PAL read­ies cheaper in­au­gu­ral A350 fares to New York, Lon­don

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - VIC­TOR C. AGUSTIN

Philip­pine Air­lines will not only field brand-new A350 planes for the non-stop flights to Lon­don and New York in late Oc­to­ber, but it is also ready­ing com­pet­i­tive in­au­gu­ral fares to the two ci­ties dur­ing the pro­mo­tional pe­riod.

A check with fare com­par­i­son web­site skyscan­ner. com on Wed­nes­day showed that PAL was quot­ing about P181,000 for a Manila-New York round-trip busi­ness class fare for its in­au­gu­ral flight on Oct. 29.

Even a longer du­ra­tion “busi­ness promo” fare that is valid up to a March 10, 2019 re­turn to Manila was quoted in the PAL web­site for $4,056, or about P218,000 at the cur­rent ex­change rate.

In con­trast, Cathay Pa­cific via Hong Kong was quoted about P276,000 for busi­ness class pas­sage; Eva Air via Taipei, about P206,000; Asiana via Seoul, about P179,00; and All Nip­pon Air­ways via Tokyo, about P193,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the grapevine, the Lu­cio Tan air­line will also field A350s for the daily flights between Manila and Lon­don be­gin­ning Oct. 28, re­plac­ing the Boe­ing 777-300ER that cur­rently ser­vice the non­stop route.

PAL’s A350-launch busi­ness class fare to the UK cap­i­tal, at un­der P150,000 com­pares well with other air­lines that of­fer daily, but with one-stopover trips to Lon­don out of Manila, like Cathay Pa­cific’s (about P191,000 through third-party on­line travel agen­cies), Turk­ish Air­lines (about P135,000), Emi­rates (about P132,000, but with an 8.5hour lay­over in Dubai), and Air China via Bei­jing (about P159,000).

PAL’s keen pric­ing was also ev­i­dent even for the same busi­ness class fare orig­i­nat­ing from New York.

Ac­cord­ing to skyscan­, busi­ness class pas­sage for New York-Manila and back for the same travel dates costs around P200,000 from third-party web­sites and to as low as P160,000 for a lim­ited num­ber of seats from the PAL web­site.

Even the higher P 200,000 PAL quote is a bar­gain com­pared with Cat hay Pa­cific’ s P 278,000, Eva Air’ s P 254,000, Asiana’s P233,000, and ANA’s P211,000.

In ad­di­tion to the com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, the flag car­rier is also adding a fifth fre­quency a week for the Manila-New York ser­vice from Nov. 4 to March 9 next year in or­der to catch the ba­lik­bayan travel wave for the Yule­tide and win­ter hol­i­days.

The new pre­mium econ­omy fare for the same route will cost un­der P90,000 on PAL, com­pared to about P135,000 on Cathay Pa­cific, and about P76,000 on Eva Air with its 4.5-hour lay­over in Taipei.

As to pas­sen­ger com­fort, the A350-900 will of­fer flatbed seat­ing in the busi­ness class sec­tion con­fig­ured 1-2-1, giving each seat a di­rect aisle ac­cess, in con­trast with the 2-3-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion in the B777s that will be re­placed in the Lon­don and New York routes.

Even the econ­omy class will gain some re­lief, as the seat­ing will be con­fig­ured 3-3-3 against the 3-4-3 on the B777-300ER, for a to­tal of 241 seats against 328 in the Boe­ing air­craft.

Air­bus will de­liver the first A350 to PAL on July 14, Bastille Day, the first of the six A350-900s that the flag car­rier or­dered from the Toulouse head­quar­ters.

Ac­cord­ing to the grapevine, PAL pres­i­dent Jaime Bautista has de­cided to field its first A350 to the busy Mani­laHong Kong route, as well as to other re­gional des­ti­na­tions be­gin­ning July 20, be­fore com­mis­sion­ing the plane to the New York route.

And for air­line buffs, the forth­com­ing 16-hour flight to New York, at 8,520 miles, would make the PAL flight the long­est non­stop out of JFK Air­port, ac­cord­ing to the points­

The Manila-New York flight would also nose out the cur­rent 8th long­est non­stop ser­vice in the world, which USA To­day listed as the At­lanta-Jo­han­nes­burg ser­vice, at 8,439 miles, op­er­ated by Delta Air­lines.

E-mail: mon­ey­gor­ound. manila@ya­

Busi­ness class seat on A350


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