Philippine Airlines (PAL) has begun charging for preferred Economy Class seats in the bulkhead and exit rows on both international and domestic routes.
The exceptions, however, are travel between Manila and Vancouver, which is pending government approval, and direct flights between Cebu and Tokyo.
On PAL’s newly acquired Boeing B777ERs, the preferred Economy Class row 31 is reserved for wheel-chair assisted customers. These will not be offered at point of booking or ticketing, but only at the airport when there are no passengers needing to be seated in this location.
Fees are US$50 for international flights, US$20 for regional flights and P200 (US$4.32) plus VAT for domestic sectors. For a journey with two sectors, each sector is charged.
PAL is not the only airline who has resorted to this revenue earning policy. In 2008, Singapore Airlines launched its Preferred Seat Selection service also priced at US$50 per sector on all SIA flights, except short-haul routes within Southeast Asia, and including KrisFlyer redemption bookings.
Meanwhile, PAL is ramping up the Philippines' air links to Australia, deploying this month a brand-new B777-300ER on its direct flights from Manila to Sydney and Melbourne. The move comes at a time PAL is poised to launch new services to Queensland with twice-weekly flights between Manila and Brisbane from March 18.
The aircraft, delivered in January, is the second to join PAL's fleet. It offers 42 fully flat-bed seats in Business Class, which are fully adjustable and feature a 20-inch seat width, a 78-inch seat pitch and full-flat reclining position at 15 degrees.
There are 328 seats in Economy Class.
Premium passengers will enjoy the Panasonic inflight entertainment system, featuring up to 19 full-length movies, six short films, 50 CD selections, 12 audio programme channels and eight games. They can also plug in USB devices to listen to MP3 players, view pictures and read PDF files.
PAL will fly five times a week between Manila and Sydney and three times a week between Manila and Melbourne, which is also currently served by a twice-weekly flights on an Airbus 330.
For details, go to www.philippineair.com and www.singaporeair.com
Margie T Logarta and Gigi Onag