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 I initially bought a ticket with Thai Lion Air from Surat Thani back to Don Mueang Int'l Airport to save some costs, my girlfriend told me a few weeks later that she really wanted to try out a business class lounge. I therefore decided to cancel that ticket and buy her a business class flight from Samui back to Bangkok with PG. The economy flight would have costed me around 11500 THB, while Blue Ribbon would cost me 13.000 THB. Easy choice.
And while I was thinking whether to book on the third or fourth, I chose the third and luckily I did as all flights were canceled on the fourth due to an incoming storm ''Pabuk''. Not only were all flights canceled, but ferries too!
So back to the third, it was now time to return to Samui Airport from our hotel. I ordered a taxi for approx. 300 THB, which was already 200 THB cheaper if I took a cab from the airport. And to my surprise, a minivan appeared all alone for us.
After a minute of five, we were dropped off in front of the terminal.
The check-in area was very busy as around four flights would depart around the same time. One to Krabi, Phuket, Singapore, Bangkok (Ours).
Luckily I bought that business class ticket, which was very empty and took around two minutes to clear. The staff politely asked us as to what destination we're flying to and if he could have our passports and after receiving our boarding cards, invited us to use their domestic lounge at Gate 2.
Bags were dropped and we proceeded to security, which required us to have an enjoyable walk to security.
A lot of nature is around and the last two minutes would bring you in a street where a few shops and bars are located in case you are hungry or want to buy some souvenirs.
At the end , we were now given a choice to continue straight or turn left. As we were a domestic flight, we therefore would turn left and clear security in about five minutes as we had some elderly persons in front of us.
Security was cleared and the secure zone was only divided by a ditch.
After security we did walk for a very short period again to our gate with a few more shops selling souvenirs and snacks.
We turned right to Gate 2 to visit the lounge and conveniently our flight was departing from there too.
Gate 2. (Bangkok offers you a very limited range of complimentary drinks and snacks if you are an Economy passenger at the gates)
Gate 2 gives you a look on Samui's runway and lots of nature. If you look closely, you can see an ATR 72 departing.
Now it was time to move to the domestic Blue Ribbon Lounge of Bangkok Airways.
The lounge is very blueish, but luckily it wasn't that busy, so we proceeded to one of the couch in the corner.
One of the staff visited our table and requested whether we would like to have a cooked meal and/or some coffee. We ordered a coffee and I personally ordered a meal as I did not have any breakfast yet.
A few shots of the buffet available.
And of course my favourite section! Thai snacks!
Back to my seat with some snacks and my coffee.
A few minutes later, my other meal was delivered to my seat. A four season grilled duck with Egg noodles. The duck tasted excellent and would definitely take it again, however the noodles were soaked a bit too long in the sauce and were slightly overcooked.
We sat for like half an hour longer in the lounge having a cold coke afterwards, before it was time to proceed to our gate as boarding was called.
As we were to be shipped by bus to our plane, I was curious as to what PG offers or we have simply to wait for other economy passengers too. After making use of their separate line, we were guided by another member of staff to a separate vehicle.
While the business class vehicles don't look as appealing as the one used for economy passengers, it is most definitely more comfortable of a ride.
An All-black Gulfstream G550 (N100XS) was about to depart to Trang.
While we still had to wait in all cars to be fully loaded before moving, an economy car from our flight lead the way to our aircraft.
A sight of HS-PGT , An 10.9 year old Airbus A319 that was being prepped for a flight to Singapore as PG 963 and named after a Thai city Sukhothai. Did you know that Bangkok Airways owns Sukhothai Airport and Trat airport too next to Samui?
The other aircraft was HS-PZK, an ATR 72-600 that was delived to Bangkok Airways on the 13th of December 2018 and was prepping itself too for a flight to Bangkok as PG1142.
Can you imagine three flights of Bangkok Airways to Bangkok in a time span of 20 minutes? Well it happened as HS-PPG was now ready to be pushed back for it's flight too to Bangkok as PG1146.
And here was our ride for today. An Airbus A319 called Hiroshima with registration HS-PGX. It's 10.9 years old and has solely been in service to Bangkok Airways. It looked rather old and definitely could use a wash, repaint or whatever was necessary to cheer it up.
While the first bus to arrive the plane was an economy bus, I was curious as to what Bangkok was doing. Well that bus prior to us stopped at the stairs in the back, giving business class priority to board the aircraft in front and the rest of the economy passengers were only allowed to board the aircraft in front when everyone in business class was settled down.
I selected seat 3A for my journey. Though the seat controls did not move as flawless as they should have and required some manpower by pushing it the way you wanted it to be.
Legroom was nothing to complain about. It's never really an issue on any PG flight to be honest.
I quickly took a photo of the cabin too before many more economy passengers appeared.
And my view for a good hour.
Unfortunately PG does not offer alcoholic beverages on their domestic business class flights, but pre departure drinks were given to us. I opted for an orange juice, while my girlfriend simply took a glass of water. A hot towel was given to you with it.
Curious whether PG updated their magazine on time, I once again scrolled through the literature and luckily they did. This magazine though was a much better read than their last edition. The safety card was exactly the same as PG135, so I am not going to bother you again with showing it.
The flight attendant came around again to serve us the menu card for today. I loved the way they presented their menu though.
No other choice was given to you, but one meal. Sea Bass in Spicy and Sour Sauce served with Jasmine rice (Even though it sounds similar to the economy meal I had on the first flight, it was not.) and asked later if we wanted to have it or we would skip the meal for today's flight as it was a rather short flight.
And the flight attendant came around to serve us a newspaper. I opted for the Bangkok Post with the main article being very important to me. PG would cancel all their flights to and from Samui the day after and I canceled my trip to Chumphon, which I scheduled for the 5th.. The trip I was suppose to take was however changed to Singapore from my end with Cathay.
By this time, the last passengers were on board and the aircraft was quickly prepared for push back.
Upon push back, the flight attendants started to do their safety instructions. The safety instruction of the leading flight attendant was interrupted by the passenger in front of me as he was standing up to grab something in his back, while his friend/colleague or whatever next to him told him to do it after the instructions. He ignored and stood up and was immediately told by the flight attendant to sit down again. The flight attendant however did remain very professional and polite.
We were entitled for a short taxi on the runway again to the end to turn around for a northerly departure to Bangkok.
Only 9 minutes after our original departure time, we were rolling for take off, which gave us a splendid view again over the Mae Nam Bay.
Only to disappear a few minutes later in the clouds.
Once the seat belts turned off, I reclined my seat and a video display was dropped for business passengers, yet no headphones were delivered to even listen to the music and anyone was not really interested in it either.
Meal service was provided soon after. The main meal was very disappointing as the sauce was too predominant and was way too sour. The fruit and cake however were excellent and the organic tea I ordered was good too. Real cutlery is delivered. The table is being prepared for you too by them.
Cruising level was reached by now and yet no blue skies.
The control of my seats, which like I said were mechanical, but required some of your own manpower too!
Ah finally, blue skies.
Only for ten minutes as we quickly disappeared again in the clouds for our descent.
Table was cleaned and I asked the flight attendant if he could deliver me a coke, which he brought me over a few minutes later.
Ten minutes later we were breaking through the clouds and the first contact to ground/sea was seen.
The same exact views I have been seeing this month for landing in Bangkok and I was yet sure again to find that same exact fire brigade house on landing.. A courtesy of mine?
Now fully configured.
And that's confirmed. Again that fire brigade house!
That new terminal being built over there has some issues to it as well and has been temporarily on hold till it is resolved. Something that seems to be common to Suvarnabhumi. Read article; https://thethaiger.com/news/bangkok/new-suvarnabhumi-airport-terminal-on-hold
And for once we were finally parked at a gate as a domestic flight next to HS-PPB and ten minutes ahead of schedule.
We were one of the first to deboard.
And we were required to walk back the entire route back as to what I did to get to my flights on my previous report.
