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To The Land Of Thunder Dragon (Drukair J/Y & SQ Y)  
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11917 times:

ust last week and barely a month after my whirlwind USA vacation, I had to make a working trip to Bhutan. The trip was planned kinda late and while trying to obtain the tickets for the desired dates, the travel agent could only give us departure direct from SIN to Paro on Drukair in Economy, but on the return date due to no flights to SIN, we had to fly Business Class to BKK as Economy was full, followed by SQ in Economy to Singapore. As I was 'ineligible' to fly J due to company policy, I had to top up a "shockingly" low S$100 to fly Business Class on the Paro-Bangkok sector! Of course I would be willing to pay! Apparently Drukair prices its tickets such that the fare difference between Economy and Business is normally about or less than USD100 per sector!

Drukair currently only has 3 A319s and 1 ATR42 to operate its network. Due to the operation hours of Paro Airport, which closes at 12pm due to strong winds, all Drukair flight would have to arrive and depart Paro before 12pm. Thus this explains why all Drukair flights would overnight in other destinations, SIN included. Our flight had arrived in the afternoon the day before and had overnighted at Changi, operating the day's early departure at 0630hrs to Paro via Kolkata. The very early departure is to enable to aircraft to reach Paro early and turnaround to another destination before the airport closes.

On the day of departure, I arrived at the airport at 0430hrs (another record broken for the earliest morning departure from Changi) to check-in for the group. Drukair still operates in a very traditional manner, with no online-seat reservations nor check-in. Thus any seat requests would have to be obtained upon counter check-in. I requested for front row seats in Economy for the group, which was granted by the check-in agent. However Drukair was very strict with hand-carry luggage and due to some of our hand luggage being overweight, we needed to repack some stuff so that all of us were within the weight limit. Each hand luggage was weighed and tagged as well. Boarding passes were issued on Dnata stock.




Cleared immigration with hassle, had some coffee in the transit area and proceeded to the gate. Drukair would be departing from Gate C12, which was a bus gate! It had been ages since I had departed from a bus gate at Changi. Apparently as Drukair overnights its aircraft at the remote stand and opted not to tow its aircraft to a proper gate, we would have to be bussed to the aircraft. No worries for me though it might be a hassle for some other passengers.

14 April 2013
Drukair
KB 501
Singapore (SIN) - Kolkata (CCU) - Paro (PBH)
A319
A5-RGI
Economy Class


2 buses were used to bus passengers to the gate. Business Class and passengers bound for Kolkata (Drukair has rights for the SIN-CCU sector) were called for the first bus, while passengers bound for Paro boarded the second. Not sure if there were any difference.

We were bussed to the remote stand just off the terminal building. A5-RGI, Drukair's newest A319, would be operating the flight this morning.




I was in a middle seat today, thus no videos taken. However no worries as the first row of Economy on this aircraft has lots of legroom! There was only a curtain separating Business Class from Economy and thus we can stretch our legs all the way till under the seats in Business! Bags could also be stored under the Business Class seats in front! Seriously, I guess I had more legroom than Business Class passengers!




Packed refreshing tissue was distributed after boarding was completed. Flight time to Kolkata was announced to be approximately 4hrs.




We had a long taxi to Rwy02C for takeoff, bound for Kolkata. Initial ascend was rather bumpy due to bad weather in the area, stretching all the way along Peninsula Malaysia. The seatbelt signs were kept on for almost half hour before it was turned off.

Lets see what is in the seat pocket. Drukair safety card, airsick bag and inflight shopping magazine.




Their inflight magazine is named "Tashi Delek", which means good luck and well wishes. A very common Bhutanese greeting. The magazine contained some interesting articles about Bhutan.




Peeking into Business Class, which appeared to be only half-full.




View of the economy cabin. Drukair has recently refurbished all its aircraft in Business Class with new seats and reducing the seating capacity from 20 to 16. Economy Class also got new seats with increased capacity, but apparently this new plane did not receive the new Economy Class seats, but only fitted with new Business Class seats. However the black leather-cladded Economy seats were still rather comfortable.

View of the cabin. Normal rows seemed to have about 30-31" pitch.




Visit to the lavatory. There were 2 at the rear of this A319. Not much amenities other than the necessary. However there was a floral decoration.




