Sleeper bunks on long-haul flightsBack to Forum
In reply to A Mc accurate data but have some other obeservations as travelled F class on the LGW/MNL and LAX/MNL via HNL several times in the 80’s and 90’s ona CP/PR RTW in F for 4000aud incl taxes.
The LGW /MNL routed via FRA/Karachi and BKK. They provided free limo service to LGW from London hotels. It is true that if you booked the bed upstairs , you had to take the 41 inch pitch seat downstairs in a 2 by 2 seating but never full. If you did not want the bed, then there was a approx 70 inch full sleeper seat also in a 2 by 2. You could accumulate points in their Mabuhay program and seats readily available on their network. You did not have to pay a supplement for either seats or bed as long as iit was a F ticket and very few upgrades given but salways noticed crew and staff in spare seats. A colleague was bumped one night when mrs Marcos took over the cabin at late notice and was offered avery generous compensation. All factual but great to bring up the topic again.7 Jul 2022
Sorry but forgot to add to Alex’s comments and also Mark that as cabin was never full you could still have dinner and a nap in the larger seats instead of the smaller pitch seats and also they would reserve a bunk for you overnight. I recall the Karachi cfew working around you at the stop and from memory never had more than 3 pax sleeping upstairs. On the short BKK/MNL secor I slept ina bunk but certain they were not certified for landing etc and had to return to downstairs seats. My log book indicates 8 long haul flights in F7 Jul 2022
Thanks for the comments.
I do remember from the ads that PAL’s bunks were certified for take offs and landings. These bunks were equipped with seat belts and on those multi-stop flights to Europe passengers would find it tiresome having to get up every few hours.
Certainly that’s what PAL claimed in the ads.
I checked the wording from Mark’s post and the wording in the ad said:
“Nobody but PAL has beds certified for take-offs and landings … ”8 Jul 2022
In 1991, being a young peasant, I was flying to London for my first European trip (plus UK of course).
I was on PAL (economy class) and did the ‘milk run’ on such a B747. From memory we stopped in Karachi, Pakistan and Abu Dhabi. At one stop (Karachi) we were allowed to remain on the aircraft, which only had about 50 passengers. I asked for and was given a tour of the sleeping berths by a proud attendant, but from memory sadly did not take any photos.
These were also the days when PR (PAL) did a triangular route in Oz, flying from MNL to SYD then MEL and back to MNL or vice versa. The days were rotated so each of these similarly sized Australian cities benefited from a nonstop flight to it, and from it. During COVID-19, this triangle (always calling at SYD first) reappeared a few times as flight PR5211.
UK has only 200000 Filipino migrants so this may be the reason for PAL’s reticence. I believe that its LHR route was a poor performer financially compared with especially its USA routes. USA has about 3000000 Filipinos so that may explain why PAL flies even a nonstop to New York City from Metro Manila.
Airlines don’t want extra weight in the cabin but surely, somehow, a clever designer could copy a version of European passenger train couchettes if lightweight materials could be used. But I suppose fewer travellers per aircraft could be accommodated. The LH design went nowhere.10 Jul 2022
From PAL’s website:
January 4, 1980
The first Boeing 747-200 – dubbed as Jumbo jet – started flying across the Pacific. As PAL’s new flagship aircraft, it featured 16 full-flat bunk beds called Skybeds at the upper deck exclusive for First Class passengers.10 Jul 2022
In reply to the above comments, I am certain that they never flew to Abu Dhabi from Karachi and my log book indicates Karachi/BKK Manila. It was not out of LHR but LGW and my limo driver charged PR extra when he found out and asked me to sign an increment sheet for the extra distance/time from pickup. I had flown to LHR on KLM and limo picked me up to go LGW as he thought I was going downtown.
The trinagular route to SYD/MNL info is correct but it was a DC10-30 with basic business class seating.
Happy and safe travels everyone.10 Jul 2022
It was mentioned above that there are only 200K Filipinos in the UK as a reason why there are no flights to UK however as the Ph population is increasing every year and the airline has flown to the UK for the past over 30 years this is unlikely to be the reason.
The primary reason I believe is that they currently have no useable slots as they were leased to BA until October in order to raise funds when the airline was in chapter 11. and because of Covid were of no current use to the airline.
I believe that they will be back in the UK prior end 2022.11 Jul 2022
I believe that its LHR route was a poor performer financially compared with especially its USA routes. USA has about 3000000 Filipinos so that may explain why PAL flies even a nonstop to New York City from Metro Manila.
Airlines don’t want extra weight in the cabin but surely, somehow, a clever designer could copy a version of European passenger train couchettes if lightweight materials could be used. But I suppose fewer travellers per aircraft could be accommodated. The LH design went nowhere.
Yes the cost of operating a very long flight is high because as I have reported on an ultra long-haul flight “an aircraft must carry fuel just to burn blue.”
A previous boss of Air France summed it up when he called the A340-500 a “flying fuel tanker.”
Looks as though PAL is no longer flying JFK-MNL non-stop (although PAL does fly non-stop MNL-JFK).
Its website shows the JFK-MNL service making an en route stop in Vancouver (presumably for refuelling).11 Jul 2022
I remember flying with PR to Manila back in the early 90s and pretty sure it was LGW-FRA-AUH-BKK-MNL – pleasant enough flight with a good crew but a rather long-winded (!) journey and even after a night-stop in the Intercontinental Manila it left me pretty wiped out for the next-day onward flight to the island of Cebu.18 Jul 2022
Cannot argue re Abu Dhabi and do not doubt it but my 2 flights were via Karachi and no 5th freedoms then as noone got on or off and only 2/3 pax all the way to manila and of course agree with the long windedness of it and noticed downstairs when going to eat on BKK/MNL secxotr the senior crew and purser were all asleep in F class seats. PR pilots have a golden touch for smooth flying in my opinion and I trained at Cebu Pacific . (private licence) ue to English/Clark airspace quiet/and cheaper and they were excellent instrucutors on par with my Australian instructor of the early 80’s who is now a VN 359 captain (Ex Ansett)
ps I stayed at Manila hotel in tose days and many Aquino family politicians had functions there so security very tight.
1 user thanked author for this post.19 Jul 2022
I wonder how much money was lost on every flight ?
A considerable amount I suspect given that the Philippines or it flag carrier has never been noted for its fiscal prudence and the airline has been run (some would say often into the ground) over the years by some very interesting characters.
Looks now to be finally on the up though I wouldn’t put money on it.19 Jul 2022
As I recall from the ’80s and ’90s PAL was a discount airline on its routes linking Europe with Asia and Australia.
My only experience of PAL was in 1981 using a discounted flight FRA-LGW for which I paid just over £30 for a one-way Y ticket.
At that time IATA and the German govt were strictly enforcing ticket prices at FRA. But even through my ticket was checked by a stern govt official I was allowed through (probably because my ticket carried the full fare which was several times more than I had paid).
On arrival at LGW it was a cold day at the beginning of April.
The majority of passengers were Filipinos. They were shivering.
Cabin crew freely allowed them to carry away their blankets to keep warm !
Hundreds of blankets must have been taken away … a profitable B747 flight ?
1 user thanked author for this post.19 Jul 2022
I have used the PAL beds a couple of times this made the long often multi sector flights more bearable. Despite all the advances that have been made since the is 1980’s when this product was available, I found it much more comfortable than the current Club World seats, I am yet to experience the new “ suites” on BA, hopefully a big improvement.21 Jul 2022