Philippine Airlines (PAL) recently received the coveted SkyTrax 4-Star Rating and part of it is due to their fleet renewal with much better equipped planes. That continues with the launch of new Airbus A350 and Airbus A321neo planes entering service in May and June 2018. The A350 will be outfitted like the renovated A330 and to my surprise, the A321 will also have fully-flat business class seats – a novelty in Asia and rare on single-aisle planes!
PAL’s new Airbus A350 will feature the same seats as the renovated A330, with 30 business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout, offering all-aisle access and fully flat seats. The Thomson Vantage XL seats are very comfortable with a width of 24in and a bed length of 78in! The partial shells offer good privacy, especially on the single aisle seats.
24 Premium Economy seats will be in a 2-4-2 layout with a seat pitch of 38in and a seat width of 19in. The seats will have leg rests, personal entertainment screens and power outlets.
Regular Economy will have a standard 3-3-3 layout but offer a seat pitch of 33in which can be considered generous these days of ever shrinking economy cabins, where low-cost carriers (and American Airlines) offer only 29in seat pitch!
The new Airbus A350 will first be deployed on the new non-stop route from Manila to New York, currently served with a stop in Vancouver. PAL is looking at a number of routes to Europe and according to inside-rumors the first European destination for the A350 will be Rome, Italy!
While I expected these seats and layout, based on PAL’s existing Airbus A330, the new Airbus A321neo single-aisle planes are a luxurious surprise!
They will feature 12 fully flat business class seats in a 2-2 layout with a bed length of 78in! It’s rare to find fully-flat seats on single-aisle planes, making this the most comfortably configured narrow-body plane in Asia! These planes are meant to serve medium-haul routes from the Philippines to Australia, starting with Manila-Brisbane and it makes sense to offer flat beds on flights of almost 8 hours to get some rest!
Philippine Airlines is really upping their game with these new planes, offering a better business class on medium-haul routes than 5-star airlines Cathay Pacific or ANA who both fly planes with recliner seats in business class on regional routes!
Let’s hope Philippine Airlines offers these flights for competitive fares – I’d love to try them out soon!
If you are planning a trip on Philippine Airlines, read my Philippine Airlines Overview to find out what to expect. And consider a stop-over in Manila – it’s well worth it – and check out my Mini-Guide Manila!
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Photos courtesy of PAL, via DesignAir