From becoming a three-star airline, they received their fourth. From placing 99 to 44 in the World's Best Airline rankings from Skytrax, they jumped to number 30! Their cabin crew was named top 11 Best Cabin Crew in the world from nothing last year. Most of all, they were recognized by Skytrax as the World's Most Improved Airline of 2019! Indeed, there is no stopping Philippine Airlines in becoming a global contender for the world's best airlines.
Since 2014, PAL has made huge improvements in its product offering to passengers, and one of them is to improve the interiors and comfort features of their aircraft. By 2022 or 2025, you will barely experience a PAL flight without any IFE or Individual Inflight Entertainment systems. Presently, even their upcoming narrowbody regional jets like the A321NEO ACF are being fitted with touchscreen IFEs in all classes. Way back, only business class would get IFEs on the narrowbody aircraft. Philippine Airlines is expecting more A321NEO ACFs, 14 more to come to be exact.
This year, PAL finally retired their quad-jet engine Airbus A340 replaced by the more fuel efficient and higher capacity Airbus A350-900. Their A350s set the par even higher with a tri-class configuration, mood lighting, free WiFi (up to a certain MB), and bigger touch screens in all classes.
Presently, PAL is working to create a consistent product among its fleet like common interiors. The only bare aircraft that will be left in PAL's fleet are its 7 A330s (non tri-class) and A321-200CEOs. We are guessing that the 18 remaining A321-200CEOs with plain interiors will be transfered to its low-cost subsidiary PAL Express should they all be replaced with the A321NEO ACFs, but then again, this is just a wild guess. As for the remaining 7 that have plain interiors too, we do hope that they do reconfigure these to tri-class but presently, they service the Middle East routes were price competition is really stiff.
Presently, Philippine Airlines operates a fleet of 10 Boeing 777-300ER, 6 Airbus A350-900, 15 Airbus A330-300, 7 Airbus A321NEO with 14 for delivery, 24 Airbus A321CEO (6 with PAL Express), and 10 Airbus A320-200. The present A320 will be replaced by the A321s.
Philippine Airlines's Boeing 777-300ERs are configured with a bi-class layout. These jets are most of the time used for long haul flights like Manila to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York (via Vancouver), Vancouver, Toronto, London, and some regional flights. They are equipped with WiFi on board, and IFE in all classes.
Premium economy class is beginning to be popular in the Asian market, hence, PAL's A350-900s are equipped with premium economy aside from the usual business class and regular economy. The cabin showcases mood lighting and individual IFEs all the way with free WiFi up to a certain mb. Economy class seats have a 31 inch pitch which are comfortable for ultra long haul flights. PAL uses the A350s for their Manila to New York flight which is the world's 8th longest non-stop flight!
Eight of Fifteen of PAL's A330-300s are configured in tri-class, business class, premium economy, and economy. They serve regional routes including Hawaii and Australia. Sometimes, these are used for Middle East routes but not so much. All are equipped with individual IFEs and business class seats are full flat ones.
Usually, narrow body or single aisle aircraft fly short hop routes but with longer range narrowbodies like the Airbus A321NEO, airlines began flying them to flights about 5 hour or more flights. Also, many legacy airlines now equip their narrowbodies with individual IFE systems on board in order for them to compete with low cost airlines who sacrifice comfort for lower fares. Philippine Airlines wants to also be ahead of the pack too, so they equipped their narrowbodies with seats similar to their widebodies.
PAL actually operates two types of A321NEOs, and these are 6 A321NEO-LR (long range) and 15 A321NEO-ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex). The latter fits more passengers (195 in 2-class config) whereas the former can fly straight from Manila to Sydney Australia. The A321NEO-ACF will be used for regional flights. They presently have one in the fleet with fourteen more to come. The ACF uses the same economy class seats as the NEO-LR. The business class seats are different though, the ACF are not full-flat seats and they will just be used for flights not more than 5 hours.
Once PAL completes its delivery of A321NEO-ACFs, more than half or their aircraft will have these beautiful interiors, hence, taking a PAL flight will truly be a great flying experience. We might even be expecting more as the airline still has 6 options for the Airbus A350 on top of its present six.
The beautiful interiors of PAL's aircraft did play a great role in being recognized by Skytrax as World's Most Improved Airline of 2019. Add the signature buong pusong alaga of their cabin crew and ground staff, the sumptuous inflight meals done by no less than Chef Fernando Aracama, the inflight amenities, and more, Philippine Airlines is indeed an airline others should to watch out for as it climbs higher to the top.
We hope PAL keeps up the pace and continues to improve itself further and further as the pride and flag carrier of the Philippines, an airline every Filipino can truly be proud of.