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Lao Airlines QV 425: OCT/11: BKK-VTE: Y Cab  
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 21782 times:

Feedback always appreciated.




I > Background:
Lao PDR was one of the last countries I had not been to in Asia, and a project in Thailand had given me an excuse to go check out Vientiane at the end of October 2011. I scouted for tickets online and while TG would mean more Star miles, I decided to try something a tad more “exotic” and settle for Lao Airlines.

A quick search on Lao Airlines points out very limited reports – there is EL-AL’s VTE-PKZ report found at Indochina Trip 3/9: Lao Airlines VTE-PKZ+LPQ & LXG (by EL-AL May 9 2011 in Trip Reports) and B747-437B’s report from 2003 on the same route at A Laos-y Report : BKK To VTE Via UTH By TG/road (by B747-437B Aug 4 2003 in Trip Reports). Please do point out if there are others.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Lao Airlines is the flag carrier of Lao PDR based out of the capital city of Vientiane (VTE). Utilizing a fleet of 320’s, AT7’s, and some MA-60’s, it serves several domestic destinations and provide link to nearby cities in Cambodia, China, Thailand, VietNam, and Singapore.

Booking was done on the Lao Airlines website at http://www.laoairlines.com/ which was surprisingly easy to navigate. The airline uses the Amadeus platform which I find far superior to the compatriot offering from Sabre. Anyways, within minutes, an e-ticket was generated and I was USD 150 poorer. No option to choose a seat was given. While I could go back and view my reservation, advanced modification options were not present.



b) At Airport:
Arriving at BKK, I quickly looked up the flight and went to the appropriate check-in counter. The check-in counter was staffed by the local ground handling company where my wait time was approximately 2 minutes. The staff checking me in was rather indifferent to her job – she did not utter much during our entire rendezvous – it is not that she was unfriendly. She just seemed utterly detached and hence utterly forgettable.

Anyways, boarding pass in hand, I proceeded through a rather long immigration process, and an even longer security check. Since I was late, the flight was in the final stages of boarding and I run through the “not-for-my-taste” industrial design of Suvarnabhumi airport. It sort of reminds me of the Washington DC metro with the later having a little more élan.

Quickly greeted by the gate agent, I was shown to the bus. After a quick bus ride (my first ever @ BKK), I was taken to the waiting Lao ATR which looked good in the evening light. Upon embarkation, I was greeted by the two flight attendants. Load was a light 40%.

Airport - External:

(Bangkok Airport)


Check-in:

(Lao Airlines Check-In)


Airport - Internal:

(FIDS)


(Post Security @ BKK: The King is very revered.)

*


Scenes of the tarmac:


*

*

*



Lounge

NONE



Boarding:


(Gate Area)


(Boarding)
NONE



III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
After take-off, this short flight had the following:
+ Pre-packaged moist towels
+ Snack box service


b) Aircraft + Seats:
Lao Airlines used an ATR 72-500 on this route that is normally done with an Airbus. While the aircraft looked good in QV colors, the full white interiors were a tad too bland for my taste. I was surprised at how clean the entire aircraft was, and it smelt new. This extended to the bathrooms as well.

Legroom was decent in the bulkhead and slightly below average in the regular rows – however, they were rather standard for a newer generation turbo-prop aircraft. Surprisingly, I found the recline to be generous for a turbo-prop aircraft.

Aircraft:
(@ BKK)

*

*


Views from Aircraft:

NONE



General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

(Legroom: Bulkhead)


(Legroom: Regular Row)


Seat Recline + Angle View:

(Recline)


(Angle view)


Cabin:


*


(Thoughts on where this came from?)


(Bathroom)


c) Meal + Beverage:
A light snack service commenced immediately after take-off with the now ubiquitous snack box that I dread on Latin flights. To its credit, the box was well designed – though, I found the “You are safe with us” slogan a little disturbing. Inside the box was 2 pieces of white bread, some mayo, and strategically placed carrots (which until now I failed to realize was making a smiley face). There was a mystery meat – it tasted fine. There was an accompanying non-descript dessert and an orange juice. Overall, for a flight with less than an hour flying time, I thought the offering was generous and I enjoyed the thought and took it all in.


