Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trip Report: Bangkok Airways flight 278 from Phuket to Bangkok

Trip Report: Bangkok Airways flight 278, Phuket to Bangkok, Airbus A319, Economy, Seat 7C, September 2010, US$105 one-way.

Muslim Lady Gaga sat near the back of the plane.

She was in her early 20s, and she wanted everyone to know how sexy she was. Her hijab was pulled back so you could see the start of her luxurious black hair. Her face was lipsticked, powdered and mascaraed.

But her white robes were the eye-catcher. They were tight. You could see her silhouette, with a waist that had never seen childbirth. Her breasts stood out like two C-cup mountains, with the fabric of her clothes cinched tightly across her top to exaggerate her features. Her skin-hugging white leggings flaunted the shape of her perfect calves.

Technically, she wasn't showing an inch of skin in violation of Muslim protocol. In reality, she was a walking cover for FHM Saudi Arabia.

We were both on Bangkok Airways flight 278, which leaves Phuket International Airport at 7:45 p.m. and lands at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi, the big international airport, about an hour later.

Bangkok Airways brands itself as "Asia’s boutique airline," and there’s truth to the slogan. The planes are painted with bright, sunny liveries that depict the carrier's destinations. My aircraft was an Airbus A319 named Luang Prabang, which is the royal city of Laos.

Unique to airlines (AFAIK), all Bangkok Airways passengers, regardless of ticket class or elite status, are allowed to use the airline’s lounges, which offer complimentary finger food, non-alcoholic drinks, newspapers and magazines, and a generally calm and comfortable place to wait.

While offering these amenities, Bangkok Airways tries to match the last-minute fares of the low-cost carriers. Forty-five minutes before the flight, I walked into the ticket office on the second floor of the Phuket airport and purchased a one-way ticket for 3,235 baht (US$105).

Within ten minutes of takeoff, the flight attendants served a snack box (pictured) with a chicken and cucumber croissant sandwich and a moist towelette. Video screens descended from the ceiling, about one screen every five rows, and showed a silent reel of slapstick, YouTube-style clips about people tripping at weddings.

My only quibble with the flight is that, at Bangkok, it lands at a remote gate, so you have to take a bus from the plane to the terminal. As it happens, when you are in a taxi approaching Suvarnabhumi airport, you can see on your left much of the colorful Bangkok Airways fleet parked at its remote gates. The process adds about ten minutes to debarking, but it presumably helps keep the fares down, which in turn helps you afford women like Muslim Lady Gaga.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations for having the balls to take a picture of your snack box ;)

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad you didn't take a picture of the Muslim Lady Gaga... Nice description though. I imagine these are the sort of cultural insights that make travel worth all the slogging. -- Richard

8:06 PM  

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