My stay in Davao was short lived and so I quickly had to get back to Manila to go on with my other business. Because of my previous experience I decided to lower my standards a bit just so I had something to look forward to for the next few hours.
This is the second leg of my two-part trip to Manila, to Davao, and back to Manila. If you missed out on the first one, you can check that one out by clicking here!
PROS: Good food and nice in-flight staff
CONS: Bad seats, unorganized boarding
As usual, since I’m both a member of PAL’s mabuhay miles program and flying in Business Class, I get to line up in their prestige line. This is something that’s really useful for this flight because when I got to the airport, the regular line for PAL was jam packed.
It went well away from the dedicated area for the line.
Here’s a better view from the second floor.
The shorter lines for Business Class passengers afforded us a few extra minutes to enjoy in the mabuhay lounge located within the Davao International Airport
There were a number of different lounges located in the airport. We had access to PAL’s mabuhay lounge there. It was exciting since it was another iteration of the lounge operated by the country’s flagship airline.
Before we got to enter, however, there was another security checkpoint.
The front of the mabuhay lounge here wasn’t all that exciting. It was just a small sign on the wall along with some indicators that led us to it.
Once inside, however, it was a pleasant surprise. From the cafeteria-esque design of the domestic lounge in terminal 2, this one resembles a more office like setting. Again, it’s still not as good as the ones you’ll see in international airports. This time however, I’m sure that I’ve been in some worse lounges than this one.
Technically, they had a relatively nice view of the apron, however, it was blocked by a relatively see through curtain. It helped with blocking out the heat of the sun, but that’s through sacrificing a perfectly good view of the tarmac.
The lounge had a small buffet table in the middle of it all. Again, PAL’s famous arroz caldo is there along with some bread, pastries, and fruits.
When it was boarding time, it was probably one of the most chaotic sights that I had ever seen in my life. I barely got to see the staff and how they handled the situation. But all I know is that no lines were followed, and it looked as if all the passengers of the aircraft were just standing there getting ready to race for their seats.
It all settled down by the end, but that start to the boarding process was a very unorganized and unique experience.
Cabin Seats and Amenities
Keep in mind that this airplane is one of the older ones. It still has outdated seats for all classes and that means it has some noticeable dips to its quality.
Over the years, business class seats on this old A330 has garnered a lot of negative feedback and most of it is because of its extremely narrow seat width of 20.6 inches. There’s also the fact that it doesn’t have any IFEs provided to it.
It also has a seat pitch of 60 inches so when it comes to legroom, the seat has you covered. Usually you’d think thus much legroom would help when you lay the seat flat. But for this seat, it barely does. Because of a very small foot cubby, some people might feel uncomfortable with how it’s laid out. It’s also worth pointing out that the seats have different configurations when they’re fully reclined. One of them goes up while the other goes down.
Moving forward, the seat has some clear seat controls for reclining and laying flat. Right blow it are a USB port and universal outlet for gadgets that you need to charge throughout the flight.
The seat also has a hook for if you have any clothes to hang.
It’s great that all of PALs A330s’ are have now been refurbished with the new business class cabin similar to the ones found in the A350s.
The old A330 is known for its incredibly sub-par premium product, and with what I’ve experienced, I have to agree.
The aircraft itself, however, looked to be well maintained even through what it’s made out to be. So, in my opinion, if you ever fly on this aircraft, you can settle with an economy seat just because the premium seats aren’t that far off when it comes to quality and comfort.
Nothing special happened during the flight. The flight attendants were nice and attentive, they responded well with my requests, and overall, they did well in taking care of us passengers.
What really caught my attention was the food. The sides were almost literally the same as what I had in my flight to Davao. But the Prawn cakes were a breath of fresh air, along with the noodles that it was paired with.
I can say that the best part of my flight home from Davao is my visit to the Mabuhay lounge in the airport. It was way better than I expected and to be honest, it had a better feel than what was found in NAIA terminal 2.
The seat wasn’t good, and so was the chaotic ground experience, but luckily the staff were very kind all throughout the flight.