(On board snack)

*


d) Inflight Entertainment:
There was no in-flight magazine in the form of audio and video. Their in-flight magazine provided a good update of the country and its history. Like many of the smaller flag-carriers, it was good at creating awareness of their unique culture and country.

(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.: Just look at all the stuff I got)


e) Crew:
There were 2 flight attendants on this flight – a male senior purser, and a much junior younger woman. On a short flight, they did not have much to “prove”, but were efficient and courteous. They greeted all the passengers with a smile and were quick in their service run. Two things stood out – the female member playing with an expat kid in the aisle; and, during take-off after the lights were dimmed, seeing me read the in-flight magazine, the woman came and quietly turned on my reading light. Small touches, but enough to demonstrate a crew that cared.

IV> Post-Flight:
Arrival into Vientiane was smooth and since we were the only arrival, after a quick visa issuance and immigration process, I was landside in less than 30 minutes.



V> Impressions + Scores:
Lao Airlines did it job of safely and efficiently delivering me from point A to B. On such a short flight, it got all the essentials right, and even managed to smile and feed me along the way. While the ground experience at BKK could be improved, overall, I found QV a painless way of traveling on short distances.

I would definitely fly QV again – but always after checking other schedules and pricing. A one-thumb up for effort.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
9.27: JET AIRWAYS **FIRST** (110): LHR-BOM: 10/2010
9.27: THAI AIRWAYS **FIRST** (108): BKK-LHR: 07/2010
9.00: All Nippon: ANA (133): NRT-FUK-BOM: 12/2011

8.66: Brussels Airlines (93): FIH-BRU: 01/2010
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.63: Jet Airways (88): JFK-BRU: 10/2009
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.36: Kingfisher (98): BOM-HKG: 01/2010
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.82: UNITED AIRLINES **FIRST** (110): SFO-ICN: 10/2010
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.66: Sri Lankan (104): DEL-CMB: 07/2010
7.64: Royal Jordanian (91): AMM-YUL: 12/2009
7.61: China Southern (103): LOS-DXB: 04/2010
7.57: Pakistan Airlines (102): ORD-BCN: 06/2010
7.55: Air Canada (132): YEG-LHR: 06/2011
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.38: AMERICAN AIRLINES **FIRST** (112): LHR-JFK: 10/2010
7.38: CATHAY PACIFIC **FIRST** (109): HKG-LHR: 10/2010
7.36: Turkish Airlines (134): IST-LAX: 10/2011
7.25: Iran Air (88): BOM-IKA: 12/2009
7.23: Air Pacific (120): NAN-APW-HNL: 01/2011
7.23: Virgin Atlantic (81): BOS-LHR: 07/2009
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Aer Lingus (105): MAD-IAD: 05/2010
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.07: Privatair (84): BOM-FRA: 08/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.88: Egypt Air (123): LHR-CAI: 03/2011
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.82: Air Burkina (106): BKO-OUA: 06/2010
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.75: Afriqiyah + Libyan (113): CAI-TIP: 11/2010
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.52: Emirates (99): LHR-DXB: 02/2010
6.39: South African (97): EZE-JNB: 01/2010
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.29: TAM Brasil (96): POA-EZE: 02/2010
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.21: Iberia (87): BOS-MAD: 10/2009
6.11: A SKY (107): OUA-COO: 06/2010
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.88: African Express (89): DXB-NBO: 11/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: SATA Azores (101): BOS-PDL: 04/2010
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.54: Ethiopian Airlines (95): ADD-BOM: 01/2010
5.46: Icelandair (83): KEF-BOS: 08/2009
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.11: Tunisair (115): TUN-ORY: 12/2010
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.89: TAAG Angola (117): TMS-LAD: 12/2010
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
9.04: First Air (129): YEG-YFB: 06/2011
8.74: Japan Air Lines (130): NRT-BOS: 04/2012 – INAUGURAL
7.99: WestJet (131): YYZ-YYC: 06/2011
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
7.00: LAN (94): IPC-SCL: 01/2010
6.81: STP Airways/Euro Atlantic (116): LIS-TMS: 12/2010
6.67: Air Malta (124): MLA-FRA: 04/2011
6.63: Vladavia (126): KHV-PEK: 06/2011
6.41: Air North (127): YEV-YEG: 06/2011
6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.39: Condor (85): SEZ-FRA: 09/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.11: Caribbean Airlines (119): POS-FLL: 01/2011
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.80: Canadian North (128): YEV-YVQ-YZF-YEG: 06/2011
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.52: Aerolineas (86): USH-AEP: 10/2009
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009
5.11: Air China (82): FRA-PEK: 08/2009
4.59: IR Aero (125): IKT-VVO: 06/2011

