PR107 Las Vegas LAS – Vancouver YVR
19 Feb 2011
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 1730-2025
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 1727-1939
Seat No: 64G
With the spring holiday break spent in Los Angeles, where we rented a Chrysler 300C, we drove all the way to Las Vegas, dropping off the car at the rental agency before waiting for the shuttle bus. The wait took around 3 minutes as most of the arriving buses head towards the domestic terminals of United, American and Delta but the international terminal shuttle eventually arrived and the journey took around 6-7 minutes before we were dropped off in front of the door for Philippine Airlines. I got to know of this flight through the new nifty app called Hipmunk which one can download onto Google’s new Chrome web browser. This app allows users to compare prices, connection and schedules of flights on a particular date between 2 points and this app is definitely a keeper and great way to search for flights!
There was only a short queue in the Philippines Airlines counter and we were served shortly in the Mabuhay Class counter. Initially the computer spewed out crappy seats for the 5 of us travelling together but the really helpful agent helped to re-assign our seats and even showed us a seat chart for the Airbus widebody that we will be taking today. This was really great service from an airline check-in agent! Kudos to the agent!
With our baggage checked-in for the flight, we headed towards security screening and on the way passed this cupboard filled with aircraft models throughout the years. Nice touch in an airport, though the rest of the airport was really plain and nothing to speak of. It was also eerily quiet which meant a short queue for security screening and I was somehow unlucky enough to be directed for the millimeter screening. Instead I opted for a pat down which took much longer since I had to wait for the TSA agent. By the time everything was done, it was close to boarding time and fortunately for us, the boarding gate was just next to the security screening area. There was still some time for some of us to head to the washroom as I discovered a Best Buy vending machine selling new electronic gadgets ranging from iPods to GPS Navigation systems.
At 17:02, we were the last of the few to board the plane and we passed through the business class section before arriving at the economy section. The business section reminds me of those in China Eastern and the seats were in 2-2-2 configuration in Business and 2-4-2 in economy. Loads were low that day at about 55% in economy and less than 40% in business. Maybe more passengers are taking the Vancouver-Manila leg of this flight. Shortly after boarding, the ground crew made final checks before pulling back and a short taxi to the runway. The taxi provided opportunities for passengers on the right side of the plane to gaze at the landmark hotels and resorts of the Strip including the Stratosphere, Wynn and Venetian. I had tried to move to an empty window seat but to no avail as the stewardess didn’t allow it until after take-off, which we did at 17:27.
Legroom in the economy class seat was great for this short flight which also featured a footrest, though there aren’t any personal IFE screen on the seat back as the safety demonstration is shown on the projector screen. Other than the lack of a personal IFE, the cabin was pleasantly clean and comfortable enough. Considering there was not much passengers on this leg, I got to occupy a whole row of 4 aisle seats and was able to relax myself as the flight attendants start serving out the snack service which consisted of a sandwich, a small pack of crackers and choice of beverages with a cup of tea or coffee. The sandwich provided was not bad, so was the crackers, and I was still feasting on Godiva chocolates after the snack service while watching my unwatched episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ which I had downloaded onto my hard disk drive.
Time seems to fly when one is having fun on the flight as we soon began our descent and the plane landed early at 19:39, more than 40 minutes earlier than scheduled. I guess the calm weather throughout the flight helped and it was also a painless stroll across immigration in Vancouver as we all managed to collect all our luggages by 20:04. Another very efficient baggage service by Vancouver International Airport, and this really made a difference to the whole flight experience. I was quite pleased at my first experience on taking Philippines Airlines and for the short flight, it was quite comfortable on economy. For their very competitive rates to Asia, their seat pitch on economy class is something worth considering if one can get past the fact that it has no personal entertainment system.