We caught up with Daniel Baron, founder of LIFT Strategic Design, the design studio behind the latest Philippine Airlines A330-300 cabin.

It’s safe to say LIFT has had a long standing relationship with PAL over the years, “we have worked with PAL on thirteen different seat programs over the past decade, starting with their first batch of 777-300ERS.”  The current scope of work includes the latest deliveries of 777s, the A330 retrofit, and soon the new A350s and new A321s.


Many frequent fliers will know that PAL originally kitted out the A330s in a high density configuration with no IFE throughout the aircraft. The 9-across seating allowed the airline great cost savings per seat, but certainly didn’t fit into a ‘premium carrier’ vision.  However with a change in management and owner, the airline completed a U-turn, and the high-density A330 was one of the first passenger experience elements to be redefined.

“So the first task has been to use new seats, IFE, cabin design, and other elements, to clarify the positioning of PAL as a premium network airline,” Baron says.


The A330 also features premium economy, a totally new product for Philippine Airlines. “The A330 reconfiguration program is significant because it represents a massive investment in a vastly improved experience, and in terms of comfort, squarely places PAL on par with the best out there.”

Turning around the A330 came with great speed, which was a delight for passengers, however this came with some challenging constraints for LIFT. “For reasons of time and budget, we were not able to alter the industrial design of the seats. So the project was about how to communicate premium, enhanced comfort and of course PAL and the Philippines.”


As we covered in a previous article, the colours were sophisticated and luxurious, and while the country is quite a colorful place, Daniel Baron took inspiration from top-end hotels in Manila and other locations in the Philippines. “The design language is about refinement, texture and soothing colours. We felt that a similar ambience should be present in the cabin. Each cabin has a unique flavour that speaks to its respective customer, and each inspired by the incredibly rich heritage of textile weaving in the Philippines.” The decorative laminate design on forward and rear surfaces of each zone ties it all together in a subtle way that is unmistakably PAL and unmistakably the Philippines.


Like all designers, to receive positive feedback is one of the reasons they work so passionately to deliver something so detailed. “Many people who fly do not realize just how much effort goes into cabin design. I’m grateful to PAL for allowing me to participate. It was so rewarding to see and hear visitors’ reactions when they understood that there is a unique concept related to the PAL brand, that every detail has meaning, and that both PAL and its designer care tremendously about the wellbeing of their customer.” It’s statements like this that mirror’s the airline’s desire to become a 5-star airline in a matter of years.


The details

Fully flat bed of 78 inches long with a seat/bed width of 23 inches
All seats with direct aisle access
Adjustable air cushion system
Massage function
4-way headrest
Individual reading light
Shelf for small items with adjustable mood light
Headphone hook
Fabric seat cover with an extra layer of padding for enhanced comfort
Padded inner shell for noise absorption
Coat hook
18.5-inch monitor with on-demand entertainment
AC power and USB port at every seat

2-3-2 configuration
19.55 inch seat width
38 inch pitch
8 inch recline
Legrest and foot support
4-way headrest
Fabric seat cover with an extra layer of padding for enhanced comfort
Wide center cocktail table
Personal pull-out mini table
Two dedicated pockets for small personal items
Coat hook
13.3 inch touch screen monitor with on-demand entertainment
AC power and USB port at every seat

2-4-2 configuration
18-inch seat width
32-inch seat pitch
6-inch recline
4-way headrest
Seat bottom cushion that moves forward when reclining for enhanced comfort
Fabric seat cover with an extra layer of padding for enhanced comfort
High-comfort armrests
10.1 inch touch screen monitor
USB port at every seat


Posted by:Jonny Clark

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