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.98: Air Koryo (100): PEK-FNJ: 04/2010
6.96: Lao Airlines (135): 12/2011
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.04: Suriname Airways (118): PBM-POS: 01/2011
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.52: Sevenair (114): TOE-TUN: 11/2010
5.37: Felix Airways (92): SCT-SAH: 12/2009
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.04: Biman (121): DAC-CGP: 01/2011
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: United Bangla (122): CGP-DAC: 01/2011
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

I will leave you with some scenes from Vientiane. They city and the country were incredible – it is what I imagined Thailand to have been before being overrun by mass tourism. Go there before it really becomes big!


*

*

*

*

*

*

*


* Unbiased view on how an actual traveler may view the flight
* Not a professional photographer (so please keep in mind)
* Commitment that I won’t identify myself to the airline as “reviewing them”



Live, and let live.
28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 2915 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 21565 times:

Another excellent trip report on another unknown airline. Since I've never flown (and likely will never fly) Lao Airlines, I thank you--very interesting.


The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1084 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 21475 times:

Hi Alex,

Nice report, and a very fair review. It would seem that Lao Airlines is poised to do fairly well, as they keep within their modest reach. AFAIK it gets alot of leisure travellers keen to get to Laos, but not keen to brave the overland crossings from Thailand.

The sandwich looked quirky - there is a Laos speciality left over from the French - this baguette with chicken and other tasty morsels, normally sold on the street. Did you try it?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
They city and the country were incredible – it is what I imagined Thailand to have been before being overrun by mass tourism.

Yes, I was there 3 years ago. Sadly, it is already tainted with mass tourism (perhaps not Vientienne), but Vang Vienne and Luang Prabang are firmly on the backpacker curcuit these days. I really hope it is managed sensibly...

Regards,

Luke!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3035 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 21177 times:

Thanks for posting this Alex - Laos is also missing from my list, aloing with Myanmar - hopefully will be ticking them off soon. The flights looked pretty good, but the fare seemed quite high for such a short flight. At least you know you're safe with Lao Airlines!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-JMK,JTR-LHR-WAW,MSQ-FRA-EZE,IGR-EZE-CUN,MEX-FRA-LCY,LHR-TXL-LHR
User currently offlineaidansnn From Ireland, joined Jun 2010, 28 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 20978 times:

Hi Abrelosojos,

Thanks for a very enjoyable read, as always! I visited Laos once a few years ago to do the 'Gibbon Experience' - a truly unforgettable time. Laos Airlines seems to be quite a decent airline (can't make out that carrot smiley face myself though!).

Thanks again,

Aidan


User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2202 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 20942 times:

Hey there Alex,

Thanks for this report--enjoyed reading about Lao Airlines and Laos--indeed one of the lesser known Asian nations.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Lao PDR was one of the last countries I had not been to in Asia, and a project in Thailand had given me an excuse to go check out Vientiane at the end of October 2011. I scouted for tickets online and while TG would mean more Star miles, I decided to try something a tad more “exotic” and settle for Lao Airlines.

Of course, always go with the local carrier on such a trip  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
No option to choose a seat was given. While I could go back and view my reservation, advanced modification options were not present.

Sounds like what I'd expect. Similar with Air Moldova (which IIRC uses the platform you don't like).

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The staff checking me in was rather indifferent to her job – she did not utter much during our entire rendezvous – it is not that she was unfriendly. She just seemed utterly detached and hence utterly forgettable.

Sounds like my check-in experience in NAS. Except in my case, she was talking on the phone while checking me in!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After a quick bus ride (my first ever @ BKK)

Yes, well, ATRs and jetways don't really go together for the most part  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A light snack service commenced immediately after take-off with the now ubiquitous snack box that I dread on Latin flights. To its credit, the box was well designed – though, I found the “You are safe with us” slogan a little disturbing

It's definitely not as bad as Uzbekistan's "good luck" slogan--that one's really bad.

