Philippine Airlines passengers in a couple of months will be able to call, text, tweet, email and surf the Internet while flying across Asia Pacific, Australasia and North America as the airlines becomes the first Philippine-based carrier to offer passengers both GSM and Wi-Fi Internet.
Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir, two services of Geneva-based OnAir–a global service provider of in-flight connectivity solutions–will be retrofitted on PAL’s Airbus A330-343s and Boeing B777-300ERs. The global GSM and Wi-Fi services will be launched by mid-year.
The flag carrier is in the midst of an aggressive fleet expansion program, recently signing a US$7-billion deal to acquire 64 brand-new single-aisle and wide-body aircraft from Airbus, with more scheduled for acquisition.
“As the country’s leading airline, we must enable our passengers to stay in touch during flights. Connectivity is an absolute requirement for today’s travelers,” PAL president and COO Ramon Ang said.
PAL is confident it can provide consistent connectivity on all flights using the A330 and B777 because of OnAir’s unique coverage. The company has regulatory approvals from over 90 countries, as well as roaming agreements with more than 350 mobile network operators. Also, OnAir uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband network, the only one designed specifically to provide worldwide satellite coverage.
“Passengers use of the inflight GSM and Wi-Fi networks mirrors behavior on the ground, which is why having both is so important,” said Ian Dawkins, OnAir CEO. “When both GSM and Wi-Fi are available, over 90 percent of passengers use GSM.” PAL is OnAir’s fiftieth customer.
There is no need to enter credit card details, Dawkins said, because the costs are included in the passenger’s mobile phone bill, as with international roaming. “People typically use the Wi-Fi for business. It is more suitable for heavier email and Internet usage. We give passengers the choice,” he added.
Huge domestic seat sale
Meanwhile, PAL and domestic partner carrier PAL Express launched their first joint promotion–a “grand seat sale” that slashes fares by as much as 75 percent on all PAL domestic routes and all PAL Express services out of Manila.
Going on sale from March 22 until April 22, 2013, the promo drops base fares to a flat rate of P360 for one-way, economy-class travel on PAL flights between Manila and Laoag, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo and Tagbilaran, as well as between General Santos and Iloilo. For PAL flights between Manila and Davao, and Manila-General Santos, the one-way promo fare is P686. These special fares are up to 75 percent cheaper than PAL’s lowest economy-class offers.
For business class, the promo cuts base fares to P3,600 for one-way travel on PAL flights between Manila and Laoag, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo and Tagbilaran, plus the Gen. Santos-Iloilo sector. On two PAL Mindanao routes, Manila-Davao and Manila-General Santos, the one-way promo fare is P4,399. These fares represent a markdown of as much as 50 percent off PAL’s lowest business-class rates on these routes.
PAL Express is offering a flat rate of P360 for one-way travel on flights between Manila and Busuanga, Legazpi, Masbate, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Tuguegarao, Calbayog, Catarman, Dumaguete, Kalibo, Roxas and Tacloban.
For one-way travel between Manila and seven Mindanao points – Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Dipolog, Ozamiz, Surigao and Zamboanga – the fare is P686.
PAL and PAL Express passengers with be served complimentary snacks, drinks, periodicals and other amenities typically dispensed by full-service carriers like PAL. The benefits of membership in Mabuhay Miles, PAL’s popular frequent-flyer program, have also been extended to PAL Express passengers.
Tickets bought on all promo fares are valid for travel from June 16 to October 15, 2013. Other terms and conditions on refunds and re-routing as approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) are also applicable.
PAL accepts cash payments at select Petron gasoline stations, specifically at Petron Bel Air, Makati Ave., Bluewave EDSA-Macapagal, Pasay; Sucat, Paranaque; Filinvest in Alabang, Muntinlupa; Wack Wack and Connecticut, Green Hills, Mandaluyong; Petron Sierra Madre; and at Diego Silang, along C-5 Road, Taguig City.
Online customers can also pay for their promo tickets at over 766 convenience stores of the 7-11 retail chain nationwide. Those who book via the reservations numbers should proceed to ticket offices. PAL reservations: (02) 855-8888; PAL Express: (02) 855-9000; log on to www.philippineairlines.com or www.flypalexpress.com, or consult your travel agent.