After a somewhat crazy taxi ride (Thai driving is questionable regards to the rules of the road!) to the old Bangkok airport at Don Mueang (DMK) it was time for me to fly an airline that personally I never thought I would ever travel on. The truth in fact was that I was too tempted by the very cheap ticket prices they had advertised and therefore I couldn't resist! I purchased the ticket less that a week before departure and the flights cost me about £75 round trip including taxes.
Arriving at the airport I noted that it hasn't really changed much since I was last here in 2005 - except that its just gotten a more dirty look and feel to it! It was not long after my trip during that year that this airport was in fact "closed", and replaced by the new BKK airport south of the city.
My Flight is up there somewhere
The airport has since reopened for domestic flights only. The carriers that serve the airport are primarily 'Nok Air' and 'Orient Thai Airlines' who both compete with each other for business.
Date: Wed 9 Feb 2011
Flight: OX 8223
Route: Bangkok / Don Mueang (DMK) - Phuket (HKT)
Scheduled Timings: DMK depart 1540 - HKT arrive 1700
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD82 HS-OME
Seat: 7C (aisle)
After entering the airport building, I had my backpack x-rayed before proceeding to check in. The very young (cute too!) female check in agent was helpful and smiled a lot during the check in process. I checked in my backpack, received my boarding pass and then said a cheerful thank you before proceeding to security. The body scan took under a minute and I was allowed through with no problems.
I made my way to gate 64 and waited for an aircraft to arrive. The ramp view yielded quite a few classic aircraft, most without engines. There were assorted MD80's (including HS-OMB, HS-OMC) a couple of 747-100s and an all white 767-200 (N570JH - no engines - with EL AL markings removed). Beyond the 747s I could see the tails of 2 tri-jets which I could tell by the no2 engine location (and logo on the tail) were in fact L1011 aircraft, of Thai Sky Airlines.
Domestic Departures Area
On the other side of the pier I was on, the ramp was filled with assorted aircraft from Nok Air (737s and ATR42s). All in all, you could say that this place was "spotter heaven", especially to those persons who like the sight, sound and smell of classic aircraft!
My aircraft arrived onto the stand at 1455. I haven't flown an MD80 series aircraft since my trip on SAS to Copenhagen a few years ago, so I was rather looking forward to this trip. The new crew were waiting to board and they did so as soon as the inbound passengers and crew had left the jet bridge. The captain of the flight appeared to be a westerner (with quite a sun tan) who appeared to be a very laid back chap - he wore a baseball cap with his uniform - while the first officer was Thai, and didn't seem to speak much conversation with anyone. The cabin crew were a mix of male and female Thai nationals.
It seems that I wasn't the only person interested in seeing what aircraft I was flying on - no fewer than 8 of us moved swiftly to the window with our cameras to snap some photos. The only problem was that we had to look through 2 sets of windows in order to do this, and that meant we all had to zoom in to get pictures without the window frames of the terminal showing in the shot - not easy to do.
Returning to the flight, boarding was started at 1520 for our 1540 departure. I was one of the first to board and was greeted by the cheerful cabin crew at the door. I took my seat and waited patiently for the rest of the passengers to board. We pushed back at 1536 and took off from runway 21R. Our climb out consisted of an immediate right turn as soon as the landing gear was retracted, and then a slight left turn not long afterwards. The fasten seat belt sign was switched off only 5 minutes after take off.
After we reached our cruising altitude, I had a quick look down the aisle and noticed that it appeared the flight was completely full. The seat covers suggested to me that this was a former American Airlines aircraft, although someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
Shortly after departure, the cabin crew came through the cabin with the complimentary snack and drink service. The airline is pretty unique for a low cost carrier in that it offers the following free extras....
No credit card booking fees
No call centre booking fees
So, Ryanair please take note!
The flight was uneventful, and we landed on time, but from the east. As we landed I spotted a Thomson 767-300ER with winglets waiting to depart. We boarded a bus to the terminal building, and must have driven for only 1 minute before the bus stopped and we got off . With that in mind I'm sure it would have been better for us to walk!
The baggage arrived within a reasonable timescale and I left the terminal building and set off to explore the area by foot.
For my return flight to Bangkok, please see below.....
BMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 61 Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 9632 times:
I started the day with a major headache - I guess you could call it a hangover. I had spent just about all of the previous evening on a self made pub crawl down the varied streets of Patong. I spent most of the night (until about 3am) going in and out of Irish themed pubs, such as Molly Malones and Scruffy Murphys - both famous places to visit while on Phuket island. I also had an amazing steak from the Chicago Steak House - supposedly the no1 steak house in Patong, with prices to match of course!
One of the highlights of the evening - watching some go go bar girls playing ping pong, without using any hands. In fact I've never seen anyone (female) who can shoot a ping pong ball so far just by using her, well you know!
Anyway, back to the topic in hand, and off we go with part 2 of the report....
Date: Thu 10 Feb 2011
Flight: OX 8220
Route: Phuket (HKT) - Bangkok / Don Mueang (DMK)
Scheduled Timings: HKT depart 1340 - DMK arrive 1500
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD82 HS-OMA
Upon arrival at the airport, as I entered the building I had my backpack x-rayed and I was also checked by security. My initial plan had been to arrive at the airport early and then head to the beach to do some arrival photography, but alas it did not happen.
