Bangkok Airways PG215 - Bangkok to Chiang Mai on the A319
As most of my regular readers know I spend a lot of time in Bangkok. Despite this I had never flown on Bangkok Airways before. I spend more time flying on Thai (due to being a Star Alliance partner) and Air Asia (due to their cheap prices). With a need to travel to Chiang Mai at short notice I checked out the airline web sites and found the best deal was with Bangkok Airways, so I booked online with my credit card and had my itinerary confirmed within minutes for a flight the following morning.
I arrived at the airport bright and early and found the Bangkok Air check-in counters. There was a bit of promotional material around for new services to Mumbai and Dhaka:
|Celebrating 2 new destinations: Mumbai and Dhaka|
|Bangkok Airways Check-in located at BKK Row F|
|Directions to the gates!|
One of the interesting things about Bangkok Airways (PG) is that they offer a lounge for ALL passengers, regardless of class of travel or status. The lounge is pretty basic but it still provides basic non alcoholic drinks, snacks and free Wi-Fi. There is a seperate lounge for business class and top tier frequent flyers.
I headed for the domestic lounge and presented my boarding pass and was granted entry. For Wi-Fi access you have to show your boarding pass and the lounge staff give you a unique log in code to use with your device.
Once in the lounge I helped myself to a coffee and various pastries that were on offer. It's not much but it beats sitting around in the terminal. Each PG flight is called by the lounge staff so you don't have to worry about checking your watch. There are no toilets or showers in the lounge, you must go back into the terminal if you want to use the bathroom.
|Bangkok Airways Domestic Lounge|
|Domestic Lounge with computers and flight information display|
|Walking downstairs to the bus|
|Nice wide bus|
|Passing a Thai Airbus A300-600R|
|2 x company ATR72's|
The engines were started during push back but something didn't feel quite right. I'm not sure if it was the sound of the engines or what, but having experienced probably more than 100 A320 engine starts in my life this one just didn't sound right to me. Also, the hydraulic PTU sound kept going continuously during the engine start when normally it stops fairly quickly... those familiar with the A320 will know very well the PTU 'barking' type sound during a startup. It is something to do with hydraulic power and I am no engineer but it normally sounds a few times and stops... this time it kept going, and after a few minutes of sitting on the tarmac stationary we slowly taxi'ed back into an adjacent remote stand under the aircrafts own power, but very very slowly. At this point we realised there was an engine problem, and one of the flight attendants announced that due to 'engine failure' we would be returning. We made it back to a parking position and the engines were shut down, 5 or 10 minutes later the ground crew arrived back at the aircraft and connected the stairs. We were told to leave the aircraft with all our belongings and we were bussed back to the terminal and advised to remain in the lounge area while a solution was found.
|Boarding the A320|
|Pushback - something went wrong about here!|
|Is this the engine that caused us grief?|
|On the bus leaving our broken A320!|
|HS-PGX Phnom Penh Airbus A319-132 at gate A3|
AIRLINE: Bangkok Airways
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A319-132 'Phnom Penh' HS-PGX (formerly named Hiroshima, but they have stopped flying there now)
SCHEDULED TO DEPART: 08.00
ACTUAL DEPARTURE: 09.35 (95 minutes delay)
SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE: 09.15
ACTUAL ARRIVAL: 10.51 (96 minutes delay)
LOAD FACTOR: Economy - 35%
|View from 12A across the wing towards a Thai Boeing 737-400|
The same crew were abord the new aircraft and they welcomes us on board once more. An announcement was made apologising for the delay. Considering we had to swap aircraft though, the delay was not too severe at just over an hour and a half.
The same safety video was played and we pushed back and this time all went according to plan with the engines starting successsfully! Chiang Mai here we come !
|Very light load on the A319|
|A319 Rear Galley|
|A319 Rear Galley and right hand exit door|
|Breakfast service commences|
The crew came around and cleared our trays and we slowly descended over the mountains and through the clouds before making a smooth touchdown at Chiang Mai International airport. All in all a pleasant experience, despite the delay!
|Descent into Chiang Mai|
|Arriving at the gate Chiang Mai|