Air Travel

Philippines Airlines Business Class

I just flew back to the U.S. last night, the first time I’ve set foot on American soil for a year. And while I’m far from bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, I’m happy to report that has more to do with getting post-arrival margaritas with my main man and old friend, Whitey, than it does with jet lag.

Philippines Airlines Business Class

In fact, the nearly 13-hour flight from Manila to San Francisco was far from soul-crushing or even exhausting, like it usually is. Why is that?

I flew business class.

Trust me when I tell you that upgrading to the finer things in life is FAR from my modus operandi. Usually, I’m the one pinching every penny and looking for discount airfare – always in economy. In my humble opinion, spendingthousands of dollars just for a nicer, bigger seat on a single flight is a colossal waste of money, as I could travel a whole month on that same budget.

So, I never even bother checking the prices on Business Class or First Class tickets when I am on the airfare websites booking a ticket. However, when I was booking this ticket through Philippines Airlines, with a direct flight from Manila to SFO, an option popped up for me to bid on an upgrade right on their website.

Sure, why not? So I moved the needle on their sliding scale of prices all the way to the left, bidding the minimum: $250.

I forgot about it until 48 hours before my flight, when I got an email that I had been upgraded! The cost still bothered me, but I thought I might as well enjoy it – and enjoy it is an understatement.

First off, I skipped right to the front of the line when checking in, which was nice.

But the real convenience started when I was allowed into the Mabuhay Miles Club lounge before my flight. I had about 3 ½ hours to kill before the flight, but there was a ridiculous lack of any restaurants in the airport terminal – just a few stand-up kiosks and one coffee shop. But, in the lounge, they had big, comfy chairs, free wi-fi, beer and drinks, and a little buffet laid out. I actually thought the food would be better, but it is the Philippines, after all.

When it came to boarding the airplane, I was able to skip right to the front of the line, sheepishly bypassing the hundreds of patrons waiting uncomfortably.

And business class is, I’m happy to report, pure heaven. It was so well spaced out that I could walk around freely, and they only had about forty seats for a space that would have packed in 100 people on economy.

Even better, the seat was actually a console that could adjust using their automated controls, and recline all the way down to a full bed! There were comfy pillows and blankets, a toiletry kit and slippers for every passenger, too. Of course, they had a big video screen for each console, and I watched a couple of movies.

The food was pretty incredible, too, with three full meals over the 12 hours and free beer, champagne, and anything else you wanted to drink.

In all, I slept like a baby for about six of the twelve hours, and I literally felt a little sad that the plane was approaching for a landing because I would have liked another nap and some dessert.

Alas, I probably won’t be able to fly business class again, as the bidding starts at $1,000 to upgrade on my next flight, a $500 ticket from New York back to Manila. That one will be almost 15 hours (direct!), so it would be damn good to be able to sleep along the way, but I just can’t dig that deep in my pocket.

Oh well, I guess it’s back to economy for me, along with the rest of the unwashed peasants.

Unless wants to pick up the bill?



Rate this post


Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *