Philippine Airlines reveals new Airbus A350, A321Neo business class

By David Flynn, May 1 2018
Philippine Airlines reveals new Airbus A350, A321Neo business class

Philippine Airlines has pulled back the covers on new business class seats for its forthcoming Airbus A3210neo and A350 fleets.

The first of PAL's six A321Neo jets will take wing this month on regional routes beginning with the non-stop Brisbane-Manila service from July 2.

The A3210neo has 12 business class seats, across three rows in a 2-2 arrangement.

Each seat converts into a fully flat 2 metre bed.

If you don't want to sleep, catch a movie on the large HD video display...

... or jump online via the inflight Internet service.

Philippine Airlines' new Airbus A350s will follow mid-year with flights to New York from July and London to follow.

The 30 business class seats are Thompson Aero's Vantage XL model, as seen on the airline's recent Airbus A330 refit.

The 1-2-1 configuration gives every passenger direct access to the aisle.

Each of the new A350 business class seats is 23-24 inches wide and reclines to a fully-flat bed that's 2 metres long from your follicles to your feet.

There'll also be inflight WiFi, which is now almost the norm for international flights.

Just behind business class is a new premium economy class cabin (shown above) of 24 seats in a 2-4-2 layout, with 19 inch seat width, a 38 inch pitch and an 8 inch recline, with a USB power port next to each seatback video screen.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1193

It's a pity the color palette chosen is a bit "Meh" but other than that the business class offerings look good. I really like the A321 which gives a good idea with what is possible in a narrowbody. I personally don't have an issue about the lack of direct aisle access given these planes will rarely fly sectors over 5 hours.

The W class cabin is a bit disappointing; I don't know that 38" and 8 abreast is very premium but Philippines is far from the only offender here and is merely following the dubious lead of SQ.

SQ and Delta. But it should be added that PR is in a low-margin home market with an history of kleptocrats impoverishing the general population, and so for PR, positioning their PE as an "economy plus" moreso than a "business lite" makes sense. Its also good for foreign tourists who want to pay a bit more but can't afford Business Class.

Honestly I'm skeptical of the measurements given. 19" wide seats in an 8-abreast A350 cabin? To be blunt, this is impossible if we have 18" aisles, 2" unshared armrests and 4" between-seat consoles. The widest you can get with such an arrangement is 18.5" (the measurement of Delta/SQ). The extra inches have to come from somewhere...

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

Others will disagree but to me W class on any airline is a waste of money. principally because the entertainment controls and fold out tables between each seat mean if the seat next to me is vacant, I can't stretch out onto it as well as my own seat, as I can in Y.

13 Feb 2011

Total posts 31

A direct flight to Manila and a decent J seat now makes PAL an option ex Brisbane. If the prices are competitive with the other airlines "one stop" offerings then this will be my first choice.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

By 'direct' you mean 'nonstop.' With travel agents, a 'direct' flight can mean 'same carrier but intermediate stop(s)' so there's a subtle difference.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

The colour scheme reminds me of the seats in my dentist.

01 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

What date do they start flying the A321s to BNE?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

As of July 2nd for the Brisbane-Manila A321neo.

This coming july 2, 2018

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

Wow, colour me impressed. Now those are great seats in business for international narrowbody flights. Sure beats QF's B738 business product on the SIN-PER and SYD-DPS routes.

Asiana Airlines - Asiana Club

09 Feb 2017

Total posts 41

Seeing PAL make these changes reminds me of Garuda in the early 2010's. Once upon a time we would never go near it, but now ... for PAL, it probably still wouldn't draw me in but it's a huge leap and I can only see further improvement coming.

To be specific, alliance membership is a huge factor in "wouldn't draw me in", but I sure hope that these product quality improvements may make them worthy of an invite soon.

01 May 2018

Total posts 1

They have some good Business Class fares and connections London-Sydney but again it is the lack of alliance that puts me off. One question though....surely changing the London flight from a 777-300ER to an A350 is a downgrade?


