Storyteller Leonie checked in to a flight from Brisbane to Manila with Philippine airlines in Business Class to check it out. Here is her verdict.
The Route: Brisbane to Manila (PR222)
The aircraft: Airbus 321-200neo
Duration: 8 hours
Frequency: Five times weekly ex BNE direct
Check-in: Efficient and seamless. Business guests have dedicated check-in and boarding, 35 kgs of baggage and access to the Qantas Business Lounge. While peak time for BNE departures, we whizzed through security and immigration and were through to departures in minutes. The new Lotte Duty Free store has experienced and helpful staff to show you the best specials, advice on products and may slip you a discount card. Don’t miss the 100-bottle whisky tasting bar on the way through – ask Shane for the Christmas Cake Whisky.
The cabin and seat: Stepping onto a single aisle long-haul aircraft is a new experience for many international travellers, however the configuration of the Business cabin featuring 12 seats in 2 x 2 layout provides spacious full-flat seats, privy screens, and double window vista for each double seat-pod. The upholstered seats are quite soft, cosy and comfortable. Plenty of nooks and shelves for storage and UBS charging ports. Cabin décor is subtle, clean and modern with grey and navy palate and furnishings. Passengers receive a pillow and blanket and smart navy blue leatherette compact with fuzzy socks, green mandarin lotion, lip balm and delicious and light citrus eau de toilette by Acca Kappa, as well as a pre-flight tipple of French champagne, sparkling water or orange juice.
Food: Following a zingy little appetiser of duck breast with sun dried tomatoes and pesto on mini toast. Goat’s cheese with walnut and pear, the lunch menu offered Western, Filipino or Asian options.
Entrée: Honey rubbed chicken breast on a bed of green mango salad and a generous wedge of lime for seasoning.
Main: A choice of pan-fried barramundi in sweet and sour, beef brisket in red wine sauce or, my choice, twice-cooked pork belly with oriental sauce and egg fried rice, which was tender, full of flavour and delicious. Salt and pepper do not arrive with your meal and must be requested.
Dessert: Walnut coffee gateau with chocolate creme anglaise, a small cheese platter or a tub of serendipity ice salted caramel ice-cream, which topped off my meal nicely.
A second meal service is offered closer to landing with a turkey sandwich or antipasto plate on offer, both serviced with fresh fruit and a bread roll.
Drinks: French Champagne: Louis De Stacy Grand Cru that was fresh, crisp and fruity, with wines from France, US and South Australia. Cocktails, spirit, liqueurs, tea and coffee.
Entertainment: Large individual 15.5-inch screens with good clarity and a selection of 148 movies with a small selection of new releases, plus 120 TV shows and music. While headphones are supplied, they are not noise cancelling and the smart touch TV controller can be a little sensitive. Passengers do however get 30 MB free wifi in economy and a massive 100 MB free wifi for Business which was very reliable.
Service: Flawless. The multi-lingual crew were very attentive and strive to personalise your journey.
Disclosure: The writer travelled with assistance from Philippine Airlines.
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