The airline with the best average rating is Thai Airways with 8.1/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 14 minutes.More information
Welcome back to my fifth flight for this christmas itinerary.
The 4th and 5th flight of this itinerary was suppose to be one direct flight from Ubon Ratchathani to Chiang Mai, but Nok Air decided to cancel this flight a month in advance due to operational reasons. They gave me an option to refund my ticket, change to a different date or use the money on a different sector and pay the difference in fare. I decided to ask for the refund as all other flights were booked already by me and the flight Nok Air from Ubon to Chiangmai via Bangkok were undesirable.
AirAsia also gave me an option, but with 1 hour 15 minute in Don Mueang in which I had to pick up my bag and check-in again was a tad too short to my liking, though booking a separate itinerary with Thai Smile & Bangkok Air with a 2.5 hour stop in Bangkok would bring me right on time in Chiang Mai as I preferred, so here is the 2nd leg of my journey from Ubon to Chiang Mai.
Arriving from our Thai Smile flight with about 2 hours and 10 minutes to our next flight, we went up to departures to drop off our bags again for our next journey to Chiang Mai.
The main check-in counter of Bangkok Air was very quiet and they did guide you to use the self check-in counters and to drop your bags of one by one. The check-in machine to print your boarding pass and receive your tags was very slow and needed several clicks to actually go through, but about 5 minutes pressing many buttons, we finally got our boarding passes and tags. We dropped it off at one of the drop off counters, but received a warning that one of the bags was too heavy to be handled with 24 kg. The friendly ground attendant told me to put it slowly on the belt for some reasons and it seemed to do the trick.
After the baggage drop, we followed the signs to domestic departures and we proceeded airside through one of those electronic gates, which were working this time unlike my previous trip from Bangkok. Identity cards and boarding cards are checked by staff to verify the tickets you bought are really on your name and off we were.
The long escalator ride to the domestic part of Suvarnabhumi.
Given that we were running on a small snack the entire morning, we decided to grab some lunch with one of the restaurants airside. For the prices they charge, the food is mediocre and does not present the true Thai food though. The soup we ordered tasted so bad, we simply decided to leave it after a few bites.
About 20 minutes to our boarding time, my wife and I decided to slowly proceed to gate A2, which was the gate in use for our departure today as we still had to pass security, which is done for a very few flights, so do not proceed too early to your gate, because there will only be some vending machines available to grab a drink or bite.
Today's flight would be operated by HS-PGW named after Koh Samui. It is a 17.4 year old Airbus A320 that has solely been flying for Bangkok Airways and carries the Samui livery too.
Boarding was called on-time and we were kindly greeted by two flight attendants upon boarding the aircraft. I proceeded to my seat 14F as seen in the picture below. The colour of the padding is somewhat faded.
Legroom however for economy is very impressive and definitely the best in Thailand for domestic flights if not J.
The view of my window seat with a naked Bangkok Air parked next to us.
Seat is also equipped with a reading light and an individual airvent.
By now boarding was nearing completion well ahead of our scheduled departure time and most of the passengers were connecting passengers from international flights with 95% being a tourist/foreigner.
The literature was an in-flight magazine, safety card and a sickbag. It's also the only airline in Thailand to offer a magazine as those features were cut with the others during the pandemic. Somehow no other airline continued with them.
Boarding completed and we were pushed back about five minutes prior to our scheduled departure as the pilot thanked us before for the speedy boarding and that we'll be heading as soon as possible to Chiang Mai.
Departure would be from 01R right on time and in the correct direction!
Shortly after departure the flight attendants jumped into action to serve us our complimentary meal and beverage. Given the age of the aircraft, the aircraft other than the colour of the seats are very clean from within and the clothing of the flight attendants is rather of old style, which I somehow thoroughly endore.
20 minutes in the flight, the meal was already on my table, which I'm pretty sure was already partly heated before our departure as the jetbridged smelled to food.
