Philippine Airlines Manila Reviews
Philippine Airlines - slowly catching up with the times Nov 11, 2012
As a customer of Philippine Airlines for a very long time (since I was 3 months old), I would like to catalogue how they have changed since. I can't remember how many times I've actually flown with them as I have lost track.
PAL, as Philippine Airlines is fondly called, is the flag carrier of the Philippines. They recently celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2011 and have been in an aggressive airplane buying spree since they were bought into by the largest Philippine conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation (which is known worldwide for San Miguel Beer). The most recent order was for 54 aircraft from Airbus (mostly A321s, A330s) just earlier this year (2012), and they will not stop there as the plan is to purchase up to 100 new aircraft. Not all of the planes will go to PAL though - they have a low cost carrier subsidiary, AirPhilexpress, which serves mostly Philippine domestic routes and a few regional routes. With the new A330s, they will be able to serve more destinations in Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.
Compare that with their BAC-111s which were a staple during the 70s and 80s, then their 737 fleet from the 90s until these were replaced by A320s in the last decade (for the short haul planes). PAL has been flying the 747 since the 70s, and they still have 5 747-400s todate serving the trans-Pacific market (SFO and LAX). Their regional fleet is served by Airbuses, both narrow body (A319, A320 and soon A321) and widebody (A330, A340).
A few things stand out distinctly with Philippine Airlines - first is their warm and friendly service onboard, their hot meals (most other Philippine carriers don't serve meals domestically or even regionally), and their frequent flyer program, Mabuhay Miles (they and Airphil are the only ones who have this).
Right now they have the latest 777-300 aircraft (4 as of Nov. 2012)from Boeing which they use on their Canadian, Australian and Japanese routes.
I have seen how their services have improved and deteriorated over the years, but so far we are seeing mostly improvements as of late. It may still take a while to get your calls answered through the reservations hotline (especially during peak travel season), but wait times are not as bad compared to the past.
Of course, this review won't be complete if not for the areas of suggestion for improvement:
1. More automation is needed, including the ability to check online (Airphil allows this but PAL doesn't). Likewise Mabuhay Award tickets should be redeemable online.
2. They should have upgraded terminal facilities (the new PAL management has hinted in the press that they will build a completely new airport after they've presented this to the Philippine president in 2013). Currently PAL is using Terminal 2 (one of the smaller terminals at MNL airport) so there is congestion in the terminal, especially when flights start arriving or departing within minutes of each other.
3. They are restricted to add more routes to the United States because of the Category 2 status of the Philippines (this is not PAL's fault), so they currently serve only Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu with their older 747-400s and Airbus A340s.
From a passenger perspective, PAL is generally the Filipino travlers' first choice, having served generations of passengers since 1941. They are the only full service Philippine carrier (all other Philippine carriers use the low cost model). They have more comfortable seats than their local competition but still need to catch up when it comes to the world leaders, the Skytrax 5 star rated carriers like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, etc.
But PAL has its loyal following and you can include me in that group, considering I generally would fly with them in most circumstances. If you fly business class with PAL, you also get access to the Mabuhay Lounges in the major airports where snacks and drinks are given for free. There is also WiFi provided in the lounge. If you fly economy, then expect to still be fed on board, more so if it is a regional or long haul flight. While the food isn't exactly 5 star, it is relatively good enough compared to the rest of the carriers worldwide.
But with the new ownership and management, plus the new airport to be built, PAL is looking promising as they move towards their 80th year of operations.
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philippine airlines Feb 20, 2009
Philippine airlines is long distinguished as the oldest and first airline in asia.
ive been using philipppine airlines since i was a child using domestic flights.
last 2008 from beijing, china to manila, philippines my flight connection was philippine airlines. Its my irst time to use philippine airlines for an international flights.
i have to admit, the flight attendants except for one who is very charming for me, are useless. They wont speak to me in tagalog, but i want to converse in tagalog, they want it in english which is crap.
nevertheless the 4 hour flight from beijing to manila was smooth, the seats are also perfect not narrow and not wide, aircraft was fairly new and everything claps in place.
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