[Click above for the video review.]
Airline: Philippine Airlines
Flight Number: PR527
Route: MNL-KUL; Manila (Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2) to Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport KLIA)
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Airbus A321 neo
Delivered: May 2018
Flight Duration: 3 hours 40 minutes
Distance: 2493 Miles
So how good is Philippine Airlines’ new Airbus A321 neo Business Class?
Today we have a review of Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) new Airbus A321 neo business class. This flight was originally being operated by an Airbus A320, so we were pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a last-minute aircraft swap to the Airbus A321neo. Business Class on this aircraft is laid out in a 2-2 configuration. PAL opted for the B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, which are lie flat and are similar to most US carriers’ transcontinental business class product. So how comfortable are they? Well, they are plenty comfortable, especially for a sub-4-hour flight on a narrow body aircraft. Service from the crew was very warm and consistent with my other PAL flights. Catering out of Manila was also excellent. There were a few choices for the main entree, a Filipino, Malaysian, and a Western dish. Overall, I was very impressed with both the hard and soft products on this flight. A solid 8 out of 10.
What I liked:
The warm PAL service- Probably the best thing I love about PAL is their service. The crew were charming, and very warm. Pre-departure beverages were offered along with a hot towel. After takeoff, service commenced with a beverage service followed by a 3-course meal. The crew was very friendly and efficient. Our glasses were refilled, and empty plates were cleared immediately.
The Food – Catering out of Manila was very good. After takeoff, beverage service commenced, and I ordered a glass of champagne which was served with mixed nuts. It’s worth noting that PAL recently changed their champagne from Charles Heidsieck to Louis de Sacy, which is good but a bit too floral for me. The starter tray was then served along with some warm bread. The starter dish was cold grilled chicken inasal with kesong puti ensalada (white cheese salad), which was light and tasty. For the main, I opted for the beef rolls mechado with rice. The beef was tender, and the sauce was very flavorful. My companion opted for the Malaysian chicken satay with curry sauce and nasi goreng. I had a taste of the dish and it was also delicious! For dessert, we were offered various flavors of ice cream, or coco jelly pudding with sweet purple yam which was a nice end to the meal service.
The seat – Though not all seats have direct aisle access, I actually really like these B/E Diamond seats. The seats are very comfortable for sitting, lounging and sleeping. The adjustable armrest gives you a little more room when in lie-flat position. Noise canceling headphones, full-size pillow, and thick blanket are provided to business class passengers. It’s also worth noting that PAL keeps their cabin cool, which is conducive to sleep.
It was OK:
PAL’s Mabuhay Lounge – In my opinion, PAL’s Mabuhay Lounge serves the best the arroz caldo (chicken rice porridge). Sadly, the other food options were a bit disappointing. Their dim sum selections though in the steam table were still cold :/. Made to order beef/shrimp noodle soups were available, but the taste was a bit meh. There’s a cappuccino machine in the lounge, which is a nice touch along with a cooler of cold drinks. There is also a manned bar, but the alcohol selection is rather limited. The lounge offers plenty of seating but can get crowded during peak times. The bathrooms are tiny and are not well maintained. There is also one shower suite in the lounge, which I used. It was clean, but sadly the shower drain clogged up and the water overflowed outside the shower, so I had to use my towel to dry the floor.
The IFE System – PAL’s new IFE system on their Airbus A321neo offers plenty of media content. There are dozens of new and classic movies, TV programs, music, and other PAL feature shows. My only complaint about the IFE is the monitor is too reflective, which makes it hard to see anything on the screen with the window shades open.
What I didn’t like:
MNL (NAIA) Terminal 2 – Long lines at check-in, long lines at immigration, and limited amount of food and shopping options in the terminal building is one of the downsides of departing for NAIA T2. The terminal is way past its prime and simply cannot handle the amount of people traffic that pass through the building.