There are a ton of reasons why people would go to different places within the Philippines—however sometimes they go for the more inexpensive route and go for ferry rides between islands.
That being said, for my trip to Davao, I wanted to try out PAL’s domestic product as it’s been a fairly long time since my last flight within the country. As short of a ride it was, I can say that it’s fine. Not one that I’ll recommend and tell stories about, but just fine.
PROs: Fast check in process, good in-flight service
CONs: Worn out seats
As soon as I arrived in NAIA terminal 2, I headed straight for the check-in queue. Fortunately, it seemed like there weren’t that many passengers flying business class on that time of the day.
The staff that manned the PAL Business Class counter were efficient and well mannered.
Because of the relatively fast check-in, I got to have a lot of time for myself and so I decided to visit the domestic Mabuhay lounge.
The lounge wasn’t anything special. It’s miles below the grandeur of lounges you’ll see in international airports, but it is a decent enough space for people to stay right before their flight. In fact, it’s the only lounge that’s in the terminal.
Nevertheless, it did have its charms. Right as you enter, the reception desk is to your right. And directly next to it is a long seating area much like how cafeteria seats by the walls were. The further in you go, the more seats you’ll find.
When I got here, there weren’t too many people waiting, and so it did give the illusion of being a fairly large lounge.
But then again, some areas had barely any space between seats—and you’ll really feel how cramped it is when you realize there was just a handful of other passengers waiting with you.
Of course, they had a self-service buffet table quite a way inside. The lounge had an assortment of pastries, some fruits and bread, and of course, the famous arroz caldo of PAL. It had all the characteristics of the bigger Mabuhay Lounge for international passengers– only this one is more secluded and packed in a tighter area.
The whole boarding process went smoothly. The picture below may not show it, but it was well organized, and people lined up properly. This point is important because of what happened during my trip back from Davao, which you’ll see my review of here.
Cabin Seats and Amenities
PAL’s Airbus A321 has some decent Business class seats. Especially if you choose the right one from the get-go. They have a seat pitch of 37 inches and a seat width of 21 inches. They’re only recliner seats though the recline is barely of any convenience. Another important thing to note is that there weren’t any IFEs in this aircraft—though it was acceptable because of the flight’s very short route.
Since this is a domestic flight, amenities weren’t provided. They only had a thin blanket on the seat waiting for us.
On the left-hand side of my seat was what I would assume as the seat controls. There were no indicators, nor symbols that indicate which button does what. Aside from that, just by looking at the controls, I already got the feeling that it’s extremely worn out. And that was before I noticed the small chip it had!
Onto the right-hand side of my seat was a single USB charging port.
I was fortunate enough to secure seat 1A and 1C, the ones at the front. This meant I had a little bit more legroom since there were no seats at the front, and there were also minimal disturbances for the whole flight.
For the most part of my experience in this domestic flight, the flight attendants were exactly what they should be. They were kind when they interacted with us, and they were very attentive to our needs.
During the start of it all, after I settled down to my seat, they immediately offered us a few tropical juices—no alcohol. I got both the orange and four seasons juices.
When the time came for lunch service, I chose the Chicken Barbecue with Pancit Luglog. The dish tasted okay. The juices of the chicken barbeque sort of began to combine with some parts of the Pancit creating an interesting flavor—although I think the crew didn’t plan for that.
I also got both the sides, the yogurt parfait, and a small bowl of seasonal fresh fruits. Both of which were quite delicious.
Often, domestic flights won’t be as good as international flights and that is what I feel for this flight. That said, it did have its positives. On-ground operations were fast and efficient and aside from the disappointing quality of the seats and the questionable food, nothing else looked too bad for the whole trip. Check out the review of my return trip in Business class again, here.