Requesting for a pillow, I was informed by the crew that no pillows are available for Economy Class passengers. Only Business Class passengers are supplied with pillows. However, blankets are available upon request. Not good, Drukair, especially with such high ticket prices charged. The crew than handed me blankets from the rear overhead bin.

Drukair economy blanket. It was very thin and the blue cotton got stuck on my clothes very easily. Rather poor quality blanket.




The crew first came down the aisle with a bar cart, offering water, juices or soft drinks. Quite a large selection available. For juices alone, Drukair offers orange, apple and mango. The crew were dressed in traditional Bhutanese wear (photo only on the return) and were not too overly-friendly. However they do get the job done. I had an apple juice from the bar cart.

After the bar service, breakfast was distributed. Today the choices were simple vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Upon clarification, the crew informed that the vegetarian choice was an Indian Prata dish while the non-vegetarian choice was a cheese omelette with sausage and hashbrown. Feeling adventurous, I went for the Indian vegetarian dish. It came with a plain yoghurt, warm croissant with butter and jam (which was yum! Why can't SQ serve croissants in economy??), citrus muffin, fruits and drinking water. I also had a tea to go with my meal. A rather substantial breakfast I must say, and tasty too!




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11782 times:

After trays were cleared, the crew stayed in the galley with curtains drawn to have their breakfast. However they do respond to requests for more drinks etc.




Galley equipment just beside the toilet. The layout of the galley and toilets are different from most other A319/320s aircraft. One toilet is at the side (behind the last few rows) while the other is right at the rear.




View of cabin again. Guess around 70% full.




No inflight entertainment available except for the flight map info, which was only shown before departure and probably only 15min during midflight. Here, we were flying at 37,000ft.




Over Yangon, with 1.5hrs to go. Shortly after this, the overhead monitors were stored away again. Weird...




Took catnaps and soon we were approaching Kolkata. Landed at Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Rwy19L slightly behind schedule due to the late departure and initial detours to avoid storm clouds. At Kolkata, continuing passengers to Paro were requested to remain onboard while only a handful of Kolkata-bound pax disembarked. Crew did a head-count and hand-carry baggage check, but the cabin was not cleaned.

At Kolkata. Spot the Indigo A320 with sharklets!




Economy class seat.




Went into the Business Class cabin and took a photo of the Business Class seat while still on the ground.




Barely 15min after landing, the Kolkata-originating passengers boarded, the the plane ended up almost totally full! Guess there is a huge demand for seats on the CCU-PBH sector! Doors closed, safety demo shown and we taxied to Rwy19L again, taking off bound for Bhutan. It would only be a short 45min flight to Paro.

As the entire flight was rather bumpy, the seatbelt signs were remained on. However the crew continued with the service, first handing out Bhutan immigration forms. Here is the reverse of the form.




This was followed by a refreshment box, which again were either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and drinks from the drink cart. The snack was apparently catered from SIN. I had a mango juice to go along this time.




Tried the vegetarian option, which was a cheese and mushroom panini sandwich. The non-vegetarian option was a chicken panini sandwich. Both came with a sunflower seed cookie. The sandwiches were both cold and hard, but the cookie was nice.




After the refreshment boxes and cups were cleared, we started our descent into Paro. Not much of a descend needed as the airport is 7300ft above sea level! The airport is also one of the trickiest to land in and currently, I think only Drukair pilots are qualified to land there.

Just overflying the mountains of Bhutan before entering the valley.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 11512 times:

Great report from a seldom airline so far, hope the remaining bits arrive soon  
Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):

2 buses were used to bus passengers to the gate. Business Class and passengers bound for Kolkata (Drukair has rights for the SIN-CCU sector) were called for the first bus, while passengers bound for Paro boarded the second. Not sure if there were any difference.

Separating passengers in the bus is strange... I wonder how much they charge for this 5th freedom sector. definitely interesting routing!


User currently offlinechristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 941 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10741 times:

Interesting - would love to see some landing footage!


Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineCricket From India, joined Aug 2005, 2968 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 10576 times:

Glad to see you enjoyed the experience, I flew Druk Air in january and coincidentally titled my TR almost exactly the same   And I hope you enjoyed the Ima dati (Cheese Chilly)
To The Land Of The Thunder Dragon: DEL-PBH-DEL (by Cricket Jan 16 2013 in Trip Reports)
I did get some landing and take-off footage though, all included in that thread, but the link to the video is here http://bit.ly/XaHO1o

[Edited 2013-04-22 06:32:20]


A300B2/B4/6R, A313, A319/320/321, A333, A343, A388, 737-2/3/4/7/8/9, 747-3/4, 772/2E/2L/3, E170/190, F70, CR2/7, 146-3,
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10538 times:

Entering the valley.




Flying just beside mountains.




Houses on the slopes of the mountains were even higher than us!




Still making left and right turns within the narrow valley, with mountains at both sides of the plane.




Making a steep right turn to the runway.




Sweeping pass buildings on hilltops.




Almost there...




Lower...




Just over the runway....




And the skillful Drukair pilots made a very smooth touch down in Paro Airport Rwy33 (the previous landing in Kolkata was very smooth as well).




We made a U-turn and taxied back along the runway to the apron, where the Drukair's other two A319s have also arrived. The entire Drukair fleet was now at Paro!

Parked at the stand.




Crew drew the curtains for the Business Class pax to disembark via stairs, followed by Economy Class.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10495 times:

Stairs were also used at the rear for disembarkation.




Another Drukair A319 across the tarmac being prepared for the next flight.




Passing the 3rd A319 while walking along the tarmac towards arrival immigration hall.




Control tower and the King and Queen.




It was a really unique experience flying Drukair. although they might not be one of the best out there, they are still acceptable for short-haul flights. Probably the about the same standards as Silkair I would think, though the high fares charged might raise the expectations of passengers by a notch.


Welcome to the Land of Thunder Dragon!




Town of Paro




Bhutanese-styled buildings in Paro




Tiger's Nest temple from a distance.




Mountains and fields




A hill-side resort.




View of Paro Airport from National Museum.




Down the valley.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlinemoby147 From UK - England, joined Mar 2013, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10156 times:

Great report from a place few of us will ever get the chance to visit

regards

Moby147


User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9681 times:

On the 1+hr car ride through winding roads from Paro to the capital town, Thimphu.




Kinda bare mountains.




Nice scenery along the way.




Welcome to Thimphu!




Getting more built up.




The most famous road junction in Bhutan.




Clocktower Square. My hotel, Hotel Druk, is within the red building.




Close up of the Clocktower.




Painted walls.




King and Queen of Bhutan.




Prayer wheels outside my hotel.




Dusk




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9613 times:

My room at Hotel Druk, Thimphu.




Government offices.




National Library of Bhutan




World's largest published book, as verified by Guiness World of Records.




Traditional Bhutanese wooden bowl.




Crafting wooden masks.




Tashicchodzong




Street dogs everywhere.




Commercial building.




Memorial for the 3rd King.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 9212 times:

Turning prayer wheels.




Local street.




Views of Thimphu from a hill.




Panorama




Giant Buddha overlooking Thimphu. Donated by a number of Singaporeans.




Ancient scriptures.




Bhutanese food that we had.




On the way back to Paro Airport. Tashi Delek (Good luck and well wishes).




Winding mountain roads.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlinegardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1522 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 8957 times:

What a fanstastic report!
Truly an exotic place to visit. Are things expensive in Bhutan?

Amazed to know Paro Airport has the last flight by 12pm.

We were bussed to the remote stand just off the terminal building
How very unusual for Changi.

I was in a middle seat today
Considering the landing in Paro, I would have somehow bribed my way to get a window seat  


User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8779 times:

Reaching Paro Airport soon.




Within the airport perimeter and heading towards the terminal building. The runway is just behind the fence.




The terminal seemed rather busy with lots of vehicles alighting and picking up passengers.




It was the peak period at the airport with a grand total of 3 departures! Our flight would be the last departure for the day! The earlier KB126 was also bound for Bangkok, with a stopover in Dhaka.




Proceeding through security screening prior to entering the check-in area.




Drukair check-in counters.




However today, I would be flying Business Class! Guess I would be one of the very few who had experienced Drukair Business Class! Only one counter was designated for Business Class check-in. Surprisingly, our luggage could be tagged by Drukair onto our connecting SQ flight in BKK. No need to pick up our bags in BKK and re-check in again! I was not aware that Drukair could check-through our bags to SIN as KB does not have any inter-line agreement with SQ.




