JetBlue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1456 posts, RR: 1 Posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 23032 times:
Hello guys, welcome to my 7th trip report on a.net. This is the fourth part of my Asian vacation trip report series, I decided to create a separate trip report for this specific flight on board Philippine Airlines because it's rare that you get to see a TR about PR. So here it goes:
Philippine Airlines was the first airline in Asia. It was founded on February 26, 1941, nearly 70 years ago from today. It had its first flight on March 15, 1941 from Manila to Baguio utilizing a Beechcraft Model 18 aircraft. Today, PAL has 39 aircraft in fleet and flies to 46 destinations in three continents: Asia, North America and Australia. Although PAL is ages behind from its main competitors such as SQ, CX, OZ and MH in terms of size, service and product, PAL still delivers a decent product and warm service throughout its network.
We spent nearly two months in the Philippines and it was time to go home. We spent the last remaining days with my grandparents as well as other close friends and relatives. It is a Filipino tradition that your close relatives and friends will drop you off at the airport to say their farewells. My grandparents' house is in Iligan City, a small city in Mindanao, one of the three major islands in the country. Iligan didn't have a functioning airport, so we had to travel 1 hour and 45 minutes east to Cagayan de Oro, a much bigger and more developed city. The day finally came and we hired a 16-seater Toyota van for the long drive to the airport. My grandparents, close friends and relatives came along, before going to the airport we stopped by at Limketkai mall, a brilliant and humongous mall compared to the ones we have here in the US. We had lunch at KFC (how American) then we headed up to the airport. Lumbia Airport is a small domestic airport in the city of Cagayan de Oro, it is located at the outskirts of town, a high class neighborhood with multi-million dollars....ehrrr...multi-million pesos housings. I have been to the airport a lot of times before, it is small yet functional, it serves its purpose and I have a lot of memories at this small airport.
We got to the airport at approximately 12PM, our flight with Philippine Airlines, the nation's flag carrier was set to depart at 14:50. Days before the departure day, we were a bit worried since PAL Pilots were on strike and dozens of flights, including the 5 daily flights from Cagayan de Oro to Manila were canceled. Anywho, fortunately, our flight remained as scheduled. We said our goodbyes and headed out for the departure hall.
As we entered the airport terminal, we had to go through pre-security. It was fast and efficient, it took less than a minute. Then we proceeded to the Philippine Airlines check-in desks which dominated nearly the entire check-in hall. Cebu Pacific and Airphil Express' check-in desks were located on the right side of the hall. There was a woman being checked in on the "Fiesta Class" or economy class line. So we lined up but as we did, a friendly PAL agent called us to the "Mabuhay Class" or Business Class line. He asked my mom for our e-tickets and my mom handed it to him
"Good afternoon po ma'am, e-ticket po nila?"
"Meron po ba kayong I-che-check-in na bags?"
He asked us if we had check-in baggage.
We had three check-in baggage and unfortunately one was overweight by a kilo.
"Overweight po ang isa nang isang kilo."
"Ah okay, magkano ba ang excess baggage fee?"
"Okay lang po ma'am, one kilo lang."
My mom asked how much was the excess baggage fee and to our surprise the PAL agent told us that it was only overweight by a kilo so we didn't have to pay additional fees.
He handed us our boarding passes and wished us a pleasant flight. He was very friendly and cheery so that was a good start on our PAL Experience.
After checking-in, we paid our terminal fees (yes we had to pay terminal fee, just like every commercial airport in the Philippines) We then proceeded to the final security check administered by a tired-looking and very arrogant airport agent. After a fast security check, we found some seats at the front of the departure lounge and waited for our boarding call.
Philippine Airlines and its subsidiary Airphil Express (formerly Air Philippines)
Boarding pass, I was originally assigned to 17E, middle seat but I took my mom's assigned window seat (17F)
Arriving over half an hour early
5J ATR72 to Cebu, I was on this flight weeks ago
Arriving half an hour late, I was also on this flight six weeks ago, also 30 minutes late...bad reputation for 5J, what happen to their "always on time" slogan?
The departure lounge was small, but there were a lot of seats. Food, Beverages and Bathrooms were located at the back, I grabbed something to eat and drink and read the magazine that I bought earlier. There were two 72-inch flat screen televisions at the front and a noon-time Filipino show was on, I found it rather annoying and noisy. An hour later, a lady came to the intercom and announced:
"Ladies and gentlemen, due to the late arrival of the aircraft, Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 386 to Manila will be delayed."
