Yup, you got that right—15 hours only! Starting October 29, 2018, PHILIPPINE AIRLINES now flies non-stop to New York onboard their newest and most modern aircraft of its generation, the Airbus A350!
This, they say, is the second to the longest non-stop flight next to Singapore Airlines, and it’s the fastest way from Manila to the Big Apple with no more stopovers via Tokyo or Taipei, unlike my experience before that took 22 hours of travel time.
Plus, foodies flying out to New York with PAL, who want to enjoy authentic American steak, do not have to wait before landing to indulge their craving as business class passengers on the non-stop flights to New York will experience top global brand Wolfgang’s Steakhouse gourmet quality steak dinners on board.
Among my favorites in PAL’s prime New York route’s mouthwatering menu were Wolfgang’s Fillet Mignon, Striploin Steak, Grilled Chilean Seabass, French onion soup and the glorious New York Cheesecake.
It was definitely an upgrade experience for passengers flying to New York in Business Class! Check out the new extra wide body Airbus A350…
When I think of flying from Manila to New York, my mind immediately jumps to Philippine Airlines. PAL has been expanding their non-stop long-haul flights with their new routes, including New York (JFK), Brisbane (BSN) and Sapporo (Japan) opening this December!
Thankfully, tourists and balikbayans based in New York and New Jersey will now find it easier and more convenient to visit the Philippines as Manila-bound passengers will never have to go through stop-overs in the West Coast, Canada, or other connecting flights in Asia with PAL’s new non-stop route.
As I entered the business class cabin, I was enthralled with the seat size and organization. The cabin has 30 seats configured in 1-2-1 format so that every single passenger enjoys direct access to the aisle.
I made my way up to seat 6A—my home for the next 15 hours—and I could feel my excitement build up for the upcoming hours in business class paradise, of course with the Wolfgang’s Steakhouse menu on my mind.
If you’re traveling alone, you would appreciate the window seat. (Best spring for those.)
But if you’re traveling with someone and want to stick together, you should look at seats D & G in the middle aisle.
For welcome drinks, have a glass of their award-winning champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.
For a little gal like me, the seat pitch of 44 inches width of up to 24 inches was pretty big compared to the A321neo. It’s because the business class seats here in the A350 are wider compared to its counterparts. (Look how wide the legroom is for me!)
Seats reclining to a full-flat bed measuring 78 inches in length, with an adjustable air cushion to adjust seat firmness and a lumbar massage!
(Sorry, Sir Joebert Oplulencia, I took a picture of you while you were sleeping.)
One of the best features for a traveler like me are the charging ports (plug & USB outlet) for my gadgets placed up and out of the way of any elbows, together with the headphone jacks. I loved how you can conveniently roll over your bed without unplugging your phone while charging.
PAL also offers solid noise canceling headsets, additional storage for personal items and mood lights. There is wifi available on all A350 aircrafts, but good for chatting only.
Business class passengers can pamper themselves with the Overnight Amenity Kit containing luxurious travel essentials from L’Occitane (eye mask, hairbrush, toothbrush set, hairbrush, lip balm, socks, and slippers) and cute traveling-inspired socks from Penguin.
The biggest lifesaver in a long-haul trip are, definitely, the in-flight entertainment options. There’s tons of movies to choose from, and the selection is very well updated.
WOLFGANG STEAKHOUSE MENU (BUSINESS CLASS MNL-> JFK)
What we love about Wolfgang’s is how they’ve brought New York quality to all of their restaurants.
Manila to New York Menu (PAL Flight PR126):
French Onion Soup, Filet Mignon, served with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes as well as Grilled Salmon in tomato and olive sauce capped with New York Cheesecake.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse French Onion Soup
I highly recommend their French onion soup which, in my opinion, was one of the best I’ve had.
The French onion soup was done traditionally and had a great sweet taste from the caramelized onions, though the melted gruyere cheese stood out the most.
I loved the gooey cheese!
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Filet Mignon
USDA Prime Black Angus filet mignon with au poivre sauce served with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes.
Dry age means it’s not dried in a bag. If it’s aged in a plastic bag that’s called wet aging, and that means the meat doesn’t lose the water content. Dry aging reduces the water content by 20 percent or so. You get a more concentrated flavor depending on how long it’s aged.
I did find the dry-aged Sirloin Steak had a more concentrated beefy flavor compared to the filet mignon. But I liked the filet mignon’s leaner meat with good flavor. The beef was not overcooked but seemed a little dry due to the handling. The au poivre sauce did not make much difference on the taste. Instead, I tried it with their bottled Wolfgang Steakhouse Sauce that comes with any Wolfgang’s main dish. It’s a tomato-based sauce with a hint of horseradish.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Grilled Salmon
Grilled Norwegian salmon in tomato and olive sauce with asparagus and mashed potatoes.
Best to order the fish that was done right. This dish also had a generous amount of salmon. It was cooked just right—the outside is grilled until crispy yet the inside is juicy and soft.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse New York Style Cheesecake
Rich and creamy cheesecake served with schlag and fresh strawberry.
End this experience with a classic NY style cheesecake. The rich cheesecake was dense and filling, with just a touch of lemon throughout. It was not very sweet and the flavor of the cheese really stood out. A must order!
Skip the schlag (whipped cream), which was too sweet for me.
If you’re not a cheesecake fan, they serve Carmen’s Best ice cream in Business class. That’s also very good!
Philippine Airlines’ A350 features three cabins: business class, premium economy and economy.
On my way back, business class was full, so I bumped myself to premium economy instead.
What I loved about premium economy is that it’s an exclusive cabin, with only 24 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, which meant fewer people in the bathroom lines and faster service compared to standard-economy.
Other things separating premium economy from its standard-economy counterpart are a guaranteed 38 inches of pitch and a seat width of 19 inches.
The seats have a recline of up to 8 inches and are equipped with leg and foot rests, additional front pockets for personal items, bottle holders and reading lights. Power ports are available under the seat and beside your personal TV screen.
The economy cabin featured 241 seats arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration. Each of the seats offer passengers 33 inches of pitch and 18 inches of width plus a recline of up to 6 inches. Features include a 4-way headrest and USB power ports.
Good job Philippine Airlines for the 15-hour MNL -> JFK flight that set a new record as the Philippines’ longest-ever commercial air route! We loved the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse collab that definitely gave business class passengers an upgrade experience!
From October 29 to November 3, PAL will operate a five times weekly service from Manila to New York.
In the pipeline for the Philippines’ only 4-Star Global Airline are new services to other destinations in North America and/or Europe as more A350 aircrafts join the fleet. Seattle, Chicago and a point in Western Europe are being eyed.
ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: We were media guests of Philippine Airlines. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.
P.S. The new long-range A350 that will serve the Manila-JFK route boasts outstanding characteristics:
— Can fly up to 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 km) and has a quieter cabin up to 4 times less noise, making it the quietest twin-aisle aircraft to date
— Has an all-new design and state of the art technology, with the aircraft’s advanced Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, producing unparalleled range and efficiency
— Has a light weight but very strong structure which also costs significantly less to maintain: 70% of which is made of advanced material including 53% composite
— Offers Wi-Fi service for all passengers (subject to time and volume caps), with affordable renewal plans
— Features special LED mood lighting, customized especially for PAL, giving passengers a more intimate in-flight experience that helps them adjust to time zone and day vs. night changes