Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Bangkok Airways

Stephanie Holmes flies from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, on Bangkok Airways.

The plane:

A Bangkok Airways A319. The airline’s tagline is “Asia’s boutique airline”.

Class: Economy.

Price: From $58 one way. Bargain!

Flight time: 1 hour 35 minutes. We pushed back from the gate a couple of minutes early and were in the air soon after, arriving in Chiang Mai right on schedule.

My seat: 16C, an aisle seat in the 3-3 configured plane. It wasn’t hugely comfortable, but fine for such a short hop, with a reasonable amount of legroom.

Fellow passengers: This was a real united nations of travellers — while queuing to board I noticed passports from Brazil, Spain, Ireland, and the US — and there were a bunch of others I didn’t recognise. There were a few families, making the most of the northern hemisphere’s summer school holidays.

How full: Pretty chocka, just a few spare seats scattered here and there.

Entertainment: Just an in-flight magazine, but this had some good reading — including a guide to Thailand’s varied street food carts.

The service: Friendly and efficient, rolling out a lunch service for all passengers and cleaning away in the short flight time.

Food and drink: I was surprised to receive lunch — not expecting to be fed on such a short hop. But the fish curry was very welcome — it was fragrant with a light heat that helped wake me up after the preceding 15 hours’ travel time.

The toilets: One at the front, two at the back, but I didn’t use them.

Luggage: 20kg of checked luggage, 5kg of cabin baggage.

The airport experience: I was panicking about my tight connection time with only 90 minutes between flights, in which time I needed to clear Customs, pick up my luggage, re-check it at the domestic departures and clear security again. I was preparing myself for the fact I might miss the connection. But no need — I whizzed through immigration, my bag arrived within 10 minutes and after a bit of a rush up two floors to the domestic terminal, I was checked in and at my gate with 45 minutes to spare. I’ve heard it’s not always this easy, but I was thankful for a speedy experience. My bags were promptly delivered at Chiang Mai and I was out in the tropical heat in no time at all.

The bottomline: A great service for a hop across Thailand.

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