It's very impressive that Bangkok Airways still provides passengers with a warm meal on their domestic flight of only a hour, yet it also charges way more than most airliners in the market do. Metal cutlery is also used.
The meal itself was chicken in a sauce I can't connect with cubes of potatoes and broccoli. It's also a dish I would never imagined to be served on a Thai carrier, yet PG managed to do so.. In terms of quality, the meal was alright, though I'm not a fan of potatoes and the chicken was a bit on the dry side.
Given the frequency I'm travelling to Thailand and my wife being a Thai, I've learned a few sentences and words in Thai and I managed to order my cup of coffee fully in Thai. It's something I fully enjoy to do as the response you're getting from the native is often of surprisement and joy!
The bottle of water is also served with the meal and has Bangkok Airways branding on it.
Sipping my coffee with a magnificient view….. This view in Europe's winter is something scarce.
About 30 minutes past the food service, the flight attendants came back to clean our tables. It didn't take much longer for our female captain to check-in with us to inform us we'll be landing in Chiang Mai in approximately 30 minutes and kindly requested us to wear our seatbelts as she was expecting lots of turbulence in our descent to Chiang Mai, which was correct with many build-ups around Chiang Mai.
Landing would be a straight-in for Runway 35 about five minutes prior to our scheduled arrival time. Landing was smooth!
Parked next to an Airbus A320 of Thai Vietjet (HS-VKN), which after 2 years in service still needs to get a proper Thai Vietjet livery like many other aircraft in their fleet as this one is still wearing the livery of it's mother company Vietjet.
Together with my wife, the 6 people ahead of us were the only domestic passengers on this flight with the rest of the passengers being directed to international arrivals with the C.I.Q. program.
It gave me a wonderful view over this Airbus A320 of Thai AirAsia prepping for it's flight to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. Thai AirAsia decided to restart operations to Suvarnabhumi during Covid-19 times and has so far continued them… They used to fly from Suvarnabhumi in the beginning years too when they were still operating 737's to Phuket.
It took about 25 minutes after disembarkation for our bags to follow. I had a feeling that the baggage cart dropped the luggage for international arrivals first before heading to the domestic side to drop off our bags as it took quite long compared to most Thai airports regarding luggage.
Luggage on board, we proceeded to Hertz to grab our rental car for the days and explore the regions around Chiang Mai.
Just in case you'd be interesting in a travelling & food bonus, see below!
To enjoy Northern Thai food, I strongly suggest you guys to have some dinner at Galae Restaurant, which is a kitchen focused on Lanna food with a beautiful atmosphere.
Of course you can't leave Chiang Mai without trying Kao Soy from the most famous restaurant in Chiang Mai ''Kao Soy Nimman'', which received a michelin star in 2020 & 2021. Expect a wait, but it usually does not take longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
Tong Tem Toh is also a very famous restaurant in Chiang Mai, but I strongly suggest to download an app QueQ to put you in the line for this restaurant. The moment we arrived, we were number 76 in line and took over an hour to have an available table.
On the day prior to our departure to a new destination, we went up in the mountains about an hour of Chiang Mai for a few visits.
We went to an orange farm to have a walk around, capture some photos and buy some oranges obviously. Temperatures were nice, the orange farm had some nicely decorated sections for photographs (though mostly with my wife on it).
Eventually we went even higher to see a flower farm and yes, this was all my wife's idea. Though views were spectacular.
To finish the trip at Mon Jam, which again has a few flowerfarms, local market and a restaurant to enjoy. Don't expect the best food from the restaurant, though it provides you with excellent views.
and to finish our day off, we went to a barbeque place ''Hachi'', which seems to be a mix of Japanese, Korean and Thai, though the food was delicious.
and of course I couldn't reject their Japanese wagyu on the menu.
Bangkok Airways is always a pleasure to fly with an excellent soft product and friendly flight attendants. The cabin itself is well maintained with little to no sign of wear among the surface other than their seat which could receive an update. The price they're usually asking is higher than their competitors, but in my opinion well worth it!