In 2019, many business travellers simply expect to find inflight Internet access onboard their international flights, and in that respect, Philippine Airlines delivers: offering complimentary WiFi access on its Airbus A321neo jets darting between Brisbane, Sydney and Manila.
Australian Business Traveller put the service to the test on a recent Brisbane-Manila flight to bring you this review.
Philippine Airlines Airbus A321neo inflight Internet: access options
Whether up the front in business class or down the back in economy, Philippine Airlines offers free inflight Internet access for every passenger, being 30MB of data per device per flight.
Beyond that, business class passengers receive a further 100MB of complimentary access, with cabin crew distributing one-off access codes to unlock this additional allowance. Provided you use the 30MB free session first, and then enter your voucher code, that’s up to 130MB of data.
However, if you begin by entering your business class voucher code for that 100MB, you won’t have the option of the 30MB free session after your 100MB is depleted, so be sure to use that free session first!
Further access beyond the complimentary allowances can be purchased at the very reasonable price of US$5 per 100MB, and as is the case with most airlines, you can move your session from one device to the next, such as from a laptop to a smartphone or vice versa.
Philippine Airlines Airbus A321neo inflight Internet: getting online
After connecting to the WiFi hotspot, begin by selecting the “complimentary plan” to use your first 30MB of data:
You’ll be asked for an email address and will be connected straight away, with the WiFi hub offering a handy data meter so you can see how you’re tracking:
If you’d like to connect a second device, simply provide a different email address during the registration process to receive a separate 30MB allowance on that gadget (if you enter the same email address as used on your other device, you’ll instead move that existing session across with no additional data).
Business class passengers who’ve used up that initial allowance can then look for the “use a code” option, to enter their 100MB voucher number for continued free access – again, along with an email address.
Entering the email address on another device will move that session from one gadget to the next, so a traveller toting two WiFi-enabled devices would be smart to use the 30MB session on each device, then enter their 100MB voucher code with the option of using that between those devices, for an all-out total of 160MB of free data per flight.
Philippine Airlines Airbus A321neo inflight Internet: usability
On the journey from Brisbane to Manila, I remained connected for most of the flight, and found the overall 160MB free allowance (split across my laptop and smartphone) more than enough to survive the journey, with no need to purchase further access.
I encountered no issues with tasks such as uploading high-resolution photos, sending emails with attachments, connecting to social media and completing general work-related tasks, and arrived in the Philippines with data still remaining in my account.
However, the service did suffer from several dropouts – each lasting 15-20 minutes, and occurring seemingly without warning – but the connection always came back.
When tested, download speeds hovered around the 2Mbps mark, with upload speeds of around 0.4Mbps: on-par with a slower-type ADSL broadband connection on the ground, but perfectly usable.
Overall, with complimentary access for every passenger and a further data boost for business class flyers, Philippine Airlines’ inflight Internet service gets the job done, and meant I could tackle work during the daytime flight – and emails as they came through – and arrived in the evening ready to unwind at the end of the journey, with business taken care of.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Manila as a guest of Philippine Airlines, Brisbane Airport Corporation and Fairmont Makati, Manila.