Monday, October 8, 2012

Cambodia April 2012 - Bangkok Airways 924 Economy Class (REP-BKK)

***This post is part 11 of a full trip report. The index can be found here*** 

I took a tuk-tuk to the airport, which was quick and painless. The Siem Reap airport is quite modern, with the new terminal having been inaugurated in 2006. Despite its small size, I admired the architecture and clear design effort that went into the construction.

A quick background on this flight: since Bangkok Airways has had a monopoly on the Siem Reap - Bangkok route for many years now, they can basically charge whatever the hell they want. This one-way flight lasting approximately one hour and ten minutes cost a whopping $276.68! Fortunately, the latest news indicates that the monopoly will finally be broken in November of this year, when Cambodia Angkor Air begins service on this route, operating 4x per week. Hopefully, they will increase the frequency as demand picks up (as I'm sure it will).

Lines were already quite long when I arrived, packed with Western tourists all heading to Bangkok after visiting Angkor Archaeological Park. The check-in process was easy, and I was soon through security and walking airside. There was actually a great selection of duty free stores and gift shops throughout the terminal, and I bought some last-minute souvenirs for family and friends. I was also told that the airport boasted the first and only Dairy Queen in Cambodia! Unfortunately, I wasn't in the mood for soft serve.

Our flight was soon called, and we all lined up and had our tickets scanned. No jet bridges were used at this airport, so we walked out onto the tarmac and headed towards the ATR 72-500. Of course, I took my time and snapped away on my camera. Boarding was from the rear of the aircraft.

Bangkok Airways 924
ATR 72-500
Siem Reap (REP) - Bangkok (BKK)
Thursday April 5, 2012
Departure: 9:45 AM (scheduled) / 9:35 AM (actual)
Arrival: 11:00 AM (scheduled) / 10:45 AM (actual)
Duration: 1h 15m (scheduled) / 1h 10m (actual)
Seat: 9D (Economy) 

Two flight attendants greeted us as we boarded the plane. The single-class ATR 72-500 looked identical to the Cambodia Angkor Air aircraft I took from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap a few days earlier, except with maybe a bit more wear and tear. Seat pitch was perfectly fine for the quick hop to Bangkok.

Soon after takeoff, a snack box containing finger sandwiches, fruit and dessert was distributed to each passenger. While this was plenty for such a short flight, I actually felt that for the ticket prices they were charging, a five-course experience would have been more appropriate ;) Regardless, the snack was perfectly filling and actually quite delicious.

Service was decidedly hands-off. No smiles or unnecessary banter with guests, but otherwise, everything was completed efficiently and without issue. One negative aspect about the aircraft was the fact that my window was so scratched up and dirty that it was literally impossible to take any pictures with my auto-focus camera, as you can tell from the examples below.

After landing, it became quickly apparent that we would be parking far from the gates, and a bus soon pulled up to pick up passengers. After what seemed like an eternity of driving around Suvarnabhumi Airport, we finally arrived at the gate and entered the terminal, where a giant line for immigration greeted us.

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