Philippine Airlines came out with two versions of their Airbus A321-271NEO, basically the LR which stands for Longer Range, and the SR which stands for Shorter Range. Some have asked us what is the difference between both aside from range. Well honestly, they are still both A321NEOs, powered by PW1100G-JM engines. What Philippine Airlines did was to configure both for long flights and regional or short hop ones.
Though in the books of Airbus, there is really such a thing as the A321NEO LR but the SR as coined by PAL is an A321NEO ACF. It was just given the SR for it to be easily identified by the airline.
So why did PAL come out with 2 versions of the same aircraft? Why not have one type like the LR do both long flights and regionals?
Well there are a variety of reasons.
First, the LRs are specifically configured to fly longer routes, hence, they are equipped with full-flat business class seats which does take space. Second, having more seats will mean more weight, hence, it may result to range restrictions. Less weight, less restrictions, and lower fuel burn. Don't forget also that Filipinos love bringing a lot of cargo like balikbayan boxes. Third, range will not be an issue for regional and short hop flights, hence, the SR is equipped with more seats. Compared to the LR which can carry 168 passengers in a 2-class configuration, the SR can carry 195 also in a 2-class configuration.
So how would you know that you are flying an A321NEO LR or A321NEO SR? For the curious people, we start from the exterior. Please do see photos below (Raw photos from XFW-Spotter):
The SR's cockpit windshield has those "Raccoon eyes"similar to the Airbus A350 and A330NEO whereas the LR doesn't have any. What is the use of those "Raccoon eyes"? It is an anti-glare paint feature.
The SR has no 2nd door on the fuselage, instead, has two overwing emergency exits. The LR has a second door and a single overwing emergency exit. The SR's door configuration is part of what Airbus calls ACF or Airbus Cabin Flex where more seats can be placed in this set-up.
Now let us go to the interior. Well there are not much difference except the SR fits 195 passengers and the LR fits 168. The biggest difference though are the business class seats.
The SR's business class seats do not incline to a full-flat, but they do incline comfortable enough for short hop trips. They are also not as enclosed and the IFE screens are not as wide as the LR's.
All else are basically the same, especially service wise where all passengers are rendered the same 'buong pusong alaga' or whole-hearted care regardless if you fly the SR or LR.
PAL is due to receive 14 more SRs. The now have 1 SR and have 6 LRs.