A desi Review of Bangkok Airways
Thailand is a very spread out country from mountains in the north over mainland to hundreds of Tropical Island in the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Each of these tropical islands is more pristine than the next. In my last visit to Thailand, I visited Koh Chang in the eastern Thailand. We took a Bangkok Airways flight to Trat, the nearest airport to Koh Chang. This post is about my experience of flying with Bangkok Airways that take pride in calling itself “Asia’s Boutique Airline”.
First let me clarify, Bangkok Airways is not a low-cost airline, that many people associate with private airlines in India. Bangkok Airways is a full-service airline, and they actually take good care of their guests both on ground as well as in the air. Mind you this was not my first flight with Bangkok Airways, I have earlier flown with Bangkok Airways to Phuket and to Koh Samui Airport during my earlier visits to Thailand.
On this trip, we took a Bangkok Airways flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to Trat airport and a return flight 2 days later from Trat Airport to the Suvarnabhumi Airport. The flight lasts for about an hour and the aircraft operated on this sector by Bangkok Airways was ATR 72 made by French-Italian company ATR. For short haul flights especially over picturesque lands, I love flying in these ATRs as they fly at a height of only about 7500-8800 meters giving you a wonderful view of the scenery below, while you are still flying above the clouds. This gives a wonderful opportunity to click images (Caution: Always keep your cell phone in flight mode when you are clicking pictures in a plane and make sure you do not click images of prohibited airports). While going from Bangkok to Trat I was lucky to get a window seat and took full advantage of the same.
But even before we boarded the plane we got to experience some great hospitality at the Blue Ribbon lounge of Bangkok Airways at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. Bangkok Airways actually offers 2 type of lounges to its guests. As we were guests of Bangkok Airways we were hosted in their Blue Ribbon Club lounge and I must say it is one of the nicer and cozier airline lounges I have been to.
Boutique Lounges – Are open to all the guests of Bangkok Airways without any extra charges or hidden fees.
Boutique Lounges – Blue Ribbon Club: Is available to premium passengers flying with Bangkok Airways’ business class, Blue Ribbon Club; or with Boutique Premier Service; or for any passengers with FlyerBonus Premier Membership.
Both the lounge not only offers free WiFi and a choice of newspapers, magazines etc. it also has a variety of snacks and beverages on offer. Besides the readymade snacks available in the Blue Ribbon Club lounge you can also get some made to order hot meals also
Our flight from Bangkok to Trat was smooth and I was mostly busy clicking pictures of the beautiful Thai countryside as the view below changed from the Mega City of Bangkok to the rural countryside with green fields, and a network of canals and rivers below me.
Like most small airports Trat airport is one of the most picturesque airports I have been to. Just like the resort type Koh Samui Airport, the Trat Airport also gives you a look of a villa and welcomes you with open arms. But the best part of the Trat airport was to be experienced when we took our return flight from Trat to Bangkok. Here it may not be out of place to mention that Bangkok Airways also owns and operates Koh Samui, Trat and Sukhothai Airport in Thailand. Based on my visit to Koh Samui and Trat Airport, I can easily say they do a great job. While the main airport area looks like a well-manicured garden, the building is inspired by local architecture and topography.
As this post is about Bangkok Airways only, so I will jump fast forward to our return journey by the Bangkok Airways. During our return journey also we got to experience the premium Blue Ribbon Club lounge at the Trat Airport, that is decorated like a home of a wealthy Thai family.
You have very elegant furniture in place of normal chairs and the décor has been done very tastefully. Though it is a small airport the lounge has all the facilities one could ask for. While others in the group were busy checking their phones, I ventured out of the lounge and clicked pictures of the airport and surroundings. The Thai love of Orchids was visible everywhere, and the crafty Thai gardeners have attached a small pot made of cloth to the tree trunks and were growing Orchid flowers in these makeshift pots.
The shade loving Orchids were blooming everywhere and smiling at passersby. Check this picture below that I clicked in broad daylight with my cell phone.
Even the normal waiting area for the rest of the passengers pampers them with all kind of food and beverages. One could choose from Sherbets to coffee, tea, hot chocolate etc. Some of the Thai delicacies like Sticky Banana Rice and chips made from Sweet Potato, Taro, Banana etc. were also on offer to the guests. This is where I had my first Durian Toffee, that has a bit of bitter aftertaste but otherwise had a very earthy flavor. I have never had a Durian fruit in my life so was a bit skeptical trying the Durian Toffee but it was not smelly at all at least to me.
During our return flight, our super efficient guide Pat had booked a vegetarian meal for me on the flight. Though I was not hungry as I had tried almost all the vegetarian snacks at Trat Airport, I still wanted to check the vegetarian meal on the flight. The vegetarian meal was a simple affair with lots of veggies and some fruits, salad, and later hot beverages were offered.
I must say that I am very impressed with the service and efficiency of Bangkok Airways, and if you are traveling to Thailand or to the international destinations where Bangkok Airways flies you should consider them on a priority. From India, as of now, Bangkok Airways flies only from Mumbai to Bangkok, but I am sure will start services from more cities. Check here for more destinations where Bangkok Airways flies
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