Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Bangkok Airways business class experience from Hong Kong to Koh Samui on an Airbus A319



So yesterday, I flew to Koh Samui from Hong Kong on Bangkok Airways, living a #Travelife.

It was my first time on this airline, and I was slightly worried as I didn't know much about it except for the fact that Bangkok Airways is a boutique airline -- which is different from a budget airline, but not by much.

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BUSINESS CLASS UPGRADES AT THE AIRPORT

I booked my business class ticket online and business class wasn't exactly cheap. Then, when I checked in at Hong Kong airport, there was a sign at the counter directed to economy class passengers offering upgrades to business class for HK$1500.

I asked the check-in staff: "Should I have just bought an economy ticket and paid for an upgrade here?" Doing the maths in my head, it certainly seemed like I would have saved a bit. Then the check-in lady reminded me that upgrades depend on space and not all economy class tickets are eligible for this.

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DIRECT FROM HONG KONG TO KOH SAMUI

Not knowing much about Bangkok Airways, it wasn't my first choice at the outset. But as I wanted a direct flight that would bypass Bangkok altogether, this was the only option.

Researching online, I found very little input from travelers on the flight experience except for a couple of short reviews that mentioned having to ride a rather small plane. Small is relative, but I think the type of plane they fly on this route is an Airbus A319.


THE LAYOUT FOR BUSINESS CLASS
ON BANGKOK AIRWAYS 
HONG KONG TO KOH SAMUI

Business class on this route is three rows with two seats on each side, making it a 12-seater compartment.


Luckily, business class wasn't at all full yesterday, and so three other passengers and I had the entire section to ourselves, with two cabin attendants providing the inflight service. 

I got the whole Row#1 to myself, enabling me to even change sides when I realised the sun was hitting me.

BUSINESS CLASS SEATS
ON BANGKOK AIRWAYS


The seats in business class are comfortable enough for a short ride, and we even got proper Bangkok Air toiletry kits for this two-hour and 50-minute ride.

We were also handed iPads with six movies installed for entertainment in business class.


Most of the six movies were of the general amusement variety (animation and science fiction) and not quite to my taste.

But, fortunately, the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife was the last movie choice, and so this was what occupied me all the way to Koh Samui.

THREE COURSES FOR DINNER ONBOARD



For dinner, it was a proper three-course meal.

The food is decent enough, but it can certainly be improved as I had one bland appetizer, and one main course heavy on salt. But I've certainly had worse.

The nice touches were the proper cheese plate with fruits to end the meal, followed by banana cake for dessert.


OTHER EXTRAS FOR A PLEASANT FLIGHT

The cabin attendants were nice and the bathroom facilities were clean. 

Doing things just a little bit differently, even their safety video began with a song-and-dance MTV kind of number, which made me smile.



And when we landed in Koh Samui, the four of us in business class had a spacious golf cart all to ourselves to take us ahead of the crowds from the plane to the terminal.

This was definitely a welcome perk, as it enabled us to get a headstart on immigrations and luggage, and, for me, on my much-awaited health and wellness break in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.


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