Philippine Airlines Continues 777 Service to Canada, Reverts to Airbus A340 for London

After previously planning to downgrade its Canadian routes, Philippine Airlines has decided to continue deploying its Boeing 777 fleet to Canada. According to the latest timetables, all flights to Vancouver and Toronto will continue to be operated by the Boeing 777-300ER (77W) after September 1. 

Copyright Photo: Nico Reonisto/PPSG
In September, flights PR116 and PR117 will continue flying between Manila and Vancouver on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, flights PR118 and PR119 will fly to/from Vancouver but continue onto/from Toronto.

Previously, Philippine Airlines had planned for all Canadian flights to be downgraded to the older 254-seat Airbus A340-300 aircraft in September. However, after the news was revealed, several passengers that had either booked seats or were planning to book on Philippine Airlines, threatened to cancel their existing reservations or book with other carriers due to the absence of personal in-flight entertainment on-board the older Airbus aircraft.

On the Philippine Flight Network website, a number of passengers expressed their disappointment at the decision to downgrade the service. One commenter posted, "I never can imagine how this will affect Filipinos in Toronto like me travelling on a long-haul flight of 14-15 hours without personal in-flight entertainment. Now I am thinking of cancelling our flight with Philippine Airlines and booking with cheaper and better carriers." Another individual commented, "It's not fun flying with PAL anymore! I will have our flight cancelled with this aircraft downgrade and fly with Eva or Cathay that has personal entertainment in economy seats." One passenger that was planning to book a flight stated, "Was actually planning to book a flight to Manila in September, but this definitely swayed my decision to fly Korean Air or Cathay instead."

PAL's Boeing 777 fleet features the carrier's most modern amenities that provide an experience that is competitive with other full-service carriers. The amenities include a personal in-flight entertainment system with Audio and Video on Demand capabilities for all passengers, while each Business Class passenger is provided with a lie-flat seat, gooseneck lamp, AC adapter, and USB port which doubles up as a media player and charger for mobile devices.  

Philippine Airlines has made no secret that the 777 fleet is intended for flights to the United States. But PAL was only able to deploy the fleet to the US in May 2014 after the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restored Category 1 status to the Philippines.  Although the 777 currently flies to Los Angeles on a daily basis, it only flies to San Francisco four times a week. Philippine Airlines is scheduled to fly the Boeing 747-400 for the last time to San Francisco on August 30. After that, the Boeing 777 is expected to serve San Francisco on a daily basis.

When the Boeing 747 retires from the PAL fleet permanently, every North American destination in the PAL network will enjoy at least one daily flight operated by the Boeing 777 with the exception of Toronto, which is only served three times per week. Last year, Philippine Airlines had announced that it was planning to cancel its Toronto route less than a year after it began before announcing a few months later that it had decided to continue flying the route.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines continues to explore the possibility of re-launching services to New York City via Canada by the end of this year.  It is still unknown whether plans for this new route have already been finalised or will push through.  PAL last flew to New York's Newark Airport via Vancouver in early 1998 but had to cancel the route due to the Asian Financial Crisis.

Although Canada has been spared from losing its 777 service at least for now, not all Philippine Airlines routes have been so lucky. With only six 777 aircraft in the PAL fleet, at least one destination had to be downgraded in order to accommodate North American flights and to allow PAL to retire its 747 fleet. This means passengers travelling to London are now flying aboard the 254-seat A340-300 aircraft. According to FlightRadar 24, Philippine Airlines started deploying the A340 aircraft to the British capital on August 6. It is believed that the A340 will continue to serve the route through the upcoming winter season.

Unlike PAL's Boeing 777, the Airbus A340 does not feature personal in-flight entertainment monitors for economy class passengers. As the London service is among PAL's longest flights, passengers will have to endure an older aircraft with only mainscreen in-flight entertainment, rolling audio, and no provisions for charging personal electronic devices. Although Philippine Airlines is still flying one of its original A340 aircraft, most of the A340 aircraft now in service with the airline were previously used by Spanish carrier Iberia.

67 comments:

  1. I'm hearing a lot of bad news from PAL

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    1. There are so many quality carriers into SE Asia, that are much less expensive, i will never fly with pal again

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  2. PAL should have doubled down on 777s long ago. Instead they keep flying these crappy airbuses.

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    1. PAL wanted to but the country was downgraded to Category 2 by the USFAA from 2007 to 2013 and therefore could not make changes to its operations specifications. You have forgotten?

