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Philippine Airlines Business Class Review A321neo Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Manila (MNL)

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Philippine Airlines has received a number of Airbus A321s just before the pandemic, and the plan was/is to use them for their high-margin business class network to/from the Australian East Coast.

The planes have just about the range to fly Manila to most Australian cities non-stop, and they are equipped with lie-flat seats. I was positively surprised to see the A321neo as a last-minute equipment swap for my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila.

Philippine Airlines sells quite affordable fares within Asia in economy and uses a fixed cash upgrade chart with very attractive prices (for a lie-flat seat that is)!

SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY





Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – Airport & Boarding Experience

Philippine Airlines uses the Plaza Premium Lounge at Kuala Lumpur airport. At the time of my flight, the lounge was closed, and I ventured to the Sama “Sama Express – The Airport Lounge” which is accessible via Priority Pass. The lounge is part of an airport hotel, and the lobby is rather improvised as an airport lounge. However, there is hot food, and a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were available.

Kuala Lumpur airport is a sad shadow of that amazing transportation hub it was just a few years ago. Air traffic and gate usage are likely around 20% of pre-pandemic levels, and most airport outlets are closed. There are few passengers, and instead of trains, there are buses. It all works but looks more like an improved regional airport compared to the hub feeling it gave off as late as 2018.

Boarding was perfectly on time, and this flight would just be about half full in both economy and business. The flight attendants were helpful and seemed exceedingly friendly.

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Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – Takeoff & Flight Path

Despite a reputation for rough flight conditions, I find Kuala Lumpur to be often very clear and turbulence free. Kuala Lumpur also uses parallel takeoffs (both KLIA and KLIA2) have one runway assigned. We got a beautiful flight path north over the city center of Kuala Lumpur and the new construction around KL’s newest skyscraper ‘The Exchange’.

Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – The Lie-Flat Seats

Philippine Airlines is using a lie-flat business class seat that you may remember from the American Airlines A321T (Sharklets) business class in a 2-2 configuration. It allows for minimal privacy only and direct aisle access only for the passengers seated in the aisle seat. However, it goes into a fully lie-flat position – something that way too few single-aisle planes offer.

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The foot cubby area is small, and it is tough to stretch out as a tall person, but it is lie-flat, so I was not complaining!

Sadly I slept through the whole lunch service and wasn’t able to photograph the catering service.

There was an upcoming typhoon just around the Manila area, and our flight path would become quite interesting to find an area of stable air during the last one hour of the flight.

Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – Conclusion

I was quite positively surprised by this flight. I had low expectations of Philippine Airlines business class but the lie-flat product is awesome for a single-aisle, short-haul plane. I can see myself spending 7-8 hours on it, though during longer flights, the rather small width and leg space would become annoying. Philippine Airlines is one of the last ‘unaligned’ carriers in Asia, but with such a solid performance, maybe they will be able to join Skyteam or oneworld soon.

I was disappointed not to be able to see the food served, but now that’s a reason to try this again 🙂

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This post was sponsored by Mighty Travels

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