Video Report: https://youtu.be/2jMg9GJzHi4
I recently flew Philippine Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Manila, about a four hour flight.
Check in took about 5 minutes although they weren't able to print my boarding pass from Manila to Guam due to it being on a separate ticket. I figured and knew I could get it at the transit desk in Manila.
I found it interesting when I arrived in KL there were no forms to fill out and this is also true when you depart. Passport check had plenty of people working but the lines were virtually empty. I was through in maybe 5 minutes. Customs and the first security check took another 5 minutes. I boarded the train to take me to the gate my flight left from.
Similar to Singapore, there is another security check at the gate. Our plane had not yet arrived from Manila. Once it did, around the time we were supposed to board, we waited about another 30 minutes. Boarding in KL was very civilized and orderly as PAL boards by groups. It felt like a very efficient boarding and we were probably done in about 20-30 minutes. Not bad. The safety videos are really nice because they not only demonstrate the features of the plane, an Airbus A320 in this case, but also showcase different parts of the Philippines. PAL truly desires to showcase itself as the "Heart of the Filipino."
We took off on time. Service was decent. I like the food generally speaking for PAL Even in economy we get decent meals. Though if your vegetarian, you probably want to call. Our choices were beef and chicken. I opted for chicken as I had the beef on another flight. Clearing the service items took a while though. Lights dimmed and everyone closed their window shades. It was time for an afternoon nap. It was a pretty smooth flight over the South China Sea. Looking at the GCMAP, it was a straight shot northeast from Kuala Lumpur to Manila. It even looked like we would arrive on time or early.
Except as we approached we started making a loop. And it was quite a loop. It felt like a 30 minute loop around Manila before we were finally cleared to land. We arrived and had to taxi to a remote gate even though there were plenty of open gates. We had to wait for a bus to take us to customs and immigration. Luckily for me, it was also where the transit desk was. I checked in and waited in the transit lounge. I had about 6 hours before my flight to Guam. The transit lounge was quiet and had nice chairs. However, there was only water, 2 hours free wifi and a small number of restrooms and showers. I eventually boarded my flight to Guam, delayed about 30 minutes and arrived back in Guam the next morning. Not a bad experience with PAL this time.
Philippine Airlines recently was awarded four stars by Skytrax. It's certainly a great award, and certainly the on-board experience is pretty good. But I think a lot of improvement, especially at NAIA 2, it's home terminal needs to happen, from the transit lounge providing more than just water to the lack of restrooms to the delays and having to stop boarding because another flight arrived and passengers use the same hallway as those departing. And Mr Donut needs to be open longer!
Last edited by atcsundevil
on Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:20 am, edited 2 times in total.