Comfort & convenience, shining through

How many places are listed in your bucket list? I’m pretty sure it’s as much as I have.

How many have you ticked off to date? With the countless airfare promos made available to us, I’m pretty sure you made to a lot of places like I did.

Lucky, that’s what this generation is. Traveling may be the most recreational and exciting activity anyone can indulge in. What was too costly then is no longer true today. We are now blessed with the “gift of flight” and the choices that come with it—which airline to take, which time to travel at how much we are willing to pay to get to our dream destinations.

Seeing the world is no longer impossible even to the most budget-conscious among us. But there are trade offs— rebooking/refunding restrictions, flights at unholy hours, longer queues at the check-in counter manned with unpolished front liners with thanks-to-our-seat-sale-you-can-travel look on their unsmiling faces, or the suffering caused by delayed flights, and all you can do is shake your head and sigh, or perhaps do a Claudine B.

For comfort and convenience plus other extras, there is a price attached. But I say, if you can afford it, go for it! Sitting through a 14-hour journey (or more) with restricted space to move is no joke (I should know, I fly coach all the time). Comfort can expire, very quickly at that, and getting a peek at what’s at the front portion of the aircraft doesn’t help either. You’d say, “Someday you’ll be on that part of the plane.”

Fortune can smile on you like it did on me. On the most recent trip long haul flight I took, this time to the US, I was fortunate enough to travel Mabuhay Class from Davao to LA via Manila. And boy it was heaven!

A reason to smile-- a blessing!

Not my first on this of the plane but a first on a long haul flight

Philippines Airlines, I believe, still is the most convenient carrier to take for long trips. The connecting flight check through service from Davao eliminates the hassle of going through another check-in process in Manila, the international baggage allowance stands, no need to move to another airport, and most importantly, PAL has the shortest travel time between Manila to the USA.

Across the dividing curtain towards the forward section of the plane is a world of comfort— an attentive and charming crew and far better amenities.  Each of the individual space comes with a touch screen personal television with audio & video on demand, laptop charging ports and wide....

Aaah long-leggedness totally stretched + TV with video on demand - I can watch only the movies I like!

You can be "so controlling" sitting (or lying) on your throne.

....spacious seats that can adjust to a passenger’s preferred position. This six-foot frame of mine preferred the full flat recline— a bed in the sky.

The seats are wider and....

The panel of power. :)

... can recline into a bed in the sky.

For the first time in my traveling years, I slept soundly for hours in an aircraft while crossing continents.

As much as I would love to lay supine on my own mile-high crib, meals had to be taken in the seated setting, and the three-course meals (dinner and breakfast) and snacks on this side of the plane is created by the Philippines’ most respected chefs. It’s pretty much like a restaurant above the clouds.

Meals are fancier on this side of the plane...

Breakfast on the clouds.

A snack somewhere over some ocean.
Oh, there's the famous peanuts & instant noodles, too, If you want them. 

For the rest of the trip, it was the dreamland for me.

Sarap matulog.

Nothing beats arriving to my destinations (LA and back to Davao) pampered and well rested. This opportunity to travel via PAL’s Mabuhay Class spoiled me and for that, I say thank you!

Well-rested when I arrived in night time. So it's sleep again?

Now that I have tried long haul traveling the Mabuhay Class way, I am visualizing myself traveling to distant places the same way. It’s a wonderful thought. But I would have to work twice (or even thrice) as hard or win the lotto to be able to do so.

Let me say this again, if you have the means to travel Mabuhay Class, then do so. One can never really put a price to comfort and convenience.

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Published at the Sun.Star Davao Weekend on March 17, 2013.