Bangkok Airways – “Asia’s Boutique Airline”
On their website (http://bangkokair.com/pages/view/asia-boutique-airline) Bangkok Airways promises 6 things to travellers: 1) Boutique Lounges – even for Economy Class, 2) Blue Ribbon Club Lounges for Business Class, 3) Boutique Airports, 4) Appetizing Menus, 5) Exclusive Service, 6) New Aircraft. The slogan sounds cheesy, but can a budget airline live up to all of this? Read on to find out!
Entrance to Bangkok Airways Boutique Lounge at BKK Airport. Near the international terminals. Good signage and easy to find.
A huge stuffed bear dressed like a ground crew members awaits your arrival.
After your boarding pass is checked there are two options: go right for the business lounge or go right for the economy lounge. Honestly both are very similar, but the business section was less crowded and had slightly better food and drinks.
Window where they would pass out fresh coffee, counter has the juice and popcorn. The popcorn was very popular for some reason.
Selection of the snacks. The green thing on the left is rice wrapped in banana left. It was all very good, fresh tasting and not too bland. This fulfills their promise of appetizing menus in the lounges.
Colourful and well appointed lounge seating area. Not enough power outlets, but not a big deal.
Our plane waiting for us on the runway.
Standard economy seating. Very thin seats, but they were comfortable and supportive. The tray table has an interesting design where it double folds down. Allows for more legroom. Interior was very clean and new. Nice to see airlines investing even in the cheap seats.
Seats are very roomy. I am 5′ 10″ and I wasn’t even all the way back in the seat. My knees did not touch the seats in front of me even when it would recline (there was no one seated there but I tested it out). Also with my largish backpack under the seat I still could put my feet under there. Very good layout and seating experience.
Prior to take off the FAs came around with fresh towels. It was interested that for a flight that maybe had 30 people on it there were no less than 7 FAs on board. I am not sure if this was an outlier, but if not I have no idea how they make monye.
Meal service. The flight from BKK to REP is only 40 minutes long. In that window the FAs managed to serve a full boxed meal to everyone, including offering drinks (wine and beer was included for free as well). The plane was still actually climbing when they brought out the food so the drinks were tilted. I would say it took less than 5-10 minutes for them to bring out the food service. Very impressive.
Close up of the meal. Pretty standard airline food, but it was edible. Not as good as they lounge food, but for a short 40 minute hop this was pretty amazing. US Airlines have no such service and even if they did they would want to charge you $15-20 for this.
So overall did Bangkok Airways deliver on their promises?
1) Boutique Lounges – even for Economy Class: YES! And really nice.
2) Blue Ribbon Club Lounges for Business Class; Yes, but did not use since we booked economy.
3) Boutique Airports: Maybe, BKK is not one, but REP should qualify.
4) Appetizing Menus: YES! The lounge food was great. Yes, the flight food was decent.
5) Exclusive Service: YES! This was a refreshing change coming for US legacy carriers with old planes and old interiors and shitty service. The FAs here were extremely professional, fast and spoke 2-3 languages each. They all looked very happy too.
6) New Aircraft. Yes. As mentioned before in 5 the Airbus A320 seemed very new. The interior was nice, clean and spacious.
I would highly recommend them in the future and look forward to flying them again.
Arrival at Siem Reap, home to Angkor Wat!