Earlier today I was browsing the airline websites. Since I'll be flying back to Manila late next month, it would be a good idea to book a flight early.

I absolutely love flying: the added stamp on my passport, the moment of takeoff, the inflight movie, the inflight meals ("chicken or fish?"), the orange juice (Yes the orange juice. It tastes absolutely fantastic. Could it be the air pressure?), the view of Manila or KL when I land, and the touchdown. Minus PAL's "dinosaur" stewardesses that remind me of my grade-school English teacher with matching pilit slang and strictness, that is my ideal flight.

I remember my very first plane ride. It was '97 (or was it '96?). I was a young engineer working for Alcatel installing fixed-switches all over the archipelago. I was assigned by our team-leader to go to Cotabato City for 2 weeks. As you know, Muslim extremists are ever-present in Mindanao. So the Company had me and CC fill-up a short-term life insurance amounting to 1M. Not bad, except that I will not be the immediate beneficiary if you know what I mean.

I was actually more nervous of the destination rather than the journey. The thought that I'll be taking a plane never really entertained my mind since I was more worried of what awaited for me in Cotabato. Long story short, all that waited for me in Cotabato was balbakwa (a local dish), and a failed picture-taking moment with an MNLF tank (that I wrongly assumed as an AFP tank).

From then on I told myself to enjoy the moment of flight. Who would've thought that I would be flying at least 2 or 3 times a year? There was even a time, make that two times, that I flew on first class: once to Singapore and then another to Finland. Man oh man! Once you fly first class you don't want to go back to economy (or "cattle class" as some people would say). But of course times are hard these days so my odds of flying first class is 1 in a billion.

My 'net-surfing stopped at philippineairlines.com. Since I've been flying low-cost, i.e. Air Asia, recently, I wanted to go one notch higher. Honestly, my real reason was that I miss the inflight meal, nearer port of destination (Manila), and the seat-numbers ---in that order.

After clicking my preferred date and time, I clicked "continue" to proceed with the pricing. I almost did a Vic Sotto "Acheche!" when I saw the amount (click the pic to enlarge).

The missus says the price is even more expensive than a Manila-Los Angeles flight. PAL is stupid to even think of offering such a, pardon the pun, "hijack" price.

I guess I'll be surfing back to airasia.com after all. Bye-bye inflight meal. Bye-bye inflight movie.

So here's what my flight will look like: the LCC-T terminal which is nowhere near the beauty of KLIA, a long queue involved with pushing and jockeying in front for better seats, no inflight meal (waaaah), the view of Mt. Pinatubo and its trail of lahar when we land, touchdown at Clark where I know I still have to take a bus for 1-hour before reaching EDSA. Hopefully not on a Saturday since it will be a long crawl from Balintawak to Megamall.

And, after reaching home and hugging the missus, I will be lying in bed thinking that I'll be doing the same flight again in 2 days, this time in reverse order.

At least I don't get to see my grade-school teacher on the flight. All thanks to PAL's "creative" pricing scheme.

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