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FLIGHT REVIEW: Cebu Pacific Air, Economy Class, A330-300, MEL-MNL

Celebrating the inaugural Cebu Pacific Air flight from Melbourne to Manila, we road (or air) test the Philippines low-cost carrier’s newest route.

Celebrating the inaugural Cebu Pacific Air flight from Melbourne to Manila, we road (or air) test the Philippines low-cost carrier’s newest route.

Here’s what we thought of Cebu Pacific’s staff, entertainment and in-flight competition (yes, an in-flight competition):

 

Check in & beyond

It’s the launch of a brand new route, so there’s extra cheers, plus some balloons and banners that give the usual drudgery of check in a festive boost. We are also greeted with Cebu Pacific Air’s bag tags and some check-in cookies!

Luggage limits are one piece of carry-on (up to 7kg) and checked baggage of 20 kilograms; check-in is as smooth as it is celebratory.

Down at the gate, we get a display of traditional dancing that will not accompany every flight. What does set every Cebu Pacific flight apart from the pack is the genuine friendliness of the crew that I experienced on more than just the inaugural flight. Despite other airline’s best intentions flight crew service can range from fake to downright surly, but this low-cost carrier seems to deliver warm hospitality across the board.

 

Seat and entertainment

There’s no getting around the hell that is a middle seat, but my seat of 2B is front row so I can get up without annoying my fellow passengers too much.

Seats run in a 3-3-3 configuration, with pitches of 30 to 32 inches and limited recline, padding seems a little wanting with the metal of the seat coming through the cushion. There is also the lack of wings to support your head for a mid-air nap – a particular issue when you are seated between two strangers.

It is hard to grumble given the fact that prices from Melbourne to Manila can get as low as $290 one way, but even when compared to other low-cost carriers, like Scoot and Air Asia, seats are not the highlight on this trip.

There are no screens, so entertainment is what you bring with you, but there is some old-school spectacle when staff run an in-flight competition. Passengers are asked to raise various objects in the air-water bottles, inflight mags – to win prizes. It’s all in the promotion of the souvenir shopping cart, but it is on-brand and fun!

 

Service and food

Cebu’s service is quite simply one of the friendliest of the low-cost carriers whether it is turning on reading lights for you upon take-off or serving your pre-ordered meal with a smile.

The meal itself, a chicken sisig (chicken with onions and chillies), is not quite as cheery; a bit dry and lacking in punch.

 

The details

Flight: Melbourne-Manila
Class: Economy, Seat 2B
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Timing: 7hrs 35minutes

 

Have you flown with Cebu Pacific Air yet? Give us your thoughts below.