A huge sigh aroused on the left side of the lounge where 5J 386 was supposed to be boarded. (there were only two gates) I was actually on the inbound flight 5J 385 weeks ago and that too was delayed. So much for Cebu Pacific's "always on-time" slogan. Later, 5J 207 from Cebu, an ATR-72-500 arrived. I was also on 5J 208, the turn-around flight to Cebu weeks ago. Finally, the 5J flight from MNL arrived and minutes later our plane arrives, a PR A319-100 arriving 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
After the arrival of the 5J flight, the chaos begins. I was extremely puzzled...most of the passengers on the 5J flight to MNL were already lining up for boarding! They didn't realize that the plane had to be deboarded and cleaned before they could board. Anyways, boarding finally started on the 5J flight as the poor 5J got pushed by eager passengers. At the same time, our flight began boarding. The same agent during check-in came to the podium and announced:
"Ladies and gentlemen, Philippine Airlines flight PR 186 to Manila is now boarding."
It was a general boarding announcement for all passengers since there were no Business Class on that day. We exited the terminal and the lady in front of us mistakenly thought that her flight was the 5J one, the 5J flight was parked on the left and our flight was parked on the right. An airport agent had to chase her down and inform her that her flight is boarding to the right. Lady....look at your boarding pass, it says "PHILIPPINE AIRLINES" on it, look at the plane on the left, what does it say?! Oh well, if she boarded the wrong flight she would end up in Manila anyways lol
Origin: Cagayan de Oro - Lumbia National Airport, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines
Destination: Manila - Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City, Philippines
ETD: 14:50, August 15, 2010
ATD: 14:22, August 15, 2010 - 28 Minutes ahead of schedule
ETA: 16:20, August 15, 2010
ATA: 15:57, August 15, 2010 - 23 Minutes ahead of schedule
Our plane to MNL
We boarded to the front stairs where two friendly and professional-looking FAs greeted us, one male and one female.
"Good afternoon, welcome aboard."
I showed him my boarding pass and guided me to my seat. There were 4 FAs on today's flight, compared to 5J's three FAs on their flights. 2 of the FAs were assisting passengers with their luggage, especially the elderly. Our seats were 17D,E and F, I took the window seat as usual. The load on today's flight was around 75%, with no passenger in J class which was good because there'll be more FAs serving us in economy. Boarding finished way ahead of time, we pushed back nearly 30 minutes ahead of schedule and the 5J A320 also pushed back and took off ahead of us. It was a race to Manila! The head male FA welcomed us onboard and safety demo commenced (manual).
Remaining passengers boarding the A/C
View across the aisle
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR 186 service to Manila. In behalf of captain (blah) and first officer (blah) and the entire cabin crew on today's flight, we are pleased to welcome you aboard this Airbus A319 series 100 aircraft..."
5J 386 to MNL with over a half hour delay and we departed a half hour earlier than scheduled so it was a race to MNL!
Mt. Agad-Agad, located in Iligan City. My family climbed and reached the peak of Mt. Agad Agad three times when I was younger.
Ready for departure, the 5J flight pushed back first then we followed
See you in Manila!
one of the 4 FAs on today's flight, 2 males and 2 females.
Taxiing ahead of us while we push back
PAL's rival 5J taxiing in front of us
Ready for take off
After a quick taxi, we rocketed off CGY's sole runway and began our 1hr 30 minute trek to Manila.
TAKE OFF VIDEO:
During the climb
Drop down LCDS....dropping down lol
Moving map (sorry about the quality)
10 points if u can guess this show
After take-off, the drop down LCDs dropped down..lol and service commenced. PAL, unlike 5J, serves complimentary refreshments on all of its domestic flights. They used to serve huge snack boxes with varieties of chips, cookies, candy, juice and etc. Today, it seems that they are only serving a bag of peanut, cookies and a choice of tea, coffee or water, anyways, Can't complain, it's free. I chose the water since I'm not a coffee and tea drinker.
Legroom was excellent and the seat was very comfortable (recaro seats, same as KLM's 737 seats)
FAs starting to handout snacks
Island province of Bohol, a tourist destination. It's here where you can find the Chocolate Hills
Cebu, a popular tourist destination and the second largest metro in the nation
two of the FAs on this flight with the head male FA serving the front section
This FA wasn't particularly friendly, I guess she was in a bad mood? I've had multiple flights with PR and it seems that their service lacks consistency among staff. Some FAs are very friendly and always smiling while others are just unfriendly but not rude...their like robots being forced to do their jobs. Oh well.