23 May 2014

Total posts 123

In terms of capacity yes... but not in terms of pax comfort

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

I think you can credit points to an Etihad FF account somehow, which may partly help resolve your understandable concern about PR not being in a formal alliance.

The A350 1-2-1 should be great. It is on the A333s that I've been on between MEL, and SYD to MNL and back. Airline also has a very good safety record and is long established, and seems to invest in pilot training (as we'd hope all airlines do...some more than others.)

Has very competitive J and Y fares to places like London, Toronto, Vancouver and New York. Soon they'll fly nonstop MNL to JFK.

The extra two flights a week from MEL start soon and leave at an ungodly hour just before 5am but offer a good connection to LHR.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

The B773 is seven across in J and 10 across in Y. The A350 looks to be 1-2-1 across in J, so that's a big win.

More exciting changes from Philippine Airlines. These come slowly but now seem far more regular. The choice of powder blue is bright, basic and serviceable and a change from the often darker colors that seemed popular previously. My three times experience with their new Premium Economy product is a happy one especially with the current pricing, points earning capability, checking-in and boarding services (MNL-SYD-MNL). Now that I've lost the option of MNL-CNS-MNL the direct services to BNE might certainly be worth testing and although economy class didn't receive a mention there may be introductory pricing for Business Class closer to the launch date. Thinking it through, MNL-LHR using an A350 should win over the current A340 and 777 in use.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

David, weren't you going to post a flight review for this airline on its A333? I hope you can find the time to do this in the next couple of weeks.

Yes, PAL Mabuhay Miles pax can earn Etihad flight miles credits post flight. Pax just need to retain their boarding passes. I'm heading to ATH end of May so must remember to retain the docs. PAL's safety is good and aside from a minor incident in 1998 and an even minor one in 2007 safety is well practiced and adhered to. PAL's operational safety audit has been approved by IATA and most maintenance is carried out by Lufthansa Technik (Philippines) who also undertake a wide range of maintenance services and cabin configuration for other aircraft types and airlines including Qantas, British Airways and Lufthansa A380s.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 263

Thanks for this detail - a former employer of mine disallowed travel on PAL for safety reasons and I’ve avoided them ever since without ever validating the position. Good to know it be more percep than reality.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2017

Total posts 37

Any news on their 777 upgrades? The product is abismal!

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

If memory serves me correctly, two of the B773s have completely lie flat beds in J although still seven across. Check Seat Guru. I have been able to sleep well in J on those planes because the angle is not far off 'completely lie flat.'

02 May 2018

Total posts 1

It's actually 4 of the 77Ws have lie-flat beds and panasonic EX3 IFE systems. If you want to get specific, their registrations are RP-C7778, 7779, 7781, & 7782

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 128

So come on QF and VA - how much longer are we going to wait for more legroom and horizontal lie flat seats in J on narrowbodies?

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

01 Jun 2015

Total posts 30

Wow.., i dont know about you all guys. I love this A321neo PAL Business Class seats although the choice of seats colour is a lot to be desire.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

When I've been on the A333s that this airline has altered, the seat and carpets look fine. Colour is a personal preference though: I can't stand the colours used on the QFA380s, for instance.

14 May 2011

Total posts 5

New A350 & A330 business product is same as QF, SK.

The A321 product is same as some widebody business cabins on MX, UA, SV.
Great effort and some great J fares to/from Europe as others have mentioned.


07 Aug 2018

Total posts 1

Where would I find the PAL Timetable for MNL-BNE-MNL flights using this new A350-A321 Neo aircraft? Thanks.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 384

AYA, look up Philippine Airlines' website. It's under 'PAL experience' and then 'timeatble.'

Timetable is depart Brisbane as PR222 on Tues., Thurs. Sat. and Sundays at 1100 in the morning, arriving Mnaila NAIA at 1650 hours. return flight departs Manila very late at night (2330 hours) as PR221 on Mon., Wed., Fri. and Sats., arriving Brisbane next morning at 0920 hours.

As always with many Asian carriers, find a travel agent that specialises in travel to that nation as they will tend to have better prices than mainstream agents and should be cheaper than booking direct via the web with the airline.

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