$1210 J class round trip on PR MEL/SYD to S.E Asia

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jb747

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D7's "J" offering, if one can call it that, is a cheapie version though some say quite reasonable lie flat bed but one must pay for various extras, and it's lacking the privacy found on many airlines in J.

If they were free, it would be too much. I might be trying to be cheap, but I'm still going to pick and choose amongst the operators.
 

Melburnian1

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...Having lived in MNL in a previous life I generally found the service on PR to be good but most aircraft old and run down. If you can purchase J seats at these fares and get a refurbished plane it is a no brainer...

PR's fleet is more modern than it was, and thankfully at least on seven or eight of these A333s it is correcting the 'high density' (euphemism for 'cramped') Y seating, and as mentioned better beds in J and proper IFE throughout.

Some PR planes continue to lack at seat IFE which is annoying, but then even VA (domestically) lacks this on some aircraft. Meals in J on PR are generally good (ex Manila) to excellent (ex Australia.) Perhaps not quite to the standard of say SQ, but then one isn't paying the tariff per kilometre or nautical mile in J that SQ levies. I don't know why the (slight) difference in standards between the point of origin given that many Filipinos become chefs on cruise ships and also in Australia at some chain hotels.
 

clifford

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If they were free, it would be too much. I might be trying to be cheap, but I'm still going to pick and choose amongst the operators.

I'm not quite sure what you are saying here, but is it that you wouldn't fly D7 business even if it was free?

I've flown this several times and find it to be better than say, JQ or Scoot (I know that's not saying a great deal). At 2-2-2 it's quite good, particularly if you choose the bulkhead. I've recently booked seat 1A KUL-SYD for less than $400 AUD, which I think is quite hard to beat. I could have booked TG via BKK (using 30,000 UA miles) on one of their coughpy old 747's, but my recent experience with the hard and soft products on those aircraft between BKK and SYD really tipped the balance.

OK. so you don't get much in the way of complementary extras on D7, but I'm quite happy to bulk up on food and drink, etc, in the Plaza Premium lounge at KLIA2 (I'm a Diners Club member) and really, all I want to do on a night flight is sleep.

But each to their own.
 

Melburnian1

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I'm not quite sure what you are saying here, but is it that you wouldn't fly D7 business even if it was free?...

I gather it's a reference to what is apparently the poor training or lack of (flying hours) experience of D7 flight crew, and hence perceived lack of safety. Not sure if it's also a reference to any perceived lack of safety training for the cain crew.

More than one AFF member has referred to this. It is not anything to do with the cost of the fare, quality of the lie flat bed, catering, alcohol or seat allocation.
 

Mrmaxwell

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PR may have had low yields as MrMaxwell states (although fares are high at peak holiday times) but unlike for instance CX, PR appears (like 5J) to be profitable overall at present.

I am sure PR is profitable due to the strong loyalty of Filipinos and the booming economy in ASEAN business and tourism travel. Their DOM market must be making them a mint as fares are usually much more expensive than AUS DOM fares for the same distances - I'd assume the cost base would be much lower than an AUS airline.
 

Melburnian1

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...Their DOM market must be making them a mint as fares are usually much more expensive than AUS DOM fares for the same distances...

That may depend on how close to departure one books, but booking a few weeks in advance PR for domestic Philippines is usually cheaper than what VA or QF would be for the same distance in Australia. However PR is almost always more expensive than 5J (unsurprisingly.)
 

Melburnian1

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How much a bargain (A$1200 return to TPE in J ex MEL or SYD) this was is exemplified by the cheapest J return showing on the Matrix ITA site of A$2593 in August or September 2017 - one I found was with 3U (Sichuan Airlines.)

Effectively the PR fare was about 46 per cent of the cheapest normal J return fare that may also be a sale fare.

deeskick or anyone else, if you see a similar fare from PR in J again, please let us all know.
 

N860CR

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Booked a SYD-HKG quick getaway for just over $1200. Picked HKG as the connection was the best, 3 hours on the way over and 1 hour on the way back.

Seems to be the A330 with new suites on all legs.
 

Melburnian1

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Booked a SYD-HKG quick getaway for just over $1200. Picked HKG as the connection was the best, 3 hours on the way over and 1 hour on the way back....

N860CR, did you book this on Saturday 29 April or prior, or has the fare magically reappeared?

I thought like a lot of airlines that PR, even when it refurbishes aircraft, will generally use 'inferior' aircraft (such as its 'higher density', unrefurbished though modern A333s on short flights like MNL - HKG?

Remember if you miss the connection on the way back due to late running of the HKG - MNL sector, PR should (like most legacy airlines) pop you in a four star hotel overnight in MNL.
 

N860CR

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N860CR, did you book this on Saturday 29 April or prior, or has the fare magically reappeared?