Postcards of Bhutan were also available on the Business Class check-in counters. Not sure if they were available at economy counters.




My Drukair Business Class boarding pass, before it got torn prior to boarding.




Drukair operates a lounge for Business Class passengers.




However, our hosts led us to a VIP room and got pastries from the lounge for us.




A5-RGI, the plane I flew into Paro on, was being catered for the flight to Dhaka and Bangkok.




A5-RGF preparing for flight to Delhi.




Drukair's sole ATR42 being towed to the hangar after completing its rotations for the day.




Our flight would be operated by A5-RGG, parked at the far end of the tarmac.




Passengers boarding the flight to BKK via Dhaka.




A5-RGI departing for Dhaka.




Soon it was time for boarding. There was a holding area after immigration, with a duty free shop.




Very rare Bhutan endorsements.




After security, there is another holding area.




The Kings of Bhutan.




Handicraft shopping at the holding area.




We were the last to board. Boarding pass scanned and torn, and proceeded onto the tarmac, with the 2nd last departure flight of the day being pushed back onto the runway.




Walking towards our A319, A5-RGG, which is Drukair's 2nd A319 aircraft.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 8548 times:

18 April 2013
Drukair
KB 128
Paro (PBH) - Bangkok (BKK)
A319
A5-RGG
Business Class



Climbing up the steps.




Entering the aircraft.




Greeted at the door by a crew. For the return, I decided to plant myself at the window seat 2A. The Drukair newly refurbished leather Business Class seats are just rather basic seats, probably similar to US airlines domestic first class seats. However they are comfortable enough for a 3hr flight to BKK.




Seat pitch is not really that fantastic. Probably 38-40" pitch?




A pillow was already placed at the seat, with blankets distributed by the crew. There would be 2 crew working in Business Class today, and 3 crew in Economy.




We were the only plane left on the tarmac.




Pull-out cocktail tray. Hot towels were given out by the crew.




Followed by welcome drinks, with a selection of water or juices. Being thirsty, I just had some water.




Doors closed and stairs being driven away. Flight time was estimated to be 2h40m.




We started our pushback, with the automated welcome announcement being broadcasted in the local Bhutanese language, Dzongka, and English.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCkEf895rc0


This was followed by a manual safety demo with automated briefing.




We were push backed directly onto the runway as there were no taxiways in Paro. Engines startup and we started to backtrack down the runway.




Another welcome announcement, this time made by the cabin crew.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVQGfkqu_ZM


Made a U-turn right at the end and had a exhilarating takeoff from Rwy15, bound for Bangkok!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT6P_8GnTYQ


Making turns beside mountains.




Still climbing out of the valley.




Clearing the mountains.




Above the clouds.




View of the cabin again. 15 out of 16 seats in Business Class today were occupied. Really good load! Limited newspapers and magazines were available in the magazine rack in front.




Shortly after the seat belt signs were turned off, a crew around and distributed the menus.




Introduction.




Beverage selection.




3 choices of mains offered.




Wines




After distribution of menus, another crew came around and lay our tray tables with linens.




All the magazines, safety card and menu. The safety card accidentally dropped into my bag again towards the end of the flight.




Meal orders were then taken. Unfortunately, the crew removed our menus after they had taken our orders. Thus we only had the menu for a total of less than 10mins! This was followed by a beverage service using a bar cart.




My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 8485 times:

For the bar service, a pack of peanuts was distributed, which I had a mango juice to go along with.




This was followed by distributing of meal trays. The meal trays came with the starter, yoghurt and dessert (note that the starter was different from what was stated in the menu and presented in an Economy side dish). However, these were cling-wrapped, which seemed quite un-Business Class like. Croissants or rolls were also offered. I chose a croissant.




The pasta salad starter, yoghurt and chocolate eclair dessert.




Main courses were served from a trolley. I had the beef with noodles.




Stir-fried beef in oyster sauce with crispy noodles. However, the noodles were nowhere near "crispy"! More of a rice noodle variety. Taste fine though.




My colleague had the Rolled sushi with shrimp sesame dressing. It was served cold with the cling-wrap still in place. However the taste was rather good.




