This review of the Philippine Airlines Business Class features my flight from Manila to London, which was operated by an Airbus A340. While the product is most definitely outdated, the flight wasn’t too bad overall.
The Philippine Airlines long haul Business Class isn’t exactly the product you might be flying on a weekly basis. Philippine Airlines doesn’t offer too many long haul routes and also isn’t known for offering a top-notch product.
So if you are not flying to Manila, you might not find yourself in the Philippine Airlines Business Class.
Yet, with great fares from London to many destinations in Asia, I figured that a review of the Philippine Airlines long haul Business Class would be quite interesting.
Philippine Airlines operates the flights from Manila to London with a former Iberia Airbus A340. While you’d expect that the plane might have gotten new seats after being transfered, it’s actually still the same plane Iberia operated a couple years ago.
For Business Class this means that there are two cabins, one large and one small one with just two rows. All seats are in a 2-2-2 configuration. While the cabin looks very spacious and the seats got plenty of legroom, the Philippine Airlines Business Class seats are no lie-flat seats.
Yet, the seats are quite comfortable in seating position and also allow a lot of different positions for lounging. Due to the enormous space between the seats, you can also enjoy plenty of legroom.
However, it’s worth noting that the Philippine Airlines Business Class in the Airbus A340 is past its prime. My first seat was totally broken, while the second one was working, but had several issues as well. The paddings or basically not anything was changed since the plane was taken over from Iberia, which means that the cabin is not in a very good shape anymore.
Choosing the Philippine Airlines for a westbound flight from Manila to London isn’t a bad choice though. Even though the flight is extremly long (blocked at 14 hours), it’s actually a day time flight departing in Manila at noon and landing in London in the evening. Even though I was planning to basically work or watch movies the whole flight, I ended up napping once or twice.
Like that, I was able to give the sleeping quality of the seats a try. As I’ve already mentioned, the seats are not lie-flat, which means that sleeping isn’t very comfortable. Nevertheless, you are slipping downwards on these seats (which is the main problem with most angled seats). Plus, the seats are fairly spacious in width and length, making it easy to stretch out.
The pillow offered by Philippine Airlines in Business Class is fairly decent, while the blanket is a little too thin for my taste. While it was a good blanket for me (I hate being warm), I saw other passengers not being very happy about the blanket. To my surprise, I actually doze of for a couple of hours overall and had some decent sleep.
With the outdated hard product, Philippine Airlines might be top-notch when it comes to catering. At least, that’s what I sort-of expected after a great regional Business Class flight (review to follow).
Sadly, it didn’t seem to be my day as things got messed up after I changed my seat. I literally had to ask for my food twice before I was served.
For the lunch service, I opted for the Cold Platter, which I thought was okay, but nothing special.
As a main, I had the Batangas Beef Caldretta, which was very good.
I finished off the meal with some ice cream, which … was the worst I’ve ever eaten. I’m not sure when I turned down ice cream the last time, but this one was borderline unedible.
The menu as such is very nice with several options including four mains for all services. During the flight, I ordered two snacks. The Hot Sandwich Platter was okay, while the PAL signature dish Arroz Caldo was phenomenal.
The breakfast service wasn’t bad either with a fruit plate, a cinnamon roll and the Baked Spanish Eggs. Yet, I found the timing for a breakfast service rather weird as it was after midnight Philippine times and evening in London.
While I didn’t have any alcohol on this flight, the selection looked fairly decent with Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve champagne, three whites and three reds on offer.
The crew proactively offered drinks prior and after departure as well as during the dinner and breakfast service. In between, just once a flight attendant went through the cabin with a tray of drinks.
Another truly weak aspect of the experience in the Philippine Airlines Business Class is the entertainment. First of all, it’s worth mentioning that there are no monitors in the back of the seats in front of you in any class.
Second, in Business Class there is a screen to fold out, which is very old, offers a very bad picture quality and is not exactly easy to use. Third, the entertainment offerings are not great either with just a little more than a dozen international movies on offer.
There are also some shows, music and magazines on offer, but that’s it basically. After watching two movies, I didn’t find anything interesting anymore. It’s worth noting that there is one good feature of the entertainment in the Philippine Airlines Business Class in the Airbus A340.
Through a Wi-Fi service (no internet though), you can use all entertainment options on your own device (in all classes). Other than that, there were no newspapers offered.
The Philippine Airlines long haul Business Class doesn’t come with too many additional amenities. The Airbus A340 just doesn’t allow for anything special. Thus, the washrooms are basic and old.
The headphones offered for entertainment purposes are cheap and aren’t noise-cancelling. The amenity kit is among the nicer ones out there though. It comes in a very nice blue L’Occitane bag and consists of a toothbrush, a comb, socks, eyeshades and three different L’Occitane branded toiletries. Definitely not bad for Business Class.
Speaking about the service, I was a little disappointed. While the pre-departure service was just fine, things got messed up after I changed my seat in flight. The service in the front cabin just wasn’t very good and also rather overstrained with the pretty full cabin. After lunch service, things got under control again and the flight attentandants did a good job. I’d say the service might be quite good on flights less full, but on this particular flight just wasn’t on spot. While friendly, the flight attendants just lacked warmth.
When booking my flight in the Philippine Airlines Business Class, I expcted the hard product to be really bad and the service to be top-notch. In the end, it turned out that everything was rather mediocore. The seats are really old and definitely need to be changed soon. Yet, they are surprisingly comfortable and even make it possible to sleep properly.
The most disappointing aspect of the hard product is without any doubt the entertainment, which is just bad in all regards. Most of food in the Philippine Airlines Business Class was great, while the service was rather average, especially at lunch. Overall, I’d say that flying in the Philippine Airlines long haul Business Class is absolutely fine if the flights are a couple of hundreds cheaper than on carriers with a superior hard product.