What is PAL like these days?

Old Jul 22, 2023, 10:54 am
  #1  
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What is PAL like these days?

I'm off down to Australia this winter on a series of cheap deals. One of these deals is KUL-MEL and back on PAL for a bit over 1000 in business. Reading these boards I'm starting getting a bit of buyer's remorse.

I have a few questions:

1. I have a 3 hour layover at MNL on the way out. I haven't been through there since the 80s. Is it as bad as it was then? Is it as bad as I'm reading about on other threads? I hate tight connections and like having decent stress free lounge time.

2. I have a 36 hour stop in MNL on the way back. Not really long enough to get out of the city. Is there anything at all worth doing in the city other than getting drunk in the hotel and wallowing around in the pool which I can do anywhere?

3. Does PAL still require masks? Not a deal breaker but I'm over all that now and I don't fancy it again.

4. The MEL run is a short overnight flight. Is the service pretty quick and can I get to sleep quickly after take off with plates and glasses clanking all round me?

A big factor is I want to come back from Oz to England via the cricket in India and haven't booked the Asia - Europe ticket yet. The return flight to KUL drops me a 5 hour flight from where I want to be.

I'm starting to wonder if I should ditch the PAL ticket (200 fee to cancel), get Air Asia one way KUL - Oz, then a miles ticket from Oz to India.

I know Air Asia is only angle flat and a pretty cheap experience but it's direct and a daytime flight. It just seems like a shed load less hassle.
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 11:39 am
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I flew with PAL last Monday from BKK-LAX, albeit in economy. From my experience:

1. I haven't been to MNL in the 80s, but T1 is not pleasant. Depending on how many people are transiting, you may have to wait a while to get to your new gate as there is a security check that can only process a few passengers at a time.

2. If you are into museums, there's a few nice museums like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Anthropology. Touring Ft. Santiago is something else you can do. Lastly, you can visit Binodo if you are interested in food. Be forewarned on the traffic though!

3. During my flight two weeks ago from Bangkok to Manila, yes. Masks were passed out by the cabin crew and they asked passengers to wear them throughout the flight. However, for the MNL-LAX flight, they did not enforce this rule.

As for point 4, I can't provide insight to this.

I was able to get a good one-way price for the summer, so I am quite satisfied with PAL even if MNL isn't great.
Overall, go with what makes you feel the most reassured for your travels!
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 1:14 pm
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Seems like all PR (PAL) international flights are all conentrated in T1 ...so only have to transit if going local.
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 1:35 pm
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Compared to AirAsai PAL now is a lot better. They seem to have put an effort to get things working.
Depending what are the 36 hours you have to spend, if it is during day time just go around to a good Mall and get some good food too? MOA is not far away from the airport. Do not get caught in the trap of Savoy Hotel being close to the airport. They charge a ridiculous price and the bathroom is so small and the AC normally does not seem to work. I made the mistake of staying there twice last three weeks.
The airport is a dead end for 36 hours. That said plenty of hotels in Pasay with reasonable rate and short grab ride to the airport.
As for masks they did not insist on it and I have flown twice with them domestically in June and July.
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by curiouspax
Seems like all PR (PAL) international flights are all conentrated in T1 ...so only have to transit if going local.
I didn't have to switch terminals, but there is a security check of carry-ons before you can go to your new gate. This can be a bit of a wait depending on how many people are going to their new terminal.
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Old Jul 23, 2023, 1:26 am
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See generally PAL business class....any good? why so cheap?
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Old Jul 23, 2023, 3:09 am
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For the 36 hour stop, these days the best area to stay is BGC and it's quick to get to / from the airport as well, you don't have to deal with EDSA traffic at all. That area is new, so very modern, clean, and safe. There's plenty to do around there in terms of shopping, food, bars, and restaurants. Not much yet in terms of hotels, I think only the Shangri La, but there are a slew of good places on AirBNB at really good prices.
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Old Jul 23, 2023, 4:47 am
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Thanks for the replies. The transit security sounds bad. Would it be quicker or easier to go through immigration and back through from landside?

The 36 hours is two nights and one day. It sounds like it might be worth getting a cab into the city.
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Old Jul 23, 2023, 3:19 pm
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Any idea which A330 they use to HNL? The bigger business cabin version with premium Y or smaller one with no premium Y?
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Old Jul 23, 2023, 9:04 pm
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Grey Nomad To your first point.

I have been through MNL in Apr 1986, 1996, 2002 and 2010. Certainly little improvement from 1986 - although I was there just a few days after Marcos fell and so it was pretty chaotic everywhere. The experience in 2010 was a pretty dismal experience I have to say.
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Old Jul 24, 2023, 5:41 am
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Why go to BGC? There are a couple of Resort World hotels and two huge malls very close to the airport. Lots of restaurants and shops and a bit of gambling too if you want it. Lots of other things too. Live bands as well.
Terminal 1 is a lot better that the good old days now but nothing to boast about it still.
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Old Jul 24, 2023, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by Thai-Kiwi
Grey Nomad To your first point.

I have been through MNL in Apr 1986, 1996, 2002 and 2010. Certainly little improvement from 1986 - although I was there just a few days after Marcos fell and so it was pretty chaotic everywhere. The experience in 2010 was a pretty dismal experience I have to say.
It does sound pretty grim. I'm seriously thinking of going for the convenience of the Air Asia flight instead. I know Air Asia is a very basic experience but it's direct, it's daytime and it allows me to fly direct back from Australia to India instead of going via Malaysia first.
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Old Jul 24, 2023, 7:59 am
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Go look up the flip flop traveller in YouTube 2 out of his last 3 videos were of PAL flights KUL-MNL-SYD
Sums them up pretty well I think.
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Old Jul 24, 2023, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by Firemansam
Go look up the flip flop traveller in YouTube 2 out of his last 3 videos were of PAL flights KUL-MNL-SYD
Sums them up pretty well I think.
Thanks. I'll have a look tonight.
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Old Jul 24, 2023, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by Davvidd
Why go to BGC? There are a couple of Resort World hotels and two huge malls very close to the airport. Lots of restaurants and shops and a bit of gambling too if you want it. Lots of other things too. Live bands as well.
Terminal 1 is a lot better that the good old days now but nothing to boast about it still.
To each their own, I don't care for the huge malls nor the Resorts World style / atmosphere. I feel like there's far far more diversity in BGC. I much prefer the atmosphere and style of High Street and Burgos Circle. With the roads skirting south of the bulk of Metro Manila it's maybe 20-25 mins from T3 to BGC. The OP seems to have changed their mind, but they did mention 2 nights, I wouldn't want to stay in Resorts World for 2 nights, but could see it for an overnight where you arrive in the evening and have an earlyish departure.
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