Coffee or a selection of tea was offered after. For the teas, the crew would present a box of variety of teabags for you to choose from, and then pour hot water into the tea cup. I had a jasmine green tea.




After the trays were cleared, we were already somewhere over Myanmar.




Went to the lavatory, which was stocked with cloth towels, soap and moisturizer.




While visiting the lavatory, I noticed the cockpit door opened, and casually asked the pilots if I could take a photo. The very friendly Drukair pilots motioned me to get into the cockpit and take a photo. I also had a photo taken with the pilots! My first every visit to the cockpit while in-flight! Really made my day!




On the way back to my seat, I grabbed a magazine from the magazine rack. The magazine was binded to a Drukair cover to prevent anyone from removing it from the aircraft.




Rest of the flight was spent mainly gazing out of the windows due to the lack of inflight entertainment. Not even the flight map was available on this aircraft.




Approaching some rough weather during the start of our descend into BKK. We deviated around the clouds.




Getting lower. During the descend, crew provided another round of hot towels and offered sweets.




Somewhere over the northern outskirts of Bangkok.




Descending into Bangkok with recorded arrival announcement. Seat belt signs only came on less than 10min before touchdown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrAMLlNgClE


Over fields.




Flaps and gears down. Final approach from the north.




Landing on Rwy19L 10 minutes early, with recorded and crew announcements, followed by a long taxi to the parking stand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlStXv6slsY


TG's A380 spotted!




More TG jumbos.




Parked at a remote stand again. Guess this was due to the plane night-stopping in BKK.




My seat.




Shot of the cabin while waiting for disembarkation.




Down the stair and into the waiting bus to ferry us to the passenger terminal. This bus would only be ferrying Business Class passengers. Economy Class passengers would have to wait for later buses.




Bidding farewell to my probably last ride on Drukair.




Thoughts: Drukair Business Class is definitely not anywhere near the best out there. Service by the crew was not as well-polished (though they were not unfriendly or rude) and the hard product pales in comparison to most other major carriers. However it is still acceptable on short-haul sectors, probably in the same league of regional carriers such as Silkair or Dragonair. However, only paying SGD100 to upgrade this sector from Economy to Business is definitely a steal! So no complaints from me!

Next sector would be the connecting flight on SQ to SIN.



My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 8230 times:

After being bussed to the terminal building, it was off to the transfer counters to pick-up the boarding passes for the SQ flight. Luggage tags were also checked to ensure that our bags would be transferred over to SQ.

My boarding pass. Unfortunately, I would be relegated back to economy on this sector...




Then it was off to the BKK Silver Kris Lounge, which was located all the way at the end, one level below departure. A rather long walk from the usual SQ departure gates, I would say.




Longish lounge interior. Same concept and colour schemes as most other Silver Kris Lounges. There were not many users at this time.




The buffet area.




Cold cuts, cheeses and crackers, sandwiches, cookies and macaroons.




Hot buffet selection.




Pastries, dim sum and dessert.




Had some food from the hot buffet area and a young coconut.




Really yummy mango sticker rice for dessert. This was the special dish of the day, and only available upon request.




Cookie, macaroons and soya milk to end it all.




Went up to the departure area for some shopping of thai goodies, before proceeding to the Gate C2 30min before departure time.



18 April 2013
Singapore Airlines
SQ 979
Bangkok (BKK) - Singapore (SIN)
B777-200ER
9V-SVK
Economy Class


When we reached the gate, boarding was just being announced for Business Class passengers and passengers needing assistance. Being seated at Row 37, it would be quite a while before boarding would be called for us as Economy was boarded from the rear rows. 9V-SVK, one of the unrefurbished B772ERs, would be operating today's flight back to BKK.



Boarded and was welcomed by 2 stewards (chief and leading) at the door. Got to my seat at towards the front of the cabin and settled down. This plane still have the Spacebeds in Business Class and the blue seats with tiny PTVs in economy. Well, at least the seat pitch on the B772ER is rather generous at 34" pitch compared to the rest of the SQ fleet. Boarding took quite a while as passengers gradually trickled into the cabin.




At the gate.




The flight map was already switched on, but not the interactive portion of Krisworld.




A short 2hrs flight back to Singapore today.




All the stuff in seat pocket.




While still on the ground before pushback, hot towels offered and collected, followed by distribution of headsets. Doors were closed before scheduled departure time but we were held at the gate while awaiting pushback clearance. The crew serving my aisle was a rather friendly and smiley gal.




Finally we pushed back, accompanied by the boring safety video. A Sri Lankan A343 was seen.




Oman Air A330.




Had quite a long taxi to Rwy19R for departure. Sun was setting now,




Takeoff from Rwy19R, bound for Singapore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cISM2pM7ZSI


Dusk over Bangkok.




Shortly after seat belt signs were switched off, the IFE was turned on and I immediately started with my movie. Not that I would expect to complete the movie during the flight, knowing how SQ would collect the headsets rather early (and I was right again).




Meal service commenced with the distribution of special meals by hand, followed by the rolling out of meal carts. 2 crew were serving on each side of the aisle, thus making service a bit faster. The pilot also announced that there were 12 cabin crew onboard today vs the usual 10, so I guess there might be 2 trainees.




The choices offered this evening were Pork with noodles or Duck with Pasta. I tried the pork while my seatmate had the duck. On the tray were also a starter, warm roll with butter, drinking water and dessert. I had a Coke Zero to go along and requested for 2 Singapore Slings for me and my seatmate to be served later.




Starter was a shrimp cocktail salad, which was rather cold and tasteless.




Opening the foil of my casserole, I had a feeling that that I had made the wrong choice....




The Pork with Noodles was just sliced pork in salty oyster sauce, topped on tasteless beehoon , with sliced celery and carrots on the side. Very underwhelming and definitely not what I would expect from Bangkok catering. In fact, it kind of resembled what I had earlier on Drukair Business Class.




The duck with pasta my colleague ordered seemed to be a better choice. However, where were the thai curries?? Here was when I missed TG's catering out of BKK...




Surely you can't mess up with dessert, right? Wrong! The thai-styled taro-banana type dessert had a very mushy texture and tasted kind of wierd. My colleague, a dessert person, had a spoonful and left the rest untouched.




The Singapore Slings were delivered shortly by the chief steward. However, while he was walking towards us with the slings in hand, I already feared for the worst as the colour of the Singapore Slings was as red as his tie! True enough, the Slings were mixed too strong! Fail! Thinking of this, I should have ordered a pineapple juice right then and added it into the slings... During tray collection, my colleague took a sip of the Sling and returned almost the full cup to the stewardess, and the stewardess was concerned that the sling was returned almost untouched, asked if the cocktail was to his taste. After my colleague remarked that the Sling was too strong, she seemed a bit embarrassed (not the fault of hers though) and offered other drinks. A plus for her service!




The dinner served on this flight was quite a disappointment, as compared to my previous SIN-LHR flight where the economy catering was really great! Or it was maybe I had set my expectations too high for the catering from Bangkok...

After the trays were collected, I visited the lavatory.




Cabin view. The forward economy cabin was rather full, while the aft cabin was half empty!




At 37min (yes, I remembered!) prior to arrival, the pilot came on with the arrival announcement and shortly after, crew came down to collect headsets and requesting all seats to be upright, all at 30min prior to landing! We had not even began our descent! Not that I was not expecting this. Again a case of too early landing preparations.

With the headsets collected, I entertained myself with the flight map. Looking at the map, we probably had another 200km to go, approximately the distance of KUL-SIN, and everyone already had their seats upright and cabin prepared for landing. A bit of an overkill...




Flew down to the south and turned back up towards the north for the approach. The night view of Singapore could be seen on my side.




Landing on Rwy02L and taxied to Terminal 3 where we disembarked from. Guess this plane would be performing a long-haul later in the night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFUnKfMvQKc


My seat for the flight.




Waiting to disembark.




Finally back in Singapore after my short working trip to Bhutan. SQ did not fare as well as I had expected on the BKK-SIN sector, and I guess I would be sticking to TG if I would be flying on full-service carriers on this sector in the future.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience on a truly exotic airline, Drukair, to an equally exotic destination, Bhutan! Your comments are much welcomed!

My upcoming trips would be short weekend trips to Kuching and Penang in late May and early June, on a mixture of Malaysia Airlines, Jetstar and AirAsia. Stay tuned!



