Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

Written By bryanboy

Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

It pains me whenever I publicly air my frustrations with huge corporations online (there goes the dream of free air travel haha) but after everything that has happened this year, last night was the final straw. If you know someone very important who works for Philippine Airlines, please be sure to forward this blog entry. I’m calling upon the powers of the Tsinoy (Filipino-Chinese) bajillionaire boys club mafia in the Philippines (trust me when I say they own EVERYTHING… these people are richer than air!!!) to get in contact with their hombre Lucio Tan. I know for a fact there’s a few of you ladies out there reading my humble blog.

Philippine Airlines, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2

Now. I went to the ticket office at the international airport yesterday because John Galliano sent a private jet to pick me up and visit him in Paris to redeem my Philippine Airlines frequent flyer miles. Click click click!

Some of my hard-earned miles were expiring and I did not want to see them go to waste. I booked myself a little weekend trip somewhere to visit a friend. In this day and age of online bookings and e-tickets, Philippine Airlines, the MOST innovative AND technologically-advanced air carrier (can you detect the sarcasm?) on the face of the planet, is still stuck in the dark ages.

Most international carriers and frequent flyer programs allow you to redeem miles and book everything online. It’s efficient, it’s streamlined and speaking on a business perspective, it’s very cost-effective AND productive – not only for the airline itself but also for the passengers.

But no. Not with PAL Mabuhay Miles Vile.

It’s already annoying having to pay all sorts of taxes and surchages
when redeeming a ticket (proof that there truly is no such thing as
free lunch) but what truly irked me the most is the way their redemption system works.

They have this heinous system where you are required to fill out a stupid redemption form and present that with your passport and your reservation details IN PERSON (either by yourself or your authorized representative) to claim your redemption ticket at any of their ticket offices.

There are two ticket offices near where I live. There’s one in the city (Makati) and the other one is located at the airport. I’ve been through this route before and I spent a little over three hours at the Makati ticket office. It was horrible.

I thought I’d try the ticket office at the airport this time around. They have better hours than the one in the city which, unless I’m mistaken, operate during regular business hours. The airport ticket office closes at 10PM. The idea of queuing for hours to no end horrifies me so I went there near closing time. In fact, I got there at 8:30PM.

The guard gave me a queue ticket. 748 was the magic number.

Philippine Airlines Ticket Office Queue Number

Lo and behold when I got to the waiting area, they were only servicing ticket number 635!

In other words, there were over 100 people waiting to be served… before they even call my number!

I wasn’t amused. It was crowded. There’s nowhere to sit in the room. I saw tons of people standing and some were even sitting on the floor.

What pissed me off the most is how there were only four or five manned “counters” serving everybody.

I thought I’d go out for a quick cigarette instead of waiting in a room packed like sardines. I took a few photos here and there thinking ok fine whatever, I could do this, I’ll be patient, blah blah yaddi yaddi yadda.

Philippine Airlines, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Departures

I asked the guard what time they close on a Monday and he said 10PM. Airline reps will serve the last person on the queue. as long as we’re inside the office by 10.

After 45 minutes of waiting, I had enough. It was ridiculous. I’ve been out the entire day, I was hungry and I was dead exhausted. The last thing I want is to wait until the cows come home.

I left when the counter was at 680 (or something like that). Can you imagine? It would probably take them at least 10 years before they even call 748.

I called one of my friends on my way back and our conversation went something like this:

Me: Ugh! Philippine Airlines is the worst.

C: I know. That’s why I’ll never, EVER fly Philippine Airlines.

Me: The queue was so long and they only had a few people behind the counters. I need to get my ticket because my miles are expiring.

C: It’s your fault for accumulating them. You shouldn’t fly PAL.

Me: I fly PAL because of the convenience of non-stop flights to some destinations and the new airport is better than the old airport.

C: Look at what’s happening to you then. You shouldn’t fly PAL. You should never, ever fly PAL.

It went on and on and on and on and on like that for a few minutes before I finally got the message.

Think about it. As I’ve said, we live in a digital age. We should be able to do most things online. A simple task such as redeeming an award flight ticket should be easy to do. Look at all those no-frills, budget airlines like Easy Jet, Jetstar,
Air Asia, Ryan Air, so on and so forth. Most of them operate their business primarily
on the internet. Doing everything online eliminates the need to go to a ticket office. It also eliminates queuing, waiting and the need to deal with airline staff.

Looking at this page
made me laugh so hard I spewed hot coffee outta my nose. Philippine
Airlines should be barred from using the words “convenient”, “easier”
and the phrase “hassle-free” because queuing for almost an hour (AND NOT BEING ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING OTHER THAN WASTE GAS) on a Monday night is, hands-down, inconvenient.

Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

Philippine Airlines, please, for the life of god, make this easier for the rest of us.


  1. hahaha! the same goes with PNB, which Lucio Tan owns, the bank service is lousy!
    what do you expect from a companies Lucio Tan own? they all sucks!

  2. Darwin

    PAL is the worst!! I booked a flight to Sanfrancisco and wanted to have it refunded because I will not use it after all and they said it was a promo and cannot be refunded. I flipped and went through the terms and conditions and it doesnt say its NON refundable. I talked to 10 representatives and got tired so I asked my mom to call them and the rep hung up on her. They have the WORST customer service and their airline stinks. No wonder they didn’t pass the US standards of safety. My parents usually take PAL because of the non-stop flight to the US but now we will NEVER take PAL again. Its humiliating that they even carry the contry’s name. I continue to tell people about how bad the customer service of PAL is so thanks for your post.

  3. Jessica

    I don’t think its fair to judge him as a person based on the way his companies are run. imagine owning multi billion peso companies, employing that many people and such.
    I think the country owes him a lot, i mean how else would the Philippine economy continue to survive without him?

  4. Louie

    I don’t think it is fair to judge them because of that. Think of what happen to this country if Lucio Tan will close all his companies. A lot of Filipinos would lost their jobs and that worst that could have a great impact to our economy which the fact that you are in the Philippines would greatly affect you.

  5. hmm…go Northwest Airlines…the best! AND oh, Cebu Pacific’s good, cheap airfare yet efficient service

  6. mariel

    i was also there yesterday. we got there at around 5:30 and they were serving number 555. our number was 620 and we got served a little before 8:30. my mom had to make a scene cos not only were the counter staff inefficient, the supervisor was also very rude and incompetent. they have lousy customer service. rar.

  7. Brian Nils

    I can feel the pain!
    Dont worry your not alone!I had gone through the same thing!
    Passport, Postal ID, Voter’s ID, NSO Birth Certificate, Driver’s license!
    Hahaha! Everything seems to be sooo ancient…

  8. LOL go figure. with all the money Lucio has, you’d think he’d be generous *cough* enough to improve customer service.
    Whatever, kariputan lang mga yan.

  9. kengkeng

    PAL is really effing unbelievable… i had the same horrendous experience: we reserved and paid our trip online and yet we still had to pick up our vouchers and stuff from their office… we had to wait like forever… and the old woman behind the desk was super rude… it was virtually a nightmare…

  10. wannabe

    guys it’s not about closing PAL, it’s about upgrading their services so they could be more efficient. they should at least be at par with the competition especially when they claim to be the prime carrier of the Phils.

  11. jennifer

    in regards to this message:
    “I don’t think it is fair to judge them because of that. Think of what happen to this country if Lucio Tan will close all his companies. A lot of Filipinos would lost their jobs and that worst that could have a great impact to our economy which the fact that you are in the Philippines would greatly affect you.”
    i will never say that. it’s implying that lucio tan owns this country. come to think of it, we never grow because our economy is full of monopolists.

  12. why the hell did you go at 8:30 PM? you should always come early. there is a new ticketing office in macapagal blvd, which i think has few people. you could also try the one in century park hotel in vito cruz.

  13. If NAIA did not look like you landed in a “palengke”, I would definitely take other airlines to go to MNL (Cathay or SIA).

  14. Wow, that is so bad! PAL flies from Singapore too but they have the most weird timing. So inconvenient. I say, fly SIA! Singapore Airline is one of world’s TOP 8 flight! :D

  15. yeahyeah

    “Think of what happen to this country if Lucio Tan will close all his companies. A lot of Filipinos would lost their jobs and that worst that could have a great impact to our economy which the fact that you are in the Philippines would greatly affect you.”
    this has also been the line/s of reasoning for non-payment of taxes. come on! if he closes his companies then the more efficient, responsible corporate competitors will gladly welcome his employees and customers.

  16. heldensoubrette

    to louie:
    basically, by saying that the philippines’ economy will not continue to survive without lucio tan’s company is also saying that you condone to his company’s bad service and false advertisement. false advertisement and bad customer service to PAYING people!? do you want to spend your hard, earned, cold cash on a company that not only lies and deceives its customers (through false advertising) but also provides bad customer service?
    how will things change for the better if people like bryan boy will not speak up?

  17. Jezel

    People in a budged (poor people) usually travel with “earned miles”, and that’s not something hot.
    Pay business class for your new ticket to your vacations and quit trying to “save some bucks” by using air miles.