Snack boxes are becoming ubiquitous, eh? Well, not in the States, unless you pay for them!  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
seeing me read the in-flight magazine, the woman came and quietly turned on my reading light. Small touches, but enough to demonstrate a crew that cared.

Yes, that really is a nice touch. Good on her for noticing  

Nice little report, Alex. Thanks for sharing!


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4207 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 20919 times:

Hi Alex,

great little report, on this interesting airline. Love your writing style, you come to the point easily and yet very detailed.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The airline uses the Amadeus platform which I find far superior to the compatriot offering from Sabre.

  

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After a quick bus ride (my first ever @ BKK), I was taken to the waiting Lao ATR

I think these ATR's might be the smallest planes operating on passenger service ex BKK?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
While the aircraft looked good in QV colors, the full white interiors were a tad too bland for my taste. I was surprised at how clean the entire aircraft was, and it smelt new.

And this aircraft, RDPL-34173 , is even their oldest of a total 4 examples in their fleet (manufactured 07/2009)

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1709 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 20815 times:

Hey Alex, nice little bite-sized report you've made this time!

Lao Airlines seem like an interesting carrier, although not as exotic as Druk Air (which I guess is on your to-fly list? Given your recent passion of abandoning the generic likes of alliance airlines, in favor for more exotic alternatives). Interesting you say that TG also operate the route. With which type? Doubt VTE would even justify the need for a widebody.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
and while TG would mean more Star miles,

Well don't you have millions of those already?  
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Legroom: Regular Row)

I'm a bit surprised you picked the bulkhead to start with as it's the noisiest part of the plane. width="15" height="15" border="0"/>
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A light snack service commenced immediately after take-off with the now ubiquitous snack box that I dread on Latin flights.

I honestly don't see why airlines even bother serving those generic snack boxes. They look flimsy, and most of the times the contents seem awful. Last time I was served one was on Czech Airlines back in 2008, but they don't seem to be much standard here in Europe, thankfully.

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas

[Edited 2012-07-23 07:43:47]


SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinekiramakora From Argentina, joined Aug 2006, 546 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 20159 times:

Brilliant trip report. You do get around Alex!

User currently offlineburj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 900 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 19955 times:

Very cool trip report! Hadn't even heard of this airline before!

I LOVE that TWA continues to live on in aviation!


User currently offlinehz747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 1647 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 19935 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
With which type?

They did it with a 737-400 when I took it last year on the same trip mentioned below.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Please do point out if there are others.

I flew on Lao Airlines last year. I couldn't secure a booking with the website, it kept bringing me back to the front, so I booked with a HK travel agent. I did it from the Plain of Jars to Vientiane. I quite liked the service and the airline, I think the video I took of the take off from Phosovan(sp?) was one the best with the Migs at the end of the runway. It was one of many trips we took on an ASEAN adventure.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
Yes, I was there 3 years ago. Sadly, it is already tainted with mass tourism (perhaps not Vientienne), but Vang Vienne and Luang Prabang are firmly on the backpacker curcuit these days. I really hope it is managed sensibly...

Definitely agree that Luang Prabang is on the circuit, but it's quite calm there. We deliberately avoided Vang Vienne because of the Lonely Planet description of the place. Both Phosovan(sp?) and Vientiane were relatively tourist free, though I found the capital a bit too sleepy.



Keep on truckin'...
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 19565 times:

Hello Alex

Great report, Lao airlines looks good.
I'm impressed by the meal you get on a rather short flight.
Seat comfort looks ok as well, getting an ATR out of BKK is a bonus as well.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6640 posts, RR: 78
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19335 times:

Hi A.,

very nice report about this little exotic airline - which operates a brand new fleet, btw. No plane is older than three years.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
. I was surprised at how clean the entire aircraft was, and it smelt new.

That's interesting considering that is was built in 2009, as Eric pointed out:

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Inside the box was 2 pieces of white bread, some mayo, and strategically placed carrots (which until now I failed to realize was making a smiley face). There was a mystery meat – it tasted fine. There was an accompanying non-descript dessert and an orange juice.

Hm, that looks interesting...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
I honestly don't see why airlines even bother serving those generic snack boxes. They look flimsy, and most of the times the contents seem awful.

