Oliver Pelling flies aboard Philippine Airlines PR721 from London to Manila.

The plane:

Not all that dissimilar to a late 1990s school bus, plus wings.

Class: Economy.

My seat: 37F. My brother and I had a row of four to ourselves. Or two seats each, if you want to be difficult.


Price: You can fly London Heathrow to Manila with Philippine Airlines from $1056 one-way.

On time: It was!

How full: Probably about 60 per cent. There were a lot of free seats, but Philippine Airlines staff were charging people to switch seats. Bit naughty.

Fellow passengers: Well, there were four guys sitting in front of us who looked like they could've been famous (as in, used to be famous). My brother and I tried to eavesdrop to see if they gave anything away. We figured they were definitely musicians (a verdict reached because they were talking about "playing shows" and "rehearsing", and because one of them had a violin case, though I didn't check if there was a violin in it). Another had a haircut that was a monument to 2001 - all spikey and shit. "They look like they could've been an early 00s boyband," said my brother. I couldn't help but agree.

Entertainment: We managed to sleep for much of the flight, but the mystery surrounding the musical foursome kept us on the edge of our seats for the duration.

Service: Friendly and good, apart from the bit where they tried to charge £50 to switch to vacant seats.

Food and drink: The beers were good and cold, the red wine was good and room-temperature, and the food wasn't the best aeroplane food I've had, but passable. I got chicken adobo for dinner - a Filipino dish I would end up consuming many times during our stay in the Philippines.

Toilets: 5/10, would use in dire straits, wouldn't recommend to a friend.

Airport experience: London Heathrow is London Heathrow. But at Manila, the mystery surrounding the musical foursome came to a head. As they arrived at baggage claim, they were surrounded by a small gaggle of airport staff - mostly women - giggling and taking photos. We followed them as they went outside to catch their transfer, and the small gaggle turned into a slightly larger gaggle of women and girls, screaming and taking selfies. It was underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time. I asked a guy who they were. "A1," he said. And so my brother was right: they were an early 00s boyband, after all (they did a cover of A-Ha's Take On Me and, as far as I know, that was the extent of their commercial success). What a hoot!

Would I fly it again? Yes, but I feel the flight would have to be pretty special if it were to match up to our incredible brush with fame. I'll forever refer to the experience as our very own "Thriller in Manila".