5 Tips for Flying Domestically in Papua New Guinea - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

5 Tips for Flying Domestically in Papua New Guinea

You can wait for your flight in exotic surroundings at the airport in Port Moresby Photo: Anette

During my recent visit to  Papua New Guinea we had to take domestic flights a couple of times; from Port Moresby to visit the Walindi Plantation Resort in Kimbe and the mask festival in Rabaul. Although our trips mostly went without further problems I made a couple of observations along the way, and as some of them might be of interest I’m sharing some of them here.

1. Domestic flights are often delayed

While international flights usually are on time, their domestic counterparts are known to be delayed. Although it might be an exaggeration some people claim that only 30% of the local planes are on time! While this might or might not be true, it seemed that the timetable in the airport by default showed most of the flights as delayed when we took the plane from Port Moresby to Rabaul for the mask festival (and yes, our flight was delayed by an hour too).
Status: Delayed

2. Be aware of sticky tape terrorists!

It seems that the security guards at the airport sometimes get a peculiar urge to gather certain of your items in the security check. While customs in other countries usually are strict on things like water the security guards at Port Moresby were totally hung up on my empty refillable plastic container and a roll of adhesive tape. Yes, you read it right. While I barely managed to convince them to let me keep the refillable plastic container we had our roll of medical tape taken away, because, as the security guard explained, "a sticky tape might be used to tape other passengers’ mouths". So in conclusion: Be on the lookout for sticky tape terrorists when you fly in PNG!(...?)
The security guards were more interested in searching for adhesive tape than dangerous goods

3. No free Wi-Fi available

One might not have expected to get free Wi-Fi here in the first place, and one is right to not do so. Your best bet would be to get a local SIM-card when you arrive at the airport and buy some data so that you can surf while waiting for your most likely delayed airplane. In my case, I didn’t have any internet so I could spend some extra time thinking about content for this blog post. Woohoo.

4. No chewing of betelnut

While in PNG you’ll probably see lots of people with red mouths - the result you get when chewing the local betel nut (also known as areca). While acting like a sort of mild stimulant (that apparently is terrible for your health) this nut also colors things - surprise, surprise - red. During your visit, you’ll probably also soon notice that people often spit the remaining substance on the ground, which probably is one reason why travelers are asked to refrain from chewing them while in the airport. While this might not be a concern for most international travelers (including myself) it was a good opportunity to take a picture of the betelnut warning sign.
The betelnut is banned from many places because people often spit the red remains out on the ground

5. Make sure to board the right airplane

After the long delay in your flight schedule, it is finally time to depart for your next destination. But be careful - in the domestic terminal there is often only one gate, and in many cases, more than one plain getting ready for departure at the same time. With two queues in the departure hall, we first lined up in the right queue, only to be told that this queue was for a plane going to a completely different place. You’ll probably figure it out in the end, but just be aware that the system can be a bit confusing for a first-time visitor.
Ready for a new destination
With all that being said, the quality of the local airplanes is good, so you most likely won’t have to worry about safety onboard the planes (just make sure be on the watch for suspicious people with adhesive tape, right?!). Although we had some delays in our flights we always made it to our destinations without any greater problems, and you’ll most likely have a pleasant flight even when traveling domestically.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, or perhaps examples of interesting PNG flight experiences please share in the comment section below.
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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