Really, they are. I always trawl the internet and react to any published special fares since I travel to Cebu, and elsewhere, fairly often. I pride myself in nailing 12 roundtrips to Cebu on PAL at a fabulous price of PHP2,000 all-in in the first hours of a special promo, and if my credit cards didn’t malfunction in such a booking frenzy, I could have booked a dozen more tickets… Many folks bitch about the price of airfares these days, but to be honest, they are pretty darned low, PERIOD. One of the cheapest and safest ways to transport yourself long distances is by air. I used to travel to the U.S. 35 years ago, and the price of the economy ticket from Manila to New York is nearly identical today in dollar terms as it was 35 years ago… that’s truly an amazing feat that results from far more efficient planes and incredible competition. If a Manila-London roundtrip airfare in 1975 was $1,000 (roughly), and there was just 3% price inflation added onto that price annually, then the ticket today should rightfully be at about $3,000. But guess what economy fare Philippine Airlines is offering on it’s about to be launched Manila-London route (777-300ER 12.5 hour non-stop flight)? It’s just $1,052! That’s amazing if you ask me. And no, I am not paid to write this post, I fly PAL domestically 60+ times a year, and I was just stunned to see the fare, and did a bit more number crunching.
Here is the approximate cost of flying roundtrip to different destinations, taking into account mid-November travel, the cheapest on-line PAL fares quoted, and all-in (none of that added baggage BS, seat selection, food selection that other airlines fool their clients with):
$77/Hour – Manila to Seoul, $616, 8 hours (relatively pricey to fly to the land of kimchi)
$66/Hour – Manila to Tokyo, $496, 9 hours
$66/Hour – Manila to Hong Kong, $200, 3 hours
$65/Hour – Manila to Basco, Batanes, $196, 3 hours (Hard to get to, low traffic, no choice)
$43/Hour – Manila to Sydney, $682, 16 hours
$43/Hour – Manila to Toronto, $1387, 32 hours
$42/Hour – Manila to Cebu, $85, 2 hours
$42/Hour – Manila to Davao, $126, 3 hours
$42/Hour – Manila to London, $1052, 25 hours
$37/Hour – Manila to San Francisco, $958, 26 hours
$36/Hour – Manila to Bangkok, $220, 6 hours
And just in case you are wondering, assuming a jet plane travels at say 600 miles per hour, that means the cost of travel ranges from 6-12 cents per mile, or say an average of 9 cents per mile traveled or just under 4 pesos per mile. How does travel by taxi cab compare?
Manila taxi cabs – PHP22 or 51 U.S. cents per mile! (Flagdown PHP40, PHP13.60 per kilometer, no waiting time assumed)
New York City taxi cabs – PHP108 or $2.50 per mile!!!
So cab rides, in older, less safe vehicles with much higher risk of non-fatal and fatal accidents, without lavatories, no food and drinks, no movies (sometimes tv), no magazines and a lack of pretty cabin crew, are far more expensive for the distance traveled… :)