Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines are the two biggest air carriers in the Philippines, offering both domestic and international flights. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages which clients have to know about.
If you have special preferences when flying, be sure to check the details first and ask frequent flyers about their experiences. Here are some of the main differences between the two carriers.
Time of departure and arrival.
Most people confirm that Cebu Pacific has an edge over Philippine Airlines in terms of complying with flight schedules. Cebu Pacific is more determined to depart and arrive as planned or even earlier. Should there be delays, these usually take only a few minutes. Philippine Airlines or PAL has at times been tagged by unsatisfied customers as “Plane Always Late” for failing to leave on time.
There are times when flight schedules are postponed several hours later. Worse, passengers are not notified when flights will resume. In fairness to these airlines, technical difficulties and weather conditions are common causes of flight delays. Air worthiness and safe travel has to be the highest priority over prompt flight.
Aircraft condition and quality.
Philippine Airlines scores better in this area since it constantly upgrades its fleet and acquires new state-of-the-art equipment and aircraft every few years or so. Cebu Pacific is known for using old planes which explain the lower fares. Cebu Pacific also has more frequent minor troubles probably due to the deteriorating condition of its fleet. People who like to fly on a 747 or 777 can only do so with Philippine Airlines, as Cebu Pacific has the smaller DC-10s and A320 aircraft.
Accommodations and in-flight experience.
The loyal customers of Philippine Airlines boast of having comfortable seats with much larger leg room. Cebu Pacific planes seem to have been customized to fit more passengers, so tall individuals will always have problems when it comes to leg room. Philippine Airline airplanes also have special in-flight features like LCD television screens, a radio and free snacks on board. Cebu Pacific sells its snacks and souvenirs and share safety and precaution tips the traditional way through demonstrations by flight attendants. Passengers report that PAL planes are cooler inside and they get to read newspapers and magazines over a cup of coffee for free.
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines are tied in this aspect since their staffs are reportedly professional, courteous and efficient. Flight attendants of Cebu Pacific are generally younger and wear casual uniform such as shorts or khaki pants and a polo shirt. PAL flight attendants wear formal clothes with scarves for a more elegant look. Cebu Pacific takes on a modern approach when serving its customers by dancing to music while performing the in-flight safety and precaution practices and hosting a few games during the trip.
Philippine Airlines lead in terms of airport facilities. It has more seats for passengers, has bigger space and state-of-the-art features. The Cebu Pacific airport terminal is small and in deteriorating condition although a new terminal which offers newer facilities, has been opened a few years ago.
Philippine Airlines is the premier airline in the Philippines when traveling abroad while Cebu Pacific is the preferred carrier when flying domestically. Cebu Pacific wins in terms of price, but will charge for extra luggage. There are daily flights from Manila to different domestic locations. Philippine Airline flights are more limited. Cebu Pacific also offers frequent big discounts for advanced bookings. However, passengers have noticed that extra charges can accumulate for add-on features such as food, seats, luggage, etc.
Depending on your particular preferences, both airlines have their pros and cons. Learning about the flight schedules and availing of big discounts can help you save more and have the best time.