This is my first experience of Bangkok Airways, flying a domestic flight from the Thai capital, Bangkok, to the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai.
Bangkok Airways operate numerous flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai daily, offering me a convenience of timings to suit my schedule. Not being a very morning person, I opted for the noon flight PG217 which departs from Bangkok at 12.30pm.
Operator: Bangkok Airways
Route: Bangkok (BKK) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Departs: 12:30pm / 12:45pm*
Arrives: 1:45pm / 1:40pm*
Flight Time: 1 hour 15 minutes / 55 minutes*
Operating Aircraft: Airbus 320-232
( * denotes actual timings)
Bangkok Airways operates from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). I was assisted with my check-in by the Bangkok Airways staff using the self-check-in kiosks. They assisted me in selecting my desired seat, before printing out my boarding pass, which was appreciated.
I proceeded for security screening before heading to the Boutique Lounge to enjoy some relaxation time before the flight. Bangkok Airways has dedicated lounges for all its passengers, regardless of travel class - which is a rather unique service offering. There were an assortment of light bites offered at the lounge, and a selection of hot/cold drinks. You may read about my full lounge experience here.
After enjoying some light bites and drinks, I proceeded to the boarding gate A1 for my flight's boarding. Spotting the aircraft at the gate being prepared for its next sector - it was in a dull white livery - not in the usual standard tropical colours of Bangkok Airways.
The flight would turn out to be really full, with a good mishmash of local Thai passengers and foreign tourists. At boarding, the cabin crew warmly welcomed the passengers, and were very proactive in showing the passengers to their seats. It was a nice first impression. I noted there were 6 cabin crew operating on this flight.
Refreshing towels were distributed by the cabin crew after boarding was completed.
A safety demonstration was performed by the cabin crew in English then Thai, and subsequently, the aircraft took off on a rather gloomy wet day.
The weather at cruising altitude was much better, with plenty of sunshine. An announcement welcoming passengers on this flight was made and more flight information was provided, including details of today's food menu. Chicken in Hainan Sauce with Rice would be served.
The cabin crew quickly began the meal service, expertly dishing out the meals and offering orange juice/water. Hot coffee and tea were served later.
For a flight that is less than one hour long, the meal served was exceptional - a 3-course meal; with a fruit appetiser, hot main course, and a dessert!
Appetiser: Fresh Cut Fruit
Main Course: Chicken in Hainan Sauce and Rice
Dessert: Orange Cheese Cake
The cabin crew were generally very cheerful and upbeat, with warm smiles and being very polite, which made the flight much more pleasant.
Though entertainment was limited to the inflight magazines, FAH THAI and In-flight Variety (shopping guide), and the window views, it was fine on this very short flight.
Quickly time passed, and we would land in Chiang Mai International Airport.
Even though it was short, it had been an excellent flight experience with Bangkok Airways. It was pretty amazing to fly in Economy Class and enjoy Business Class frills such as lounge access and hot meals on 1 hour flights. It was awesome that the Bangkok Airways cabin crew were very hospitable and warm as well. Thumbs up for the excellent service from Bangkok Airways and I would strongly recommend giving this boutique airline a try when flying domestic within Thailand.
Bangkok Airways website: http://www.bangkokair.com/full/en
A full video of my Bangkok Airways flight experience may be viewed below: