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MAI (Myanmar Airways International) SIN-BKK-SIN  
User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 9932 times:

Hello again and welcome to my 5th TR.

A simple search through the internet for cheap fares to BKK and the least that I would expect was that MAI (Myanmar Airways International) came up on the list at S$260 return (all taxes included). Oh well...the departure time might be not so interesting as they leave SIN at around 4.15pm, only to arrive and get stuck in massive traffic jam in BKK at 5pm+. But for that price...hmmm, I dont think anyone can really complain esp if you're on holiday.

I googled and found practically nothing on the service review of this airline. Even Skytrax did not rate them according to the stars. So, what can we expect? Let's start the journey
Leg1: SIN - BKK
Date: 16 Dec 2010
ETD/ATD: 16.15/16.20
Aircraft: A321
Flight: 8M 336
Reg: F-GYAO


MAI departs from T1 in Changi
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1386.snc4/163861_1671150412056_1036236163_31809395_7948148_n.jpg

As I had to leave office right around noon time, I didn't have time to have lunch...so, lunch at T1 for me...not bad...this is from foodcourt on 2nd level after immigration. The view is quite good too
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs032.snc6/166287_1671150612061_1036236163_31809396_8033909_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs611.ash2/156302_1671150972070_1036236163_31809398_1515356_n.jpg

I kinda like the whole renovated T1 feel...somehow feels nicer than T2
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs001.snc6/165195_1671151092073_1036236163_31809399_3872808_n.jpg

OK, at 3.20pm, the plane arrived. Yay, it should be on time then
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs695.snc4/63491_1671151172075_1036236163_31809400_7825619_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs473.ash2/74625_1671151292078_1036236163_31809401_6771232_n.jpg

As I walked down to my gate, I spotted this banner!


Apparently the celebration gate was just next to ours...preparation underway for the launching event
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs714.snc4/63442_1671152052097_1036236163_31809406_1863496_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs024.snc6/165424_1671152132099_1036236163_31809407_3850005_n.jpg

Next, boarding commenced!

A very unfamiliar sight greeted me upon boarding the plane. I looked and looked again...yes, she's indeed a caucasian crew! In fact I saw 4 out of 6 crew to be of western origin in that flight. Who would ever think that MAI hires western crew huh?

The very "straight" looking seats of MAI
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs620.snc4/58021_1671152452107_1036236163_31809410_7807972_n.jpg

The seat is actually not that bad...I've been on worse. But legroom is a bit of a disappointment...very tight.
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs757.ash1/164819_1671152332104_1036236163_31809409_2458905_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs022.snc6/165241_1671152652112_1036236163_31809411_5489048_n.jpg

Service so far has been quite standard...however that's about to change for the (worse?? better?? worse?? better??).........BETTER!! A trolley with at least 4 types of newspaper choice ran down through the alley and this was followed by.....Refreshment Towel Service. Wow
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1356.snc4/162848_1671152852117_1036236163_31809412_6427359_n.jpg

There were French words everywhere...even the crew communicated in French among themselves
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs213.ash2/47647_1671152932119_1036236163_31809413_2408600_n.jpg

Inflight reading materials of MAI's. Rather unappetising Duty Free selection...but I was pleasantly surprised that they even offered Duty Free shopping. Sorry, no offence here...but I really expected MAI to be somewhat LCC'ish
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1368.snc4/164023_1671157492233_1036236163_31809445_360922_n.jpg

MEAL TIME!! Again, I was just expecting some cold sandwich or boxed meal to be offered in this flight and I was wrong again! MAI seems to surprise me more and more.
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1360.snc4/163234_1671153332129_1036236163_31809417_7161428_n.jpg

This stewardess struggled big time to ask this Chinese passenger to sit down and wait for her water bottle to be filled up with hot water after the meal service... Despite the communication breakdown among them, I noticed that the crew handled the matter very professionally and at no point she was rude to the demanding and unreasonable passenger. Another plus point for MAI.
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1357.snc4/162938_1671153212126_1036236163_31809416_7882776_n.jpg

Who would ever think that a full tray meal was offered on this SIN-BKK sector? A selection of water, coke, OJ, red/white wine was offered as beverage. And please note that you get to choose Chicken or Fish too! I chose the fish and it turned out great, especially the fluffy fried rice
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs766.ash1/165699_1671153012121_1036236163_31809414_2211696_n.jpg

We landed safely in BKK 5 minutes ahead of the schedule and I cruised to the city using the Airport Rail. I must say the Airport Rail is quite impressive esp the city liner that cost me only Baht15!!! Yes...Baht15....I almost thought I saw the price wrongly when I bought the ticket thru the vending machine. It was a smooth 25 minutes ride to Phaya Thai Station, and connected with BTS to my hotel in Chit Lom area.

After 4 days of happy massage and spicy food, it's time to make a return trip to SIN.

