Are You Ready to Fly Long Haul with Cebu Pacific?

With the arrival of Cebu Pacific’s second 436-seat Airbus A330, industry observers are anxiously awaiting the launch of the carrier’s first long-haul flight to Dubai. This will be the first long-haul flight for the airline that pioneered budget flying in the Philippines several years ago. 

cebu pacific dubai
Copyright Photo: Diego Roxas/PPSG
The estimated flying time to Dubai from Manila is nine hours. Many wonder if Cebu Pacific’s profitable regional and domestic low cost model can be applied on long haul routes especially when other carriers have failed trying to apply similar models. What makes Cebu Pacific’s model unique among others is the configuration of its aircraft. The airline has equipped its new wide-body aircraft with 436 seats making it the densest aircraft of its type in the world. The standard economy seats offer a very cozy 30” seat pitch for a long haul flight. Many sceptics question if passengers will be able to tolerate such tight seating for nine hours.

Image Source: Lala Rimando/Rappler
Cebu Pacific’s first A330-300 arrived in June and was immediately deployed on routes to Singapore and Seoul. The second aircraft has been deployed temporarily on routes to Hong Kong and Cebu before assuming operation of the Dubai route in October. What might be bearable for a four hour flight might be a drastically different experience after nine hours. For those that are willing to give it a shot, passengers can benefit from airfares that are as much as 35% cheaper than competing carriers. According to Alex Reyes, Vice President of Long Haul Operations, fares to Dubai are presently selling for less than $300 one-way.

However, passengers must remember that this is strictly a no-frills service meaning that for the price of a ticket, all you can expect is air transportation. In-flight entertainment, meals, and luggage will all be at an additional charge. The good news is that the in-flight meals sold will be at rates similar to the international short-haul flights. For those hoping for entertainment to pass the time, there is no on-board in-flight entertainment system. However, there is in-flight wireless internet available for a fee as long as you bring along your own laptop, tablet or smart phone. WiFi service is not charged by time but rather by data usage. That means if you plan to download photos, stream live music, videos, or play games, you may want to consider your options carefully. Streaming a 30 minute television show from the web could consume up to 100MB in one shot. Prices range from $5 for 20MB up to $20 for 100MB. At the very least, passengers will still be able to enjoy Cebu Pacific’s complimentary in-flight games and contests hosted by their cheerful flight attendants. 
Image Source: Lala Rimando/Rappler
Cebu Pacific’s seating arrangement does leave much to be desired particularly by taller passengers. But in spite of the aircraft’s single-class economy configuration, there are some options available to passengers that can help to provide a slightly more comfortable experience. The online seat selector option provides passengers with three different options for long haul flights:
  • · Regular or Standard Seats at 30-inch pitch (Optional Seat Selection is P250 extra)
  • · Standard Plus featuring a 32-inch seat pitch at the rear of the aircraft is P500 extra
  • · Premium Seats that offer the most legroom at bulk head and exit rows are P1,500 extra
The seats are configured in the majority of the aircraft in a 3-3-3 configuration while the Standard Plus seats at the rear follow a 2-3-2 configuration. In addition to the 436 seats, there are 8 onboard washrooms, 11 cabin crew, and 4 pilots. 
Image Source: Lala Rimando/Rappler
Cebu Pacific’s long haul fares are certainly challenging to resist especially when the airline runs its famous “1 Peso” promotions, but whether the deep discounts will be enough to convince the travelling public to sacrifice comfort and service remains to be seen. If the model is successful, tourists to the Philippines and local travellers will be able to enjoy a whole range of destinations that may have once been priced out of reach. Cebu Pacific has expressed interest in serving Europe, Australia, and the United States. But for now, Cebu Pacific will have to concentrate on perfecting the model and fighting off fierce competition from Gulf carriers and PAL Express. PAL Express may be the biggest threat to Cebu Pacific as they plan to launch a competing non-stop service to Dubai nearly a month after Cebu Pacific. PAL Express promises fares that are equally competitive but with meals and modest baggage allowance included depending which fare category you book. It will be an interesting battle to observe but regardless of the results, the real winner will be the consumer.


  1. I'm a tall and kinda big person and at the same time buong cabinet ko ang bitbit ko pgnag-travel ako..soo..Off limits to these aircraft.. nne hours..baka magka-cramps ako niyan..wala pang food,walang in-flights entertainment..tulog ka nlng at saka sound ng engine ang gawin mong short in my own opinion. I will not sacrifice my comfort over cheap prices..gusto ko dumating sa airport na hindi lanta ang face ko noh kasi d ako naka-pagrelax sa air..

  2. mga gong gong!bwhahaha..kong nag titipid ka why not!

  3. Been traveling with cebu pacific in domestic and international flight and i had a good experience...even booked my flight na from kuwait to manila by Christmas season just 23K, fair enough, 40Kilo baggage included, and i will enjoy my caldereta and bistek tagalog on board. No entertainment, not a problem, ill just keep on sleeping. Goodluck Cebu Pacific!


Powered by Blogger.