Philippine Airlines (PAL) is on a mission: to enhance its passenger experience to the level expected of high-end operators sought out by flyers seeking the best. To that end, PAL has reconfigured its A330s flying between Manila and Sydney and Melbourne, among other international destinations. Signature Luxury Travel & Style flew Manila to Sydney with PAL this month, and can confirm the airline is on track to compete with the big guns with its business-class offering.
The 18-seat business class cabin is set up in a 1-2-1 configuration in a grey-blue colour scheme with mood lighting and 18.5-inch (47-centimetre) touch screens. The Thompson Vantage XL seats have an ample width of just under 60 centimetres. When in their flat-bed position, the seats stretch out to 200 centimetres. The seat-adjustment panel is conveniently positioned on the divider between the two seats, which are far enough apart to allow for a roomy seatside storage area. As well as a flat space big enough for a laptop, gadget charging and other items, the storage area has an additional shelf to keep personal items secure, including the L’Occitane-stocked inflight bag provided. The reading lamp has three levels of brightness and slippers are provided.
Seats feature the Pneumatic Comfort System, which allows passengers to adjust the firmness to their preference. The seat cushion and back also adjust according to the passenger’s weight and pressure on the seat, such as during take-off.
“The seat is quite firm when you first sit down but after a few minutes it inflates beneath you and increases the comfort factor,” says Signature Luxury Travel & Style feature writer Joanna Tovia. “It’s a big step up from the last time I flew Philippine Airlines business class; it’s really moving in the right direction to become a five-star airline.”
Tovia suggests bringing your own noise-cancelling headphones, however, as those provided are adequate but nothing special. The wine and champagne on offer are exceptional – the champagne is Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve from Reims, France – and the menu fuses Filipino flavours with contemporary tastes.
The aircraft is equipped with Wi-Fi, and the service is warm, friendly and efficient. PAL has also upgraded its premium economy and economy cabins on these planes.