PAL gets 5-star Major Airline rating from APEX

United States-based Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) has given Philippine Airlines (PAL) a 5-star major airline rating for 2021.

APEX is a global non-profit and one of the world’s largest international airline associations, announced the recipients of the industry’s most anticipated honor: the APEX Official Airline Ratings™. Airlines worldwide were honored today with four-and five-star Official Airline Ratings for their commitment to elevate the passenger experience.

PAL now joins the ranks of Aer Lingus, Air Astana, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines, AVIANCA, Copa Airlines, Gulf Air, JetBlue Airways, Kuwait Airways, Middle East Airlines, Oman Air, Virgin Australia, and WestJet.

PAL is also a 4-star airline by UK-based Skytrax.

According to APEX, they are the only airline rating program based solely on independently verified passenger feedback. The industry’s most anticipated honor receives airline customer feedback and insights gathered through APEX’s partnership with TripIt from Concur, the world’s highest-rated travel-organizing app. Using a five-star scale, airline customers rate approximately one million flights across over 600 airlines worldwide. APEX then verifies, validates, and independently certifies the customer data via a professional third-party auditing company. 

PAL's first 5-star rating

According to APEX CEO Joe Leader, "this marks the first ever 5-star rating for Philippine Airlines. On all these firsts, I do have to share, this year, APEX increased the level in order to get to 5-stars. So when Philippine Airlines reached, they reached significantly upwards." Leader also attributed the 5-star rating to newer aircraft like the Airbus A350-900. He also noted that PAL has been investing in guest experience.

PAL's new cabin interiors did really elevate customer experience by introducing IFE-equipped seats in all classes on its Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A350-900, and Airbus A321neo jets. The airline's A350 and 8 of 15 Airbus A330-300 aircraft are configured in 3-classes namely Business, Premium Economy, and Economy class with full-flat business class seats, individual seatback Inflight Entertainment systems, and internet access on board. PAL's A321neos are also equipped with IFEs on all its seats throughout the cabin.

PAL has also greatly improved its inflight services in order to be at-par with other global 5-star airlines. 

How airlines receive the recognition

Only a single-digit percentage of over 600 rated airlines worldwide receive the prestigious APEX Four Star Airline award based upon customer votes that require the vast majority of all of their ratings to be four-and-five star.

Another single-digit percent of rated airlines worldwide reaches the highest threshold: APEX Five Star Airline. Only verified five-star ratings from passengers help airlines reach this highest level requiring the vast majority of their independently verified customer ratings to be five-star. For example, APEX requires four times the number of five-star votes to counteract a single one-star vote. This provides tremendous power to customers when they are disappointed by their customer experience as airlines rely upon feedback to further improve their in-flight product and airline service. The threshold required for 2021 APEX Five Star Airline status went up this year, but many airlines rose to the challenge despite COVID-19.

This year’s honorees spanned from across several continents. Nearly 30 global airlines, 14 major and a single regional airline reached APEX Five Star status as determined by their passenger ratings. 3 global airlines, 5 major airlines, and a single regional airline reached APEX Four Star status. Additionally, six low cost carriers reached their highest attainable award globally with APEX Four Star status.

“APEX designed the Official Airline Ratings to capture the voice of customers’ votes worldwide. Our 2021 recognized airlines demonstrate exemplary dedication and innovation to advancing the passenger experience even in these unprecedented COVID-19 times,” said APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader. “As an industry, our highest priority remains the global return of air travel centered upon health safety for our customers.”

Serving the Philippines, non-stop

Despite the worst crisis in history to hit the aviation industry, PAL has continued to fly international and domestic destinations, repatriating stranded Filipinos in the middle of lockdowns last April to May. In fact, PAL planes flew to countries beyond their main network such as Miami USA, Milan, Bridgetown Barbados, and Beirut. The airline now flies to 32 international and 25 domestic destinations as it attempts to restore its network. 

PAL has also implemented stringent measures to ensure the health safety of its passengers such as the mandatory wearing of facemasks and face shields throughout the flights, PPEs for cabin crew, Covid-19 testing in airports, and the regular disinfection of all its aircraft after flights. All PAL's aircraft also make use of HEPA filters which catches virus and other contaminants with a 99.9% efficiency.

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