During my trip to San Francisco, I got the chance to fly on PAL’s few 777 aircrafts. I was so excited especially because I thought I was going to experience PAL’s new business class cabins. Unfortunately, my excitement got the best of me, as I didn’t realize that the flight I got was on a 777 that was still equipped with the old cabin. For those looking for a more recent rendition of PAL’s Business Class, check out Paul’s review here.
I was disappointed to fly on this flight solely because this 777 had outdated cabins. The mabuhay lounge at SFO is bearable to decent at best.
Pros: Great legroom
Cons: Outdated hard product.
With over a hundred thousand mabuhay miles to my name, thanks to the PNB PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard, I was able to redeem this roundtrip for only 116,000 miles. that would be 58,000 miles for each business class flight.
At SFO the mabuhay lounge can be found at Terminal A (inside security).
Hallways of Terminal A leading to the mabuhay lounge.
The Mabuhay lounge at SFO is not an eye-catcher, definitely a far cry from the one found in NAIA. It’s a rather simple doorway that has a small sign that indicates what it is.
The place wasn’t anything special—but it’s a decent place for anyone that just needs a place to let time pass by.
It’s quite a small lounge, and that also meant that it was very crowded. In my opinion, it’s not a great sight when you’re one of the business class passengers. Still, there were still a few seats left to relax on when I got there.
One thing I’ll say though, was that the seats were more like mini sofas!
The Mabuhay lounge has a decent collection of food, but all of them weren’t that good. It was also the first time that I have experienced a lounge that was primarily self-serviced. You get what you want, and clean what you ate.
They also had a small bar with a few alcoholic drinks and coffee.
The restrooms felt like they were straight out of your typical office building. There weren’t any showers or quiet areas, either.
I took the liberty to try out every kind of food they had, and I also got a beer to keep myself company while waiting for my flight.
A neat little event happened wherein I left my phone in the lounge, which I only figured out after I was already on the plane. They were kind enough to bring it back to me even after boarding time was done.
This flight features the old seats in the old cabin. That just means almost everything is a downgrade to what the PAL really has to offer. The business class seats of PAL’s 777 have a seat pitch of 78 inches and a seat width of 20 inches. Although it’s a relatively tight seat, the abundance of legroom just about made up for it.
The business class cabin has a 2-3-2 seat configuration. We were provided with a medium sized pillow and a blanket right from the start.
Since my flight was on one of the 777s with and old cabin, the lay flat beds technically just reached a 165 degree recline. I didn’t see any issues with it, but for people that are with their lay flat seats, it might cause some problems. Sleeping on the seat on it’s lay-flat position wasn’t all that comfortable, but I was still able to get around 6 hours of sleep.
Each seat was outfitted with a 15.4” seat-back mounted screen. The IFE remote control can be found on the middle arm rests.
There was also a small slit for storing some of your things by the side of your screen. Oh, and have I already mentioned the legroom I had?
We were also provided with some headsets that seemed quite worn from use already, as seen with the scratches that the one I was provided with had.
The business cabin that includes only two rows, particularly rows 5 and 6 have a more private feel to them. Because of the extra-large legroom, aisle access won’t be a problem for those sitting on the window seats—that’s if they’re seatmates aren’t laying down.
Because of the abundance of legroom, I’ll personally recommend going for seats with direct aisle access. Seats labelled C, D, F, and H are good choices.
Seats labelled E are, for me, the ones you should avoid. Being surrounded by two other passengers can really leave you feeling open to some extent. Especially since there’s just a small divider in between seats.
Although the cabin was outdated, the crew were still as lively as ever. The flight attendants welcomed us with Filipino-brand hospitality and thanks to their attentiveness and warmth, they really livened up my trip.
The meal was quite the highlight, too. It started with a set of fresh, seasonal fruits that looked as good as they tasted.
For the main dish, I chose the black angus beef tapa that consisted of a pan-fried marinated angus beef slices with a spiced vinegar dip, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes, and steamed rice.
Along with a side of gourmet tuyo in olive oil.
My partner got the sarangani bangus belly in Kabayanaki sauce that’s served with leeks, shitake mushrooms, and steamed rice.
The presentation left me wanting a little bit more, but the two dishes tasted decent for a business class meal.
My experience with Philippine Airlines’ Boeing 777 was filled with mixed feelings. I’ve always wanted to try out the new cabin. Unfortunately, this flight didn’t provide the experience I was looking for because it still had the outdated cabins.
The flight was still quite enjoyable though. Now I’m looking forward to flying on one of PAL’s 777s that has a new cabin. Wait for my review on that soon!