Philippine Airlines operate 4 daily flights from Singapore to Manila, with the following schedules:
Flight Departure (SIN) Arrival (MNL)
PR502 10:30 14:15
PR508 14:30 18:10
PR512 19:45 23:40
PR510 00:30 04:10
I chose flight PR502 for its comfortable departure timing with a good early afternoon arrival timing in Manila.
About one week before the flight, I received an email "Get Upgraded on your Philippine Airlines flight!" which provided me the option of bidding for an upgrade to Business Class, at least 36 hours before departure. Four currency options were provided (USD/GBP/PHP/CAD) and the bid range (min-max) was USD250 to USD520.
It was attractive for sure, but I don't quite see the point of escalating my air ticket expense for a more roomy seat - so I gave this opportunity a miss.
Operator: Philippine Airlines
Route: Singapore to Manila
Operating aircraft: A321-231
Departure from Singapore: 10.30am / 10.56am*
Arrival in Manila: 2.20pm / 2.17pm*
Flight time: 3h 50 / 3h 6
(*denotes actual timings)
On the day of travel, I arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 1. Check-in was smooth, just a quick check on whether I had power banks inside my checked-in bag and I received my boarding pass.
I arrived at the gate and it was pretty clear this was going to be a full flight. The aircraft, an Airbus A321-231 (Registration: RP-C9901) arrived just after security screening commenced (yes, at Changi Airport Terminals 1,2,3, passengers are screened at the boarding gate).
Economy Class boarding were executed by row numbers, with Rows 69 to 74, then 64-74 and so on.
I proceeded when my row was called, and was warmly welcomed onboard by a cheerful flight attendant at the door.
The Economy Class cabin wasn't most impressive though - it featured leather seats in a smurf-blue colour. I don't quite like this leather seat design as it reminds me of budget airlines like Flyscoot or Jetstar. Take away those sky-blue pillows and I'd be forgiven for tagging #lowcosttravel for my #inflight #travelselfie! Perhaps I should have taken that Upgrade bid!
Seat pocket contents:
Note Philippine Airlines operates the A321neo and A321ceo, with the A321neo offering personal screens on every seat. Unfortunately, I had the pleasure of flying the A321ceo.
The A321ceo seat and cabin features:
However, the flight attendant serving my row - a really cheerful lady who was all-smiles throughout the flight, was the perfect full-service antidote to the low-cost seat. She offered blankets to passengers after the safety demonstration, and after take off, offered newspapers, with a bright smile.
After the distribution of immigration/customs forms, hot meal service commenced.
There were a choice of Chicken with Potato Wedges or Braised Pork with Rice. I decided to have the Braised Pork as it sounded more like a Filipino dish (I have this stubborn tendency to go for the local cuisine of the flag carrier I fly with).
I didn't regret my choice!
The pork was melt-in-the-mouth, with generous gravy for soaking up each spoonful of white rice, for that savoury munch. The dish was beautifully paired with my drink choice of Wolf Blass Eaglehawk Chardonnay white wine.
I am not at all a fan of the mayo-drenched potato salad, though I could appreciate the crisp freshness of the cherry tomato.
After everyone received their meals, Seasalt Caramel ice cream was offered and this was the BOMB! Oops, not the most appropriate term in the aviation context but it was truly awesome!
When the meal trays are collected, more drinks are offered. When I requested a top up of my white wine, the nice lady flight attendant offered me a packet of nuts to munch with. How thoughtful of her!
After the meal service, I noticed the lavatory queue was long and endless! This hampered the duty-free sales and the cabin crew couldn't pass their sales cart through, so they merely called out to those obstructed by the lavatory queue if they wanted to make any duty-free purchases. Thankfully, for the cabin crew, none did. The disadvantage of flying on a narrowbody aircraft #firstworldproblems
The lavatory was stocked with cologne, lotion and hand wash.
I tried out the MyPAL ePlayer app (which I had to download in advance in order to use during the flight), and it had a good variety of movies (about a 100 in total). The live flight tracking map was surprisingly also available, which was really fantastic! The app was also very easy to use and navigate too.
Just before landing preparation, the cabin crew passed through the cabin to serve drinking water.
It was then a very scenic landing into metropolitan Manila.
Post-flight thoughts: The excellent warm hospitality onboard made up for the gaudy-blue low-cost-ish cabin interior. I enjoyed the main course and ice cream, but would give the boring potato salad a miss. MyPAL ePlayer was great however, I found myself trying to avoid fiddling with my phone as I always am doing on the ground and spent much of the time watching the endless blue sky from my window. Oh, if flying on a narrowbody, a tip is to use the lavatory at the airport before boarding OR at the eleventh hour, before the meal service commences. Otherwise, patience will be a handy virtue!
Why not have a look at the full video experience of my PR502 flight review here: