The plane hasn’t even “come to a complete stop,” but already one can see people fishing out their phones and surreptitiously turning them on. Although the rules have been relaxed somewhat and one doesn’t have to wait until deplaning to get connected, it just shows how dependent we’ve become on our gadgets.
In its bid to keep customers happy and stay attuned with the times, Philippine Airlines (PAL) recently started the latest phase of its fleet modernization program. Last month, it announced the delivery of its newest long-range aircraft, the Airbus A330-300 High Gross Weight Jet.
The aircraft is a two-class cabin—economy and business class—with a subsection, premium economy, that offers wider legroom. But the feature that technophiles will most appreciate is the airline’s inAir app.
While the app will allow passengers to stream preselected movies and TV shows on their personal gadgets like their smartphones, tablets or laptops, they will also have the option to pay for wireless connection, from $5 for 30 minutes to $40 for the duration of the flight.
PAL president Ramon Ang told lifestyle reporters that with this new technology, the airline can do away with the in-seat, personal monitors.
“The A330 jets are thus lighter and more efficient. Eventually, the personal monitors on all the planes will be removed. At the moment, however, only the A330 jets offer this technology,” Ang said, adding that Singapore Air was the first to do this.
The A330 jets are designed to accommodate a total of 368 passengers: 323 in economy, 27 in premium economy and 18 in business class. Business-class passengers can relax in seats that convert into full-flat beds. At the push of a button, the seat stretches out to a bed measuring over 6 feet long and nearly 2 feet wide.
“It’s like sleeping in your own bed at home,” Ang said.
The seats in economy are also notable for their unique mechanism, where the seat pan lifts and slides forward as the seat back reclines. This novel design optimizes passenger space and comfort.
These economy-class seats have an industry-standard pitch of 30 to 31 inches, while those in premium economy are roomier at 34 inches.
“The arrival of the bi-class A330 HGW completes our menu of new product offerings. This aircraft is aimed at the discriminating business segment of the market, an important part of PAL’s customer base,” Ang said in a statement.