While I had another week of free time, I decided to hunt down for some tickets back to Thailand once again. The usual airliners that offer cheap tickets from Amsterdam to Bangkok were present once again like Qatar, Etihad, Emirates & Aeroflot. While I am not the biggest fan of taking them on economy flights, I noticed that there was an outsider offering very cheap flights too, which usually sells them for quite an expensive price.
This outsider was Kenya Airways and as I am not familiar with them, I decided to book my flight with them only two days in advance of my travelling date. Another good point of taking up this itinerary was that I would receive some generous mileage for my flying blue points. The downside however is that my trip was extended by an extra five hours compared to direct flights to Bangkok from Amsterdam. This itinerary however meant that I would finally be able to experience the Boeing 787-8 myself as I never had the chance to fly on it and I would finally be able to fly on a 747 once again from KLM to Nairobi as their 747 is going to be phased out by 2021.
To fully complete my schedule for the week, I had to book a return flight to Ubon to visit my parents-in-law and to meet up with my girl. This however meant that I had to choose between Thai Smile, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lionair or Nok Air. As AirAsia and Thai Smile did not really give me any flights on the times suitable for me, It was either a choice between Thai Lion or Nok Air…. That one was easily made for me, so Nok Air it was.
Find my complete routing below.
Nok Air informed us early morning by phone that our flight would have been re-timed by about 40 minutes later due to an aircraft swap. No problem as we could head to the airport a little bit later. My girlfriend's mother dropped me and my girlfriend off by about 11:30 am and it is noticeable that the airport is currently facing a lot of construction inside and outside. The usual drop-off point is now closed and you are required to walk the last few meters to the departure hall.
While inside the terminal, you can see a few more stores on the right side and more construction on the left above and behind the check-in counters.
We make our way to the check-in counter to drop off my luggage and we are waiting behind a Thai men who would be done very soon. About a minute later, we are kindly greeted by the female. She too informs us about the current delay of the aircraft. No issue as I am not in a hurry.
With about a good hour to spare, we sit down at the Black Canyon Coffee in front of security to have a drink.
With 30 minutes to spare according to schedule, we now went through security which had no lines and ended up in the waiting area for gate 1 and 2. More construction work as you can see and another Black Canyon Coffee bar on the right side (out of the picture).
Our flight would depart from Gate 6 and we were required to take the escalator to the 2nd floor.
We are now in the seating area of gate 6 which offers no more than a toilet and seats. No shops available here and more construction work in the left corner next to Nok Air's boarding desk.
While we were now about ten minutes past our re timed departure, no aircraft of Nok Air was here yet… I checked FR24 and only noticed that the aircraft was just airborne and needed at least an hour to reach Ubon… More delays apparently… Only five minutes later, an announcement was made by ground staff that the aircraft was further delayed and that passengers were able to get some vouchers with them for some snacks and drinks. As me and my girlfriend both received a voucher worth of 100 THB each, we headed down to grab some snacks with the Black Canyon Coffee bar we saw earlier.
After finishing our snack, a Thai Lion B737 appeared in Ubon and occupied the only jet bridge available as the 2nd one was under construction.
About 10 minutes past 2 pm, our aircraft was finally parked at a remote stand and a call for boarding was soon announced. It was definitely noticeable that staff was really trying to rush boarding to reduce the delay as much as possible, yet remained very friendly.
Today's flight would be performed by HS-DBZ, which is an 1.5 year old bird with the name Nok Napa Proud and has solely been in service to Nok Air. This specific plane brought me to Ubon Ratchathani like two months ago.
Time to board.
The view from my seat and yes the Thai Lion is still here too! A few seconds later I got distracted by the passengers seated in the row in front of me as Nok Air made an error and had two people appointed to one specific seat. Staff was a bit confused, but was quickly to deal with it as there were plenty of free seats available.
The decent legroom once again and a view of the literature in my seatpocket for today.
By the time I cleaned up my table, the Thai Lion was already pushed back for it's flight to Bangkok. He as well was running with a delay.
Shortly after, we were pushing back too.
We were holding short of the runway while the flight attendants did their mandatory safety instructions, the Thai Lion was now rotating.
You would expect it to be our turn for departure right now… but no, we were to hold short for another 7 minutes as flight WE 24 of Thai Smile was in approach.
Finally it was our time now for departure, but we were required to make a short back track. Though it gave me a chance to capture this Hercules aircraft of the Royal Thai Air Force.
Time to turn around.
13:45 and we are airborne with a delay of 1 hour and 45 minutes.
A small look at the flight path we would take for today's flight.
Upon reaching a safe altitude, the flight attendants jumped into action to bring us the complimentary bottle of water.
Soon after, the flight attendants came around to do their BoB service. In-flight shopping followed soon after.
A quick look into the cabin.
By the time they were done, we were already descending into Bangkok when the captain notified us about the latest weather.
Touchdown at 15:33 with a super nice landing!
An Airbus A320 with Leicester City livery of Thai AirAsia was going to depart very soon.
Soon we were docked at one of the gates and I was one among the first to disembark the aircraft.
Unfortunately we were parked at the furthest gate possible and it took a while to reach the baggage claim.
A nice edition of Bangkok Don Mueang is that when you go down by escalator, you could easily find your assigned belt no. from this massive monitor.
A look over the baggage claim hall. Our luggage took about five minutes to arrive and we were now leaving Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport via Bus A1 to the nearest BTS station.
Despite the delay and lack of communication from ground staff in Ubon, I found the flight pleasant with pro-active flight attendants.