Review of Thai Smile flight Ubon Bangkok in Economy

Airline Thai Smile
Flight WE25
Class Economy
Seat 50A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:00
Take-off 16 Dec 18, 15:00
Arrival at 16 Dec 18, 16:00
WE   #30 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 24 reviews
ThomasDutch
By SILVER 601
Published on 5th January 2019

Journey December '18 & January '19


While I just returned from Thailand in October '18, it was now time for me to head back to Thailand once again to start one of my bigger journeys of 2018 (a period of four weeks originally, but decided to add another week to it and travel to Singapore). I decided to book plenty of flights to different cities to explore in both Thailand and Myanmar together with my girlfriend.

A small tip regarding to airlines in Myanmar for domestic flights. In case you want to book a flight with them long in advance, expect your itinerary to be changed from what you originally booked it for. Two or three weeks in advance is sufficient as prices will be the exact same as you would have paid for like six months ago and be sure to verify your flight on their site 24 hours for any change.

So the routing below will give you an idea what my upcoming reports are going to be. Enjoy your read! 



The start of WE 025's Journey


As my three day visit to my girlfriend's parents came to an end, it was now time for me and my girlfriend to drive back to Ubon Ratchathani with our rental car as Si Sa Ket itself does not have an active airport with any commercial flights. No big deal as Ubon is only about a hour drive and the car I rented from Sixt was superb.


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Unfortunately due to a busy Ubon, our ride took about fifteen minutes longer than expected. I guess it is still considered good on time in Thai terms though as you could be stuck for hours here and it is time for us to drop-off our car with a very convenient location as it is almost in front of the terminal itself.

Ubon Ratchathani Airport is still written as ''Ubon Ratchathani International Airport'', while it does not serve any international flights. It did operate some direct flights to Vietnam after the Vietnam war, but those flights were proven unsuccessful and were canceled later. The airport itself didn't really bother to remove it, so it is still seen nowadays. 


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The airport is served by four airliners. Thai Lionair and Thai AirAsia are both flying to Bangkok Don Mueang from here, while Thai Smile operates their flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. Nok Air operates from here to Bangkok Don Mueang and Udon Thani.

The terminal of Ubon is a pretty standard domestic airport in Thailand. It offers a small check-in area, some shops and coffee shops. 


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Upon entering the terminal, I moved myself immediately to my designated check-in area to get my boarding card (did already check-in online, but unable to print my card) and to drop off my luggage to walk more freely. It was a bit chaotic with signals, but two counters were open and both were empty, so I got everything arranged within minutes.


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While I finished my check-in rather early, I decided to move through security about forty minutes later upon finishing my coffee from one of those coffee shops. This took just a very few seconds as I usually have everything orderly located, so it is easy for me to go through security without any hassle.

If I remember correctly, the airport had four gates and two gates of them require you to proceed through a hallway to your designated gate. The moment I was passing through this hallway, the only aircraft, a Thai Lionair (HS-LTT) Boeing 737-900ER was boarding for it's flight to Bangkok and it is up to the staff to pay attention as to who goes where.


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While I am rather unfamiliar with this airport, I did decide to proceed to my gate and it was rather a bad call as the gate had only some seats available plus a toilet for you to use. So it was pretty much a 45 minute wait on a chair with little to no action.


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About thirty minutes later, my flight was at the gates. HS-TXK, a 5.1 year old Airbus A320 that has solely been in service to Thai Smile and is named Ranong (which is a Thai Province).


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And shortly after, a Nok Air Boeing 737-800 landed from Bangkok Don Mueang.


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Boarding started slightly late, but was completed quickly. The legroom wasn't the best, but it is sufficient for an hour flight back to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.


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And I had a decent wing view from my seat 50A.


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While boarding continued, I checked out Thai Smile's literature offering.

Thai Smile's Magazine of December '18 called WE Smile. 


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The Safety card from both sides.


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And in case you fancy some shopping.


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Boarding was completed, all doors closed and push back was initiated a few minutes prior to departing time and the flight attendants started their safety demonstration as quickly as possible as it would only require a very short taxi to become airborne. 

And here the airport didn't bother to remove it too! 


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Nok Air's twelve year-old HS-DBO was still at the gates and had accumulated a delay of an hour by now. 


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The flight attendants did finish their safety demonstration by now and were quickly scanning through the cabin for anything out of the ordinary, but were told to sit down asap just seconds after. A minute later and we were rolling for an easterly departure with an early western turn, which gave me an excellent overview of the airport itself.


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A few moments later, the river increased in size.


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After passing 10.000 ft, the flight attendants received the all-clear signal by the flight crew and removed themselves from their seat to start their preparations for today's flight. A few minutes later they appeared with a few trolleys to serve us our complimentary snack and drink.

A small bag containing a water, refreshing towel and a croissant with a spread of red curry.


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Even though the croissant itself did not look appetizing, it was surprisingly good and very tasty. Could buy it right again if 7/11 or so sold it too.


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The captain checked in the moment we were in cruise to give us a report of the weather in Bangkok and the current estimated time of arrival, which was pretty close to the actual arrival time I must admit.


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The flight attendants came by once more for any drinking option and a third round for any in-flight shopping.


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By the time they were half-way with in-flight shopping, the aircraft itself was starting their descent into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. Runway 01R was in use, which gave us the usual detour given by control, which would add many minutes to our arrival time.