Different countries, different people, different demands. What's awful for our demanding Jonas may be just fine for millions of other people on this globe.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1240 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 19160 times:

Hey Alex,

Thx for another great report.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Lao PDR was one of the last countries I had not been to in Asia, and a project in Thailand had given me an excuse to go check out Vientiane

Laos is great indeed, but Vientiane do not represent Laos at all. More Thai then Lao city; have you been to other parts of the country?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A quick search on Lao Airlines points out very limited reports – there is EL-AL’s VTE-PKZ report found at Indochina Trip 3/9: Lao Airlines VTE-PKZ+LPQ & LXG (by EL-AL May 9 2011 in Trip Reports) and B747-437B’s report from 2003 on the same route at A Laos-y Report : BKK To VTE Via UTH By TG/road (by B747-437B Aug 4 2003 in Trip Reports). Please do point out if there are others.

Thx for the link, nice memories.

Jonathan



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1100 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18663 times:

Great TR on what I'd consider to be an exotic airline.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The airline uses the Amadeus platform which I find far superior to the compatriot offering from Sabre.

Funny you say this, Sabre's platform is truthfully complete crap. Which I hate saying since it's an American company. Oh well...

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
While the aircraft looked good in QV colors, the full white interiors were a tad too bland for my taste. I was surprised at how clean the entire aircraft was, and it smelt new. This extended to the bathrooms as well.

Definitely a lack of originality in the cabin. Although I've yet to see any cool cabins come from a regional aircraft.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Thoughts on where this came from?)

I just don't understand how that could happen. Wow!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A light snack service commenced immediately after take-off with the now ubiquitous snack box that I dread on Latin flights.

The contents of said snack box look, well, rather unappetizing. But I guess it was alright?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Small touches, but enough to demonstrate a crew that cared.

I'm impressed with that. I feel like the "smaller" Asian carriers tend to have pretty sub-par service. Good to see that Lao Airlines isn't one of them.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I will leave you with some scenes from Vientiane. They city and the country were incredible – it is what I imagined Thailand to have been before being overrun by mass tourism. Go there before it really becomes big!

Looks like a really cool place. Will have to visit sometime.

Thanks for taking the time to put that together!

P.S. Guess who got their Angolan visa haha?


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 18323 times:

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 1):
Another excellent trip report on another unknown airline. Since I've never flown (and likely will never fly) Lao Airlines, I thank you--very interesting.

= Well ... never say never. You may end up on them  !

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
Nice report, and a very fair review. It would seem that Lao Airlines is poised to do fairly well, as they keep within their modest reach. AFAIK it gets alot of leisure travellers keen to get to Laos, but not keen to brave the overland crossings from Thailand.

= Fair enough. I think there is a small niche NB market to Korea and Japan - but that is the extent I see in the next 5 years or so.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
The sandwich looked quirky - there is a Laos speciality left over from the French - this baguette with chicken and other tasty morsels, normally sold on the street. Did you try it?

= Absolutely. I had it from the vendors under the Arch.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):

Thanks for posting this Alex - Laos is also missing from my list, aloing with Myanmar - hopefully will be ticking them off soon. The flights looked pretty good, but the fare seemed quite high for such a short flight. At least you know you're safe with Lao Airlines!

= It is the least you can pay to be safe  .

Quoting aidansnn (Reply 4):
Hi Abrelosojos,

Thanks for a very enjoyable read, as always! I visited Laos once a few years ago to do the 'Gibbon Experience' - a truly unforgettable time. Laos Airlines seems to be quite a decent airline (can't make out that carrot smiley face myself though!).

Thanks again,

Aidan

= Aidan, thanks for the comments. I had to look up "Gibbon Experience". How did you find it? Do you have any pictures?

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 5):
Thanks for this report--enjoyed reading about Lao Airlines and Laos--indeed one of the lesser known Asian nations.

= Yes!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 5):
Sounds like my check-in experience in NAS. Except in my case, she was talking on the phone while checking me in!

= Look at it this way - she was at least good at multi-tasking  .

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 5):
It's definitely not as bad as Uzbekistan's "good luck" slogan--that one's really bad.

= Fair enough.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 6):
Hi Alex,

great little report, on this interesting airline. Love your writing style, you come to the point easily and yet very detailed.

= Thanks mate.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 6):
I think these ATR's might be the smallest planes operating on passenger service ex BKK?

= You know what ... I did not think of this. But, I think you may be right.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
Hey Alex, nice little bite-sized report you've made this time!

= There is only so much one can write on a 1+ hour flight with regional aircraft that was uneventful  .

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
Lao Airlines seem like an interesting carrier, although not as exotic as Druk Air (which I guess is on your to-fly list? Given your recent passion of abandoning the generic likes of alliance airlines, in favor for more exotic alternatives). Interesting you say that TG also operate the route. With which type? Doubt VTE would even justify the need for a widebody.

= I have actually flown Druk Air twice - great experience. That was before my TR writing days. I posted the pictures before. Have you seen them?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
Well don't you have millions of those already?  

= LOL. Fair enough. And, increasingly useless  !

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 7):
I honestly don't see why airlines even bother serving those generic snack boxes. They look flimsy, and most of the times the contents seem awful. Last time I was served one was on Czech Airlines back in 2008, but they don't seem to be much standard here in Europe, thankfully.

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas

= Sometimes, they have interesting content.

Quoting kiramakora (Reply 8):
Brilliant trip report. You do get around Alex!

= Thanks.

Quoting burj (Reply 9):
I LOVE that TWA continues to live on in aviation!

= Agreed.

Quoting hz747300 (Reply 10):
They did it with a 737-400 when I took it last year on the same trip mentioned below.

= Did they also not use a 300-600 on it for a year? My memory is failing me between VTE and RGN ...

Quoting hz747300 (Reply 10):
It was one of many trips we took on an ASEAN adventure.

= Thanks. Neat stuff.

Quoting hz747300 (Reply 10):
Both Phosovan(sp?) and Vientiane were relatively tourist free, though I found the capital a bit too sleepy.

= I agree ... but to me, that was part of VTE's charm.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):

Hello Alex

Great report, Lao airlines looks good.
I'm impressed by the meal you get on a rather short flight.
Seat comfort looks ok as well, getting an ATR out of BKK is a bonus as well.

Greetings
Marc

= Thanks Marc.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12):
That's interesting considering that is was built in 2009, as Eric pointed out:

= Ya - and that is why I was perhaps so surprised at how clean it was. BTW, what is next for you?

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 13):

Laos is great indeed, but Vientiane do not represent Laos at all. More Thai then Lao city; have you been to other parts of the country?

= I only have gone to Luang Prabang. Anything else you recommend?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 14):

Great TR on what I'd consider to be an exotic airline.

= Thanks.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 14):

Funny you say this, Sabre's platform is truthfully complete crap. Which I hate saying since it's an American company. Oh well...

= Worse than Sabre platform, is their horrid web interface!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 14):

The contents of said snack box look, well, rather unappetizing. But I guess it was alright?

= It was not too bad ... or perhaps, I have been exposed to the utter crap they give you on Latin airlines. Avianca and TACA being the worst - I joke that it was a merger of shabby meal boxes.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 14):

P.S. Guess who got their Angolan visa haha?

= WHAT?????!!!! We need to talk. EMail me your new number - with my time zones, maybe SMS is best?

Thanks a lot for stopping by. I am sorry I have such a backlog of emails and stuff. I am under pressure at this current engagement, and might be moving out of Caracas to take a job being a VP (Haha) of Network Planning at a rather interesting airline ...

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineokapi From France, joined Jun 2006, 206 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 18212 times:

Another stunning report. A pity I never made it myself to Laos. Last time in Asia with my other half, Luang Prabang area was flooded, just like the north of Thailand. We went to Cambodia though with Bangkok Airways. The latter seems to offer a much nicer product than Lao Airlines, nevertheless, it seems to be an interesting airline. At least, they claim to fly you safely   I love countries that have not been corrupted by massive tourism and that allow for visa on arrival. Did you have to pay for that?

You VP? Great news...


User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2430 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 17885 times:

Hi Alex,

You always managed to squeeze in an exciting short trip during your business trip. Thank you so much for sharing this unique experience of Lao Airlines, including the sights of Laos.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Thoughts on where this came from?)

