Seat: 55 D, E and G
ONLINE CHECK-IN: 4/5
Prior to check-in, when we had attempted to manage our flights online, we were instead directed to a phone number. The person who eventually answered (from the Sydney office) was able to arrange our special meals and informed us that should we decide to choose seats ahead of time we would have to pay $5 per person for each leg.
This enforced switch to old school communication made me wonder if we would be able to check-in online at all. But not only was online check-in available, it was easy to navigate and optimised brilliantly for mobile.
BAG DROP: 5/5
When your flight is the first of the day, you don’t expect a buzzing airport. But the line at the Philippine Airlines check-in counters was busy. As we had already checked-in online we were able to skip that queue and instead drop our bags and collect our boarding passes. The DNATA staff was mostly friendly (it was just after 2am so I wasn’t expecting - or wanting - cheery).
With a seat pitch of 44 inches and a seat width of 17 inches in Economy, we were comfortable enough. It obviously helped that we had a seat beside us and I had no one behind so reclining was guilt free.
A delayed start saw us sitting in quite a hot cabin for longer than was comfortable as we waited for the plane to refuel. But after our breakfast the lights dimmed and most were soon asleep (despite 54K leaving the blind up).
CABIN CREW: 5/5
Filipino hospitality is renowned - even at such ungodly hours and even with repeated call button pushers (53C I’m talking to you).
From the hand over heart greeting to the help they offered passengers filling in immigration documents, they remained professional, yet friendly and were extremely accommodating to those travelling with children.
INFLIGHT DINING: 5/5
I ordered a Vegetarian Oriental meal and was two served large green pea and methi chole patties which were delicious. They were a little too spicy for my daughter who made do with the accompanying roll and fruit of rockmelon, honeydew and pineapple.
Before landing we were served tasty stir-fried Hokkien noodles with mushrooms and vegetables. This was delivered in a lovely little take-away box.
Non-vegetarians were offered a choice between pork in sweet bean sauce served with scrambled eggs, choy sum and noodles, or chicken chipolata and omelette served with baked beans, sautéed spinach and hash browns.
Snacks included banana muffins and ham and cheese sandwiches.
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: 3.5/5
While not an extensive collection compared to film, television and music libraries of some other airlines, that which was there was not only good but varied. There was more than enough to keep those of us with children who refuse to sleep busy. I also really liked being able to ‘star’ movies you might want to watch as you scroll through them all without having to click through to the film summary.
The back of seat screen seemed more responsive than my i-gadgets and was easily navigable. Passengers can also peruse the inflight magazine online, shop duty free, watch quick travelogues or check out airport maps to help on arrival.
Despite having USB ports for easy charging, there were no other power ports, and the provided headphones didn’t sit comfortably on my head.
Disclosure: This was a self-funded flight
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