  18. Gen Sven

    Ay nako!
    Drama lang ang PAL
    BB you should fly with something more A-CLass than that!
    Anyways yes e good for weekend trips. Hope you get it redeemed before they go.

  19. DO NOT get me started on Pinoy airlines. DO NOT EVER EVER if you can help it, FLY DOMESTIC CARRIERS!!! (This is why I try not to travel out of Manila by plane) The service sucks, the planes are unreliable and old plus like you said, they are technologically behind. Even when I lived in the Phils, I ALWAYS FLEW CX. They have great service and redeeming miles is NOT like GOING TO THE DENTIST–plus, you can transfer your credit card charges from HSBC to CX for more miles..and they make it so easy!! PLUS you get treated well and you arrive on time.
    Even my helpers take CX bec every minute counts for them when they go home!
    OKAY–there is cost which is obviously more but look at the benefits above–AND they have reciprocal services with BA and Qantas which are both good.
    In CX mag-complain ka lang, they give you at least a 50 USD voucher for duty free to shut up (sometimes I get 75. Also, my helper said they give all OFWs EXTRA 10 kg for overweight…PAL is the flag carrier and they don’t even do that!!
    Has any of the local carriers such as PAL done anything for you??? NEVER!!
    Also, for long haul, you can’t do better than CX, SQ and other first world airlines.
    (Do not take Air India or Thai and Northwest is not called Northworst for nothing–I once hAD to travel on NW because the SPCA said it was ‘the best for dogs..” well, it’s the best for dogs but not for humans)
    Forget about trying to get heard bu KapiTAN. Just switch to another carrier. There is a reason why they don’t fly so many routes anymore—I think none to EU??? Even London?? I think none even to Rome, land of pokpoks and TnT maids…

  20. Tommy Albert

    I had almost the same bad service experience sometime in ’87 when I left the country. Not only was the ticket service process bad–but the flight attendants were big snobs! Needless to say, I have not flown PAL –always remembering my bad experience from ticketing to actual inflight services.

  21. Hi Bryan! It’s sad cos PAL is our flag carrier but every single time I get in contact with them – free miles, change of name from maiden to married, etc I am always unhappy with the transaction. Their people are not happy working for their company cos they are rude, not helpful and so in need of training!!! Or better yet they should change all their staff. sad sad

  22. “I think the country owes (Lucio Tan) a lot, i mean how else would the Philippine economy continue to survive without him?”
    ^What a waste of brain cells. And to answer your question: OFWs. It is because of them, not delinquent tax payers, that this country survives.

  23. Thats not new to me…I had a horrendous experience with PAL and they suck just like their owner….all the best BB

  24. betsy

    well…i agree with you guys. PAL Customer Service is way par below standard. I took the flight PR107 Vancouver/Manila..and the flight was delayed. We couldnt find to talk the PAL REP IN vANCOUVER,they were hiding.. it’s only their ground handling agents facing the passengers complaints. Poor agents. I saw PAL rep behind the gate doors, pretending busy talking to their cellphones..talking to what etc…

  25. kathy

    Oh Gosh! I have been flying PAL for quite sometime now and with all those rides, I always wonder, what is the difference when I fly the other budget terminal. I say there is none! Except of course you get to go to a cleaner airport rather than the other side where all the airports are found. Oh just to add they fly on time so I guess they deserve some bonuses but truthfully, with only these two things, I am now contemplating whether the Mabuhay Miles is even worth it?!
    The queue in the place is just full packed. I mean, to think they have a bigger space to accomodate a larger number of group their lines are a lot suckier! And it’s so congested with so many people. It seems that all of their queues are always piled up!! When I say all of them, I say all lines that you have to go thru. It was really disapointing to the point of exhausting. I may have left and arrived from that area on time but the struggle that I have to go thru is really really really stressing the hell out of me.
    And oh should I add, their Flight Attendants are just soooo arrogant! Its seems like we owe them something? Isnt it suppose to be the other way around? They should be serving so a little kindness or effort on their side would be very much appreciated, right? And to think that they almost have the same rates with this other reliable and prestigious plane. This unnamed plane has the best service to die for. You might not understand their accent but I give credit to their very good service!!
    Oh well. Too much mumbling here. My apologies. I just can’t help it. :)

  26. David

    Yeah, I agree with the other people in saying that you shouldn’t have taken PAL in the first place. Go with CX as much as humanly possible, unless you have to do Star Alliance, in which case you’re sorta screwed considering that SIA’s planes are getting a bit long in the tooth.

