Review: Bangkok Airways A320 Economy Class from Bangkok to Da Nang

Bangkok Airways is a regional airline based at Suvarnabhumi airport. Using a fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 as well as ATR 72 aircraft, it connects Bangkok and other Thai cities with each other as well as with destinations in other countries in the region.

Aside from a few of its A319s, its aircraft feature economy class only. Interestingly, though, Bangkok Airways operates simple lounges at a number of its destinations that even its economy class passengers can enter for free.

Earlier this month, I had a chance to fly with the airline for the first time. I’ll share the details of that experience in the review below.

Review: Bangkok Airways A320 Economy Class from Bangkok to Da Nang
Bangkok Airways – Asia’s Boutique Airline.

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Boarding Flight PG947 at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

I arrived in Bangkok at around 5AM on JAL’s overnight flight from Tokyo, more than five hours before the Bangkok Airways flight’s scheduled departure time of 10:55AM.

Since I was able to get my boarding pass at Haneda, I headed straight through transfer security to spend the time getting some work done and reviewing a couple of lounges.

I visited the fairly new Turkish Airlines Lounge before heading to the renovated Air France-KLM Lounge. Finally, after spending a couple of hours at each, I headed to Bangkok Airways’ own Blue Ribbon Club Lounge which I could access thanks to my Priority Pass membership.

Bangkok Airways Blue Ribbon Club Lounge Business Center
I really liked the design of the Blue Ribbon Club Lounge.

I left the lounge around 10AM and headed to gate D1A. There, the agent scanned my boarding pass – and confirmed the rest of my itinerary – before letting me enter the holding area.

The boarding itself started around 10:20AM at which time, I got on a bus that took me to the aircraft which was parked on a remote stand.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Gate D1A
Gate D1A.
Bangkok Airways Bus
Bangkok Airways bus.

I took a few photos of the aircraft (and some of those around it) before climbing the stairs and stepping onboard.

Bangkok Airways Airbus A320
Bangkok Airways Airbus A320.
Bangkok Airways A320 Engine
A close-up of one of the engines.
Bangkok Airways Fleet
Three other Bangkok Airways Airbuses waiting for their next flights.
Bangkok Airways A320
A view of the aircraft from the stairs.

Bangkok Airways A320 Cabin

The aircraft that operated my flight, HS-PPK, was originally delivered to Jetstar Airways in 2005. Like all other Bangkok Airways A320s, it was equipped with 162 economy class seats and no business class.

Many Bangkok Airways aircraft seem to feature blue cloth seats. This one, however, was equipped with black leather seats, a remnant of its former operator.

Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Cabin
The aircraft featured black leather seats.
Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Cabin
An overview of the cabin.

While the leather on the seats was showing some wear-and-tear, the seats themselves were comfortable enough and the legroom was above average. In fact, overall, the seat was more comfortable than that on my much longer JAL flight from Tokyo to Bangkok.

Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Economy Class Seat
The seats were showing some wear-and-tear.
Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Economy Class Legroom
The legroom was quite good.
Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 Economy Class Seat
One more view of the seats.

It’s also worth noting here that there was an individual air vents (and a reading light, of course) above each seat.

Bangkok Airways A320 Overhead Panel
Overhead panel.

Inside each seat pocket, an in-flight magazine (most of its content was in English with only bits and pieces in Thai), an in-flight shopping catalog, a safety card, and a waste bag could be found.

Bangkok Airways In-Flight Magazine
In-flight magazine and shopping catalog, safety card, and waste bag.

Departing Suvarnabhumi Airport Bound for Da Nang

The cabin crew secured the aircraft’s doors at 10:41AM at which point, the cabin was only about 30% or 40% full. As such, I was left with a full row of seats for myself.

Five minutes later, the crew performed a manual safety demo, and at 10:49AM – six minutes ahead of schedule – we got on our way.

A quick pushback was followed by a few minutes of taxiing. While making our way to the departure runway, it was interesting to see an engine-less Thai Airways Boeing 777 among other aircraft.

Bangkok Airways Departure from Bangkok
Ready for pushback.
Thai Airways 777
An engine-less 777.

We took off from runway 19R at 11:13AM, and immediately after take-off, we were offer great views of the airport’s new terminal which is currently under construction.

Bangkok Airport New Terminal
New terminal.
Bangkok Airways A320 Wing
Climbing out of Bangkok.

Bangkok Airways Short-Haul Economy Class Meal Service

The seatbelt signs were switched off about five minutes after take-off, and just a couple of minutes after that, the meal service commenced.

As indicated earlier, Bangkok Airways offers above average economy class service (i.e. it offers a simple lounge with free refreshments) on the ground. It also does so in the air.

Even though the flight time was less than 90 minutes, a simple hot meal was served.

Besides the tasty “prawn with rice” main, the meal came with a piece of pineapple and melon each, as well as a bottle of water.

I was also surprised to see proper metal utensils on the tray. One other thing that caught my attention was the nicely designed paper tray mat.

Bangkok Airways Economy Class Meal
Overview of the meal.
Bangkok Airways Hot Meal
Shrimp with rice.
Bangkok Airways Street Food Boutique
A nicely designed tray mat.

After the meals were distributed, the cabin crew went around the cabin with cold drinks. Besides the usual soft drinks, wine and beer were available too.

Finally, coffee and tea were offered.

Bangkok Airways Drink
Orange juice.

Arrival at Da Nang International Airport

Around noon, the captain announced that we were flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet at about 800 km/h, and that we had about 40 minutes left until landing.

Fifteen minutes later, we commenced our descent, and not long after that, the seatbelt signs were turned back on.

An approach that offered some interesting views followed.

Commencing Descent
Commencing our descent.
Da Nang
Hills around Da Nang.
Da Nang
Da Nang.

We landed on Da Nang airport’s runway 35R at 12:36PM.

Four minutes later (and five minutes ahead of schedule), we parked at one of the airport’s few jetways (most international flights seem to use bus gates).

Da Nang Airport
Da Nang airport is in the middle of the city.
Bangkok Airways Landing
Slowing down after landing.
Bangkok Airways Arrival in Da Nang
Arriving at our parking spot.

Bangkok Airways A320 Economy Class Summary

Overall, except for the very minor thing of the seats being a bit worn out, I have nothing negative to say about my experience with Bangkok Airways. In fact, I’d say the service was above average.

On the ground, the airline offered access to a simple lounge with soft drinks and light refreshments. While I didn’t take advantage of that since I had access to the business class lounge, I think it’s a really nice touch for economy class passengers that otherwise wouldn’t have lounge access.

Onboard, besides getting me to Da Nang on time, it offered very good legroom. And, it served a hot meal even though the flight was less than an hour-and-a-half long.

Finally, in addition to that, the flight earned me 263 JAL Mileage bank miles – 50% of the distance flown.

All of that for just about $100.

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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…

But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.

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