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    2. ... this country was downgraded by US an European agencies for good reason

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  3. What clowns run PAL? London is the one of the Longest routes and they throw worn out old A340'S on it. Invest in some new aircraft you kuripots

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    1. Precisely. The A340 has 4 engines and the B777 only two; and more importantly, the London route has much fewer passengers than the North American routes. Didn't you read about the 60 new aircraft ordered and the 20 old aircraft retired or returned?

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    2. 4 engines 4 long haul

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    3. 4 engines for long haul is so 1980s. The 777 has killed off the A340, as it is now out of production and is cinsidered as a lemon. I still can't understand why PAL is stocking up on it, when they should have secured 777s in anticipation os an upgrade from Europe and the US.

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  4. So on the London route i have to go from a lie flat seat to an old recliner seat. This is how PAL treats its business class passengers........... I will go back to Cathay's lie flat seats

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    1. It's a free world. Have a good time during your layover in Hong Kong.

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    2. actually, they are using the ex-Iberia A340 so expect a lie-flat business class seat. PAL is gradually retiring their old A340's

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    3. A340 is just only temporary measurement.pal knows how bad the a340.

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  5. Sorry PAL, once announced that Toronto route will be downgraded Sept, i immediately booked my flight thru Air Canada for Dec at a better price.

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  6. Rumor has it that Lucio Tan was not impressed as to how R.A. decided on certain factors including the aircrafts (could have leased more 777 and a340 instead of just a340) and the selection of in flight amenities in the newer planes. So that's the reason why he is planning to have control of pal again.
    Another rumor was that most pal employees doesn't like R.A. anymore after giving away jobs to other countries like china and after paying off union leaders with new cars.
    So let's see how this all play out in a few months

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    1. I wonder if LT will axe London and Toronto in case he wrestles a controlling stake back. Then again, we're not sure how much money was lost by these routes anyway. I was on these flights and on one occasion, the economy class load was light.

      LT's appears more conservative especially when it comes to expansion to western destinations. However I think one aspect of the RSA era he appears happy with is the partnership with Etihad.

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  7. i bet lucio tan will cansell most the new airbus orders. and i was on pals flight from guam-mnl lastweek wich was bad. u cant recline the seats.. no ife on 4 hours trip and food was 2/10.

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  8. how come every major carrier in Asia is ahead of pal? even the toilets in t2 im avoiding and for my female friend who stand in line 30min to go toilet. sooner or later this airline will go bankrupt. look at asiana ANA, korean air. samw price as pal on long routes, but way better

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    1. My best guess is that PAL has its own metrics/standards and couldn't care less if Skytrax haves it a 1-star or whatever. It and its supporters appear to challenge everyone "if you don't like what we offer, then ride with other carriers." The problem I see is that PAL narrow focus on the Filipino audience is preventing the flag carrier from taking advantage of other opportunities. All other carriers in the world seem to focus on the GLOBAL traveller, not just one that belongs to its home country. If you're taking for instance BA from the US, they just don't centre on London or even the UK; they also offer the rest of Europe.

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  9. I'm one of those suckers who'll be flying this decrepit A340 on the London route in December. Fortunately I can cancel my ticket for a small fee, so i'll be monitoring ticket prices and switch airlines when I see something for a reasonable. PAL was the cheapest option for me to travel over Christmas, but during non-holiday periods I don't know who in their right mind would pay so much more for such a lousy product.

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  10. Glad for Toronto – but what about London – their supposedly proud moment to return to Europe?? I truly feel like I got scammed by PAL with a return flight booked some months ago. It is outrageous how PAL would do this - especially as their steep fares don’t add up to their mostly budget airline service and - most especially because of all the publicity they made about using new 777s on this route etc etc etc. How else would one trust PAL?

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  11. RSA is the cause of all the mess plaguing PAL these days. He is an absolute "idiot"

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  12. i would rather fly etihad airways to london if PAL will use A340 for that route since they have double promo for airmiles which also be credited to mabuhay miles

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  13. PAL is making a big mistake by deploying those old A340-300s to London.It's future is already foretold if that's how PAL wants to establish its presence in the European market.

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  14. PAL made a mistake by waiting to purchase B777's when they were restored to Cat1. The longer they wait, the longer for delivery. The A340's are too old and too inefficient. I am glad that I won't have to fly YVR-MNL in one of those. I am keeping my options open by keeping an eye on other carriers. Yes, the flight is longer but the service and inflight experience will be abvoe PAL's. What other airline would turn UP the cabin temp to 25+ (everyone was fanning themselves and the crew did nothing) degrees when flying into YVR in MARCH (about 12 degrees on touchdown)?? Did they run out of blankets and turned up the heat?? Or were the crew cold???

