Airline review: Bangkok Airways economy

THE PLANE

Airbus A320; the airline has eight of these aircraft with 162 economy-class seats.

THE ROUTE

Siem Reap to Bangkok

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Bangkok Airways FlyerBonus. Partner awards with Etihad, Airberlin and Japan Airlines

CLASS

All economy. Seat 5C (aisle) in a 3-3 layout.

DURATION

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The 55-minute flight takes off three minutes early and touches down 11 minutes ahead of schedule. Sensational.

THE SEAT

Does it matter? There's barely any time between levelling out after take-off and preparing to descend. However, the crew manages to serve one of the best economy meals I've had on a short flight. It's another reason not to recline the seat. In other respects, the plane seems new and the cabin and seats are functional.

BAGGAGE

Maximum allowance for checked luggage is 20 kilograms. Plus five kilograms carry-on luggage.

COMFORT

The comfort factor happens before boarding the flight. Is this the future of economy travel? If so, bring it on. Bangkok Airways, which bills itself as "Fly boutique, feel unique", has lounges for economy passengers. The Wi-Fi is free, there are two computers, seating is on comfy banquettes or Phillipe Starck-style ghost chairs and there's a trendy vertical garden. The food includes warm salted popcorn, home-made style biscuits, chocolate brownies, fresh pineapple and bananas plus sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. Tea, coffee and orange juice are among the drinks.

ENTERTAINMENT

None. There may be no movies, but for an airline – albeit one with big ambitions – of just 29 aircraft, it offers an impressive, high-gloss 152-page inflight magazine, Fahthai. In it, we learn Thai/Norwegian superstar actor Urassaya Sperbund, nickname Yaya, has just been appointed airline brand ambassador and the company knows how to reward its best clients. Five top premier flyers and their families were recently treated to a hosted, three-night trip to Myanmar's ancient cities.

FOOD

The flight leaves at 3.30pm when plenty of airlines would serve an afternoon snack — if you're lucky. What we get is a splendid meal showcasing Thai food. In a two-part substantial salad, chilli-hot mushrooms, loaded with lemongrass and herbs, are served with carrot, corn and peas in a soothing coconut sauce. Dessert is coconut custard with fresh mango and jelly cubes and there are even slices of fresh pawpaw and melon. The plane is by no means full but it's a very tight turnaround. The crew makes it look easy and concludes by serving tea and coffee.

ONE MORE THING

Once in Bangkok, we bus it from the plane to the terminal, which is part building site. And here there's a comical moment with the makeshift signage showing Immigration and baggage collection to the left and right – each down very long corridors. The queue almost falls upon itself in confusion. I get it wrong and have to go back the other way. Nevertheless, I'm in a car and on my way within 30 minutes of landing.

THE VERDICT

It was a pleasure to fly Bangkok Airways. I loved the lounge and everything about the experience reflected the superb way Asian airlines do service. Book early enough and prices are cheap.

Reviewed by Sue Bennett, who flew courtesy of APT.

See also: Airline review: Thai Airways economy class
See also: Airline review: Nok Air economy to Bangkok

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