Bautista Unveils Plans for Philippine Airlines in 2016 and Beyond

Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista recently sat down with Asia Travel Tips to share the  national flag carrier's plans for the year 2016 and beyond. Some highlights of plans to come include a shift towards becoming a five star carrier and a new route to Europe.

Image by Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
In the interview, Bautista revealed that the flag carrier is embarking on a new program designed to transform Philippine Airlines in to a five star carrier. Improving the customer experience will be a key element of the new program. Philippine Airlines is currently rated a three star carrier under the Skytrax Airline Rating system. Examples of five-star carriers include Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines, and All Nippon Airways among others.


Bautista also reiterated the significance of the launch of a new Cebu-Los Angeles flight beginning on March 15, 2016. This enables passengers from the United States bound for Cebu to bypass the highly congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. In addition, Bautista revealed that a new flight to Saipan and a European destination are also in the pipeline. Bautista did not disclose what the European destination is but indicated that Philippine Airlines intends to begin flying the new European route from Manila by 2017.

A number of new aircraft will also be joining the fleet in 2016 including five Airbus A321 aircraft and two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Philippine Airlines also recently announced a new order for brand new Airbus A350 aircraft, which will enable the carrier to begin operating non-stop service from Manila to New York.

Although Philippine Airlines has previously expressed a desire to join a global airline alliance, Bautista noted that joining one of the existing airline alliances was challenging as becoming a member requires an invitation from the alliance. According to Bautista, PAL has tried requesting an invitation but to date, nothing has materialised. Consequently, the carrier has been forced to rely on code share agreements with multiple carriers for the immediate future. 

PAL also intends to enhance the strength of its frequent flyer loyalty program. In the coming year, Philippine Airlines plans to provide more seats for Mabuhay Miles members to redeem points and to increase the number of partner carriers where members can earn and redeem points.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines has also increased the content of its in-flight entertainment systems aboard its Boeing 777 fleet, and revamped its WiFi offering. The WiFi system currently allows passengers to stream IFE content to their personal devices.  

Bautista did not rule out the possibility of eventually making WiFi use free-of-charge but this is subject to the carrier 'becoming as efficient as the system', where PAL will be able to pass savings from more efficient operations onto passengers. The carrier is currently undertaking a number of cost cutting measures targeted at weight and fuel reduction such as using iPads to store crew manuals, while also integrating the in-flight magazines into the IFE system.

79 comments:

  1. As long as PAL has a 10-abreast economy class seating in their 777s, they will never qualify for Skytrax's 5-star rating. Max 9-abreast on 777 is one of Skytrax's strict criteria for 5-star. I strongly doubt that PAL will ever go back to 9-abreast on their 777s.

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    1. Hmmm... I heard QR is planning to ditch its 3-3-3 seating too.

      What I am a bit worried at though is he hardly didn't say anything about installing an IFE product on its A330s similar to what the 77W passegers already enjoy. Add to that the fact that he said that he is trying to keep the aircraft light by requiring the crew to use iPads, and ditching paper versions of manuals, magazines where possible.

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    2. Qatar Airways will soon to introduce 10-abreast Boeing 777 for economy class.

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    3. Emirates, a 5-star airline, currently operates 10-abreast Boeing 777 for economy class in any variant.

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    4. Without a dedicated First Class, like the other carriers in that category, it is highly doubtful that PAL will become a 5 STAR airline.

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    5. Emirates is not 5-star as per Skytrax. Qatar as they are planning to introduce 10-abreast risks losing its 5-star tag. This may change of course if Skytrax decides to change their criteria.

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    6. Even if PAL has 10-abreast, seat width and pitch are still at par even with the world's best airlines. Only the FAs are affected bec of the narrower space to work with their carts

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    7. Dapat lang na 3-3-3 ang seating because these are all considered long-haul airlines, meaning flying Asia to USA from 10 to 15 hours long depending where you depart from. Ten abreast is really "sardinas".
      LOL.....

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    8. UAL's 777 flights from HNL to Guam, considered even a domestic route, also seats 2-5-2 (9 total) which lasts only 7 hours.

      al

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    9. HNL to GUM is not domestic. 2-5-2, hmmm never heard of such configuration

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    10. Aside from UAL, Malaysia airlines uses 2-5-2 on their 777s

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    11. I just flew that UAL's route last week!
      LOL

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    12. How do you know about Guam if you are not a traveler, employee of UAL, etc.?
      I am an American and you may not be one!

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    13. Actually HNL-GUM on UA is domestic, if you've flown it-you know that even though it's 7 hours, it's not up to par with other Pacific offerings.

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    14. There 2 configuration of B77W fleet of QR. Flew with them last month on MIA-DOH B77W A7-BAE has 3-3-3 abreast on economy and on DOH-MNL B77W A7-BAY with 3-4-3 abreast. Both flights were full since it was christmas season then. Get your facts right!

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    15. Pacific offerings? What do you mean, Jan 27 at 2:14 PM?

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    16. This is the 2-5-2 seat configuration of UAL.

      http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/United_Airlines_Boeing_777-200_8.php

      https://jetsettingblogdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/2-5-2.jpg

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  2. not everyone has ipads. there should be magazine in the seats to avoid boredom.

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    1. You can request to rent an iPad on-board the flight.

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  3. Keep up the good work PAL. Can't wait to fly with PAL in the near future.

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    1. I agree 100%...keep dreaming and believing success will come.

      Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined by Henry Van Dyke

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  4. Are there any 5-Star airlines which do not have a First Class section? ANA, SA, Asiana, Hainan, Cathay, Garuda, even Hainan, all have First Class. PAL, meanwhile is lacks such service.

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    1. I doubt they will achieve 5 star; they have a "snowball's chance in Malate" on that pursuit

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    2. Its a plan and it will happen. People like you put down everyone's dream and positive attitude. I hope you are successful in life because of how negative you are I doubt.

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    3. Sad to say I will have to agree with Anonymous. 4 Star Airlines is a more realistic target. And FYI EVA Air (BR) is a 5 star Airlines with no First Class Seats.

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  5. Mr B is dreaming again. I don't see any major concrete plan of him for PAL. Doesn't even have a timeline of how he's to make PAL a 5 star airline. He must have studied Garuda's quantum leap program before he speaks of that 5 star dream of his

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    1. Its better to have a dream than none. Does he have to explain it in detail for you. Why don't you ride along and lets hope for the best. That can be your best contribution as a Filipino or if your not I'm sorry for you, in lifting everyone's hope and inspiration to our kababayans. Let PAL be inspired by positive people rather than put it down by negative people like you. PAL is a Filipino pride and its success is the Filipinos success.

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    2. Unrealistic goals and service lead to the 3 star airline...Pride is good but if you don't have a plan????

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  6. All Filipinos should only Fly PAL and promote it to help PAL achieve its dream of 5 star status. Make it happen PAL so you can prove to all that you are not a 3 star company keep it up and make us Filipinos proud! We are counting on you!

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    1. Fly ONLY PAL riiiiiggghhhhttt!!! Like they have direct flight routes that you want to fly like Brussels for example. Are you dictating the Filipinos for that "dream" of yours you ultranationalist?

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    2. What a stupid comment. Of course you will fly PAL only on routes they serve.

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    3. Why would a 1 star country need a 5 star airline....

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  7. Dear Mr. Bautista,

    I will freely spend time to advise you, Mr. Tan, and any Philippine Airlines staff who care to listen, how to improve your service and win more business.

    First though, I would love one of your customer support people to respond to numerous emails I have sent since December 26 regarding why I cannot access my Mabuhay Miles account online and more than 20 emails sent over the past 4 years regarding refunds for two unused Business Class tickets that your staff seem not inclined to concern themselves with.

    Philippine Airlines should be and could be one of the world's great airlines but will never become that if its attitude is (as reflected by the employees posting anonymously above) that all Filipinos have a duty to fly it, regardless of value or service quality, simply because they're Filipinos.

    Kind regards,

    Chris Bowd
    Premier Elite Member

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  8. PAL does not need to be "5-star". Be reliable, maintain good inflight service, install IFE (iPads are not practical for long haul, correct the Ramon Ang error), overhaul your notorious ground service. Do these things and you will be fine, and profitable.

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    1. I agree. Say goodbye to ipads ASAP and install monitors in every seats.

      change FA attitude/outlook towards economy class pax (in business it's almost perfect)

      Reward elite members up to million milers with the real privileges like priority check-in, priority boarding, bags coming out of the carousel first etc. This is amiss in all provincial destinations except cebu and davao. Before all international destinations accord the privileges to all loyal members but now even hongkong and singapore are not practicing these.

      I am a loyal PAL flier so i get sad everytime i experience inconveniences moreso if i hear bad reviews.

      Hope this reaches JJB.

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  9. what happened to Manila to Chicago? Your JFK flight starting in April will arrive at 10:30 pm; not good for connecting flights. I usually take ANA or CX for midwest or east coast destinations. I guess we have to wait for the A350-900 ULR before JFK and ORD become more regular

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    1. The 350 will only cost the airline more and provide lower lift capacity than the current 777's. The airline needs to stream line not add an uproved airframe...Just ask Emirates,,,

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    2. A350's will complement the 777 on routes that have lesser load!
      With Emirates the 777-300ER complements the A380 on routes that have lesser passenger load and on smaller airports that the A380 can't operate out of!

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  10. No wonder why this site rarely updates news. It's full of ultranationalist leeches. Our country will NEVER progress with that pinoy pride delusion of yours because it's nothing but credit grabbing some Filipino's goals for you freeloaders and claim that we are the best.

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    1. You are a leech that cling in buffalo's scrotums(ofw in foreign shores)...many pinoys opt to fly with pal to avoid hassle(s) of connecting flight.get real!

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    2. I feel bad, but to see OFW's having a hard time filling out simple immigration and custom forms is a slap on RP's educational achievements lately! So it is imperative that English and Spanish should go back to Philippine schools whether these kids like it or not! It's their future that's at stake....Que pena!

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  11. Los Angeles to Manila Y class in this order:
    Asiana Airlines - five star, 9 abreast 777 seating; Cathay Pacific - same; Singapore Airlines - same; Korean - same; Eva Air - same.
    With all the above airlines to choose from, how can I fly PAL with nothing to offer? Coe on, I've been flying this route for 35 long years and I am tired eating "monays" and a plastic glass of family-size Coke from 99 cents store. Five star, amyone?
    Get real, Bautista. Well, PAL can fly my remains when the time comes. It can delay my travel time as much as it wants - I will be smiling cold and stinky by then, anyway!

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    1. uhm....then don't fly PAL?

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    2. yeah. You said you're flying with pal for 35 years and you're tired of monays then switch airlines. As simple as that, you do not not need to rant about it.

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    3. I said flying this route...and not solely with PAL...

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    4. Well, man, wait for CebuPac if PAL does not want your cargo (remains) business! Simple as that!

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    5. I am an airline employee but proudly still flying Ceb or Pal. Why? Because I am a Filipino! More flights of our carriers will create to more jobs.

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    6. Nakapunta lang ng LA ayaw na ng MONAY. Pero for sure pag nasa ok as kumakain ka rib sa carinderia

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    7. I am from both Hawaii and LA.
      Sorry if I mentioned PAL serving monays in its flights; I just wonder why? Why not fried rice and fish, a better fare?

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    8. Please stop telling one of the reader here not to fly PAL! This is called "constructive criticism". JJB was laying out a plan to be a star airline. Anonymous was just making a comparison that PAL has a long way to go. We have to admit that Roman Ang's plan for PAL was a failure and it is now tme to look forward. PAL has too many A330-300 and nowhere to fly them to. Maybe what PAL can do is install IFE and make the seats 2-4-2 just to make the passengers be able to stretch out a little while some of these planes are still in the hangar. If you are above 6 feet. You cannot sit on the window seats of PAL's A330. You head will hit the plane's wall panel. Plus PAL is hampered by our mis-managed airport.

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  12. Or if you die earlier than CebuPac's route arrival to LAX, take SQ Cargo via Singapore, a great way for your remains to fly!
    Seriously!

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  13. Wish ko lang di ma-scrapp yang CEB-LAX-CEB. I checked the load of the flights. Nakakalungkot...

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  14. Wish ko lang di ma-scrapp yang CEB-LAX-CEB. I checked the load of the flights. Nakakalungkot...

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    1. Hi jeff. You cannot assume load factor of a flight just by checking the available seats on a flight. Many passengers still do not have a reserved seat until check-in time

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    2. True...very well explaination

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    3. And the aircraft should be B777 which PAL can accommodate 370 passengers as you have reported Phil Flight Network, right? In this instance, good for the sparse passengers - they have a lot of room inside the aircraft!
      I remember flying PAL's B747s in mid-90s with only half full (low season kasi) and lucky for us passengers stretching on four middle seats! That's the good side of it, he he he he.

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    4. PAL will utilize the much older A340's on the new LAX-CEB route, not the newer B777.

      Personally I like more flight options, the more the better for the passenger to choose from.

      PAL is currently running promos for the LAX-CEB (vice-versa) route and expect the price to fall after the route comes into service to try and fill up the load factor past break even.

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    5. No thanks, I have had lessons of flying A340s on Lufthansa, Air France, Ethiopian, etc., and they are all dangerous in times of ocean turbulence. Sorry, but I will fly Asiana or KE on that Cebu/LAX route utilizing their A380 big planes on Korea to USA sector. It is called freedom from want. LOL

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    6. 99% of air travellers have no idea of A340 or A380.what they care is comfort and services,no matter what plane is.

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    7. With the creation of websites such as flightradar24 and other apps that deal specifically with flight schedules and offer detailed info on every aircraft an airlines has in it's fleet. The flying public is much more aware of which aircraft they will be flying on and what other aircraft are used by other airlines on routes that matter to them.

      I think you're the only one who doesn't know an A343 from a B777 or an A380.

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  15. So JJB's big idea and master plan for getting PAL to 5 star status is to remove the in-flight magazine and replace it with a few promotional articles on the IFE?

    While I can understand the need to save weight, removing the in-flight magazine would at best save only a few liters of jet fuel per flight.

    If JJB is really serious about saving weight, why not fire all the older maldita (rude) tambok (fat) flight attendants and replace them with younger, thinner and generally more pleasant flight attendants who are stuck working on Domestic routes until the old fat lolas working long haul routes retire?

    That would save PAL both weight and improve service 100%!

    Personally I am a Premiere Elite member and I thoroughly enjoy the in-flight Mabuhay magazine, and I look forward to reading it whenever I fly PAL USA-MNL.

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    1. Right! Now that airlines are computerized, they should know how many passengers are flying and that should be the basis of how many flight crews they are fielding. That is a way of saving weight and salaries/wages...

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  16. You are right - Pan Am World Airways made this grave mistake of letting Union member flight attendants work as old as you can imagine and do you still see Pan Am flying today? I should know, I availed of its very low and cheapest air fare in the early 80s like round the world unlimited destinations open ticket for 900 dollars US, just to "survive". Unfortunately, it did not. Experience is the best example, hear me Mr. Bautista, if you want.

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    1. You make some valid points. PAL got rid of a lot of the older flight crews and ground staff a couple of years ago and it basically saved the airline, even though the older unionized employees fought hard to stay. Some of the older flight crews accepted a lower wage and industry standard pay (being paid for flight hours only).

      PAL made the mistake of allowing some of the older flight attendants to come back to work at the reduced pay scale and they continue to pass on the extremely bad level of service from one generation of attendants to the newer ones.

      PAL should have hired on a Western manager to train all the younger flight attendants so that PAL would truly have a 5 star level of service, instead of all the lolas who pass on the bad habits.

      Things like once the dinner service is over (N. America-MNL) all the flight attendants run and hide in the crew sleeping quarters, while leaving one single junior flight attendant to stay awake and respond to passenger requests.

      One time I was flying business class YYZ-MNL with a stopover in YVR. When I boarded the aircraft the senior lola flight attendant came around and presented me with the menu and asked for my dinner and drink choices. I told her and then she got up to leave and I stopped her and I started to tell her my choices for my three other meals I would be served during the flight. The lola flatly refused to take down my meal request because there was a crew change in YVR! I explained to her it would be better for me if she would just write down my meal and drink requests because I prefer to sleep as much as possible during the 22 hr flight. Nope, she wouldn't do it. So as a result I was woken up from a deep sleep at 5am as we sat at the gate in YVR by the next flight crew asking what my meal choices were! Let's just say I wasn't a very happy passenger.

      It's the small things that make or break an airline when it comes to 5 star customer service and sorry to tell JJB, but PAL falls well short in almost every area.

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    2. You should buy your own plane your so hard to please.Your making a fuzz out of a small thing.

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    3. For you waking a passenger up at 5AM maybe just a "small thing". But for some travelers it could mean that you have already lost a day at your destination because you will need to make up for your lack of sleep at the plane! This could be something that can be said a "small thing" if you are seated at Economy! Mind you the passenger was seated at Business Class!
      That is why Philippines cannot progress because criticism is taken an insult and these people just make stupid suggestions such as "buying your own plane"!Part of this article mentioned that JJB wants to make PAL a 5 star airline! Clearly the comments of Anonymous was trying to let PAL know which areas they fall short at!
      Dito sa atin pag critcize Mayabang Agad!

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    4. The way this is posted is like an insult and a shaming method.You should have address this complain directly to Philippine Airlines so they can act and take this consideration in their future expansion.In my experience they always address my grievances.Do you think someone from Philippine Airlines will be reading this post here. Instead by doing this post you give a bad impression to Philippine Airlines our flag carrier which is struggling to improve, you give a bad impression to a foreigner who is reading this and to yourself as a Filipino even if you might be a US citizen it just shows your crab mentality. Nakapunta lang ng abroad OA na. I hope hindi kaya taga punas na ta-e sa abroad.

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    5. I was the one who posted about the senior lola flight attendant that refused to write down my meal choices, and I agree, it's a very small thing but it's a symbol of the lack of customer service.

      PAL wants to be a 5star airline, but the passengers receive a 2 star experience from some of PAL's employees. Wishing and wanting doesn't improve customer service. Radically different employee training for all new employees, getting rid of the old employees and a new management philosophy geared towards providing the best possible customer service where the employees that get complaints against them are fired is the only way it will happen.

      To the person who replied I should direct my comments to PAL directly, you are right. I have sent PAL numerous emails about the lack of customer service on many different occasions, including what happened to me with the lola flight attendant who refused to take my meal and drink choices. I emailed wecare@pal.com and I have also sent the same email directly to JJB, and received no reply. I include my name and Mabuhay miles number with all emails so there is no misunderstanding.

      BTW I love PAL. I usually take 2 or 3 round trip flights on PAL from N.America-MNL per year. While there are many other airlines that offer better customer service I still prefer to fly direct and so I book and show my loyalty to PAL.

      I just wish some of the employees of PAL would offer better customer service so more International passengers outside the core pinoy OFW market would consider flying with PAL.

      Wishing and wanting changes nothing.

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  17. Any latest news and articles? OR why don't you change you poll into Philippine Airlines' new aircraft decision whether it is Airbus A350 or Boeing 787?

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  18. I think JJB has already decided what long-haul aircraft to buy, but is going back and forth between the aircraft manufacturer and a third party dry-leased product, which would be a mistake.

    At least that's what I HOPE the reason is for the delay and not over-thinking the purchase to death while other airlines sign purchase agreements that push any PAL delivery date further into the future.

    The real problem PAL has now is they are profitable, they have good positive cash flow with lower jet fuel prices, but fully half of PAL's fleet is leased.

    PAL currently operates 55 aircraft and 21 are leased. That means any extra profit PAL makes is not going back into the airline, it's going to pay the leases.

    PAL should stop leasing aircraft and instead pay/finance Boeing or Airbus directly that way once the aircraft is fully paid off they own it outright and can sell it on the secondary market whenever they choose or as other airlines have started to do, move the older aircraft to the regional part of the airline. In PAL's situation that would be PAL Express.

    Successful airlines are moving away from leasing and are placing orders directly and getting a bulk order discount.

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    1. what i heard the major order just recently done with under the Ramon Ang leadership is not a lease but, its money loaned for finance by Citibabnk.

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  19. What's up with this website, just to attract people while waiting for good news about Philippine aviation such as new Manila International Airport, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific's new aircraft and destinations especially within Europe and U.S., new and returnee foreign airlines to open flights in the Philippines, and many more?

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  20. PAL should focus on restyling its products: livery, crew uniforms, onboard seats, interior colors etc.
    A triangular european route, such as Manila-Rome-Milan-Manila, can give pal a fantastic growth ...

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  21. Fly Cebu pacific. Just forget the Philippine airlines.

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