I don’t like traveling for long periods, especially airline travel. I don’t like the hassles of getting in and out of airports. I don’t like the waiting time at the gate. I don’t like how long it takes to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, airline travel is the fastest way to travel over oceans. It’s also the most uncomfortable way of traveling as far as I’m concerned. I have one more trip to make from the United States to the Philippines and I hope it’s the last time.
Airline Travel Choices
I traveled using Northwest Airlines (later absorbed by Delta Airlines) in 1986. All the stops and the travel time of more than 24 hours (both from and to the United States) made for a very unpleasant trip. Having my young children in tow didn’t make it any better. Since then, Josie (my wife) and I have traveled using both Philippine Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. I was once forced to use Continental Airlines (also later absorbed by Delta Airlines) on a trip of short notice because there were no seats available on Philippine Airlines that time and Hawaiian Airlines wasn’t yet operating in Manila. It was also a longer trip than I cared for (both ways).
The next time I return to the Philippines. I’ll be using Philippine Airlines as my airline travel choice because Hawaiian Airlines discontinued service to Manila on July 31, 2013. Hawaiian Airlines was the fastest way to get from Phoenix to Manila because of a single stop in Honolulu – it operates out of Phoenix. With Philippine Airlines, I’ll have to use a different airline from Phoenix to Los Angeles. Sometimes there’s a single stop in Hawaii or a single stop in Guam and sometimes there’s no stop at all.
Using Philippine Airlines
I’ve never had an issue with Philippine Airlines. In fact, I consider the customer service excellent. In 2008, Josie missed the flight out of Los Angeles because of a delay in Phoenix – a rare event, a microburst, delayed takeoff by more than 30 minutes. I called their number in the United States (800-435-9725), using Skype from the Philippines, and the situation was resolved about an hour after Josie called me from Los Angeles (from her cell phone to my Skype number). Josie could have done it herself if she knew how, but she didn’t know how.
The only problems I’ve ever had with Philippine Airlines had nothing to do with Philippine Airlines and everything to do with the airport terminals, both in Los Angeles and Manila. I don’t want to go into detail about the problems because they’re the kinds of problems that happen once or twice and never happen again.
Airline Travel isn’t Fun
I’ve racked up more travel hours than I care to remember, both in and out of the military. Domestic travel in the United States isn’t too bad, but traveling overseas is painful.
On many airlines, there isn’t enough leg room for people of my size. I’m sure it’s more comfortable for children and shorter people. I’m not the only one that complains about it – I’m one of many, but what can we do about it? Nothing. Unless, of course, we pay for business class seats and those seats are far too expensive for the average person.
The seats do not go back far enough. I don’t know about other people, but I have a hard time sleeping in a near-vertical position. I have to be incredibly tired to sleep on a plane. I’ve stayed awake more often than not on most of my trips, even the trips lasting 12 hours or more.
I look forward to returning to the Philippines because I now consider it my home. I don’t look forward to the airline travel aspects at all.