Impressed by the relatively efficient Airport Rail and cheap fare, I decided to use the facility again.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1368.snc4/164071_1671154572160_1036236163_31809426_2310602_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs069.snc4/34821_1671154692163_1036236163_31809427_132632_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs027.snc6/165739_1671154852167_1036236163_31809428_1811014_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs821.snc4/68193_1671155212176_1036236163_31809430_3038037_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs758.snc4/65885_1671155612186_1036236163_31809432_1182741_n.jpg


Leg2: BKK - SIN
Date: 19 Dec 2010
ETD/ATD: 11.45/12.10
Aircraft: A321
Flight: 8M 335
Reg: F-GYAO


Long check-in + immigration + hand baggage screening left me no time to explore the terminal but straight to the boarding gate

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs419.ash2/69711_1671155732189_1036236163_31809433_5208539_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1387.snc4/163976_1671155852192_1036236163_31809434_8378405_n.jpg

Full set of French cabin crew waiting to board the plane too at the gate.
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs473.ash2/74610_1671155932194_1036236163_31809435_6125941_n.jpg

The usual service sequence; newspaper and refreshing towel. Then comes Meal Time again...my most favourite part of the flight...
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs031.snc6/166170_1671156132199_1036236163_31809437_1794972_n.jpg

This time, the choices were either chicken with rice or seafood noodle + coleslaw as appetizer and baked cheese cake as dessert. The taste wasn't bad at all except for the colesaw which I never like
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1365.snc4/163738_1671156212201_1036236163_31809438_2602728_n.jpg

CONCLUSIONS
I honestly didn't know what to expect before flying with MAI. Limited reviews (or virtually no information available) can be found on the internet about their service. However, I must say that after completing the return trip I was pleasantly surprised by the service offered by MAI. It's definitely not LCC alike, although I cant say for the same if I were to fly on their own planes with local crew onboard instead of wet leased planes. I'd rate them as 8/10. Definitely worth trying and highly recommended for an unusual experience.

Cheers
Jim

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinebeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 734 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9887 times:

Thanks for this report. I had been very close once to take this airline. Surprised that they have a French crew.

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9782 times:

Hi Jim,

another nice report - and once again it's an airline which I seriously considered to try on my last Asia tour. But just when I was ready to book, I couldn't find the BKK-SIN sector in the system any more. It appeared again some time later, but I had meanwhile decided to try Air Macau and Tiger Airways.

MAI's product looks fine, the meal is impressive. I'd certainly try that carrier in the future.

Quoting groomyjl (Thread starter):
A very unfamiliar sight greeted me upon boarding the plane. I looked and looked again...yes, she's indeed a caucasian crew! In fact I saw 4 out of 6 crew to be of western origin in that flight. Who would ever think that MAI hires western crew huh?

You also flew on an aircraft leased from Air Méditerranée. Meanwhile MAI operates a Myanmar-registered all-A320 fleet.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 9726 times:

Hi beowolf,

Quoting beowulf (Reply 1):
Thanks for this report. I had been very close once to take this airline. Surprised that they have a French crew.

Well, if you're based in SIN, there're plenty of other cheap choices to BKK. TG has been throwing down prices too lately. Not sure if MAI still services SIN-BKK now though...my trip was done in Dec 2010.


Hi PH,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Hi Jim,

another nice report - and once again it's an airline which I seriously considered to try on my last Asia tour. But just when I was ready to book, I couldn't find the BKK-SIN sector in the system any more. It appeared again some time later, but I had meanwhile decided to try Air Macau and Tiger Airways.

Yes, I think MAI no longer services SIN-BKK sector. I tried to book the flight a few months ago and it was to no avail.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
MAI's product looks fine, the meal is impressive. I'd certainly try that carrier in the future.

Well, except the legroom, the rest is fine with MAI. I wonder if MAI's own A320s offer the same legroom. It's definitely very tight even for a 5'9" like me


User currently offlinebeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 734 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9646 times:

Quoting groomyjl (Reply 3):
Well, if you're based in SIN, there're plenty of other cheap choices to BKK. TG has been throwing down prices too lately. Not sure if MAI still services SIN-BKK now though...my trip was done in Dec 2010.

It was also in 2010 that I looked at 8M as an option. AFAIK, it no longer flies SIN-BKK. TG will fly the A380 from end October five times weekly SIN-BKK.


User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 8720 times:

Quoting beowulf (Reply 4):

Make it 6th Oct that TG starts bringing in the whale jet into SIN. And I think its daily instead of 5 weekly


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 8152 times:

Hi

Nice report, thanks for sharing it with us!
First time to hear about MAI! Looks like a pretty good carrier except for the seat comfort if course

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7758 times:

Hi Marc,

Yes, MAI certainly strives to be recognised in this region. The seat comfort is no where near acceptable standard but this is their wet-leased plane. Maybe their own A320s are fitted with better seats.

Regards
Jim


User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 437 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6022 times:

MAI has re-instated the SIN-BKK route on a daily basis from 28 Oct, operated using A320s leased from a Bulgarian company. I will be flying them over the New Year holiday, with tickets at a surprisingly low S$254! MAI is even cheaper than the rest of the budget airlines over the same dates, with all frills thrown in too! Really value-for-money if the service is similar to what is described.


My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
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