  27. peter

    hahaha! you should listen to your friend bryan. I believe he/she knows what he/she was trying to tell you. And may i add this not about closing mr. tan’s companies, read bet the lines guys come on!, this is about UPGRADE lousy customer service is like aargghh!! I DEFENITELY KNOW WHAT CUSTOMER SERVICE means… I am from a call center and im working from CUSTOMER CARE department and OHH-MG PAL is soooo JURASSIC! BOOO!

  28. peter

    hahaha! you should listen to your friend bryan. I believe he/she knows what he/she was trying to tell you. And may i add this not about closing mr. tan’s companies, read bet the lines guys come on!, this is about UPGRADE lousy customer service is like aargghh!! I DEFENITELY KNOW WHAT CUSTOMER SERVICE means… I am from a call center and im working from CUSTOMER CARE department and OHH-MG PAL is soooo JURASSIC! BOOO!

  29. carlos

    kitty, doesn’t your family own Cebu Pacific?
    Don’t be such a hater Kitty.
    Actually, kitty, Please say something nice about anything soon.
    You haven’t been very positive lately about anything.
    I’m sure its easy to bitch about the country considering the resources you have and from where you are writing from. Your comments here and on your blog just haven’t been… constructive lately.
    That’s all. Sorry about sticking this into ya.
    Otherwise, I’m a fan.

  30. leila

    i fly pal constantly because of work. no hassles there for me as there’s someone who handles all my ticketing needs for me. but once i decided to fly pal with a friend to boracay, and i had the same experience. i wasnt redeeming points or anything, you’d think they’d be better at handling that. i missed an entire day’s work just to pick up my tickets. grabe ang sama ng sistema ng pal.

  31. I also have my own PAL nightmare. My flight from Manila to Davao was on Mabuhay Miles since I’ve run low on funds after a shopping weekend. When I got to the airport, it turns out that my Miles e-ticket just wasn’t enough and they directed me to that horrible queue you were likewise subjected to! And to think I’ve already made the “arrangements” by phone on top of the fact that my flight was on the same day. Nobody told me I had to line up like that… When it was finally over, they were already calling my name at the boarding station. I almost missed my flight!

  32. PAL really sucks! As in.. I flew once to MNL-HKG and when its time to go back manila, the flight was delayed for an hour and a half. as in all the passengers were already waiting and we were happy to see the plane landing…kaloka, at hindi pa kmi nkskay agd bcos u know they have to clean everything up, poop and the FA’s were terrible, out of standards, ung mga FS ang dumi ng kuko, when they served the drinks, they were holding na the cup sa brim w/ their kadiri kuko.
    I say BB, fly SIA. The best talaga, ang laki ng fleet at on-time pa. Even boarding, u dont need to queue, u can do it online na. I also highly recommend Jetstar Asia if your flying within the region, excellent service, ontime at cheap!

  33. Singboy

    I was told yesterday by PAL that to collect my Singapore-Manila return “e”-ticket, I would need to present myself, in person, at their ticket office in…Manila. Not incredibly efficient, nor particularly “electronic”. Weekend in Manila had better shape up well!

  34. When I was in college in the late 90s, I took PAL from SFO to MNL roundtrip one summer break. The flight was PURE HELL. I’ve never flown with PAL since. And judging from the experiences of others here, that was a good decision because they don’t seem to have improved.
    If you’re Filipino, the PAL FAs are rude & inattentive, but if you’re white, they fall all over themselves to serve you, kulang lang blow job.
    PAL complains that foreign carriers eat into their market share, but why are they blaming Filpino passengers for choosing to fly other airlines when their biggest problem is their lousy LOUSY service & overall lack of competitiveness?

  35. sharon

    PAL is pure shit. the seats and planes are shit – it’s like a coffin, you can’t move. the staff are shit. lahat matatandang matrona who obsesses if your seat is 1 inch of being upright – literally.
    i never fly PAL when i have a choice. the whole mileage thing is a joke. i’m with star alliance – you know how much better it is? no blocked dates and you can fly with any star alliance member. you can transfer your miles to anyone – online, or claim your miles online – and it’s all done right then and there. no waiting in queues or choo-choo days for issuance, validation, whatever other shit they can think of.

  36. hahaha… tha was funny! i never tried PAL… ok, so based on you shared experience, will never! Hehehe…
    it really got into your nerve e? you knoe you have lotsa readers particularly abroad… e?
    i can sense another criticism about your unending disgrace about our country…
    evbud deserve to knoe… it sucks that the airline’s even named after our country. PFT!
    but yeah, i think it’s just right if it’s right… got the point?

  37. Ingrid

    Yeah PAL sucks! I fly CX or SIA to the US. I flew NW once and their plane and service is even worse than PAL. For domestic flights, I use Cebu Pacific.

  38. That is why I luuuurvvv Qantas! heehee!
    Last time i went there to book a flight to melbourne it was hell, and they got this Satisfaction survey… I dropped my number on the unhappy box. LOL and the security guard and the receptionist staring at me… and i just shrugged lol

  39. PAL was horrible
    i flew first class to and from the Philippines from Melbourne Australia and it was just horrible
    everything about it was bad even if i was first class the only good thing was the bvlgari pack i got from them and not having to wait inline to board just quickly breezing past everyone
    and i must say a lot of the gaurds and hosts were so sleazy!

  40. hotchic

    OMG!! ik be flying w pal this december from manila to our province.(im an ofw) aarrrggg!! but i have no choice, its the only one with bus.class.
    hey brian, have you flown with emirates? the best..

  41. true story. years ago i went to the pal main ticketing office in makati to submit a copy of my marriage certificate for a change in name. filled out some forms and submitted all the requirements. i thought that was that. months after, i noticed that my mileage points weren’t being credited to my mabuhay miles account. turns out it’s because the name on my plane ticket (under my married name) did not match my mabuhay miles account name (under my maiden name). here’s the clincher – when i called up pal to inquire regarding the uncredited miles, i was told to go to the main ticketing office and submit a copy of my marriage certificate and fill out a form. never bothered.

  42. madami sa stewardes na PAL matataba at mga suplada pa na kala mo kung sino cla. Pag nagpa buk ka sa ticket ofc nila parang mga pagong kung kumilos at walang concern maski madami ng tao sa pila para magpa buk.

  43. I read your post a couple of weeks ago but never paid attention to it thinking I was happy with PAL’s services until I experienced it myself today.
    You see, my father rebooked his flight. The agent helping me was JP. Everything was quite fine including the fact that I was told I was going to pay for the rebooking fee which I thought was alright and fair. I asked for the details of his flight so my sister or brother would know what time to pick him up from the airport in Manila, etc. Normally, when you do these kinds of arrangement with other airlines, right there and then, you get what you want and need.
    Well, with PAL, I did not. I was told that before the itinerary was sent to you by fax or e-mail, the rebooking fee needed to be paid. Fine. How do I pay? Someone from Vancouver office was supposed to fax me the authorization form. Guess what? 5 days from rebooking, waiting for the fax and all that, nothing happened.
    When I called them again, everyone was defensive including their supervisor Linux. Linux was already defending his staff and himself without even hearing what my call was about. Lumalaban na, ni hindi pa niya narinig ang complete issue. All he was saying was “I take exception to that” in every sentence he was saying. He accused me of “accusing” PAL staff daw. Ni hindi niya na realize that he was in fact accusing me already of “accusing them” without even hearing the facts.
    My only point in calling their attention was to make sure that this will never happen to any of their customers again. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT REALLY!! I don’t think they got my point. If this happened to other airlines, those supervisors would gladly note your complaint and will try to make improvements along this line. Sa Philippine Airlines, I don’t think they’re past the stage where they’re there to improve their service. Akala nila, high and mighty sila and untouchables.
    Now, my belief to patronize PAL because ito ay sariling atin has gone “about face”.

  44. Hayy, what do you expect of the Philippines everything is sucks…Kakahiya.

  45. frequentflyer

    it was my 4th time to fly PAL this year in the MNL-LAX route in economy, and i say that everytime i fly the service goes from bad to worst! the TV,s are not working, earphone plugs broken, i cant even change the channel, foot rests are also broken, it was really hot at the back of the plane like the airconditioning was broken. the head flight attendant didn’t care about the complain and are actually mean towards us (local kababayans). So i called their customer service all they can say is we would like to have a formal complaint so that they can forward it to the top management. all these people can do is to appologize and say that please just file a formal complaint so that the management will know about it. doesnt the management of PAL fly abroad using their own plane? they should know about these stuffs. planning to fly to LA 2-3 more times this year and i am not flying PAL again.

  46. Thanks for this post! We have expiring Mabuhay miles and we were planning to redeem, thinking that PAL is now light years ahead of where they were when we first booked award flights with our miles 3 years ago. At that time, we had to go to the PAL ticketing office at the Honolulu Int’l airport because that was the only PAL ticketing office here. Also know the taxes on the award tickets will be steep as well. Really thought their mileage booking system has improved. This is discouraging, seriously considering letting miles expire.

  47. Gosh, after reading all these comments …it made me scared of my up-coming trip to manila from Melbourne in jan. 2009!!! i already paid the tickets but seems real SCARY to get stucked to PAL’S inefficient service abroad!!! IM CROSSING MY FINGERS, im hoping to have a good flight for my HOLIDAY!!!