I thought like a lot of airlines that PR, even when it refurbishes aircraft, will generally use 'inferior' on short flights like MNL - HKG?

Saturday night. Roughly 11:30 so perhaps just before the sale ended.

Config could well change, but I called PR to organise seats (couldn't do it online) and they said 1-2-1 for all flights.
 

N860CR

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Remember if you miss the connection on the way back due to late running of the HKG - MNL sector, PR should (like most legacy airlines) pop you in a four star hotel overnight in MNL.

Hopefully that won't be an issue. I've planned for a Sunday evening arrival.

Just noticed that PR seem to offer Rawsons Retreat in J... perhaps spirits will be the answer
 

Melburnian1

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The options presented to me for J class complimentary overnight (STPC) paid for by PR in Manila were Century Park Hotel (apparently owned by Lucio Tan's empire, the owner of PR) in Malate (which is near Manila Bay) or The Heritage (which is closer to the airport.) Breakfast but not other meals are included.

From looking at online reviews the former is better and may have some refurbished rooms, but both hotels appear to date from about the late 1980s if not a bit before. Apparently PR had previous contracts with Diamond Hotel Manila (more upmarket) but no more. Century Park Hotel may have some refurbished rooms. Both hotels are fairly close to excellent shopping centres such as Robinsons Place in Manila Bay area or sprawling Mall of Asia, but as always in cities like Jakarta or Manila, traffic can be a pain.

It's a characteristic of Asian businesses that they love to keep spending 'in house': chaebol in South Korea and this example in Philippines are two of many.

Irrespective, $1200 return to north Asia for refurbished, quality J beds is a bargain and nothing to be sneezed at.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Well - I'll find out all about the Heritage Hotel in a couple months time (flying TG). At AUD67 a night it was a bargain. Transfers not included for me, although I'd be interested to see the arrangements for STPC pax.
 

Melburnian1

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So this is confirmed that all your flights will be refurb'd aircraft?

I'll cross my fingers for you :D

Thanks Mrmaxwell.

The MNL - TPE - MNL sectors are just A321s from memory: nothing special. This special fare was not available on the two daily return MNL - TPE - MNL flights operated by CI and merely codeshared by PR; I had to be placed on the sole daily PR flight on which CI codeshares. Presumably that is to minimise revenue leakage.

My travel agent suggests that the MEL - MNL - MEL sectors are 'loaded' into his GDS as 1-2-1 seating in J that is the giveaway, as the existing A333 configuration is 2-2-2 in J.

Perhaps this airline will decide to be like QF often is and deliver a non-refurbished aircraft after promising the refurbished version. Just my luck...

I suspect this offer or similar will resurface in the next few months so let's keep eagle eyes awatch for it.
 

Melburnian1

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For the dates I am travelling to TPE, the cheapest return business class fare I can now find is A$3224 return on MH followed by A$3353 return on little known MF, with both having typically longer connections en route from MEL to TPE than PR does.

This underscores what a bargain the $1200 I paid was.

I just hope that in time this super great deal is repeated. PR's business class cabin on the non-USA or Canadian routes is rarely full, so there's scope for it to offer a fare that more than covers it costs and therefore delivers a small profit margin instead of flying an empty seat in J around.
 
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joyvee

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Interesting info on stopover policy from PR. Sydney office said stopover and transfers are available ONLY if booked by Australian travel agent or their office and only for flights originating in Australia.
I then checked about price match with local Flight Centre. Provided the web agency has an ABN they will price match. You now pay .9 per cent if you use visa debit card. No extra cost if you use bpay or direct debit so long as you can print out receipt at their office after using their computer.
 

Melburnian1

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Here are some photos of the first refurbished aircraft. Note the mention of MEL and SYD as the second and third destinations, in July and August 2017 respectively for what will become if I recall eight or seven refurbished A333s. Not sure if the remaining ones (making a total of 15) will be similarly treated. The ones being initially refurbished were most recently used to the Middle East in a basic configuration:

The Exciting Centennial of Philippine Aviation

The J class looks impressive, matching (or exceeding) some other airlines' offerings at a typically lower fare. Aircraft substitutions can happen at any time as many of us know only too well with any airline. The A333s used between MNL and MEL as of today (and occasionally used to SYD) have a rather strange (though quite reasonable) lie flat bed in J where the aisle seats (in 2-2-2) that are next to a window seat have the passenger sleeping on a lower level bunk; if you have the window, you sleep raised up in more a classic arrangement, presumably so one can step over the occupier of the aisle seat. I've only ever travelled when the aisle seat was empty. These aircraft will I think be transferred to the Middle East routes out of MNL.

Good to also see PR finally installing seatback IFE even in Y which to date it's only had on a few B773ERs. Seatback entertainment units just add 'something' to a flight (not just extra weight!) that makes it a more pleasant experience. Individual iPads are no substitute.
 
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