Flying Philippine Airlines ‘Love Bus’ A350 to Manila

A Philippine Airlines A350 parked at the terminal.
Photo Credit: Indy Udol

BANGKOK – This flight will be my first-ever flight on Philippine Airlines, and my first-ever trip to the Philippines! I must say I am very impressed with both the soft and the hard products of this ‘exotic’ airline.

Philippine Airlines flies thrice daily between Manila and the Thai capital, Bangkok, and I scored the second last flight out of Bangkok departing early afternoon.

The Bangkok-Manila is very often, flown by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Thai Airways and Philippines Air Asia.

Check-in time for the flight at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi famous architecture design.

Now boarding flight PR731 to Manila.

My flight to Manila was “The Love Bus”, the A350-900 has the registration of RP-C3508. The aircraft was delivered to Philippines Airlines 3 years ago, with a manufacturing number 303. 

Boarding commenced – I was greeted by a large Skytrax 4-Star Airline. Back in 2018 when the airline was awarded the 4-star title, the airline was mocked for being too proud of this achievement. 

My seat is 63A! The seat was very comfortable and had an impressive seat pitch and width. Im 179cm tall and I still had plenty of freedom to shake my legs and move around. 

Hands down, the Philippines Airlines has the most creative, joyous and non-conventional safety video in Asia ever. I am now getting some taste of the Philippines as being a warm and friendly country, already reflected by the warmth of the cabin crew upon boarding. 

We begin our taxiing towards Runway 01R. Sad to see Thai A380 (forever) on idle.

Despite seeing a couple of retired Thai A380s grounded, Bangkok is becoming lovely again in terms of A380 traffic. 

01R departure is my favourite, as you have the entire view of the airport. I spotted another EK A380. 

The meal service was amazing and delicious. I opted for fried fish with vegetables. For side dishes, it was a Filipino salad.  For dessert, we were given a marble cake which was also buttery and filing. 

Wind down service, I worked a bit on my computer and watched a movie in the meantime. Movie selection on this flight was rather poor, compared to other legacy carriers like Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.

Nevertheless, it was enough to kill 3 and a half hours.  

I went to the aft bathroom and to my surprise, the lavatory was broken. There was a makeshift ‘flush’ which was a large water bottle to flush your business down the loo. Not so fun and convenient. 

We met with some light turbulent as we departed the coast of Vietnam.

3 hours elapsed very quickly, and now we are banking towards Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Manila bay at night. 

The Love Bus sticker up close! 

Arriving in Manila was not a great experience. Some passengers did not fill in the electronic health declaration before boarding the aircraft, which caused a choke point after deplaning. 


Philippines Airlines is truly a 4 star airline. The food was great, its hard product was modern, sleek, modern and clean and the cabin crew was second to none.

The crew truly represented the people of the Philippines and delivered an excellent job of pampering the passengers. The flight was totally full which caused a bit of a delay in meal service, but the taste made up for it. 

Philippines Airlines is a popular choice for originating travellers in Thailand connecting to South Korea, Japan, North America and North Korea. What could be improved is the ground service at NAIA Airport, as the airport was chaotic and small. 

By Indy Udol 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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