Philippine Airlines Flight Review: General Santos to Manila

As a student living in General Santos but studying in Manila, I am basically always travelling to Manila. I usually fly with Philippine Airlines because of their convenient schedules and to earn Mabuhay Miles.

Copyright Photo: Jacques Panas/
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 HGW, Registration RP-C8786
Departure: General Santos International Airport, ETD: 10:00 AM
Arrival: Ninoy Aquino International Airport, ETA: 12:00NN

Getting to the Airport

General Santos City Airport is approximately 15-20 kilometres from the city proper. You can get there either using a taxi or a tricycle, which will usually cost you between 250-400 pesos. 

At General Santos Airport

I arrived at the airport around 8:00am and decided to check-in my baggage at the counter. There were separate lines for Economy passengers and Premium Economy passengers including Mabuhay Milers and Million Milers. The line was quite short, perhaps because I was early for my flight. The check-in process and security process took only about 5 minutes, which was really fast.

"The Security Check"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN
While at the counter, I heard another passenger asking the agent if she could hand-carry her box of “pasalubong,” which contained cooked food such as adobo. She had not purchased prepaid baggage allowance and I was amazed when the agent told her that she could check-in her box and her luggage for FREE. That is indeed something for the national carrier.

General Santos is one of the few airports in the country that has a Mabuhay Lounge. It is small and can only accommodate about 20 people at a time. After the withdrawal of Business Class services on PAL domestic routes, it is now mostly frequent flyers that use the lounge at General Santos. Meanwhile, the waiting area for Economy passengers is shared by both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. The waiting area is spacious and fully air-conditioned with the ability to handle 500-700 people at a time. Inside the waiting area as well as outside of the airport, there are “pasalubong" centres.

"PAL Passengers in Line"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN

On Board PR 454 - Airbus A330-300 HGW

As General Santos Airport does not have air bridges, covered ladders are used to board the aircraft. The Manila-General Santos-Manila route is the only domestic route operated by Philippine Airlines that regularly utilises the A330-300 aircraft. The aircraft used on my flight was an Airbus A330-300 HGW registered as RP-C8786. This is one of the youngest aircraft in the PAL fleet, being delivered in November 2013. The aircraft features a bi-cabin configuration with Economy and Premium Economy classes. Passengers are seated 9 abreast in a 3-3-3 configuration. The Premium Economy and Economy cabins are separated by curtains. This type of aircraft is also used by PAL Express on flights to Dubai. Announcements were made in both Filipino and English.

"Inside PAL A330-300 HGW"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN
Although the flight was quite full today, I found the cabin to be incredibly spacious. In my particular row towards the rear of the aircraft, passengers were seated seven across. Row 60 is in a 2-3-2 configuration. I was also able to obtain my particular seat, 60K, a window seat, using PAL's web check-in service and luckily, there was nobody seated beside me. Although my seat felt comfortable and convenient, the proximity to the lavatory was annoying at times.

"Seat 60K on PAL A330-300 HGW"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN

"Legroom in Economy Class"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN
As a person with a height of 5 foot 7, I found the legroom to be really good and I could easily move my legs. The flight attendants later served coffee, tea, and a cupcake for snacks. They also offered on-board sales but I didn’t bother to buy anything. Being on the aircraft was an incredible feeling as it smelled and felt so new. 

I found the aircraft to be clean and the flight attendants were very charming! They always smiled and they were very polite. On the other hand, the aircraft did not have any screen or monitors for entertainment, but It really didn't bother me as the flight was just 2 hours and I was busy completing this report. Overall, the flight was smooth without turbulence and the take-off and landing were as smooth as a limousine ride!

"In-Flight Snacks"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN

Arrival at NAIA Terminal 2

We arrived in Manila on time. As we were taxiing to our gate at Terminal 2, I was very happy to see other aircraft belonging to Philippine Airlines from the A320-200 to the Boeing 777-300ER. 

"A Boeing 777 bound for the USA"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN

It made me proud to see the flag of our country on their tails! Terminal 2 is exclusively used by Philippine Airlines. Baggage handling was good and I was able to collect it without delay.

"My View of Terminal 2"
Copyright Photo: Storm Flyer/PFN

The Final Ratings
  • Check-in Process (10/10): PAL has 4 counters at the General Santos Airport with 1 designated for Premium Economy and Mabuhay Milers. Their service was really fast.
  • In-Flight Entertainment (5/10): They have no screens or the usual built-in radios but it really didn't matter to me on this flight.
  • Food (10/10): I gave a perfect 10 score because they offer you coffee and tea almost all the time for free. Meanwhile, other items were also available for sale.
  • Cabin Crew (10/10): They came across as very charming and were very polite.
  • Baggage Handling (10/10): I didn’t have any problem with my baggage.
  • Seat Comfort (10/10): Very comfortable! The legroom was about 31-32 inches!
  • Overall (10/10): This was one of my best domestic flights!
-Storm Flyer

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