If you will mention the name "Love Bus" to your tito and tita, three things will come to their head. The "Love Bus", a heart decked blue bus during the 1980s that would run from Quezon City to Makati to Manila, the "Love Boat", a TV series during the 1980s, and of course, Philippine Airlines's Airbus A300 during the late 70s and 80s with a "Love Bus" insignia on its livery.
Fast forward years later on, a Facebook page was formed named "Bring Back the Love Bus" where a lot of people felt nostalgic about that blue cladded, heart filled airconditioned bus plying EDSA.
Apparently, the wish of our titos and titas came true. The Love Bus made a come back, not in the form of a road going bus, but in the form of a high flying airplane, courtesy of Philippine Airlines. The "Love Bus" returned to the skies, in the form of an Airbus A350-900!
Though many of our titos and titas were expecting the "Love Bus" bus to make a come back, they still felt nostalgic with the return of Philippine Airlines's "Love Bus". Many recalled their first flights on PAL's very first Airbus aircraft, an A300B4 delivered in 1979. They highly recalled that yellow typeface "The Love Bus" with those red rosy lips right below it.
The Love Bus made a comeback this year as PAL celebrated its 40th year with Airbus. Two of the airline's Airbus A350-900 are Love Buses, basically RP-C3507 and RP-C3508. They may not have the full Love Bus livery originally found on the very first A300B4 but they are still beautiful, elegant, and of course, nostalgic. We are happy!
To those unfamiliar, the Love Bus story goes back 40 years ago. During the late 1970s, Airbus's very first commercial aircraft, the A300B4 took to the skies. In an age where quad-engine widebody aircraft were dominating the skies, the A300 was unique. It was the only twin-engine wide body medium range aircraft during that time. When Philippine Airlines was re-nationalized by the government in the late 70s, the airline needed replacements for its older aircraft and newer jets which can fly longer and can accommodate more passengers. In 1979, PAL took delivery of the A300B4 together with the Boeing 747-200. The very first A300 of PAL had "The Love Bus" emblem.
The A300 was perfect in PAL's fleet. It comes between the DC-10 tri-jet and the BAC 1-11 narrowbody t-tail jet. The A300 was very versatile for both regional and domestic flights! It was fuel efficient since it only had two engines.
The PAL Love Bus A300 took its first commercial flight from Manila to Singapore on December 4, 1979.
The historic PAL Love Bus gave birth to a very close partnership between the airline and Airbus. Today, Philippine Airlines operates a fleet of 62 Airbus aircraft.
So why did Philippine Airlines bring back the iconic Love Bus? Well one obvious reason is the 40th year relationship of PAL and Airbus. Aside from nostalgia reasons, PAL wants to further boost its "Buong Pusong Alaga" motto. As you see, whole-hearted care revolves around love. Without love, love for the passengers, love for the Filipino, love for the country, love for the flag, and love for the airline, it will be very impossible to achieve that "buong pusong alaga" in every PAL flight.
Having a Love Bus is a reminder of PAL's commitment to its passengers and to the country, to bring Filipino hospitality worldwide, and to invite others to come visit the country which all starts with the airline.
The second incarnation of The Love Bus comes in the form of the A350-900, Airbus's newest aircraft which can fly passengers halfway around the world non-stop. The aircraft is a mix of nostalgia and the present. For the exterior, PAL decided to use the familiar sunriser livery instead of the 1980s livery which had a chrome engine cowling, stripped fuselage of blue and red, plus the sunless tail. They mated the present livery with the retro "The Love Bus" emblem. Yes, a mix of past and present. At first, we were wishing that PAL would go for the full 1980s retro livery but this mix of past and present is as elegant as the past, even better in all honestly.
The interiors of the Love Bus is a mix of past and present. You would not want a full past interior as this will mean no IFEs or Inflight Entertainment Systems. The interiors are basically almost the same as the other A350 interiors of PAL except, they have a "Love Bus" on the seat headrests. Modern with a touch of nostalgia indeed.
Just like the rest of the PAL A350s, the Love Bus makes use of a tri-class configuration, business class, premium economy, and regular economy class. This aircraft flies mostly long haul flights like those to the United States and Europe from Manila. This aircraft is also equipped with mood lighting, hence, not so retro, but perfect for the retro emblems of The Love Bus on every seat.
Despite PAL only having two of its aircraft with The Love Bus emblem and theme, Filipino love is extended throughout the airline regardless of what aircraft you fly in and what destination you go. "The Love Bus" is simply a reminder of PAL's motto "Buong Pusong Alaga" and slogan "The Heart of the Filipino". Yes, heart and love goes together.
"So why a lip, and not a heart?" Well, maybe we should ask PAL historians why the very first Love Bus emblem used a lip.
Seeing The Love Bus brought back to life makes us feel more tito and tita, but nevetheless, it is also a reminder of our happy younger and carefree days during the 1980s. Flying this aircraft is indeed more than a trip to your destination, but also a trip down memory lane back to the 80s.
We may not have gotten back the Love Bus in the form of a bus, but we are more than happy to get it back in the form of a jet.
Nice one Philippine Airlines! Love is in the air indeed!