Having a priority tag, our bags were quickly delivered and took only five minutes of waiting.
Bangkok Airways Blue Ribbon Lounge (Domestic)
Ko Samui - USM
Bangkok - BKK
The overall product of PG was excellent, however the aircraft's age was clear at certain times and definitely needed some improvement. The food however during the flight was very disappointed, while the lounge offered some enjoyable snacks and meals.
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And back to BKK we go! Nice of you to shell out for the upgrade… and very reasonable too.
Ko Samui is once again a lovely terminal.
“Bangkok offers you a very limited range of complimentary drinks and snacks if you are an Economy passenger at the gates”
- Very limited is still not bad compared to others I suppose. I can’t decide of those little stools like comfy because they’re soft, or uncomfortable because they’re stools.
The lounge looks quite nice… very fresh and tropical vibe to it. Are the hot meals included, or paid upgrade?
Interesting that other Bangkok planes seem to have Thai city names, but your ride was Hiroshima. Or are there other internationally-named planes in their fleet?
The seat looks good for domestic shorthaul, and the idea of a menu on such a short flight is very nice. But the catering doesn’t look much better than what was provided on the Y flight to USM, and sounds like it was less enjoyable.
Thanks for this rare look at Bangkok Airways business class, albeit on a very short route. Happy flying!
The only structure I could see in their aircraft naming is that they are using cities. I know for a fact that they have several international cities named on their aircraft like Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Luang Prabang (Laos), but mostly it is domestic. Another weird part is that even less than fifty percent has a name and they suddenly stopped naming them too. No idea to as to why.
I didn't really upgrade my ticket to be honest. I bought two one-way tickets to be honest (two itineraries) , but hot food is complimentary like any meal in the lounge for Y passengers.
Sorry, I meant J**
Bangkok Airways is an airline distinguished by expensive fares and poor service, due to its status as a monopoly of flights to Koh Samui airport, and for ignoring the concept of customer service. Samui airport is also its property, is very basic and very poorly conditioned for waiting, the worst in the world that I have known in 30 years traveling in 60 countries, specially in relation to the high price paid by the passenger (overcrowed, no AC, long walks under the sun or the rain, long waiting times at the check-in counter,…). It’s one of the worst airlines in the world in value for money. It has an immense business on its main route, Bangkok-Samui, because it’s a monopoly charging abusive and crazy rates. BA is a scam to avoid, but unfortunately the vast majority of tourists arriving in Samui use Bangkok Airways because its mafia monopoly (except for a Thai Airways testimonial flight, that I think is slightly less expensive. But, this flight can be purchased only as connection with a Thai international flight). They would not survive in an open market flying on routes with competitors
The majority of passengers from PG are connecting with them to domestic or regional cities after a longhaul flight with a codeshare airline, however buying tickets with PG yourself for a leg is often not cheap, even though they offer discounted fares too so now and then which are cheaper than any Thai LCC. I know what you mean by their fare if you travel with them to Samui, Trat or Sukhothai, however any company would try to charge as much as possible to make the highest amount of profit of it. You call it maffia, I call it business.
Now I personally do not know what you've experienced and despite fares are often higher than any other airline on the same route, PG has always been a great airline to me with excellent trained staff. I also love their little perks as they offer at many airports some sort of free lounge even for their Y passengers where you can have some free snacks and drinks prior to your flight.
I totally understand what you mean by checking in in Samui and luckily I was a J passenger on my return flight, so I did not have to wait that long, however your point of walking through rain or below a burning sun is not really true. The entire walk from the departure hall to the terminal is entirely covered by a roof. The terminal itself was not really hot either, but I guess that may vary between each human being of course.
Thai Airways unfortunately canceled all their flights to Samui by last september (2018), so only PG from now. Though you could always travel cheaper by flying to Surat Thani and take a ferry from there, but that would increase your travel times too by about 90 min to 2 hours (if not longer).
Thanks for your comment though and If you someday end up flying with PG, I hope you've a better experience :).
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