MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A man stuck in an airport terminal, with nowhere to go, seems like it's just the plot of the dramedy "The Terminal." But at the NAIA 1, that story is real.
British citizen Gary Peter Austin, a 52-year-old former horse jockey from England, has been marooned at the departure lounge of terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for over 3 weeks, waiting for his flight.
Austin told reporters that he arrived in Manila from England via Bahrain on board Gulf Air last Nov 29, 2012, and went to Cebu for sightseeing and to visit Filipino friends he met online.
He returned to Manila last December 17, where he tried to check in at the NAIA Gulf Air counter for his return trip to England.
But airline staff said that they cannot accommodate him for the flight, as his e-ticket was already cancelled by his travel agent.
Unfortunately, Austin had run out of money. So he decided to stay at the terminal while figuring out how to raise the funds to finance his travel back home to England.
On January 9, Austin finally visited the British Embassy, where he said he was offered access to a phone and the internet.
He told Rappler that while the Embassy is doing it's best to help him, it is not doing enough. "We are aware of the case. We are providing consular assistance," the Embassy told Rappler via email.
Without money to buy a ticket to return to England and virtually forgotten by the airline that flew him in, Austin plans to make do with terminal 1 as his temporary home. - with reports from Edwin Llobrera and Katherine Visconti and videography by Adrian Portugal/Rappler.com