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!
While both my girlfriend and me woke up sick, it was today that we had to fly back to Krung Thep (Bangkok) as we had another flight the day after with Bangkok Airways from Bangkok to Koh Samui.
I bought us a ticket with Thai Vietjet Air and was excited to fly with them for the first time and it was yet to be reported on Flightreport too! But little did I know that I was in for a huge disappointment and will most likely never fly them again.
We decided to use a Grab taxi (Basically another company like Uber, but extremely popular in Southeast Asia) to the airport and costed us approximately 177 THB (Approx. 5.5$), which is surprisingly more expensive than grabbing a taximeter from the airport to downtown Chiang Mai as that would only cost 150 THB. (Aprox. 5$).
The silent taxi driver dropped us off at our location and the first nightmare was about to hit us directly. A very long row that took us twenty minutes to clear due to security checking passengers that were entering the terminal (walking to international departures was not worth it too as the row was even longer over there).
And than to remember that a few years ago Chiang Mai used to be one of the most efficient airports in Thailand that was never too crowded, yet a busy airport.
I used to be a regular visitor here years ago, but I never saw this airport so crowded like in this photo and on this day.
As Thai VietJet Air does not offer online check-in anywhere, you were forced to line up behind one of those long lines, which added roughly another thirty minutes to our waiting time. I think Thai VietJet might be the only Thai carrier that does not have online check-in… very poor.
To check in and drop off our bags took us about 50 minutes to a hour from the moment we were dropped off by our taxi driver, it was finally time to move up the escalator to pass security.
While those airport seats are quite uncomfortable when you are sick, we saw a massage salon prior to security and decided to both take a foot massage for a hour for 500 THB per person (which is like 300 THB more expensive compared to downtown).
While the massage itself was very comforting, our main purpose for that massage was to be able to use that comfortable seat to rest. Well worth it!
Finished with our massage, we were now lining up behind a very very long line to pass security, which roughly took about another 20 minutes to clear. Once again a very crowded transit zone with a few shops and cafes available.
It was about now that we noticed that our flight was delayed by another thirty minutes, yet no announcements have been made. But due to this delay, our gate was changed about five times over a time-span of ten minutes and confused a lot of passengers.
I found an empty seat and settled me down for a good hour and a half as the headache was killing me. I moved up only once to capture this beautiful ATR 72-600 of Lao Airlines, which just arrived from Luang Prabang.
And our old friend HS-DBZ, who took us to Ubon like two weeks ago and was being prepped to return to Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport.
After catching those two birds, I decided to return to my uncomfortable seat to sleep for a good hour to try to lose my headache for a bit, but it didn't really work out unfortunately.
One odd thing I started to notice is that Thai Vietjet will not call out any delays and simply state them as retimed on screens. Our flight was according to screens retimed to 16.40 (30 min later than our original time), while flight VZ 105 who was originally set to depart at 2.10 pm, was now retimed to 16.40 too. The announcer of Chiang Mai started to confuse a lot more passengers once again by mixing up our flight number to the one of VZ105. She continued to call Thai Lion too as Thai Nok…. Either she was very tired or complete uninterested with her job and couldn't care less.
Our aircraft finally arrived to our stand around 16.00. It was HS-VKD, a 7.2 year old Airbus A320 that started it's life with Airphil Express in November '11 as RP-C8394. In march 2013, it was transferred to PAL Express. A little more than a year later, it was leased to Vietjet Air as VN-A692 in June 2014 and in December 2017, it was decided by Vietjet Air that this specific aircraft was going to be used for it's Thai subsidiary as HS-VKD.
Boarding was called twenty minutes later and left us waiting in the jet bridge as the aircraft was not even ready, but this becomes a frequent occurrence nowadays…. and once moving, I proceeded to my seat 17A.
Remember how I complained in one of my flight reports (Myanmar Airways International) about the poor legroom? Well it was even more worse on board this flight, even Ryanair offers more….
At least the window gave me a good view.
And the literature for today's flight.
A safety card.
An Air Sickness bag.
And last was their BoB menu, which was expensive and choices were very limited for a LCC.
Pushback was initiated forty minutes late and I quickly took a cabin photo while safety instructions were about to finish. Don't tell the male flight attendant though as he was very strict with shutting down our electronic devices for take off (though he was very friendly and polite).
The engines were fired up and we would be moving very soon as that Thai Lion B737-900ER was waiting for us to clear as well for it's flight to Bangkok Don Mueang.
