I have heard plenty about the excellent services of Bangkok Airways, a private Thai airline operating mostly domestic trunk routes, as well as offering flights to several regional leisure destinations.
Operator: Bangkok Airways
Route: Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK)
Departure from Chiang Mai: 4.30pm / 4.31pm*
Arrival in Bangkok: 6.00pm / 5.31pm*
Flight Time: 1 hour 20 minutes / 1 hour*
Operating Aircraft: Airbus 320-232
Registration: HS-PGV (named "Krabi")
(*denotes actual timings)
What is fascinating about Bangkok Airways is its offering of access to its Boutique Lounge for ALL its passengers, where passengers can relax in a comfortable environment, enjoying finger food and hot/cold drinks, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi before their flight.
I have arrived early at Chiang Mai International Airport to enjoy Bangkok Airways' ground services at the Boutique Lounge. I was quite surprised to find that the lounge is located at the land side area of the airport - prior to security check.
The receptionist warmly welcomed me as I entered the lounge, and provided me a computer-generated Wi-Fi access code after scanning my boarding pass. The lounge was very spacious, with plenty of seating. Power charging points were limited though, and the few passengers in the lounge at that time were strategically seated at the tables with charging point access (near the walls).
An assortment of savoury and sweet finger food were available as well as drinks. It was quite nice that there were a number of Thai menu items on offer, including Thai iced milk tea - a sinfully sweet drink to cool off the heat on a hot day.
Owing to the fact that the gate was outside of the air side, I proceeded early for security screening but honestly, it wasn't necessary. The compact airport layout makes getting from the lounge to the gate a stroll (a short one at that). Sitting at the gate, I noticed the cabin crew coming out of the aircraft for a quick breather before their next sector. They actually bothered to smile at their passengers as they walk past the seating area in front of the boarding gate. Certainly, they created a very good impression of the Bangkok Airways even before the flight!
Boarding call was soon made, and passengers were boarded in order of priority (with their revered status, Buddhist monks being one of the priority passengers). I entered the aircraft and was warmly welcomed by each and every cabin crew - who were focused on the boarding process, and welcoming passengers on board with enthusiasm, warm smiles, traditional Thai wai greeting, and helpfully showing the passengers to their seats. Thumbs up for the excellent impression that would prove to set the standard for the rest of the flight.
The seat pocket contains the safety card, airsickness bag, In-flight Variety shopping catalogue and Fah Thai inflight magazine.
After everyone settled in, refreshing towels were distributed - a nice welcoming touch.
It was a quick safety demonstration by the cabin crew, in Thai and English, before the aircraft quickly took off for Thailand's capital city. An announcement was made to welcome passengers onboard this hour long flight. It was also appreciated that information on today's meal service was given: Japanese Chicken Curry served with Steamed Japanese Rice would be served.
The cabin crew quickly commenced the meal service, with two crew taking charge of the first half of the cabin, and another pair taking charge of the second half. Despite the short flight time, the cabin crew calmly distributed the hot meals with grace and smiles, creating an enjoyable dining experience, and demonstrating a high level of professionalism and familiarity with a route they probably fly often.
The Japanese Chicken Curry main course was a real treat! It was flavourful, and the juicy chicken pieces and mild curry sauce went well with the steamed rice. It was accompanied by a duo of fresh tropical cut fruits and a strawberry mousse cake.
The meal service was interrupted by some turbulence, whereby the seatbelt sign was switched on just before the drinks rounds. I would imagine that the drinks rounds would be cancelled, as there was already drinking water on the meal tray and given the limited time left to conduct the service. I was honestly quite surprised when the cabin crew continued with serving the drinks after the seatbelt sign was turned off. Each cabin crew going around with either hot coffee, hot tea, orange juice, or water - great teamwork to complete the drinks service within the limited time. Even though time was short, the cabin crew actually stopped at each row to offer each and every passenger drinks. I definitely am appreciative of the cabin crew team's utmost commitment towards their passengers' inflight comfort.
The lavatory, as with the aircraft cabin in general, was pretty basic. Extra refreshing towels were provided, as with Botanical hand soap with turmeric extract.
During the flight, short programmes were screened on the overhead screens.
One of the lovely flight stewardesses nicely offered me a deck of Bangkok Airways-branded playing cards - a gesture I greatly appreciate, after learning of my interest in aviation. I am very thankful to her.
It was soon time to land, and we landed at Bangkok's main international airport, with nice aerial views of the Thailand's agrarian and suburban landscape until landing.
We made a long taxi towards the remote bay where the passengers were bussed to the terminal in two buses.
With lounge access, a hot meal, and very welcoming and hospitable cabin crew, this was certainly a refreshing flight experience - even on this domestic trunk route flying in Economy Class! I guess this unique and pampering service is only made possible by Bangkok Airways. Though the aircraft cabin is pretty basic without the bells and whistles, the true gem lies in Bangkok Airways' soft product: with their caring cabin crew and delicious inflight meals. If you wish to fly in comfort domestically in Thailand or in the region - without splurging a bomb, from personal experience, I'd strongly recommend you give Bangkok Airways a try!
Thank you very much for reading this flight report of Bangkok Airways.
For my video experience of my flight PG226, please see below: