In the first major retrofitting of its
Boeing 747-400 fleet in years, Philippine Airlines has launched a comprehensive, P1.8-billion renovation of the aircraft’s cabin,
bannered by its reconfiguration from a tri-class to bi-class layout.
Other highlights include the installation of state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems, new business-class and economy-class seats, and the
infusion of a modern look that aims to emulate the beautiful coastal areas of the Philippines.
Late last month, the first of PAL’s four
Boeing 747-400s to undergo the cabin-upgrade program was delivered to the flag carrier and immediately put
back into service on the trans-Pacific sector.
The upgrade is being progressively introduced into the
Boeing 747-400 fleet and by the second half of 2009, all four units will be sporting the new
Entering the newly refurbished cabin, longtime PAL passengers would be forgiven for thinking they stepped into a fresh-out-of-the-factory
aircraft and not their trusty long-range workhorse.
For starters, they’ll notice a difference in the cabin layout: Mabuhay (Business) Class has been expanded to cover a larger area, occupying the
main forward section and the entire upper deck of the 747-400.
There are now 42 seats in Mabuhay Class, 10 more seats than in the old layout. Fiesta (Economy) Class remains at 383 seats. But far more
important is what’s in the seats – bigger, wider and loaded with the latest features, they are a world apart from the previous variant.
Indeed, the focal point of the new Mabuhay Class cabin is the luxurious “cocoon” seats supplied by Recaro of Germany. The new seat has a
fixed privacy shell that enables the passenger to enjoy utmost privacy while an ergonomic design transforms it into a lie-flat bed.
With a generous pitch of 60 inches (nearly a foot longer than in the previous design), the seats are adjustable to a variety of positions at the
passenger’s option, including a full-flat recline.
Each seat is equipped with its own programmable position controls with memory, individual directional LED reading light, oversized tray table
and bottle holder.
Fiesta Class passengers will likewise benefit from the technology – their new seats, also from Recaro, are ergonomically designed, with
new-generation, thinner seatbacks. These provide bigger “living” space and enhance passengers’ comfort.
The entire passenger cabin is equipped with the i5000 inflight entertainment system supplied by Thales of France. The i5000 is a fully digital
system that enables both Mabuhay and Fiesta Class passengers to choose from a full library of video and audio content.
Each seat is outfitted with personal television with Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) feature that enables passengers to start, pause, rewind, and
fast-forward any of the video programs at any time using the touch-screen controls or the passenger control units.
The AVOD platform gives passengers a wide range of digital on-demand entertainment options – they can individually select from a variety of
digital games and entertainment programs anytime.
The selection includes 18 of the latest Hollywood movies, a Filipino film, eight popular television programs, 12 radio channels and 50 CD
Each passenger can also create his own audio playlist from the collection of CD albums. On-screen instructions are available in English,
Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Digital games include Tetris, Bejeweled, Galaktor, Reversi, Bookworm, Solitaire, Head-to-Head Chess and the inflight Trivia Challenge.
Noise-canceling headsets and in-seat power for laptops are provided in Mabuhay Class.
The Mabuhay Class cabin is equipped with 15.4-inch, seatback-mounted monitors and 10.6-inch, in-arm monitors, while Fiesta Class seats come
with 9-inch monitors.
Tying everything together are enhanced cabin aesthetics and an interior design that evokes the tranquil seas and sandy beaches of the
Philippines – one of the signature elements of the flag carrier’s service.
Mabuhay Class seats are outfitted in plush, deep-blue upholstery accented with touches of silvery-copper threads that simulate reflections of
light on water.
Fiesta Class seats feature the same undulating wave-pattern design in a blue, aqua and terracotta palette.
The relaxed, tropical feel extends to the front and back ends of the cabin where interiors, curtains, carpets and surfaces are in various shades of
blue, white, gray, silver and tan.
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