We keep on hearing of airlines adding and adding flights to the US. Between the strong US economy and the growth in developing aviation markets, airlines have been able to launch flights all over. We have seen airlines launch flights mainly to Europe, but there have been a few hints of flights to other parts of the world. A part of the world that has experienced fast-paced growth in aviation is Asia. Mainly China headlines new airlines, such as the new Hong Kong Airlines flights to LAX. One newcomer to the news is Philippine Airlines (PAL). Their CEO has a plan for Philippine Airlines US expansion, although it is a bit odd.
Where does PAL Fly Now?
Currently, Philippine Airlines flies to four destinations in North America from Manila. They fly to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto and New York via Vancouver. The airline has fifth freedom rights to board passengers solely from JFK to Vancouver. They fly these routes with their 777-300ERs, which have Business and Economy. The airline has fitted their Mabuhay Business class with angled flat seats, which is weird to me because the aircraft are fairly new. Besides that, the airline has a fleet of A330s and old A340s. The airline has ordered more 777s and A350, which they are set to begin receiving by the end of 2018.
The airline recently announced their intention to fly non-stop from Manila to Toronto, this will be one of the longest flights operated by a 777. The airline also plans to start direct flights to JFK when they receive their A350s. So, where does this leave Vancouver? In an interesting turn of events, PAL’s CEO intends to fly from Vancouver to Houston and Chicago. There aren’t any fifth freedom routes from Chicago, and the only one from Houston is Singapore Airlines’ flight to Manchester. I can only imagine these routes would be feasible if PAL begins codesharing with an airline based in both cities. The logical partner would be United, as they have hubs at ORD and IAH. The airline also plans on beginning direct flights to Seattle by the end of 2018.
PAL Logic and What to Expect
One Mile at a Time’s Lucky mentions that there aren’t as many people of Filipino descent in Illinois and Texas than California, for example. Yet, I can see the logic of PAL flying to Houston. There is a large Asian American population in Houston, and PAL consistently offers reasonable fares to Asia. The airline could then connect those passengers to South East Asia, China or any other country in the region. I don’t know Chicago that well, but it seems that the same logic could be applied.
If you are planning on flying with PAL, the only aircraft interior we know at this point is the 777. Their A330s don’t fly to the US, and their LAX flight is operated by a 777 or an outdated A340. The A340s have old recliner seats or angled flat seats. Their 777s have angled flat seats, as mentioned above. The key will be what seat will the airline use on their A350s. Some of their A330s have 2x2x2 fully flat seats, their newer A330-300s have the Vantage XL seats. These are the same seats Qantas has on their A330s. The question that remains is whether PAL will install these seats on their A350s, or pick a different option. For a review of PAL, see this review here.
It’s good to see PAL add flights. The airline has long had a bad reputation for offering a poor onboard product. If the airline installs new seats on their A350s and 777s, they could be a very competitive airline Their prices are hard to beat. I am curious to see if/when does the airline announce service to Houston and Chicago. It will probably be after the airline has some form of agreement with United. If not, they may partner with American and fly to Dallas instead of Houston. It will be a few months before any of this happens, however.
What do you think? What do you make of these new PAL routes? Do you think the airline will be successful in these routes, or will they require heavy codesharing? Let us know!
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H/T: One Mile at a Time