Review of Philippine Airlines flight Manila Bangkok in Business

Airline Philippine Airlines
Flight PR736
Class Business
Seat 3A
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 03:00
Take-off 16 Sep 22, 14:30
Arrival at 16 Sep 22, 16:30
PR 38 reviews
By 2833
Published on 12th November 2022


  • PR736 - Business - Manila / Bangkok - Airbus A321 You are here
  • PR731 - Business - Bangkok / Manila - Airbus A350 Coming soon

Very excited to be sharing my first report to this amazing community.

This particular trip covers my 3-4 day trip to Bangkok over a long weekend. Being based in MNL, it was either taking PR or TG to BKK. Although TG had cheaper prices, an ideal schedule, a better product and similar arrival times on both legs, I opted to take PR for points. Regardless it could be argued that PR's FF Program is irrelevant and I collect points simply for use when its convenient (ie. convenient direct flights to/from MNL, lounge access, priority handling) which I value especially considering how hectic travelling through MNL is, and also due to the fact that often I also fly PR domestically. The pandemic definitely hit PR hard and they had to let go of some of the fleet, including atleast 3 of their notable addition to the ULH fleet, the Airbus A350-900. Hence, service has been scaled back a bit (although not considerably large) and service remains largely the same with a few changes/modifications. PR remains no less among the more underrated asian carriers however.

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Checking in at MNL certainly isint the most pleasant. Although as this particular flight (PR736) departed at an otherwise dead hour especially for international departures with only a few narrowbody departures for similar inter-asian flights. Things were definitely less hectic due to this and the process went by smoothly than it otherwise would be. 

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Boarding commenced on-time and without much fuss. The terminal around this time was also virtually empty, with only a few international flights departing for Singapore and Tokyo. It was more orderly than most of what I have experienced at NAIA and definitely not hectic. 

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Stepping aboard PR's A321-200, business class is arranged in a standard 2-2 configuration spread across 3 rows. Legroom was abundant and despite the aged product was very comfortable and had a decent recline. Immediately behind business class is premium economy which atleast on the A321-200s are practically economy class seats with extra legroom spread across 3 rows in a 3-3 configuration. 

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After a very short taxi out, it was finally time for takeoff and we lift off shortly after using runway 13/31 exclusively used by narrowbodies. On the climb, the GA hangars of MNL and a few parked/stored aircraft can also be seen. 

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Pre-pandemic, flights using the A321-200 that go international more often than not have iPads loaded with content handed out to passengers. Due to the situation you now would only be able to acess content through the MyPalPlayer app, which basically facilitates BYOD streaming. The content was not the best, but it was adequate especially for the short 3 hour hop to Bangkok.

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All of PR's regional operations and flights that are under 10 hours do not have table service. Instead, it was all brought on a tray with dessert, and the starter. A bread basket 9not pictured) was brought out and I selected a standard soft roll. There was no description to the salad, but the dressing aswell as the filipino cheese (Kesong Puti) that was on it made for a pleasant combination. Comming from someone not so fond of salads, this was not bad, especially in the air. 

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Cashew nuts were also handed out in a pack shortly before the main came. There were 3 options, Beef short rib and mashed potatoes/veggies, Thai shrimp pancake with sweet and spicy sauce, aswell as a chicken dish which I wasn't able to hear well. I opted for the beef short rib. To my surprise, it was quite soft and enjoyable. The asparagus, while overcooked also paired perfectly to balance the meat's taste. For drinks, I went with a standard ginger ale and water. In addition, the dessert (which I believe may have been some sort of Mango pudding or panna cotta) was well sufficient and tasted quite nice. All in all a solid regional business class meal which puts to shame inter-Europe catering, more so what US airlines can ever offer on a route so short. 

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Shortly after, rock hard (but tasty) ice cream was also offered. There was a choice between chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. I opted for the strawberry. 

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Even with the seat in front of you reclined, legroom was still great and not sacrificed. Although it may be an issue getting out for the bathroom and you may need to ask your seatmate to stand in order for you to be able to acess the aisle without disrupting much of your fellow passengers. Once lights were dimmed after meal service, the flight went along uneventfully. 

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Philippine Airlines

Cabin crew9.0

Manila - MNL


Bangkok - BKK



Disappointing ground experience at MNL aside, as well as the dated A321-200s which definitely need a refurbishment or replacement with the new neo's which PR are gradually taking, this was a standard regional hop across to Bangkok and nothing was too noteworthy. The flight went well and the crew was (as always on PR) kind and friendly, always proactive and I was even able to chat with them a bit in the galley with no complaints here. The meal quality has gotten better over the years and this did not disappoint me either. The seats while now slightly aged are very comfortable recliners but with the lack of a leg rest, I find it hard to truly be able to sleep properly in it, not that I normally do on flights regardless. All in all, a very solid inter-Asia hop but can still be improved, especially as far as the hard product is concerned. Otherwise, PR is definitely a must try and in my opinion among the most underrated Asian airlines to date.

Information on the route Manila (MNL) Bangkok (BKK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Manila (MNL) → Bangkok (BKK).


The airline with the best average rating is Thai Airways with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 18 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 615459 by
    NGO85 GOLD 1871 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this rare look at PR with us!

    Those are definitely some dated recliners, but as you said, newer is not always better and the old recliners are usually a lot more comfortable than the newer seats being installed. However, these are still inferior to the long-range A321neo product with flatbeds. PR seems to follow the US model... BYOD and W with just extra legroom.

    The catering looks good for a 2.5h regional flight with a coursed service with full appetizer (although just salad) and choice of 3 entrees. Strange that they offered cashews between courses versus with an aperitif and served 2 desserts. No PDBs offered? All in all, their soft product does not look bad in the post-COVID environment. Hopefully they can continue to recover and restore a stronger long-haul product in the future.

    Thanks again for sharing and welcome to the site!

    (P.S. In the future, it is easier to read if the text is above the pictures)

  • Comment 615461 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6105 Comments

    Hi there, thanks for sharing your first report here with us and welcome! Nice to see a review on PAL as there aren't many out there, especially since the pandemic.
    That old A321 cabin has definitely seen better days, but reasonably comfortable and spacious for a 3h flight. Catering looks decent for that length flight.
    It's understandable that tablets aren't handed out in J anymore since the pandemic--and no idea if they'll return. Luckily there is still streaming IFE to personal device. BYOD IFE has become pretty standard in the US and Europe, where no IFE at all on regional flights is pretty common, but I understand that in Asia, it's pretty disappointing considering that most international flights have seat-back IFE.
    Like NGO85 mentioned, it's easier to follow along a review with the text above a photo, especially when they're in portrait mode.

    Looking forward to seeing the A350 J review and again, welcome to Flight-Report!

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