This morning I had the privilege of flying Cebu Pacific from Hong Kong to Manila. I’m in Pinamalayan, the Philippines for a building project, and Cathay Pacific apparently didn’t have the seats to cover our entire group. At the end it just made the most sense to pick Cebu Pacific, due to the better timing and the price difference between Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. We were booked on an A320 on the outbound leg, and our return leg on Sunday will be on an A330.
Well, how did I make of it? Believe it or not, I enjoyed my flight, and wouldn’t hesitate to take Cebu Pacific again.
Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 Hong Kong Airport
Cebu Pacific departs out of the Midfield Concourse at Hong Kong Airport, which is where Hong Kong Airlines is now based, though a handful of smaller airlines base their flights out of there too (as well as a few bigger carriers such as Lufthansa, etc.). I like the Midfield Concourse – it’s modern, features a lot of outdoor “observation deck” areas, and isn’t too large to navigate around.
Hong Kong Airport Midfield Terminal
The boarding process was easy, and our bags weren’t weighed. I was assigned 30C, which is the aisle seat on the left side in the second last row of the Cebu Pacific A320. While I’d rather have a window seat for short flights sometimes, my friend Matthew was seated in the window seat and the middle seat was kept empty, so that worked for me.
Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 Economy Class
The cabin itself is uninteresting, as it doesn’t feature PTVs. There are many ads located at the side of the cabin, though I was happy that they were all provided by a humanitarian building agency, with colorfully designed comments from children that were positively affected.
Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 Economy Class
As you’d expect, the seats don’t have the most pitch, and also don’t go that far back. I was happy that there was recline, especially since the seat behind me was left empty.
Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 Economy Class Recline
We weren’t given the option of pre-ordering meals on this flight, and water set us back 40 pesos (~HK$6). However, I was still very impressed by the service on this flight – it was friendly, courteous, and proactive. For example, my nose was running during the flight, so when I looked back into the galley and made a “blowing nose” gesture, a flight attendant appeared with some tissues, which I appreciated.
Cebu Pacific has a very “young” branding – in a way, they’re like Hong Kong Express of the Philippines (executed brilliantly). First of all, the amenities were cute, including the vomit bags.
Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 Economy Class Sick Bags
Also, once we reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants did a trivia session where we had the opportunity to raise our hands and “guess” what certain acronyms meant, for the chance to win a prize (I believe it was a stuffed animal, but I could be wrong). The acronyms given were BRB, IKR and NVM, so I’m not sure why they bother – though I love the concept.
On a side note, it was my first time flying into the Philippines. I thought the landscape was gorgeous, and despite over 13 hours of travel time today, the hot weather and the ultra-slow roaming speed, I’m loving the country.
Landing Manila Airport
If you’re looking for an exclusive experience, it goes without saying that Cebu Pacific shouldn’t be your first choice. I was expecting to say that Cebu Pacific got the job done, but they impressed me in terms of keeping up with their branding, from the friendly service, to the well-placed ads (in a way I feel like the cabin would have been duller without the ads present), to the trivia session on the flight.
Was it perfectly executed? No. I wish you could pay for meals, the colour scheme of the cabin wasn’t appealing, and the trivia almost seemed like a giveaway (at least pick some acronyms that most people don’t interact with on a daily basis). However, I love an airline that sticks closely to their branding, and this flight was the most pleasantly surprising flight I’ve taken this year.
Have you flown Cebu Pacific before? Did you enjoy it?