Philippine Airlines' Return to New York Drives Down Airfares

Just over two months after Philippine Airlines returned to New York after an eighteen year absence, Filipinos residing on the East Coast of the United States continue to rejoice over the lower airfares that the national flag carrier brought to the market.

Copyright Photo: Ben Granucci/Airline Reporter
After Philippine Airlines launched its New York flights on March 15, 2015, competing foreign carriers began lowering their prices on flights to the Philippines. With flights typically costing in excess of one thousand dollars in the past, Filipinos can now obtain a round-trip ticket for as little as $800

Several foreign carriers serve Manila from New York City with one-stop service including Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, and Asiana. All of these carriers dropped their airfares between February and May as Philippine Airlines geared up to re-launch their direct flights. 

According to local travel agents in New York that specialize in the Philippine market, fares dropped at one point lower than the price of airfares for Filipinos travelling from the west coast. While the airlines compete in an intense price war, the real winner ends up being the Filipino traveller, who now enjoys extra spending money while on holiday in the Philippines due to the lower fares.

However, industry experts do not believe that these significant drops in airfare will remain in the long-term and it is unlikely they will be available during peak periods. Despite that, the 500,000 Filipinos that are currently living in the Eastern United States are likely not going to have to pay airfares as high as they have in the past. In addition, those planning to travel during the busy Christmas travel season might just have a chance of finding a cheap flight promo if they book far in advance. 

Unlike the last time that Philippine Airlines served New York, overseas Filipinos are hoping that the national flag carrier will be here to stay for the long term as more competition means better fares for travellers. As Philippine Airlines is the only carrier offering a direct flight to Manila, fares are slightly higher with round-trip economy starting at $1,225.

For those that don't mind changing aircraft, there are a number of alternatives including Cathay Pacific and Delta Airlines. Cathay Pacific currently offers four daily flights between New York and Hong Kong, where onward connections are available to Manila. Delta Airlines offers service to Manila with a connection in Japan. 

Philippine Airlines last served New York in 1998, when the carrier ended service to Newark Liberty Airport due to the Asian Financial Crisis. Previously, the Philippines was placed under Category 2 status by the US Federal Aviation Administration's Safety Assessment Program, which prevented the carrier from launching flights to New York using its own aircraft and crews.

Eighteen years later, the Philippines is now a Category 1 nation, which has enabled Philippine Airlines to return to New York. PAL currently offers four flights weekly from New York to Manila with a two-hour transit stop in Vancouver. Negotiations are currently under way with Canadian and US authorities to enable Philippine Airlines to operate the route on a daily basis. 

The total flying time for those travelling the full-route between Manila and New York is 16.5 hours -- the carrier's longest flight. Flights are operated by a Philippine Airlines A340-300. Passengers travelling in Business Class can enjoy recliner-style seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Each seat in Mabuhay Class features an individual seatback television screen. However, the content is limited and it is not available on-demand. 

In Economy Class, passengers enjoy a comfortable 2-4-2 configuration with a 33-inch seat pitch. However, in-flight entertainment is delivered through overhead monitors featuring main screen content. In addition, Philippine Airlines offers 12 audio channels. Those intending to use iPads or smart phones for entertainment should come prepared with a power bank as power ports are not available on this aircraft in either class of service. 

Philippine Airlines announced last year that it would be installing wireless internet and wireless in-flight entertainment across its entire fleet of Airbus A340 aircraft. However, the carrier has not specified a date for the aircraft to be retrofitted with the necessary equipment. 

16 comments:

  1. Most airfares are low between February and May when transpacific economy travel isn't strong from the US.

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  2. The PAL flight to JFK is in NO WAY direct. There is a stop over in YVR where passengers board/get off.

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  3. A direct flight can actually have a stopover.

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  4. It is a direct flight if you use the same plane regardless if the plane actually stops over in 1 city

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  5. I booked Asiana for NYC this June. The A380 and pricing are too good to pass on. Never really checked PAL's offers. I think their overall service and in flight features are very mediocre and 3rd world. It's like they don't wanna Filipinos to have a taste of luxury in the air. Very restricted.

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  6. 16.5 hours of no IFE no way! i dont mind paying extra $$$ if service is good.

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  7. "Slightly higher" fares on an ageing A340, with no AVOD IFE for a 16+ hour flight, and awful inflight service by lazy and disinterested flight attendants (compared to other carriers), I'm sure customers will make a more intelligent decision when booking their flights to/from Manila.

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  8. The fare is low but the plane they use is old they have to order a350 by next year

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  9. In theory CX with its IFE equipped planes should be a strong competitor to PAL (limited IFE) and others. However lately planes arriving and departing in Hong Kong have been suffering huge delays due to weather. This may not continue every day, but PAL via Vancouver may be more reliable on many days and get travellers there faster.

    PAL badly needs more B773ERs to run to London, Melbourne, New York and Sydney. A340s or A330s without seatback flight entertainment just don't cut it!

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  10. In theory CX with its IFE equipped planes should be a strong competitor to PAL (limited IFE) and others. However lately planes arriving and departing in Hong Kong have been suffering huge delays due to weather. This may not continue every day, but PAL via Vancouver may be more reliable on many days and get travellers there faster.

    PAL badly needs more B773ERs to run to London, Melbourne, New York and Sydney. A340s or A330s without seatback flight entertainment just don't cut it!

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  11. This is now the age of A380 plane which is very comfortable, quiet, sophisticated and a real wide-bodied aircraft. PAL's moneyed competitors from Asia, e.g., Asiana, Korean, China Southern, Emirates (via Atlantic) are now utilizing it to their respective hubs and connecting passengers with their other wide-body planes to Manila.
    It is just logical for a sane mind to fly these airlines as the flight time is really very long and tedious... PAL should find a way to compete! Otherwise, no one would dare fly PAL.

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  12. And Airbus Industries of France has stopped, 3 years ago, the manufacture of A340 aircraft. Why PAL continues to fly it (aside from Category 1 reason) is kind of illogical. Iberia of Spain has had even abandoned it and PAL just played
    "catcher", a second fiddle "A340 lover". Believe it or not, Iberia is now an improved no-nonsense airline, thanks to its merger with conservative and real business wizard British Airways!

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    1. Even Iberia's inflight services in their international flights to North America are now the talk of the town! You see, if there is a hammer and sickle (British Airways), things will change for the best! Attention: Philippine Airlines Management!

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    2. A flight attendant is a real "tsimay in the sky" and on the ground as well. So those boys and girls from Manila's so-called "Buenas familias" should not dare become flight attendants because it will only jeopardize PAL's ailing business. PAL should recruit good-looking provincianas or probinsianos who are used to hardships and did not have "yayas" or "tiyas" when they were growing up. Simple and ridiculous for some people but it is true! Why are SQ crews perfect to almost 99.99% ....Why? Bakit?

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    3. SQ and other profitable bigwigs in the airline business do not let flight crews serve in the sky after they have reached 25 or 26 years of age. This is "politically incorrect" in the West due to discrimination and other social issues but we are talking business here! At least these profitable airlines provide other ground jobs to their "retired" crews. And of course, they have a good employment future because they can await good retirement and other benefits later when they are 65 or come retirement time. Now make your call.

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    ReplyDelete

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