Airline Review: Philippine Airlines

The PAL Boeing 747-400

Philippine Airlines (PAL), a flag carrier of the Philippines, is one the oldest airlines in Asia. It was founded in 1941. 

PAL, as it is often known, serves 19 domestic destinations and 24 cities internationally. Its fleet is a mix of Airbus A319, A320, A321 and A330 for short and medium-haul routes, and Boeing 747-400, 777-300, Airbus A340 for long-haul routes. 

I twice took Philippine Airlines for international trips, once to Bangkok and back, and also a roundtrip flight to and from  Hongkong. 

Booking and Price:
Full meal during the flight
Surprisingly the fare I paid for the round-trip flight to Bangkok was cheap - $245, including taxes (Fiesta deal economy class). It was just a tad expensive over a similar, non-seat sale fare from Cebu Pacific. I was able to book the flight online, which help save time (booking a flight from their PAL offices can be a tedious exercise because of the lines). It also gave me 25% credit for my Mabuhay Miles, PAL's frequent flier program. Baggage allowance is 15kg. 

Cabin and Amenities
PAL is a full-service airline with a 3-star Skytraxx rating, so the passengers were served with a warm, full course complete meal during the flight. It was a welcome change compared to buying food from a cart when taking a low-cost carrier. Pillows and blankets are provided on request by the friendly crew. 

Cabin of the B777-300ER
Originally the flight to Bangkok was to be serviced by an Airbus A330, but the plane was changed the last minute and we took the Boeing 747 instead. The flight back from Bangkok is aboard an Airbus 320, which has a smaller cabin. 

It much much better for the Hongkong flight, as we flew in the new (at that time, having made its maiden flight for PAL just 2 days earlier) Boeing 777-300ER. There was still the new-plane smell to it, and the cabin was a big improvement, with nicer and wider seats, wider legroom, and better inflight entertainment system. 

PAL has an in-flight duty-free store, and I was able to buy a 70th-anniversary limited edition die-cast replicas of PAL aircraft (a DC-3 and an Airbus 330 with PAL livery, for $39). Other items, such as watches, jewelry, perfume, cigarettes and spirits are also available. 

The newer Boeing 777-300ER of PAL. I took this one to Hongkong

My Bangkok flight was delayed for about hour because of the plane change. The flight back, which is scheduled late at night, was right on schedule. 

Some PAL flights from Manila originate from Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, and lately some domestic ones now originate from Terminal 3.

Useful info: PAL website

Other airline reviews:
Zest Air
Tiger Airways
Delta Airlines

updated review by Kin Enriquez. Originally published in


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