Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is Philippine Airlines Now a "semi" Budget Airline?

Asia's first airline and the country's premiere carrier Philippine Airlines has now what it calls EconoLight Class. Evidently it is a lower service class than what me and other are used to in economy class as it offers No-Frills service to its regional destinations for as low as $48++ and as low as 488 pesos all-in for domestic destinations. It is good that airfares continue to go down despite the present situation of the travel industry.

I am just a little bothered with the restrictions of availing this type of fare. According to the website the following are the fare conditions for EconoLight Class for regional destinations (Bangkok, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei):

1. Free baggage allowance is 15 kilos (the usual for Economy Class is 20 kilos)
2. No meals (only water for domestic flights) (free soda, juice, water, coffee, tea & peanuts for international sectors)
3. No headsets
4. Infants and children travelling with adults holding EconoLight tickets will also have no amenities (No Bassinets/No Milk)
5. Not applicable for passengers who require special handling
6. No advance seat reservations
7. No Mabuhay Lounge Access regardless of membership level
8. Tickets are non-refundable, non-rebookable and non-reroutable

What??? No meals? As EconoLight passengers will be seated on the last row of the aircraft then I just might as well get used to just inhaling the smell of the newly heated meals in the galley which is only a few feet away from my seat for nearly 4 hours when I go to Jakarta because I am not entitled to a meal. At least you can munch that free peanuts all you want. Even if you may be not a fan of airline food, a box of bland piping hot chicken looks so much yummy than the ham sandwich bought from the airport concessionaire and has been in your carry-on for 6 hours already.

This EconoLight Class are for able bodied passengers only. It's so sad to know that my 84-year old grandfather and my cousin inflicted with polio cannot get cheap tickets for EconoLight Class because of their physical condition as they will have a hard time walking up to the last row of an aircraft. They should be contented with their regular Economy Class airfare.

EconoLight seats when utilizing an Airbus A330 aircraft for some flights to/from Cebu, Davao and selected regional destinations

Another thing, EconoLight Class are not for diabetics unless you want to starve for 3-4 hrs. when you go to Jakarta, Singapore or Bangkok. On the bright side, passengers can bring their own food. I love picnics 30,000 feet above sea level!

I'm sure that passengers don't care not having Philippine Airlines facilities and services when they buy a Cebu Pacific ticket because they know that they will ALL receive the same services and treatment inside a Cebu Pacific airplane. That is why there is also a curtain separating the business class passengers with the rest of the cattle class so that the airline can make their pampering service discreetly from the rest of the economy class. Maybe there will be also a curtain which would separate the EconoLight Class passenger in the last row of the airlplane in able for them not to smell the ubiquitous airline food being served to non-EconoLight passengers.

If passengers want a budget airline airfare with budget airline services and treatment then why should they fly with Philippine Airlines which in the end will only serve them as if they are riding a Cebu Pacific airplane? And in the first place not all EconoLight airfares are lower than Cebu Pacific airfares.

Well, it all boils down to this... would I try this EconoLight thing? Yes, why not, moreover if the EconoLight airfare is more competitive than Cebu Pacific and with better time of arrival/departure in my intended destination. I don't also mind seating on the last row of the aircraft. Many even believe that the safest part of an aircraft during an emergency landing or other situations is on the tail end. That is also why the black box is located at the back because there is where it can most likely to survive an accident. I would definitely try this EconoLight thing in one of my future flights but definitely not in any flight more than 2 hours.


Lawstude said...

hmmm. think i'll pass. not because there are no meals (cebu pacific domestic has no meals) but because it some kinda makes me feel less taken care off.

Anonymous said...

its okay with me as long as i get it cheap and i arrive in one piece... weeeee...

Ces said...

I don't mind trying the EconoLight either. It doesn't matter on what class will you be sitting. You'll still land on the same ground.

kegler747 said...

@ lawstude: For me, if its only a domestic flight I won't probably mind seating at the very back of the plane

kegler747 said...

@ carlota: Good point! This EconoLight class has its own target market.

kegler747 said...

@ ces: I can't wait to try this soon.

ALiNe said...

At least mura :D

saptulura2dy said...

saptulura2dy -> just a message.. hehhe.. look at berts multiply ung trip nya sa isabela kapangaln ng blog mo hehehhee

the donG said...

until when is this?

kegler747 said...

@ the dong: This EconoLight fare is available all year round

Me, the islands and the world said...

ako, no probs. sanay naman akong magutom hehehe! btw, nakita kong punta ka ng Gen San. You try going to Sarangani Highlands kung di ka pa nakapunta, very nice. I have yet to post the pics I took baka this weekend.

Anonymous said...

akala ko ba it was all about the experience . . . so now we are to enjoy the experience of being put in a third-class section at the back of the bus? Sa bagay, 3rd world country pa naman ito.