Philippine Airlines B747-400 (config 2) Business

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  • Anonymous


    Knowing that Philippine Airlines is permanently assigned to the area where gate 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Hong Kong International Airport, I didn’t bother to check my boarding pass and headed towards that direction. As there was some time before boarding to visit the CNAC Lounge, which PAL contracts for its premium customers, I decided to use it, wanting to check the newspapers for developments on the horrific tsunami that devastated Japan’s Miyagi prefecture the day before.

    That lounge and the Dragonair facility opposite, occupy a vantage location as passengers departing from gates 16, 17, 18 and 19 can easily see the progress of boarding from where they’re having their snacks and drinks. Boarding announcements in the CAAC lounge however are still made.

    This B747-400 of PAL to Manila, departing mid-morning, had the recently retrofitted seats in the Mabuhay executive class, my window seat 7K was located on the lower deck on the right side of the cabin and with the washroom just behind me. The front area had more passengers than the back where I was. The seat to my left was unoccupied.

    The new Mabuhay seats are not the full flat kind but rather, the flat-inclined. There were two control panels on the left arm rest, one that is obvious at first glance, and another that is concealed, which a chatty flight attendant revealed to me as if doing me the greatest favour. Anyway, after some experimenting on my part of pressing this and that button, I finally got into a comfortable nap position. What a pity that the flight lasted only an hour and forty minutes. I really did need some deep shut eye.

    As I hadn’t ridden PAL’s business class in some time, my attention was drawn to the dishes prepared by the Pinoy Chef Brigade with the blessing of the PAL executive chef. Filipino barbecued chicken, a popular staple of daily meals in the islands, is one of my favourite picks when I dine around in Manila (the secret is in the marinade), and I was delighted to see that it was on the menu. But before digging into that, there was a Thai beef salad to start with, which prickled my tongue but wasn’t unpleasant.

    By the time I was done, I thought to try to get some sleep instead of fiddling with the IFE. I only barely managed to do that before I heard the pilot saying that we would be making our descent in 15 minutes. The landing was pure PAL – light and hardly noticeable. PAL pilots are masters in the art of graceful landings. I don’t know how they do it 99 percent of the time.

    I was relieved that we were led to use the passageway to immigration, which had both the staircase and escalator (another area leading to immigration in another wing of the arrival hall does not feature the escalator). This made life so much easier for some of us with more than just a trolley suitcase.

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Business Traveller Decenber 2023 / January 2024 cover
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