Nice Ad for V Oz..... (Yes I do want to fly them!)
I had to wait for check in to open for my flight, but passed the time by watching the Russians checking in for their flights home to Moscow and also Khabarovsk Usk. The airlines flying to Russia today included Aeroflot, Transaero and Nordwind Airlines. At the same time, the Hong Kong contingent were checking in for a dragonair flight, as was a Thai Airways 747 full of passengers heading to Suvarnabhumi.
My flight was headed to Don Mueang and by the time I had checked in, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief, because I could go and find myself a seat in the departure lounge. Seats in the check in area are few and far between! I was also happy that I'd managed to keep my pre booked window seat on this flight - 18A. I could now hopefully take some pictures during the flight, something I'd missed out on during the outward trip.
Making my way to departures, I breezed through security and made myself comfortable. I had bought some dunkin' donuts earlier before I checked in but had still not taken a bite, so now was the perfect opportunity to do so. A point to note about prices here - 6 donuts and a coffee cost me 280 baht - about 6 UK pounds. In the UK the 6 donuts alone would cost me more than that! And the coffee would be at least 2 pounds too - it just makes you realise how much British people pay for stuff at home.
I patiently waited for boarding to commence - it was to be at gate 66 which is a bus gate. Orient Thai doesn't use jet bridges here in HKT but instead have a remote stand at the far end of terminal 1.
Boarding started 5 minutes before our scheduled departure time, with the end result being that the fight didn't depart until 1405. I ended up sitting next to an American guy about my age, who was from Boston but currently living in Korea. Oh and then he told me he was born in Russia - what a life! Anyway we spent the whole flight talking about Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and also Thailand.
We both shared advice on good places to see and things to do while in Thailand - we had each been to places where the other hadn't, so it seemed like a great idea. During the flight he also asked what Don Muang airport was like (he'd flown to Phuket from BKK on Air Asia), and I told him the truth - "old and dirty but with a great golf course between the runways". He laughed, thinking I was joking!
Our descent started about 1 hour after departure, and we encountered slight turbulence as we approached our landing runway which was 21R. My seat mate was amazed when he saw the golf course right beside the runway - he thought I'd been winding him up!
We parted ways and he rushed off for a cab to the nearest bank, as he had to get to one before the 4pm closing time. I on the other hand, joined the masses and waited for my checked backpack.
I hailed my own taxi to take me to the southern bus station, a journey of about 30 minutes, and even though it displayed 358 baht on the meter, I was charged 550 - something was said about an airport surcharge - kinda crazy, but I paid.
So there you have it - I flew on Orient Thai and found it a pleasant experience, and even dealt with the lack of legroom as well. It's a nice little airline, with cheeful staff and good service. I should add that they seem to be very popular among Thai nationals and westerners alike, the end result being that both flights were completely full.
Anyway, that's all for this report, I hope you enjoyed reading it as I did writing it......
triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8289 times:
Quoting BMIFlyer (Thread starter): The seat covers suggested to me that this was a former American Airlines aircraft, although someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
Thank you for pointing it out.
[quote=BMIFlyer,reply=0]The seat covers suggested to me that this was a former American Airlines aircraft, although someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
The seats do like that from American Airlines MD-80's although the only way we could know for sure is to get the registration number of the aircraft and trace it. AA is in the process of slowly replacing it's MD 80's with 737-800's. The MD 80's have been around for some time, but they really have served AA as a workhorse.
I live in Bangkok but I've always flown in/out of Suvarnabhumi. So it was great to see some inside pictures of Don Muang. I've heard there is a golf course between the 2 runways.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4125 posts, RR: 51 Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 8206 times:
Nice to read about your MD80 experience. A nice bird to ride on! But the faith for the other MD80's parked in the background and without engines is not good, I think. I think on-two-go will get SSJ's to replace the MD80's in the future, for sure very interesting!
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
CARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 749 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 8130 times:
Nice TR. Seems like Orient Thai is better than their reputation. Classic planes, good service, cheap fares, what more can an a.nutter ask for?
Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 1): Nice Ad for V Oz..... (Yes I do want to fly them!)
If all VA FAs look like on the ad, they have won me as a new customer!!!
Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 1): During the flight he also asked what Don Muang airport was like (he'd flown to Phuket from BKK on Air Asia), and I told him the truth - "old and dirty but with a great golf course between the runways".
Did the airport changed so much over the past decade or did I forgot so much about Don Muang? It was in the mid-90ies when I visited the airport the last time and it seemed so be a very nice airport back then. Time flies by so fast...
vivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 523 posts, RR: 3 Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7281 times:
Nice TR on Orient Thai, Lee!
How was the condition of the aircraft interiors? Was it well maintained?
Quoting BMIFlyer (Thread starter): Shortly after departure, the cabin crew came through the cabin with the complimentary snack and drink service.
That is quite nice.
Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 1): One of the highlights of the evening - watching some go go bar girls playing ping pong, without using any hands. In fact I've never seen anyone (female) who can shoot a ping pong ball so far just by using her, well you know!
Hahaha. I know what you mean.
Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 1): I had to wait for check in to open for my flight, but passed the time by watching the Russians checking in for their flights home to Moscow and also Khabarovsk Usk. The airlines flying to Russia today included Aeroflot, Transaero and Nordwind Airlines.
Wow - that's a huge amount of tourist traffic to Russia.