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    1. Philippine airline replaced the triple 7 for yvr routes for a340s

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  15. In flight entertainment? It's more fun on the Philippines Airlines A340 flying the London-Manila route.

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com

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  16. They managed to get a slot at London's Heathrow Airport and then they stick these old worn out planes on the route. Surely they could have leased more 777's from somewhere

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    1. It's total lack of vision and long-term planning in regard to aircraft refleeting. PAL passengers to London will have to suffer and be ripped-off flying on those outdated Ex-Iberia A340-300s with worn-out seats, dirty and smelly cabins, no IFEs, poor meals and unpleasant FAs.

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  17. Air India sold 5 777's off for a "Firesale" price according to reports. Now they have 3 more 777-200LR's for sale. These could be used for routes such as Toronto and NYC direct from Manila. Lower PAX number but greater range than the -300ER's the currently use. The Air India planes were considered almost new...

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    1. Etihad will get them... sorry to say this pal is not a airline.. its just a shit company that will go bankrupt in the near future. 93 out of 100.. bad terminal in Naia... bad crew. bad food etc...

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  18. And PAL still continues to buy planes and not install personal IFE's. Good luck!

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  19. I'm happy for Toronto but I hope PAL will change its decision on NOT installing personal IFEs on all their new planes. Personal IFEs should be standard on all of their long haul and international flights for consistency of their product. Forget about wifi, they just need to be consistent on their product offerings. Not all full service international airlines offer wifi anyway but most of them have standard personal IFEs.

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  20. It's not just London that is suffering.

    PAL also removed its B773ERs from the Manila to Melbourne and Sydney routes. We want them back!

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  21. Don't be fooled! According to their time table, they will be using B777 to Toronto only until March 2015 and switch aircraft to A340 starting April. That means, no personal TVs for Toronto starting April next year.

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  22. They should make the directors of PAL sit in a plane for 15 hours with no IFE and see how they like it. No i dont want to pay extra for ipads also.

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  23. How can any international airline airline these days even think about purchasing or leasing a plane with no IFE. PAL is run by cretins thats a given

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  24. Thank you PAL indi nu lng alam kung gaano kami ng asawa ko natuwa sa decision nyu na ipag patuloy ang B777 dito sa Toronto wala na yung dismaya at pressure na e cancel namin ang flight PR 119 at PR118 at mag booked sa ibang airlines na merun avod.napaka hirap sumakay ng eroplano lalo na sa longhaul flight pag merun ka dalang mga bata..pero damaged has been done sa 10 supposed to be PAL passengers na kasama din sana namin sa byahe nagback off sila ng malaman nila last month na luma at walang inflight entertainment system ang ang ipapalit sa B777 na A340.

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  25. That's it, am cancelling my London flights and taking the hit on the refund fees. This airline does not deserve my business.

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  26. Bad decision for PAL to order new planes without IFE's.
    Bad decision for PAL to use older aircrafts for London.
    Bad decision for PAL to fly via Vancouver instead direct Toronto.
    Bad decision for PAL to remove business class in domestic flights.
    Bad decision for PAL to downgrade themselves to a LCC.
    It's been one bad decision after another when RSA took over.
    Try sending an email to wecare@philippineairlines.com and no one will answer you. Bad customer care.
    It's going to be a bad future for PAL. So sad. #palsad

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    1. unfortunately, BAD + BAD is not equal to GOOD. It is still BAD. Badder...is there even such a word?

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    2. Sadly, for so long a time our national flag carrier is not able to take-off and soar into a truly global and world class airline where we can all be proud of. We won't see that happenning under its current owners and those inept and incompetent people running it.

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    3. Just being a devil's advocate here. It might a good idea for PAL to switch to a LLC. Non-LLC airlines have seen losses against their low-cost competitors. ie Garuda and Malaysia. Legacy airlines are just not right for the Philippine market at the moment.

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    4. I think the correct email address is wedontcare@philippineairlines.com

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  27. Heard the JFK will be stopping in Calgary instead of Vancouver. PAL is trying to get some of that western Canadian oil money....

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  28. My family had tickets on the London route booked previously and they pull this ludicrous and shameless move to use A340s? PAL is causing so much distress to its customers. They should at least be accountable to those who already booked with confidence on their 777s. We demand our money back PAL!

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  29. I feel the decision to return to Europe and serve the London market was a strategic error - specifically since it now appears that there are not enough modern planes to serve their long-haul routes. Why pay a lot more for PAL, when the only benefit they can offer is a direct flight. CX only takes a couple of hours longer, but it's well worth it I think.

