, and water at no additional cost. There was even a time when I was jotting down some notes and the flight attendant approached me and politely offered to brighten the overhead lights, neat!

Unli Zest-O at ZestAir

Camwhoring at the CR of ZestAir A320

Camwhoring at the restroom

Arrival at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)

The flight was again very smooth but the landing wasn’t so much … maybe because the runway in NAIA isn’t as new as the Iloilo Airport’s. I arrived at the Domestic Terminal of NAIA. My sister, who fetched me, complained about how inconvenient it is to go to the domestic airport compared to terminal 2. I also was a bit anxious because I had to make her wait a long time because of the delayed flight.

Going back flight to Iloilo from Manila

Went to NAIA Domestic Terminal for my flight back to Iloilo. The check-in was still good, though I have to say, the Domestic Terminal of NAIA really sucks compared to Terminal 1, 2, and 3!. I don’t think my P200 terminal fee is worth its price. I think some airports in the provinces, which collects lower terminal fees is better than the Manila Domestic Terminal! Anyways … our plane arrived 30 minutes – late as usual. ZestAir also uses an Airbus A320 for their Manila-Iloilo flight (both of my flights had full seats)

NAIA Domestic Terminal (T1)

Again, you have to walk the runway to get to the plane.

ZestAir A320 MNL-ILO

I was very excited that the plane arrived without too much delay, which meant that I’d have the chance to shoot my first ever sunset shots thousands of feet in the air. It was really beautiful :)

Luzon Peninsula at Sunset

Sunset Clouds

Sunset Clouds

It was already dark when we arrived in Iloilo, which was also good because I got to take my first aerial night shot of the city. I had to shoot with the highest ISO my camera has (ISO3200) to get the less blur but it also meant a very very grainy result.

Conveyor belts at the Iloilo Airport

Conveyor Belts

I hope this post has helped you. If you’ve also tried flying with ZestAir, why don’t you share tell us about your experience?

Zest Air is now operating as Air Asia, to view the cheapest airfares check out Air Asia promo alerts.