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Fly With The Best: Philippine Airlines To Bring 4-Star Rating Up To 5 Stars By 2020

There are only 10 airlines in the world that have been marked with the prestigious 5-star airline rating—and Philippine Airlines (PAL) hopes to be the 11th in two more years.


PAL Express President Bonifacio Sam, PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista, PAL Chairman and CEO Lucio Tan, PAL EVP and Chief Administrative Officer Stewart Lim


This year, the country’s national carrier, PAL, was awarded a 4-star certification by Skytrax, a London-based international air transport rating organization that carries out comprehensive airport and airline audits and ranks airlines worldwide for staff service standards and product quality. The Skytrax Certified Airline Star Ratings, awarded since 1999, are internationally recognized as a global benchmark of airline standards.

This recognition is a historic moment in Philippine aviation as PAL is the first and currently the only 4-starred local airline operating in the country.


Jaime Bautista and Jessica Abaya when they received the 4-star plaque during the Skytrax Presentation Ceremony in Singapore


In a statement, Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said, “Philippine Airlines achieved this coveted rating after Skytrax conducted a rigorous audit across the airline’s inflight and on-ground services, and noted major enhancement on its end-to-end passenger experience and distinct whole-hearted service called Buong Pusong Alaga. The airline industry is a business where nothing changes quickly; it’s a business that requires a lot of investment. Which is why it’s a great pleasure to see how Philippine Airlines introduced not just one change, but a complete raft of changes across product and service.”

PAL started its ambition to improve its products and services in 2016—and in just two years, they have successfully reached higher skies, so to speak. They have overhauled their services, phased out many of their aircrafts, introduced new in-flight menu and products, bettered their check-in and baggage services, and improved so much more of their amenities and facilities.

But they’re not yet done. PAL not only plans to deliver and sustain its 4-star rating with more projects and innovations. They want to be join the best and earn the coveted 5-star rating from Skytrax by 2020.


New in-flight entertainment across all classes


“Philippine Airlines has become very obsessed with our customers—obsessed in the sense that we want to deliver their desired experience,” said Jessica Abaya, PAL chief customer experience officer. “So when we focus on delivering what they want, what they desire, in the process, we will be improving our end-to-end customer journey experience. And as a result of that, we will meet the higher standards of Skytrax for five stars.”

The two-year deadline is a bit tight but PAL has more tricks up their sleeves.


More luxurious Business Class seats


Better Air Fleet

The overhaul has been aggressive but the efforts paid off. PAL now has youngest air fleet in Asia, composed of the freshly purchased airbuses: six A321neos for medium-range routes and four Airbus A350-900s, which will feature PAL’s most luxurious cabins to date.

In less technical terms, this means that PAL’s new airbuses will deliver better service with prettier and comfier aircrafts. No need to pull out your laptop or your smartphone during your flight. All Business class and Economy class seats on these new planes will come with in-flight entertainment, perfect for medium- to long-haul flights. And if those Economy seats have been too uncomfortable for you, Economy seats in the new A321neo will feature wider legroom. No need to pay extra to get that front-row seat!


New Routes

With the entrance of the new aircrafts are the new routes that PAL will be servicing. A non-stop Manila-Brisbane route will be opened as early as May this year, and a non-stop service from Manila to New York will be offered by October. Routes to New Delhi, Mumbai, Sapporo, Seattle, Chicago, and a point in Western Europe are all in the works, as well, to expand PAL’s already expansive destination hub.


Upgrading The Mabuhay Lounge

A new, two-story, 1,300-sqm Mabuhay Lounge will be rising in Terminal 2 to bring luxurious facilities to resting or transiting travelers. Those who are not flying Business Class or are members of the Mabuhay Miles frequent flyer program will have access to a lounge soon, too, as a paid lounge is also being constructed. Other PAL lounges across the Philippines will also be renovated and expanded.


Competitive Prices

Despite all of the exciting new products and services that PAL is set to bring to every passenger’s travel experience, PAL makes sure it delivers the best value for their patrons’ money. PAL’s 4-star rating means that it’s world-class, premium service across all of their flights and seats—whether you’re flying Business, Premium Economy, or Budget Economy. That’s paying essentially the same price for the best service in town.

Filipinos and people all over the world are traveling more in the recent years and PAL has benefited immensely from this worldwide trend in travel. But it’s not just them; passengers will be benefiting, as well, since more flyers means more competitive prices.

“Last year, we carried almost 15 million passengers, 1.5 million more than the passengers that we carried in 2016. Our load factor is even higher by 2 percent compared with 2016. We flew to more destinations, we flew more frequencies,” said PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista. “This year, we will expand to around 16.5 million. We’re growing in the domestic, we’re growing in the regional, we’re growing in the long-haul…[But] rates are going even lower.”

As the national carrier, PAL’s development is a reflection of the country’s development in terms of providing excellent service, a dedicated staff, and greater confidence in our own local brand. And we are cheering behind PAL as they continue developing and revolutionizing the way we Filipinos fly.

“This is a big win for the Philippines,” said PAL Chairman and CEO Dr. Lucio Tan. “We are elated by this recognition which is a victory for the more than seven thousand members of the Philippine Airlines family. Our achievement is the country's achievement and we share this with all Filipinos around the globe.”