Don’t tell Tom Hanks: Estonian tourist gets stranded for 110 days inside NAIA Terminal 1

from Facebook: Roman Trofimov

Think your stay-at-home struggles are rough? At least you didn’t spend 110 days alone at an airport.

This is what happened to Estonian backpacker Roman Trofimov, who had been living in the departure lounge of Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) Terminal 1. According to a video he posted which has since gone viral on Facebook, he arrived in the Philippines via an AirAsia flight on March 20 but was denied his entry visa by the Bureau of Immigration due to already persisting quarantine protocols.

To make matters worse, all outbound flights had been grounded because of the same, and AirAsia, which temporarily ceased operations, confiscated his passport. With nowhere to go, Trofimov claimed to have had to sleep on the floor, wash in public restrooms, and live off of donations. He tried to request a repatriation flight through the Estonian Honorary Consul in Manila, but to no avail. What they did, instead, was to arrange for his transfer to the airport’s passenger lounge on April 1, where he was given proper food rations and personal hygiene items. This is what prompted him to bring his issue to the public.

Luckily, it worked to his favor. On the evening of July 7, he took to social media once again to share that he was finally booked a flight back to Estonia, and is set to land the following day. Upon landing, he thanked everyone who offered their support while he was stranded in the airport, an ordeal that lasted a total of 110 days.

Departing from Estonia on March 12, he arrived in Manila from Thailand as part of a “dream trip” around Southeast Asia, completely unaware that lockdown directives had already been declared across the region. His supposed itinerary was to land in Manila take an onward flight to Cebu on that same day and then fly back to Thailand on April 2.

Trofimov owned what was called a “gray passport,” a travel document issued to people living in Estonia but do not formally hold Estonian citizenship nor of any country. This explains AirAsia’s exercise of caution when they took his passport.

Of course, it wasn’t as long as Tom Hanks’ nine-month ordeal inside the JFK Airport in the movie, The Terminal. Still, we doubt anyone of us could make it past a week, let alone 100 days. Do you think you can last the same?


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