Finally on the move, I spotted a Scoot A320 who would depart to Singapore later today and an A319 of Bangkok Airways who would be flying to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi soon too as PG226, but had to divert to Pattaya-U Tapao Airport (UTP). (Probably a fuel related reason)
Another old friend of me was parked over there. HS-PGA, the ATR 72-212A of Bangkok Airways who brought me to Chiang Mai from Mandalay three days ago. And see that A320 of Thai Vietjet? Well that was flight VZ 105 and would be delayed by another 50 minutes.
VN-A572 of Jetstar Pacific was finished with their push back too and was now ready to depart to Ho Chi Minh City.
After a delay of about 50 minutes, we finally departed at 16.58 to disappear quickly in some rainy clouds.
Only a few seconds after take off and we would remain in clouds for a good solid ten minutes.
After ten minutes, the sun finally appeared again and we were off to Bangkok. A flight that usually takes a little longer than a hour.
Buy on Board (BoB) was quickly initiated after departure at a safe altitude, but was finished within minutes as literally no one took them up for a drink or snack… What could you expect with such a limited and expensive menu?
About 40 minutes in flight, the captain announced himself and welcomed us on board of this flight and told us that we would initiate our descent soon and we would be on ground in 25 minutes.
The captain never reported in again and did not communicate with his flight attendants too as that 25 minutes quickly turned into more than a hour to landing as you can see by checking our flight path. While still being sick, the flight was instructed to hold with 360 degrees turn instead of the normal holding, which made it even more uncomfortable for me. About 30 minutes later, it became clear what was the reason for our delayed landing, but yet no word of the flight crew and other passengers started to become annoyed too.
The first build-ups started to appear.
And now it was definitely clear to me as I am a pilot myself…. Those build ups you see here, probably meant that there were thunderstorms over the airport itself too!
The first lights appeared 90 minutes after departure and we were now established on long final for Suvarnabhumi's runway 01R. It meant that we would land in ten minutes or so with yet some thunderstorms in approach.
Touchdown was at 18:44 and somehow I always end up in a seat that would give me a view of that damn fire brigade building. No matter what seat I select.
We proceeded to our stand, which was going to be a remote stand in some heavy rain…. Always a pleasant experience.
By the time I reached the exit door of the plane, passengers were required to wait for a new bus and everyone was trying to stay dry resulting in a very crowded stairway.
While I entered the bus as quickly as I could, I decided to take one last shot of the aircraft that gave me one of the worst flights I have ever had so far. The ratings I give down below are not in regards to weather, but to the overall product Thai Vietjet delivered.
The usual ride back to the terminal to drop us off. Another odd thing was that our flight was not on the screens as to what belt it was assigned to, forcing us to walk around to find our belt and finally ended up at belt 3. It took about another 20 minutes for our luggage to arrive.
Thai Vietjet Air
Chiang Mai - CNX
Bangkok - BKK
As I never tried Thai Vietjet before, I was curious as to what they offer. I was very disappointed by them and this was definitely a flight among the worst I have had so far. Very poor legroom, which I could barely fit in. The BoB offers a very limited range of catering for a rather expensive price. The flight crew did not really communicate as to why we were delayed. The only positive thing I can report is that both the flight attendants on our flight were doing their best to deliver a nice friendly service and to keep us satisfied, even though many passengers started to become annoyed.
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i prefer fly lion air or nok air for low cost in thailand
The epic trip continues.
I understand how it came to be, but the very name of Thai Vietjet makes me snicker a bit. Nice to have a look at another new airline.
Oh man… that long lineup just to get into the departure area is crushing, and doesn’t really bode well for the trip to come.
“But due to this delay, our gate was changed about five times over a time-span of ten minutes and confused a lot of passengers.”
- Maybe wait until things have settled a bit before you announce the gate change after the second or third, hmmmm?
“Either she was very tired or complete uninterested with her job and couldn't care less.”
- This whole experience at CNX is just not going well.
Even for a 1:30 flight, that legroom looks punishing.
“We proceeded to our stand, which was going to be a remote stand in some heavy rain…. Always a pleasant experience.”
- Yep, this one is not going well at all.
Getting stuck on a crowded airstairs like this would probably cause me some serious anxiety.
Between being sick, and the overall Thai Vietjet experience, hopefully this is the low point of your big series of trips. Hope you were feeling better by the next day’s travels, and that things get better from here.
Thanks for sharing, and better travels!
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