Time traveling?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Cabin:

Love the black leather!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A light snack service

A substantial one indeed. Was there additional drink offer as well?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Two things stood out – the female member playing with an expat kid in the aisle; and, during take-off after the lights were dimmed, seeing me read the in-flight magazine, the woman came and quietly turned on my reading light. Small touches, but enough to demonstrate a crew that cared.

Such genuine warmth and hospitality, how I miss South East Asia.


Best wishes,
Suryo  



Friends forever
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6403 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 17768 times:

Hi Alex !

Nice report on a very small airline!

I think QV was much better than I expected! Nice to get a snack box even on such a short flight even though it's generic. Rather get that than nothing at all which is what I would expect.

Pictures from Vientiane are great! Would love to go there some day!

Looking forward to your next report and I hope your new job does not interfere with going on a T5 77L .....

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2381 posts, RR: 24
Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 17570 times:

Nice report!

Brings back memories of my first flights on the then 'Lao Aviation' Antonov 24s between Don Mueng and Vientiane in the late eighties. They sometimes left on the same day as scheduled and inflight service was a sandwich, a green banana and a glass bottle of Pepsi or Sprite.

I flew them again in 2004 as 'Lao Airlines' on their ex-Ansett A320 and ATR 72-200 between Hanoi and Vientiane, then Vientiane to Luang Prabang, all efficient and friendly with similar service to what you experienced.


User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5900 posts, RR: 40
Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 17437 times:

great report! as usual... amazing the routes you are using, I would really like to the your data from flightmemory.com!

Dude, we have to make yes or yes a trip togehter...!!! I will be also in charge of the bookings, in case you dont have timt eo plan   jajaja

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 15):
= LOL. Fair enough. And, increasingly useless !

well - I have to say I like the UA programm for * they have a lot of decent and cheap miles awards out of CCS.

just booked yesterday a crazy routing for 20.000 miles CCS-LIM-MDE-PTY-TGU-SAP-PTY-BOG-CCS in TA / CM combo not bad for 20k miles and 100 USD taxes or  

Cheers
Avianca



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineKnightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1689 posts, RR: 18
Reply 21, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 17433 times:

Hi A.

Thanks for the interesting report on an interesting airline. That little ATR must really stick out in Bangkok amid all those widebodies.

Laos, or at least Vientiane looks quite amazing. As you say, the way Thailand must have been before the tourists invaded.

Cheers,
William


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 22, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 17379 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Alex,

Great read as always, thanks for posting!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I scouted for tickets online and while TG would mean more Star miles, I decided to try something a tad more “exotic” and settle for Lao Airlines.

- Agreed, if I don't need the miles or tier points I'm happy to be able to look at something a little different.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
boarding pass in hand, I proceeded through a rather long immigration process, and an even longer security check.

- Ah, something I'm used to @ BKK.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
the “not-for-my-taste” industrial design of Suvarnabhumi airport.

- Nor mine, it's not a great design.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Thoughts on where this came from?

- TWA! - amazing to find this!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I will leave you with some scenes from Vientiane. They city and the country were incredible – it is what I imagined Thailand to have been before being overrun by mass tourism. Go there before it really becomes big!

- Thanks, it's a city on my hit list when the wife and I return to Asia.

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineswissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 23, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 17154 times:

I visited Laos several times. My first flight on Lao Aviation was back in 1996 on an Antonov 24. Until 2005 I flew several times on their Yun 7, Yun 12 and ATR 72. Their safety record was one of the worst in entire Asia and their Schedules been very unreliable back then.

Glad to see that the Lao national airline made such a nice improvement of their product and service. They finally arrived into the 21st century.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offline817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2070 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 16739 times:

Great report Alex

Nice to see a report on a rare airline, thanks for posting it! 



Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
25 Post contains images stipica : Hi Abri ! huge backlog in my reading hobby ... and after I noticed that you are crying in the first sentence for the comments ... hehhehe interesting
26 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Yes. I don't remember what it was, but perhaps a reasonable 20 USD? Your really do need to visit Lao PDR. I have a fear that both Burma an it will
27 Post contains images stipica : Hi abri ! HAHAHHAHAHA now I feel the pressure to comment on other two ... and one thought ...the problem is not eurowhite problem is in process who sy
28 win1290 : Hi Alex, Very nice trip report as usual! A very nice read. Thank you. Lao Airlines looks like a very nice regional airline. Cabin looks well-maintaine
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