Awesome things often come at unexpected times.
It was a fine day and I was at Rustic Mornings, trying some of their specialties. Out of nowhere, I received a call from my friend Marky. “Are you free for a trip?”, he asked. “We’ll leave for Bangkok in 4 days,” he said as I switched to my calendar. It turns out I was free and I immediately said yes! I had just been to Thailand with the Gorditas last February. We had visited places in Kanchanaburi, and we had also done a cooking class with Cookly. Then again, I had always enjoyed Thai food, so what’s stopping me from going on another visit?
But then, remember the adage that “it’s not the destination but the journey that matters”? It would have been just another Thailand trip until I found out we were flying Philippine Airlines, and sampling the flag carrier’s newly-refurbished PAL A330 planes!
Another level of Comfort
We had a preview of the level of inflight service we should expect from the check-in. It was a breeze, and it seemed I didn’t have to care about anything. The staff were courteous and all smiles, and they even made sure I had nothing fragile in my bag.
The country’s foremost airlines have invested a lot in creating an all-new experience for flyers with its A330 planes. As we boarded, the signature “Hello, Mabuhay!” from the flight attendants greeted us and we made our way to our seats. The high-density plane was divided into three classes: Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy Class. We flew economy this time, but I had a good look at the business class section too. It was really great, and I wish to try that in my future flights!
As soon as we sat down, we immediately felt that these were not the economy seats we were used to. The seats were wider (at 18 inches), and had really comfortable head and armrests. There were no footrests as expected, but the seats can be inclined for half a feet. That’s definitely nice if you want to lean back for a nap during your flight. Or, you can sit up straight and watch something from the myPal eSuite Personal TV right in front of you. I find it cool there are Filipino movies here — I’ve been on the move for some time so it’s good to catch up. Too bad there’s not enough time to watch more than one (and a half) movies on the Bangkok flight. There are other options too, ranging from blockbusters to children’s movies. There are even games and audio, and there’s also live TV. I bet if I were flying to the US, this would keep me entertained for hours on end.
Configured in a 3-3-3 arrangement, these are mighty comfortable for economy class. Of course I am petite, but I don’t doubt even a bigger person would be at home here. Lately I have been indulging in long-haul flights, and with each one I had been looking for an extra level of comfort and at least some entertainment. It appears these seats were what I was looking for all along!
Even the meals were awesome. We chose between inasal with rice or beef with pasta — hard choice, but I went for the inasal. I’m glad I did! The beverage options had great variety, and even included wine and beer (take note — this is economy class!). It’s not important to some, but I know people who need a shot or two to calm their nerves since they’re afraid to fly. In my case, it’s just the perfect addition to my movie!
The economy class also has a 30kg baggage allowance, and a 7kg carry-on allowance. This is just perfect since Bangkok is a shopping destination! We brought back a lot of good fruits, and made good use of the allowance.
Of course, comfort is upped a great deal in the business class section, but if you want something in between the two then premium economy might be your bet! It comes with even better seats, priority check-in, better meals, a bigger myPAL TV, and more baggage allowance.
Value added, all around
Aside from their amenities, Philippine Airlines also capitalizes on their outstanding level of service. The crew was forever smiling, and they were very attentive to the passenger’s needs. They were willing to help with whatever issues came up, too. They give pillows and blankets to those who need them. They also didn’t complain the least when I kept asking for water throughout the flight (for some reason I felt really thirsty).
And it’s not just the crew, but PAL itself that went the extra mile. Aside from the Mabuhay Lounge for business class flyers, all PAL customers can access their various ancillary products. For example, there’s PAL Boutique that gives you access to PAL Exclusives, Duty Free items, and travel merchandise wherever you are. It’s an online shop (boutique.philippineairlines.com) that even offers Cash on Delivery! Purchases are to be made at least 3 days before the flight, and the only extra you’ll pay will be the delivery fees.
There’s also myPAL WiFi, which lets you rent portable hotspot devices (choice between regular and 4G). This allows ease of connectivity in over 100 countries! You can also connect up to 5 devices at a time, and there’s a 50% discount on upgrade plans while you’re onboard.
Inflight, you also get 15 minutes of free WiFi though this could be upgraded. For people in my line of work where I need to be online often, this is a God-send. I remember a time when I sorely wished for a WiFi access inflight, when my brother got into an accident and I had to keep in touch.
Philippine Airlines really deserves their title of the country’s flag carrier. They embody all the best of the Philippines with their services and amenities! I’ll be sure to #flyPAL again!
If you want to see the difference, #flyPAL and book your flights at philippineairlines.com. You’ll be glad you did.