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Broke and living at the airport

Saddled with cancelled e-Ticket, ex-jockey camps out at Philippines airport

Gulf News

Manila: A former jockey who got stranded in the Philippines after his e-Ticket was cancelled is appealing to the British Embassy to help him return to England.

Gary Peter Austin had gone on a holiday in the Philippines, arriving in the country on November 29 via a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain.

According to a report by the daily Manila Standard Today, personnel at the Gulf Air counter refused to honour his e-Ticket. As a result, Austin has been living at the airport lounge of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 for the past 23 days.

Making things more difficult for Austin is that he had already ran out of cash to secure an air fare to England.

Austin had asked reporters covering the airport to report on his situation so that the British Embassy would take notice and hopefully assist him in getting back to England.

Austin has been helped by airport staff, such as departure area cleaner Maria Hannah Bulabon, who has been giving him food from time to time.

Other kind-hearted passengers and airport personnel have also been giving him food or money.

The online site, “Guide to Sleeping at the Airports” pointed out that the NAIA Terminal 1 had been judged the worst airport because of its inadequate facilities for travellers.

“With its collapsing ceilings, overcrowding, rampant bribery, and taxi drivers scamming travellers on fares, it’s easy to understand why “disappointed” and “unbelievable” are just a few of the words travellers use to describe Manila’s Terminal 1,” according to the travel site.

The terminal has no facility for travellers who want to sleep nor counters where luggage can be stored for safekeeping.

Aside from Austin’s, others who found themselves stranded at the Manila airport were Rene Sake, a Liberian national, and Timothy Berrian from Cameroon.

Sake and Berrian, according to reports, had arrived respectively in the country from a flight from Guangzhou, China on September 27, 2010 and August 20, 2010.

They lived for several weeks at the holding area of the NAIA Terminal 3 until they were eventually deported.

Fortunately for Sake and Berrian, NAIA Terminal 3’s facilities were more modern compared to the nearly four decades old NAIA Terminal 1.