Cebu Pacific A330 Flight Review: Manila to Davao (Round-Trip)

As the rainy season is fast approaching, I felt that I needed to plan a weekend summer getaway with my girlfriend as soon as possible. She had never been on an airplane so I made it very special and picked Cebu Pacific’s Airbus A330 flights to Davao. 

We booked flight 5J 8975 from Manila to Davao on May 31 and flight 5J 8968 for the return trip to Manila the following day.   I had not heard a lot about these planes so I became very curious to see what it was like inside and to experience what it was like flying on them. 

At the airport, the boarding process took a lot of time because there was only one door used to enter the 436 seater plane. In Davao, they managed it very well because they were strict in boarding the passengers seated in rows located at the back first. In effect, the line created on the jet bridge was not that long.

cebu pacific a330 review
RP-C3344 at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport
Copyright Photo by Mark Anzaldo/PFN
The first plane we boarded was RP-C3343 bound for Davao that was delivered last February 19, 2014. We were also very lucky that on our return flight to Manila, we had the opportunity to fly with their latest aircraft, RP-C3344, that was just delivered on May 17, 2014. Both aircraft smelled brand new, very clean, and had good quality leather seats.

The lavatory looked very clean as well and there was water available for hand washing. The faucet was automatic. You just had to push the blue button for cold and the red for hot.

cebu pacific a330 cabin
Interior of RP-C3344
Copyright Photo: Mark Anzaldo/PFN
cebu pacific a330 cabin
Interior of Cebu Pacific A330-300
Copyright Photo: Mark Anzaldo/PFN
Both times when the aircraft took off in Manila and Davao, the sound that came from the Rolls Royce Trent engines were less noisy than other A330 aircraft that I have travelled on before. The planes were very stable even though there were clouds around. We observed the wings shaking due to air pockets, but inside, we enjoyed a very smooth ride.

cebu pacific davao flights
Big Juan in the Sky RP-C3343
Copyright Photo: Katrina Lico/PFN
When the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off, the crew began to sell snacks and we ordered our favourite cheese rolls. They cost P80 each, but the taste was delicious and enough to fill our tummies.

cebu pacific snacks
Cheese roll for snacks on our flight to Davao
Copyright Photo by Katrina Lico/PFN
The complete on-board menu can be found in Smile magazine located in the seat pocked in front of you. However, there is no guarantee that everything listed on the menu, whether food or merchandise, will be available on every flight. On our return flight to Manila, we ended up ordering chips and cup noodles for lunch because there were no sandwiches or rice meals available at the time.

cebu pacific smile magazine
Smile Magazine – June, 2014 Edition
Copyright Photo: Mark Anzaldo/PFN
Like other Cebu Pacific flights, there were also games on board. It was funny because the crew found a way to make all the passengers participate by asking us look under our seats for a sticker that’s non-existent.

Wi-Fi is available on all A330 flights, but the cabin crew told me that I would need a credit card in order to use it. Since I didn’t bother to try it, I cannot say if it is fast or slow.

On our flight back to Manila, we were seated in an exit row. Since I have travelled a lot in the past, I noticed that the emergency exit door was like the main door from where the passengers have entered, and not like the ones in the A320 aircraft. I immediately took the safety instruction card for exit rows and discussed it with my girlfriend.

cebu pacific a330 interior
Safety Instruction Cards
Copyright Photo: Mark Anzaldo/PFN
The landing in Davao and in Manila were remarkable. Each were very smooth to the point that we almost didn’t feel that the tires had already touched the runway. We just realized that we were already on the ground when the pilot activated the reverse thrusters.

cebu pacific manila to davao
Rolls Royce Trent Engine in Reverse Thrust Mode
Copyright Photo: Mark Anzaldo/PFN
We had a checked baggage on our flight back to Manila. I was a bit worried as I thought it might take a lot of time for us to wait at the airport’s baggage conveyor. But thanks to a Cebu Pacific employee stationed at the baggage counter in Davao, this was not an issue as he granted my request for a “Rush” tag on our baggage. I am not sure if this is available for all Cebu Pacific flights because I’ve only seen it done once.

cebu pacific davao to manila
“Rush” Bag Tag for Checked-in Baggage
Copyright Photo by Mark Anzaldo/PFN
Overall, flying with Cebu Pacific’s A330's are very rewarding. However, it could have been better if they had ample stock of food. Surprisingly, the experience was so good that we never felt that we had boarded airplanes belonging to a low cost carrier. I would definitely recommend these A330 flights especially while the aircraft are in brand new condition.

-Mark Uriel A. Anzaldo


  1. Just felt awkward on the inflight games on my first time flight on 5J. I find it so corny kasi.

    1. agree, even the prizes.. haha. but the good thing, it makes the flight less boring.

  2. You mean they still play those games? Dont know what to say

  3. @anonymous, yeah they still do play games. The last time I experienced that was a flight from ILO-MNL last March.

    @ian, I actually joined the first time I experienced it and luckily, I won! :)

  4. How full was each sector?

    How did you find the seats? Apparently seats have a very restrictive pitch given the number of economy seats that 5J has crammed into this aircraft.

  5. Hello, for those people who haven't flown with the Cebu Pacific's A330 yet, the legroom of the regular seats are the same with their A320s unless you are seated in the exit rows. They are much bigger due the huge emergency doors.

  6. I rode RP-C3344 yesterday 5J189
    There were 2 CEBU Pacific Air
    RP-C3277 and RP-C3344

  7. I wonder if pilots have a favorite aircraft model they enjoy flying the most. AV8 Prep learning how to fly


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