The peanuts were Happy peanuts (its a popular brand in the Philippines) we ended up buying 5 packs of those and brought it home lol. The cookies were surprisingly good, it was coffee flavored btw
H20, agua, pure clean water...well it tasted bland yet it was refreshing! just the way I like it! Luckily I bought some Sprite onboard
PAL Branding, sorry about the quality
Cabin. The cabin was spotlessly clean and it was very inviting. The bulkheads had some nice art design in it which gave the cabin a tropical feel unlike 5J's sterile cabin with grey leather seats and white bulkhead.
As the head FA passed by our row, I asked him if I could have more cookies and peanuts, he smiled and he said yes And no I wasn't hungry lol. I brought some Sprite and Chips Ahoy onboard.
Fiesta Class aka Economy Class, Business Class is called "Mabuhay Class"
Romblon, I believe
View across the aisle
Mecca. They also had this on my EY flight back in 2007
bye bye tvs
Starting our descent
We touched down at MNL at exactly 3:57 PM, 23 minutes ahead of schedule.
"Mga ginoong at ginang, kalalapag po lang po laman natin sa pandaigdigang paliparan nang Ninoy Aquino..."
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have just landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippine Airlines welcomes you to Manila..."
QR 77L arriving from Doha
Thanks for the ride! PR A320
Arrivals. We got our baggage in no time and we waited for our friend's flight to arrive from CEB, she had the same hotel as us.
After a veryyyy longggg stay in Manila, it was time for our flight back to JFK. We left the hotel at 8AM arriving at the airport at around 8:20-ish for our 12:50 flight to ICN.
PAL is still the best airline in the Philippines. Although their reputation is so and so, they still deliver a good service and a decent product. Although they are ages and ages behind other Asian carriers, I hope they will grow to a global airline offering 5-star product and service throughout its fleet. PAL is leaps and bounds ahead of Cebu Pacific (5J) in terms of everything...product, service, on-time performance and etc. Although most Filipinos opt for Cebu Pacific since they offer cheaper fares, if you want to travel in comfort, choose PAL, you won't be disappointed.
Booking: 8.0 - booked through an agent and they were very friendly and helpful. We had A LOT of troubles with PAL's website not accepting our credit card and etc. Horrible website.
Check-In: 10.0 - fast and efficient with friendly, helpful and happy staff
Service: 8.0 - Head FA was friendly while the female FA was just plain unhappy
Seats: 9.8 - Very comfy
Boarding: 10.0 - organized and fast
IFE: 8.0 - Not bad, not excellent either. Good for short flights + moving map was a good touch
Food: 8.0 - It's free. So can't complain with that, although a hot meal would be excellent
aflyingkiwi From New Zealand, joined Nov 2010, 515 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 22402 times:
A really good report with superb pictures on PR who seem to offer a consistent but not excellent product for flights around Asia & they still provide free snacks and a drink for these short flights which is good.
Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter): Philippine Airlines was the first airline in Asia. It was founded on February 26, 1941, nearly 70 years ago from today. It had its first flight on March 15, 1941 from Manila to Baguio utilizing a Beechcraft Model 18 aircraft. Today, PAL has 39 aircraft in fleet and flies to 46 destinations in three continents: Asia, North America and Australia. Although PAL is ages behind from its main competitors such as SQ, CX, OZ and MH in terms of size, service and product, PAL still delivers a decent product and warm service throughout its network.
I always like it when people post about the history of the airline.
Quoting JetBlue777 (Thread starter): As the head FA passed by our row, I asked him if I could have more cookies and peanuts, he smiled and he said yes And no I wasn't hungry lol. I brought some Sprite and Chips Ahoy onboard.
Yes they offer a very good domestic product, they're starting to retrofit their aging A343s (I think the 747s are already completed) so their international product is becoming better. Thanks for reading
A unique glimpse into one of my favorite places on earth!!! Although it's gotten better, I couldn't help but notice the smog around Manila from our pictures. Glad it's getting better though.
Hopefully, we'll see the new UA offering service to Manila soon from either LAX or SFO.
Ingatz po lagi!
Haha, great Tagalog! And I actually had to google some translations because I dont speak fluent Tagalog which gave me a hard time communicating their, luckily, most Filipinos are very fluent in English
And I really hope UA would start SFO and LAX service, or even other US Cities. BTW I'm not a big fan of Manila, it's too crowded and busy...and sorta..dirty. I like the provinces and the beaches more