Philippine Airlines A321neo Business Class Review from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Manila (MNL)


Philippine Airlines received a number of Airbus A321s just before the pandemic, and the plan was/is to use them for their high-margin business class network to/from the Australian east coast.

The planes have about the range to fly from Manila to most Australian cities non-stop, and they are equipped with elongated seats. I was positively surprised to see the A321neo as a last minute gear swap for my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila.

Philippine Airlines sells fairly affordable fares in Asia in economy class and uses a fixed cash upgrade chart with very attractive prices (for a seat-bed of course)!


Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – Airport and Boarding Experience

Philippine Airlines uses the Plaza Premium Lounge at Kuala Lumpur Airport. At the time of my flight, the lounge was closed, and I ventured to Sama “Sama Express – The Airport Lounge” which is accessible via Priority Pass. The lounge is part of an airport hotel, and the lobby is more of an improvised airport lounge. However, there are hot dishes and a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were available.

Kuala Lumpur Airport is a sad shadow of the incredible transport hub it was just a few years ago. Air traffic and gate usage are likely about 20% of pre-pandemic levels, and most airport outlets are closed. There are few passengers and instead of trains there are buses. Everything works but looks more like an improved regional airport compared to the hub it gave off until 2018.

Boarding was perfectly on time, and this flight would be about half full in both economy and business class. The flight attendants were helpful and seemed extremely friendly.

Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – Takeoff and Flight Path

Despite a reputation for difficult flying conditions, I find Kuala Lumpur to be often very clear and free of turbulence. Kuala Lumpur also uses parallel takeoffs (both KLIA and KLIA2) with an assigned runway. We had a nice flight path north over downtown Kuala Lumpur and new construction around KL’s newest skyscraper “The Exchange”.

Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – The Reclining Seats

Philippine Airlines uses a business class reclining seat that you may remember from American Airlines A321T Business Class (Sharklets) in a 2-2 configuration. It allows minimal privacy only and direct aisle access only for passengers seated in the aisle seat. However, it goes into a fully extended position – something too few single-aisle aircraft offer.

The foot storage area is small and hard to stretch for a tall person, but it lays flat so I had no complaints!

Unfortunately, I slept through the entire lunch service and was unable to photograph the food service.

There was a typhoon coming just around the Manila area, and our flight path would become interesting enough to find an area of ​​stable air for the last hour of the flight.

Philippine Airlines Business Class Review – Conclusion

I was quite positively surprised by this flight. I expected little from Philippine Airlines business class, but the stretched product is great for a short-haul single-aisle aircraft. I can see myself spending 7-8 hours on it, although on longer flights the rather small width and legroom would get annoying. Philippine Airlines is one of the last ‘non-aligned’ carriers in Asia, but with such a strong performance, maybe they can join Skyteam or aworld soon.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t see the food being served, but now that’s a reason to try again 🙂

This post was sponsored by Mighty Travels


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