Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines?

Low cost Cebu Pacific or full service Philippine Airlines? Who would you fly with long haul? We look at who offers the best value, comfort and price on this route and reveal who we would choose

April 11, 2023
cebu pacific

In this week’s long-haul, low-cost vs full service airline comparison, we take a look at Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines on a return flight from Manila to Melbourne. Looking at cost, comfort, aircraft and flight time we will see who offers the best value and reveal who we would fly with.

Our example flight to Melbourne will be taking place on August 29 to September 8th, 2023. Both Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines operate direct flights on this route with an A330, but that’s where the similarities end.

Our return flight with Cebu pacific came to $544 USD with the inclusion of a 2 meals and four bottles of water on each segment, a standard window seat, 32kg of checked baggage and a 7kg carry-on bag.  

Our flight with Philippine Airlines came in at $729 USD which included meals, snacks, unlimited drinks, in-flight entertainment through seat back screens, in seat power, 30 minutes of WiFi, blankets and pillows plus 30kg of baggage and a 7kg carry-on bag.

Whilst there is a $197 USD difference in the fares, the real difference in this comparison is the onboard comfort. Cebu Pacific operate the worlds most cramped A330 with an astounding 436 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration across the aircraft. Compared to the Philippine airlines A330 with just 267 seats in economy in the more spacious 2-4-2 configuration.

The actual seat pitch or leg room is 2 inches or 5cm less on Cebu Pacific and the seat recline half of what you get on Philippine Airlines. Perhaps the most uncomfortable factor though is the seat width. With just 16.5 inch between armrests on Cebu Pacific this represents 1.5 inches less than on Philippine airlines.

The author found this comparison particularly interesting as we are comparing extreme levels of comfort in economy here but without a huge price difference, though significant enough for many travellers. On this occasion I would choose to travel Philippine airlines with the mind set that this would be a part of the experience and I would (hopefully) arrive somewhat more refreshed at my destination.

If you missed last week’s long-haul comparison between Jetstar and Qantas check it out here

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