  48. I am sorry to hear about the terrible customer service. Changes come slowly and it is expensive to upgrade the online system, which we are doing. Nonetheless it is still not a good excuse for the poor service. Cebu Pacific is not much better and you definitely get what you pay for. If you think PAL is bad, why don’t you switch to Cebu Pacific and let us know when you are ready to switch back.
    At the core of the problem is the Filipino’s willingness to pay for a service. No one here has admitted in the open that PAL is the cheapest way to fly to the Philippines among all the major carriers – unless you want to be treated like an oversized luggage at Cebu Pacific and pay for water, no blanket, zero service, and sit 90-degrees. If you people want a business to improve, you have to pay a little more. But since you want to fly half way around the world for $600, you can’t expect first class service all the time. These are very typical complaints from people like you, yet somehow it always gets neglected how cheap you paid for the ticket.
    It may interest you people to know that we have not raised our prices much and have sustained our level of service even when the price of oil has reached $140/barrel. The majority of the crowd here probably own at least 2 mobile phones that cost in total, more than a typical LAX-MNL roundtrip. If you are so disgusted with our service, why don’t you take your miserly budget and see if you can get to Manila any other way for your money. PAL is doing you a favor getting you safely home with its low airfare. You are fed, given pillows and blankets, politely (sometimes) served by old, yes, Fat(most times) flight attendants, but that should be much, much more than what you should expect for $600! Do you people have any idea what it costs to run an airline?
    As far as queues are concerned, other airlines aren’t any better. In the philippines, the Department of Labor would have a heart attack if we were to automate our services. The DOL wants us to keep our workforce large and inefficient. They would rather have us keep the old bag behind the counter who treats her friends and relatives with priority and making legitimate passengers wait, than replacing her with technology. All these “senior” employees will run to the DOL and file cases against us, so we have to keep them employed.
    Do not expect change to come quickly. But we are trying our best. The best advice I can give you is to hook up with one of the senior pursers and hopefully talk them into an illegal upgrade, since they do it for all their friends already anyway. We are putting a clamp on that now. Ironically, you people would all welcome a “favor” from an insider when it works in your favor, but will yell and scream when it doesn’t. Hypocritical, and very, very Filipino. Maybe that’s why we still control your economic lives. In a way, you deserve what you are getting.

  49. Thanks for the post. My girlfriend will soon redeem her mabuhay miles and this serves as a good heads up and a grim warning of what’s up ahead for us. On your comment – “proof that there truly is no such thing as free lunch” – actually there is, if you are in the right restaurant that is. I’m an “avid fan” of Northwest and a serious Worldperks member and I have used my miles to fly international twice. They didn’t charge me with a single dime and they treated me as if I payed for the whole fair. There wasn’t any discrimination at all. Plus ofcourse it was all done online. I guess that’s more proof that PAL truly definitely sucks big time.

  50. i can’t believe how many people reacted on this. for sure hundreds of PAL customers are feeling the same way too..
    my story? missing miles.. i mean, how can they not credit my miles from MNL to LAX when they credited my DAVAO to MAnila flight?? and it’s connecting flight? c’mon people.. give me a break!

  51. Jolly de Leon

    In started flying PAL in 1981 and I never had any problem with their services.
    Now that they have an on-line booking, mabuhay miles, etc., it was even easier.
    I suggest you give yourself enough time for claiming award tickets, upgrades, etc. and everything will be fine. I get upgrades without any problem because I follow their procedures. Yes, they may have older planes, but they have the best pilots, the best OWN airport and comfy lounges in Los Angeles and Manila.

  52. Marian Gamboa

    Hey M! Obviously you work for Lucio Tan. Do not give me that long blog that you just posted. PAL is NOT equivalent to CHEAP FARES! IN FACT, you are THE most expensive. The only reason WHY people ALL OVER THE WORLD buy your tickets is because you have THE EXCLUSIVE AIRPORT AND FRANCHISE OF NON-STOP FLIGHT TO THE US FROM THE PHILIPPINES ON ONE LEG OF THE ROUND-TRIP FLIGHT.

  53. Marian Gamboa

    Hey M! Obviously you work for Lucio Tan. Do not give me that long blog that you just posted. PAL is NOT equivalent to CHEAP FARES! IN FACT, you are THE most expensive. The only reason WHY people ALL OVER THE WORLD buy your tickets is because you have THE EXCLUSIVE AIRPORT AND FRANCHISE OF NON-STOP FLIGHT TO THE US FROM THE PHILIPPINES ON ONE LEG OF THE ROUND-TRIP FLIGHT.

