Flight Reviews

FLIGHT REVIEW :: SIN-MNL ONBOARD PHILIPPINE AIRLINES

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PR508 leaves at Changi International Airport Terminal 1 (SIN) at 14:30 and arrives at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 (MNL) at 1820

I have known a while ago that Philippine Airlines regional flights that utilizes Airbus A321 have a cramped configuration. So, when I took a Philippine Airlines flight from Singapore to Manila, I have to make sure that I will get a seat with good legroom. Normally, one has to pay for seats with better pitch but this time around, the check-in lady gave it to me for free! This is after she queried from her supervisor if there are any exit row seats available. Like what I have mentioned before, one has to be really nice with the check-in personnel as it can work wonders for you. I actually saved $50 just for being nice and chatty with the check-in lady.

PAL1PAL6

As you can see from the photo above, there’s plenty of legroom for me. I am a bit taller than an average person from the Philippines and the regular seats would force my knees up against the back of the seat in front of me. The worst case scenario would be for the person in front of me to recline his or her seat!

Denser configuration puts passengers at a disadvantage but in a highly competitive route such as SIN-MNL, full-service airlines like Philippine Airlines needs to keep abreast with what the LCCs are offering. Cebu Pacific’s all economy flight on the sector has more or less the same seat pitch. If one desires better legroom, Singapore Airlines is the best choice but fares are – in average – more expensive.

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As I slumped into my seat, the first thing that I would do is browse the inflight magazine. Mabuhay Magazine offers decent yet lackluster articles and one of the things that caught my eye is the cover story. After decades of waiting, Philippine Airlines is back again in New York and this time it will be utilizing the JFK airport instead of Newark as it did in the 90s. This is indeed an exciting news for the airline and for the Philippines in general.

PAL7

As expected the IFE system onboard is, by my standard, antiquated. Philippine Airlines should really improve its inflight entertainment options. I am not even sure if wifi is available as advertised by the airline. In this flight, we have to crane our necks to catch a glimpse of the overhead screens.

Regional flights that do not exceed 5 hours is okay even without personal TV screens. But to endure a 12-hour flight without it is simply inhumane. What Philippine Airlines is offering to its passengers in this sector is acceptable. Certainly, I would prefer the entertainment system of Singapore Airlines but Philippine Airlines’ overhead screens is far better than the absence of entertainment onboard LCCs serving the same route.

PAL5

The food onboard Philippine Airlines is not that bad. I was offered between a western style beef casserole and chicken inasal. I chose the latter and it tastes good. One thing though is that this dish seems to be common nowadays. I ate the same food on my MNL-HKG flight 3 years ago! Philippine Airlines should really change their menu from time to time.

Finally, I would like to point out that the days when Philippine Airlines’ flight attendants earned the reputation for being snobby and disrespectful are over. At least in this flight and any other flight I took with the airline. The flight attendants are warm, caring and attentive. They may not smile a lot but they are doing a good job and that’s good enough for me.

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Philippine Airlines is the best choice for those traveling from Singapore to the Philippines who wants to save some money without resorting to what the LCCs are offering. It is not the best but certainly not the worst. In overall, I would give this flight 3 stars out of 5.

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