Philippine Airlines: Staying Connected


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The netizens of the world’s social-media capital may now take—and share—their selfies at 30,000 feet.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country’s flag carrier, recently introduced its newest long-range aircraft, the Airbus A330-330 HGW (high gross weight) jet, as part of the company’s ongoing fleet-modernization program. The plane offers GSM (Global System for Mobile) and Wi-Fi capabilities midflight through its “iN AiR” connectivity feature.

“The advent of the biclass A330 HGW completes our menu of new product offerings,” PAL President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said. “This sophisticated aircraft is aimed at the discriminating business segment of the market, an important part of PAL’s customer base.”

The aircraft’s passengers may avail themselves of Internet access onboard via Wi-Fi at the rates of $5 for 30 minutes, $10 for an hour, $20 for two hours, and at $40, they can stay connected throughout the flight to upload a snapshot or check e-mail. Also, calls and text messaging, which were once not allowed in-flight, are now also available via GSM. “We are now entering a new generation of in-flight entertainment,” Ang said. Aside from offering precious in-flight connectivity, this mammoth of a plane can ferry 368 passengers—323 in economy, 27 in the more spacious premium economy, and 18 in luxurious business class. The airbus will serve flights to Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Haneda, Nagoya and Seoul.

Plus, what makes the flight experience even more unique and special in this aircraft is the new wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE), marking a first in the Philippines airline market.

“Through wireless technology, we are able to enhance and personalize our IFE offerings, and deliver these straight to the passenger’s own gadget,” Ang exclaimed.

Passengers can now stream videos, movies, music and television shows using their smartphones, laptops and tablets in-flight. Had your gadgets checked-in? No worries, as PAL even lends iPads to its passengers for free.

Beyond the tech goodness that PAL now offers, the business-class passenger can now also enjoy some shut-eye as if he or she were snoozing away in his or her own room, what with the sophisticated and ultra-modern Equinox 3D seats of this premium cabin class, which can be transformed into a bed with the click of a button.

The V-shaped twin-seat design extends to 6 feet long, with the window seat elevating just above the arm rest and the aisle seat just above the floor for better slumber experience on air, and comes with the full range of features sought by business-class passengers: electrical leg rest with ottoman; retractable privacy divider; in-seat power supply; USB port; glass holder; reading light; coat hook; electrical seat controls; and ample storage space to keep belongings within reach.

This topnotch design is by French firm Sogerma, debuting the technology first to PAL. The French company has been providing state-of-the-art business-class seat designs to major airlines, including Emirates, Etihad Airways and China Southern Airlines.

Michael Tan, one of PAL’s board members and son of company owner Lucio Tan, said there are six more A330s set to arrive as part of the company’s fleet-modernization program.