  54. Parvez Gondal MD

    I can not tell you how primitive PAL is. I fly from LAX to MNL once or twice a month. I purchased a Business Class ticket from LAX to MNL in business class and went to LAX. I am in a wheel chair. The person who checked me in looked at me and then asked me if my travel agent had asked me that if I was disabled. I saod "No Why? ". He said that the travel agent should have not sold you a business class ticket because you are in a wheel chair and you can not climb to the top of 747 where the business class is located. I then asked if he could show me in the Rules and Regulations of PAL that says that PAL can not sell a business class ticket to a disabled person. He got frustrated and could not speak. Then he told me that he will upgrade me to First Class which was NO better than Business Class any way.
    On my way back, I ran in to the same problem except for this time the agent insisted that I have to sit in economy class. I checked and found out that there were eight seats in First Class that were empty. The agent offered me three economy class seats and if I did not want to sit in the economy class, he would not let me in the plane. I told him that I can go upstairs and he said that it is unsafe for me to sit upstairs in business class. I asked him to put it in writing and he refused to do so. Afer oe hour of arguing, I gave up. At the same time I found out that the flight was going to be delayed for FOURTEEN hours for technical probelms and I saw three buses waiting to take the passengers to the hotel. Served them right. I went back to my hotel and bought a new ticket for North West Airlines and left at 8:00 in the morning BEFORE the same PAL flight left for US. I applied for a refund and I got it.
    PAL treats people like animals and I am shocked that people still fly PAL. Most of the time they are LATE. Their First Class SUCKS big time. They are rude and do not know even ABC of customer service. Their ticketing office is a nightmare.
    Now I fly CAthay Pacific and their First Class has no competition. Cathay was awarded the BEST First CLass for 2008 and I never had complaint against Cathay. Try Cathay and you would love them. They havenew cabins and all their classes of services are beyond comparison.
    PAL has lost me for EVER. I will not fly PAL even if they gave me the free tickets. They violated US laws for disabled people and if I was NOT so busy in my life, I would have sued them and WON for SURE. But they are very lucky that I am too busy to be bothered. The only reason most people fly PAL is non stop service and some people feel obligated to help their country.

  55. guys, i agree with most of you. I had this very ungratifying experience with PAL Cubao Ticketing office when I was claiming my miles last June 27, 2008. My miles were expiring on the 30th of June so I booked a flight over the phone to claim it. The PAL girl on the other line booked me but said I needed to go to a ticketing office to pay the taxes amounting to Php4,000 (for me and my wife). So when I finally had the chance and time to pay the taxes I went to PAL Cubao early June 27 morning around 9am. I decided to go there in the morning and have a half day off at work and just report afterlunch. Thinking that I will just pay some taxes it will not take so much time. But lo and behold, after filling up a few forms I was asked to wait at counter 7(if I can still remember it right). I was only 8th in line so I thought I can do this and finish before lunch. But I noticed that only one counter is in charge of miles redemption. And the guy in charge took more than an hour just to finish one customer.. what with a lot of distractions, dillydallying, etc etc on the person manning the counter. So after waiting for 2 hours and seeing only 3 persons done, I decided to leave and just come back after office.
    That day was my daughter's birthday so I thought I'll come back tp PAL early, around 4pm and finish before 7pm.
    So I came back and had the opportunity to be 4th in line this time around. It was around 4:30pm… but the guy at the counter maybe just would want to work fast. He took one hour to finish the current client and took a break. It was almost 6pm when he came back to the counter.. while taking his time, he did not call out the next number immediately. I decided to approach him and very humbly asked for a great favor to just post my payment for the taxes since I was already booked. I told him I went there earlier and just came back and needs to go home early to celebrate my daughter's birthday.. you know what?! he told me that I have to wait for my turn and he can't do anything to help me. Arggh.. I almost wanted to squeeze his neck off and punch him in the face. Mustering enough self control I just turned my back and promised myself not to fly PAL ever again…
    Please people at PAL, try to improve your service. I now know that I am not the only one perturbed at your DISservice to your paying passengers. For the benefit of all Filipinos, please improve your CS.

  56. guys PAL is really sucks,even their fluy stewards are chubbies and oldies he he..

  57. Aura Garcia

    They are so stupid. Making transactions with them is enough to raise my blood pressure because what should be so simple as redeeming miles online is made so very complicated. Who has the time these days? They are idiots.

