Every country has a national airline, and in the case of Pakistan, this honor belongs to Pakistan International Airlines or PIA. It was originally established in 1946 named as Orient Airways and was based out of Kolkata in India, before it shifted to Pakistan when it became a new country in 1947. In the year 1955, it was nationalized and merged with another airline to become the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation.
The first international flights began from the same year in 1955 to London, via Rome and Cairo. It is now the largest airline in Pakistan with a fleet of more than 30 airplanes. It flies to 18 domestic destinations and 25 international ones, and operates near to 100 flights each day. Pakistan International Airlines is also the owner of two hotels, The Sofitel Paris Scribe Hotel in Paris and The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
Pakistan International Airlines has a number of facilities for passengers who fly with them. Here is a glimpse of some of them.
Pakistan International Airline has divided its seats into three different classes for domestic flights, namely economy class, executive economy class and business class. For international flights, they have two classes of travel, namely executive economy class and economy class. Executive economy and business class cabins feature recliner seats on their Boeing 777 aircrafts. However, economy class passengers get a leg room of 30 inches, along with a personal screen for entertainment.
The airline receives its meals from PIA Catering at the Karachi and Islamabad airports. In April 2019, the airline signed an agreement with McDonald’s to cater to its flights. The in-flight meals offered by PIA are kept at par with the religious and dietary needs of the passengers. As per the Islamic law, the airline does not offer any pork or alcohol on board.
In 1962, PIA became the first airline to provide entertainment in the flights by showing a film on-board. Their in-flight magazine, namely Humsafar, is given to all passengers during the flights. This is a bi-monthly published magazine that was introduced by the airline in 1980. In order to keep its passengers entertained on board, the airline introduced intranet system in 2017. With this facility, passengers can access the entertainment content right on their mobile device. Personal screens provided to the passengers in Boeing 777 flights feature a wide range of music, TV shows and movies.
Like most other airlines, PIA also has a frequent flyer program for its regular customers, namely PIA Awards Plus. Over the three membership tiers namely Diamond, Sapphire and Emerald, passengers can avail facilities like cabin upgrades, special deals, discounts, excess baggage vouchers, and sometimes even free tickets.
Passengers who fly from Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi can get exclusive porter services. These specially trained and efficient porters are available to help passengers at the Business Plus check-in counters. Business class passengers also receive priority baggage tags and priority boarding facilities. There is no need to line up or worry about carrying heavy baggage, as the porters and check-in personnel take care of you.
Employees of Pakistan International Airlines are specifically trained so that they can help disabled passengers. There are a number of ways a person can ask for help if they have a disability. Once a disabled passenger boards a PIA aircraft, he or she will be assisted in the following ways:
PIA has priority seating for passengers with a disability and tries to seat passengers according to their specific needs. PIA does not even place a limit on the number of disabled passengers who can fly on a flight. All PIA aircraft have on-board wheelchairs so that they can help people with disabilities move inside the aircraft and the inflight crew helps them in doing this.
Passengers travelling with Postural Support Equipment (PSE): Disabled passengers are allowed to carry Postural Support Equipment (PSE) when they travel. They need to bring their own PSE and have to be responsible for installing, using, and removing it. They must also use the seatbelt of the aircraft, which is mandatory. There are no extra charges for carrying and using PSE but it is good if you inform the airlines ahead of time that you will be carrying PSE on a flight.
Walking Equipment: Passengers are allowed to carry walking canes, frames, and crutches, but they need to store them in the flight in compliance with cabin safety requirements. Only foldable walking frames are allowed inside the aircraft cabin. Non-foldable ones must be checked-in. You can use your frame until you reach the departure gate, and then submit it for priority storage to the personnel at the gate.
Now that you are aware of all the facilities provided in PIA flights, it is important to know about their baggage policies as well.
Checked baggage is the baggage, which you handover to the staff at the check-in counter in lieu of the baggage tag. The weight and size of baggage you can check in depends on the class you are traveling in and your flight destination. The same will be instructed in your flight ticket.
Unchecked Baggage/Hand Baggage means the baggage that you carry with you into the cabin of the aircraft. Economy class passengers can carry hand baggage up to 7 kg on both domestic and international flights. Business class passengers can carry hand baggage up to 12 kg on both domestic and international flights, in addition to one small briefcase not weighing more than 5 kg. However, you need to make sure that you do not carry any explosives, batteries, flammable solids or liquids, radioactive materials, poisonous substances, sharp objects or other such dangerous objects in your flight.
The following things are prohibited in hand baggage for safety reasons:
PIA has a fleet of more than 30 airplanes with over 13,000 people employed to serve the passengers in the best possible way. Each and every staff member is especially trained to cater to their customers’ needs while making them feel special. Whether you are traveling on a domestic or an international flight, whether you have a booking in the economy class or the business class, you will be happy to experience the kind of service PIA employees can offer you. Considering all the amenities PIA has to offer, next time you plan a trip, PIA flights can be an option for you to travel hassle free and in comfort.