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Touchdown was about two minutes after our original arrival time, but it gave me a view of an Emirates Airbus A380 who was on his way for a departure to Dubai.


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While we continued to our gate, we were parked next to an Austrian Boeing 777 and that is usually no good sign when you are in Bangkok (By this I am referring to the international departures).


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Deboarding was done quickly after and one last photo of the aircraft that brought us back and the seat I was in.


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And yes, our nasty surprise is confirmed. Yet parked on a gate, we were still to be transported to the terminal by bus. At least it will give me some nice opportunities to photograph some planes around if I manage to stay on the correct side. Luckily I did.


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An Air China Boeing 737-800


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An Malaysian Airbus A330, who'se engines were just shut down seconds ago.


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A Regent Airways Boeing 737-700, who was prepping itself for a flight to Dhaka via Chittagong.


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A Thai Airways Boeing 747-400. To me, still the most beautiful aircraft ever build and to capture by camera.


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And by now, we reached our drop-off point and luggage was on belt about twenty minutes later. A pretty long wait I must admit.


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Verdict

Thai Smile

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering6.5

Ubon - UBP

6.4/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.0
Services5.5
Cleanliness7.5

Bangkok - BKK

6.9/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

I was a bit skeptical when THAI transferred most of their domestic flights to Thai Smile to cut costs, but I am fairly surprised by Thai Smile. The flight attendants were active and super friendly, the food on board was small, but tasty. While the flight takes only a hour, the legroom was rather poor compared to their competitors like Thai Lion, Thai AirAsia and Nokair, but overall a nice product.

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 482820 by
    Arq 34 Comments

    The airport is correctly addressed as an International one. We have a few International Airport without actual International flight service but was categorized so due to their availability of Immigration/custom facilities. Ubon airport can quickly accommodate International diverting flight when needed, with just opening of immigration office (we have border control office staff at Thai-Lao border). But believe me, you are not the only one who is surprised by the name.

  • Comment 482862 by
    KL651 TEAM 4433 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Except for the thrill of flying a domestic flight on a long haul aircraft, the service is almost the same as on TG.
    Only the crew are younger and thei uniform a little less premium.

  • Comment 482955 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 498 Comments

    Hello ThomasDutch!

    I’m kinda binge-watching your series to catch up! Only 11 more after this! You can do it!

    Not every flight-report starts with a car surrounded by pretty lush vegetation.

    After my one experience in real Thai traffic in BKK, I will not comment nor complain on anything traffic-related in Thailand, other than to say “It’s not Jakarta.”

    For sake of truth in advertising, perhaps they should hang out a sign saying “Technically” in front of “International Airport.” I mean… it COULD take international arrivals. It just doesn’t.

    No coffee shops or anything else past security? That seems unfortunate.

    Given the system, I wonder how frequently some poor soul ends up in a city they didn’t expect to end up in?

    Does TG still operate any narrowbodies, or have they all been given the Smile treatment?

    I’m surprised to see the complimentary snack on Smile, which I thought was sort of an LCC within the mothership airline, along the lines of AC’s Rouge. So, it’s not great, but a curry croissant is something, I suppose.

    Bus gates are never great… but as you point out, at least there are ample photographic opportunities as a result

    Thanks for sharing this segment… looking forward to reading chapter four!

    • Comment 483142 by
      ThomasDutch SILVER AUTHOR 347 Comments

      Unfortunately all narrow-bodies have been transferred to Thai Smile, but you could still fly THAI on domestic routes with wide-bodies to destinations like Chiang Mai, Phuket or Krabi.

      The fun part was that we actually docked at a normal gate stand in Bangkok, however that stand was an international one meaning that we had to be shipped by bus to the domestic gate to avoid customs.

  • Comment 483047 by
    airlineflyer 18 Comments

    Nice review, but I'm a little confused about the 7.5 rating of the entertainment. Was there any entertainment to be had other than the magazine, which pretty much all airlines have? Was there something we're not seeing in this review? Thanks!

    • Comment 483140 by
      ThomasDutch SILVER AUTHOR 347 Comments

      You've seen pretty much all that Thai Smile offers, however I do rate my flight's entertainment on several factors including the duration of the flight, the investment the airline itself does in their products and some other figures. The magazine itself was a good solid and entertaining read, which kept me occupied for at least 40 minutes with some good articles. Of course this flight was less than a hour, so I personally found a 7.5 justifiable to myself, while the score most likely would have been much lower if it was on a two or three hour flight, which they offer too! I hope it makes sense haha!

      • Comment 483199 by
        airlineflyer 18 Comments

        It does. I'm just trying to rationalize some scores I've seen recently, where a US based CRJ700 with free streaming entertainment and hundreds of titles was rated lower than you rater an aircraft with no entertainment. That user was disappointed the RJ didn't have seatback screens, which you'll almost never find on an RJ.

        • Comment 483206 by
          ThomasDutch SILVER AUTHOR 347 Comments

          No problem, but I fear it would be very hard for you to rationalize them. Scores are solely based on one's opinion and expectations. Someone who grew up in a very competitive market like the USA where IFE and Wifi is a norm, could possibly be very disappointed in Asia or Europe for example where IFE and Wifi is yet a luxury in narrow bodies.

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