As the last part of the four-leg trip, I went for a touch of home and flew Philippine Airlines Business class. It’s not the best choice there is, but it’s a familiar one. We’ve covered a lot of PAL Business class flights and that’s no mistake. With a broad fleet, they have different kinds of business class products!
I have mixed feelings on the diversity of the Philippine Airlines Fleet. Sometimes, I’ll get the Thompson Vantage XL seats which was the best that PAL had to offer. While there are also times where I’ll be stuck with the older products.
In this case, I got the second-best seat in my opinion.
PROS: Comfortable seats with generous legroom. Decent food.
CONS: 2-3-2 seat layout. Below average lounge.
I checked-in at SFO. Nothing notable happened. It was quick and smooth. I immediately headed for the Mabuhay Lounge. For this trip, I headed to the Air France Lounge at first, but it was just too crowded for me to feel comfortable, so I headed to the Mabuhay Lounge instead.
The Mabuhay Lounge at San Francisco International Airport is by far the worst among the Philippine Airline lounges, that’s including some of its domestic counterparts. I made a separate review of the place and detailed what PAL can do to improve on their lounges. Check that out here!
I arrived at the boarding area with around 15 minutes to spare. Luckily, the ground staff was very courteous and quick with their processes. As soon as I arrived, I was already boarding the plane along with the other passengers.
Seat Cabin and Amenities
There were 28 flat-angled seats in the business class cabin. There were storage bins in the middle, however, they didn’t make me feel like the cabin was stuffy. At first glance, the whole cabin wasn’t appealing. The play between the PAL’s signature blue shade and the neutral colors of the seatbacks just added a little bit of finesse.
My friend and I took 1G and 1H, the frontmost seats were a lot more comfortable. One notable thing was that this business class cabin didn’t have any unfair advantages, even if you’re seated in front.
Waiting for me was a slightly fluffy pillow and alight blanket. As mentioned, these seats can only get to a certain angle. It becomes a bed, not necessarily a ‘flat’ bed, though.
For most people, this can be a burden, however, I wasn’t affected.
Business-class seats had a 15.4-inch IFE screen that was a good distance away from the seat itself. It had a good selection of movies and tv shows.
By the seat console, the handheld IFE remote can be found.
You’re given the option to watch through the IFE screen, or on your mini screen on the remote.
Right in front of the seats are individual storage bins which were relatively large, A carry-on bag would fit in it quite easily. There was also the menu and pamphlets right beside it.
The storage bin doubles as a footrest, too. Unfortunately, they can’t be sat on, so passengers can’t eat face-to-face unlike other Business and First class products.
What Philippine Airlines provides is usually a coin flip. There are some flights wherein the service is excellent and world-class, including the meals provided, on the other hand, there are those flights where inexperience of the crew really shows—leading to subpar experiences.
This particular flight was on the good side of the coin.
The service was immaculate. I could see and feel the experience of the flight attendant, though he could have done so with a bigger smile on his face.
The meal, although sloppily plated, was still decent. My plate was pretty much overflowing with food, which was a good thing since all of them tasted good.
The Philippine Airlines’ Business Class Product is, as I’ve said, a coinflip—particularly in International routes. This time, I got one of the better planes.
However, my trip started out poorly, one part because of my choice of lounges, and another, because of how disappointing the Mabuhay Lounge in SFO was. For a 4-star airline, their lounges are but a sorry contrast to their steadily improving flight experience.
The seats were very comfortable, even for an angled flatbed. The crew was also well experienced and very courteous. They knew what to do and how to do it right.
That being said, flying Business class would lead one to believe that their food would at least be presented nicely, no matter how delicious it may be. In this case, Philippine Airlines presented a nice dinner in a bad way. But hey, it was tasty, my stomach was full, so I have minimal complaints.
Philippine Airlines’ Business class can be likened to a bag of mixed nuts. You don’t always get the best, but when you get it, It feels very good.