  58. Lucio Tan

    Yes, most of the comments are on the spot. PAL employees, whether flight attendants, or ticket agents are typically biased towards people who appear privileged or are in positions of power or fame. If you are a politician, military guy, actor, PAL employee mgt, or any relative of any of these categories, they will put on their knee pads and gladly line up to give fellatio. If you are foreign-looking (white), you’ll get a good seat. If you are a nobody, be prepared to be treated like trash. The flight attendants are too busy trying to keep their make-up right, and the guy flight attendants are too busy trying to convince themselves they are not gay.
    The flight purser is too busy blocking off 2 seats in first class so he can do his paperwork. The pilots are too busy telling the pursers to upgrade their relatives to first class when the plane is in the air.
    The check-in agents are busy blocking off the good seats for their friends, while the receptionists in the Mabuhay lounge are busy letting their friends at customs and airport police go in and eat all the food and porridge, leaving legitimate mabuhay passengers eat their scraps.
    Meanwhile, on the plane, your headset does not work, your seat back keeps leaning back and the flight attendant tells you its your fault. The teflon coating on the toilet has completely peeled off and the guys skid marks from 5 minutes ago are still there. You are trying to sleep with a smelly, used hairy blanket over your head and the flight attendant WAKES you so she could serve you crappy food. This is after she bangs the 2-ton cart on your knee.
    Did I mention the headphones don’t work?
    After all that, you burn so many calories trying to put your jacket on and off because the air conditioning system seems to have a mind of its own. And those wonderful foot rests! They’re so comfortably designed and a perfect aid to anyone’s efforts to look sit like a fetus for 14 hours.
    And the great announcements! I love the one that tells the coach people to disembark last so the fat non-revenue employee who sat in business can take her time carrying her fake LV and stroll down the aisle while all the 500 OFWs in the back wait in awe. Nevermind letting the poor idiots in the front coach are to use the open bathrooms in the empty business section – can’t do that! It’s a security risk. We can’t have you congregate in that area, cuz it will disturb the 1 fat lady PAL employee in business, and you might also catch the flight attendants talking about themselves, ignoring the call button from the poor grandmother who needs a glass of water.
    BTW, PAL hold the world record for most number of wheelchair passengers in every flight. Those poor people just want to go home, and the whole airline just treats them so badly. Then again, these folks don’t know any better. Filipino screwing filipinos, as usual. Unless you’re a white guy in a wheelchair.
    Did I mention the headphones don’t work?

  59. OzJazzie

    worst customer service ever. By phone, your fingers will burn from dialing because it’s always busy. Or they put you on hold for a long time. When going to their office, long queues, few personnel (thus the long queue) and claiming you reward travel ticket from Mabuhay Miles is a nightmare, it seems that they will try to let you run your patience so that you’ll walk out. Geez, c’mon we deserve better. Loathe, loathe, loathe.

  60. I had signed in last November 2009 for free
    miles .I did not check yet if I get it . I only fly pal because is nonstop and also I have connecting flight to Tacloban so I don’t get charge for my extra luggage , but it seems to me that the money I save is really nothing at all when you have to go and point which one is your
    luggage and the person incharge ignore you when hand him the cash , and the lady that stamp
    the piece of paper that you get from the immigration
    works so angry when you don’t put any money in it .
    I am so ashamed that our airlines named after our country . Well , I will chech if get my free miles credited to my account . he he he

  61. I agree to all that’s been said. Its hard enough to get thru their trunkline… Then the girl tells me that there are available flights but not for award tickets. So I asked her when will they have available flights for me and she said, “Maam nasa september na ho ako, pero wala pa akong makitang available.”
    They make it so hard to redeem miles!

  62. John Petersen

    Wow and we thought that the problems we had were isolated.
    Try paying for a ticket from Melbourne Aust to Manila or any other place for that matter. Sorry sir, we do not accept credit cards, you will have to buy your ticket from a travel agent. Jeeeez how bloody stupid is that? Why does PAL have that proceedure in place? It must be costing them a fortune in commissions to travel agents. As a result of this stupidity, we did buy tickets for our group, but it was not with PAL. All up they lost around 10K in ticket sales as we could buy our tickets from another competing airline, nearly the same price using our credit cards.
    PS you wanna try redeaming FF points from Aust. The paperwork has to be issued from Manila and so do the tickets. When will we ever learn that there is a big wide world out there and it is full of competition from other airlines.
    JP Australia.

  63. #1 These employees need more education and better training. They need to be taught great Customer Service Skills and make them realized that we are now in computer age era and high technology. Maybe they lack the common sense and need a great supervisors to drill into their heads that they are in competition with other airlines. make them realized that Customer Service is everything or else sooner or later they won’t have a job. #2 They need to hire better supervisors who can teach and instill to the employees good manners and right conduct when handling clients and to practice excellent customer service behaviors,.. or else Philippine Airline business is doomed!! #3 In order for all these to take place they need to give higher salary, or pay incentives, raise higher expectation on employees job performance and of course award them with the promised incentives..

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