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    1. PAL only had six B777-300ER which are direct replacements of their 5 B747-400 used mainly for Los Angeles and San Francisco routes. The past few years, PAL failed to place orders for newer aircraft to replace their ageing A340-300s so now PAL had to downgrade services to Vancouver, Toronto and London with those outdated Ex-Iberia A340-300s.

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    2. I thought those leased A340s were acquired in 2013 in anticpation of expansion into new markets in Europe. To me that seems wrong - why not wait to launch until you have the new planes you've ordered so that you can offer a competitve product. Their reputation will certainly not be enhanced by employing these old models - particularly since the UK market has been so well-served by carriers such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines in the past.

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    3. Up until now, PAL hasn't placed orders either for A350-900s or B787-9s or more B777W as replacement aircraft of their ageing A340-300s. With the ongoing ownership battle between the LT Group and SMC, the future of PAL is compromised and uncertain because of this constant and persistent squabblings.

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  30. Ive just flew pal from manila-london recently economy class b777 the flight is almost empty with just a handful passengers insidw both mabuhay and fiesta class and i guess because of this poor passenger load downgrading b777 with a340 is a wise decision but only poor selection of aircraft by replacing it without IFE..i doubt sooner or later pal will stop serving london or continue flying the route with empty seats and continue lossing more revenue in it.

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  31. I flew PAL London- Manila and return in June and the plane was 99% full both ways. Terminal 2 at Manila was very hot and humid. They air con in this terminal needs upgrading as the extra fans they provided did little to help the awful conditions

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  32. Nice flight from Pal last June from Manila-London walang tao sa row seats ko sa economy kaya occupied ko i can sleep straight sana ganito lage ang flight para ka na rin sa business class flat bed lol

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  33. thanks PAL for using again 777 for yvr and toronto routes.

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  34. Im working at Pearson Internatioal Airport of Toronto at noticed ko lage mahaba ang pila ng mga passengers ngaun ng Pal.i guess the the reason why Pal will continue using B777 in Toronto because of passengers volume hand plans to resume manila-toronto non stop and proceed to Jfk in New York .

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    1. Really? Around how many passengers do you count on a normal day? From what I previously heard, Toronto would be lucky to have 100 out of the 370 passengers.

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    2. Manila-Toronto-New York will definitely make more sense. This route will fill the plane. PAL is definitely getting more attention from the Filipino community in Toronto, thanks to TFC and PAL's advertising in all the Filipino events here Toronto. My co-worker booked PAL for her whole family's vacation in October. Toronto's traffic is definitely getting better, combine that and New York's, and you'll have a good load factor. Even though PAL's ticket pricing is still higher than other, better airlines, (not to mention the cramped seats), Filipinos are still choosing PAL. That must mean something. Just don't take away the plane that has the personal TVs in every seat. Once you do that, and replace the plane with the old A340s without the personal IFEs, that will be the end of it. It will be just too much to bear, and too self degrading.

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  35. pal sucessful negotiation with canada to have more canada flights might be tbe reason for their plan of toronto-ny. Winnipeg and calgary is also a future expansion.

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  36. @hybridace 101..You heard it Previously but that is Past ..Now im about to think that Mr. Anonymous working at Toronto Pearson International Airport is more than accurate bcos i myself was at the airport last Friday to to accompany my gf to the check in counter and Pal is picking up more passengers now here in Toronto ..i have even heard this pal purser assisting passengers by giving baggage tag stickers saying "wow ang daming mga pasahero" hopefully non stop from mnl-yyz start again soon and add ny as via yyz.

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  37. I just booked PR116 YVR-MNL for Sep 25 today, and the ticket issued by my TA shows an A340. Checking the PR website and looking at seats for the same flight shows the seat layout of an A340. It is certain I will fly on a 777 though?

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  38. PR 116 and PR 117 which goes from Manila to Vancouver and back are being serviced by an A340, while PR 118 and PR 119 which goes from Manila to Toronto (via Vancouver) and back is being serviced by a B777. The A340 does NOT have personal TVs on the back of the seats and does NOT have full lie flat seats in Business Class while the B777 has personal IFE and has full lieflat seats in business class. However, according to PAL's timetable, they will be replacing the B777 servicing Toronto with the old A340 starting April next year!

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  39. Not anymore. Toronto will continue to be served by B777 and will increase the number of flights from 3x per week to 4x per week effective March next year.

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  40. 에볼플레이 먹튀검증 안전노리터

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