Flight PG 0873 was set to depart at 3:30 PM. Online check-in on Bangkok Airways's official site became available 24 hours in advance, which we gladly took advantage of.
Nevertheless, we arrived at the airport 2.5 hours ahead of schedule, wary of the unpredictable Bangkok traffic jams and anticipating some time for pictures and a couple of cold beers at the airport bar.
By the way, Bangkok Airways is one the previous few airlines which provides all its passengers with free access to the Boutique Lounge, which, in Suvarnabhumi Airport's domestic flights terminal, is located across from gate A3. The lounge is a great for whiling away the time until your flight. You can order drinks and snacks, and there is free wifi.
Check in for the flight was already open.
The company's motto is "ASIA'S BOUTIQUE AIRLINE", which I guess is meant to emphasize how fashionable and elite the airline is.
Unfortunately, the "boutique airline" didn't quite live up to expectations. The kind staff member at the check-in stand informed us that the flight was rescheduled to 5 PM. I was rather surprised by this, since I had already checked in and hadn't received any email notifications about this earlier, but the lady replied that the change had happened extremely recently, mere moments ago. It didn't help, though I didn't point this out to her, that the flight schedule still showed that check in was open and our plane was on time. Of course, I asked if I could get my tickets transferred to the next available flight, only to be told that they had all been completely booked. I'm not sure why she thought that we could be taken advantage of -- perhaps my youthful looks. I started explaining that we had arranged for somebody to meet us at the airport and that we had rented a car and apartments, which was only partly true. In any case, she promised to see if there was any way to help us, took a moment to talk to somebody, and suddenly one of the "completely booked" flights turned out to have two spare seats and was scheduled to depart in half an hour. Of course, we accepted. I double-checked to make sure that our baggage would get on the right plane and was told "no problem".
Of course, because of this, I didn't have time to take any pictures of either the airport or the lounge. Somehow, the desire to get to a warm beach overpowered my curiosity. We hurried to gate A4. Boarding hadn't started yet.
But really, what was this delay about? Had the flights been double-booked? That was my first assumption, but then I saw this:
The table showed flight PG 135 was scheduled for noon, although it was already 1:08 and the plane hadn't departed yet. Apparently they had somehow managed to delay ALL their outgoing flights by 1.5 hours. And this in the middle of tourist season. Not a great reflection on the company.
Boarding began soon enough.
Our colorful Airbus A-319-132 awaited us at the end of the ramp. The tail number was HS-PGY and records show that it was manufactured in 2008.
We handed over our boarding passes and headed aboard the plane.
Inside, the plane looked a little worn. Excuse the picture of my neighbor's hairy legs, I was trying to get a snap of the beat-up armrest.
There were two seating classes.
This was what business class looked like:
And here is the economy class:
The seat pocket contained a safety card,
a flyer for one of the Thai hospitals that has a campus on the island,
an in-flight shopping catalog entitled "In-flight Variety",
and a flight magazine.
They briefly showed some commercials and safety instructions on the overhead screens:
Meals were served to children first:
Afterwards, to everyone else:
Everything looked pretty good, but...
As it turned out, the lumpy, cold rice and spicy sausages were quite an acquired taste. The flight lasts only about an hour, so the flight attendants were necessarily in a hurry. This resulted in hot coffee being spilled on me. All in all, they would have been better off not serving any meals at all on such a short flight.
The flight attendant immediately handed me both tissues and wet wipes with a practiced motion. Perhaps it wasn't an uncommon occurrence. Fortunately, the coffee seemed to be some cheap instant brand, because it left no stain.
The bathrooms were alright. Had to go there to wash out the coffee.
Towards the end of the flight, the TV screens folded up, all except one. It remained that way all through our descent and landing. Not sure whether this was in any way a safety hazard.
We disembarked and boarded some festively-painted buses. It felt a bit like a ride at an amusement park.
One noisy trip later we were at the airport's main terminal. It was tiny and quaint.
Onward to the baggage claim...
After getting our baggage, we went to the taxi and minibus stand.
Here's a few more photos of the airport.
The check-in area for domestic flights:
The shuttle that connects the terminals
Here's the BA lounge that we missed out on in Bangkok. The Samui airport version is a little smaller.
The gardens around the airport:
This is our ride on the return trip:
The flight left me underwhelmed... Bangkok Airways does not quite live up to its promise of first-class service. But the price was right, and the level of comfort adequate.
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