My past reports:

4 Airlines,3 Cities,2 Wonders (USA On SQ,VS,VX,B6) (by ycp81 Mar 24 2013 in Trip Reports)
Colourful Kathmandu With MH And A Bit Of SQ (by ycp81 Jan 26 2013 in Trip Reports)
Bangkok Countdown 2013 By Myanmar Airways Intl (by ycp81 Jan 4 2013 in Trip Reports)
Catching My "Final" Qantas A380 Flights (by ycp81 Nov 30 2012 in Trip Reports)
JQ & SQ Albino Jets To Beijing In Business! (by ycp81 Sep 27 2012 in Trip Reports)
Silkair To Solo, The Spirit Of Java (by ycp81 Sep 16 2012 in Trip Reports)
Lazing In Kandooma (SQ To Maldives) (by ycp81 Aug 11 2012 in Trip Reports)
"Scoot" Off For A BKK Weekend (TZ/3K) (by ycp81 Jul 19 2012 in Trip Reports)
City, Beach And Food Paradise (Jetstar,KLM,Tiger) (by ycp81 May 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
Getaways To KCH & BKK On The 'T's (TR & TG) (by ycp81 Feb 23 2012 in Trip Reports)
Winter Weekend In Macau & Hong Kong On Jetstar (by ycp81 Jan 22 2012 in Trip Reports)
Flying The Kangaroo To Oz (by ycp81 Dec 10 2011 in Trip Reports)
Taiwan On 4 Airlines (TR,KL,GE,SQ) In 3 Classes (by ycp81 Nov 6 2011 in Trip Reports)
Binge In Bangkok By 3K And FD (by ycp81 Aug 22 2011 in Trip Reports)
Jetstar Long-Haul To Auckland! (by ycp81 Aug 11 2011 in Trip Reports)
Budget Weekend Trips To Phuket & KL (by ycp81 Jul 19 2011 in Trip Reports)
Budget Vs Business To Boracay (TR, 5J, 2P, SQ) (by ycp81 May 6 2011 in Trip Reports)
Bonjour Paris On SQ A380 (by ycp81 Feb 14 2011 in Trip Reports)
To The Cape With SQ (Pics And Vids) (by ycp81 Jan 29 2011 in Trip Reports)
Another Short Hop To KL On Firefly And Air Asia (by ycp81 Nov 27 2010 in Trip Reports)
TG Vs SQ To Incheon (Lots Of Pics And Vids) (by ycp81 Nov 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Lazing In Lombok By Silkair (by ycp81 Aug 12 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Mix Of Both Worlds (Budget Vs 5-Stars To KCH) (by ycp81 Jul 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
Tigering To Vietnam (and VN Domestic) With Videos (by ycp81 May 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Flying With Malaysian Hospitality To Tokyo (by ycp81 Apr 17 2010 in Trip Reports)
Silkair To Siem Reap : A Wonderful Way To Fly! (by Ycp81 Feb 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
36hrs In KL By Firefly And Air Asia (by Ycp81 Oct 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Invasion Of The LCCs (Penang On Tiger And Jetstar) (by Ycp81 Aug 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
10 Flights On 6 Airlines In 11 Days! (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Way To Taipei (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-DPS-SIN On Lionair And SQ (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SYD-MEL-SYD-SIN On SQ & QF (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
SIN-SGN-SIN On SQ In 2008 (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
Missing Swiss In SIN (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
('07 Memories) SIN-KBV-DMK,BKK-SIN On TR, DD & FD (by Ycp81 Aug 25 2009 in Trip Reports)



My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlineKaiTak747 From Switzerland, joined Aug 2012, 157 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8210 times:

Fantastic TR! Drukair looks like a great carrier. At some point I would like to visit Bhutan so I'm sure I will fly on them one day. The business class looks like good value.

One thing that surprised me was the open cockpit door, almost impossible these days.


User currently offlineycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 7997 times:

Quoting reifel (Reply 2):
Separating passengers in the bus is strange... I wonder how much they charge for this 5th freedom sector. definitely interesting routing!

I do know that SIN-CCU prices are not cheap, as no other budget airlines ply the route.

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 11):
What a fanstastic report!
Truly an exotic place to visit. Are things expensive in Bhutan?

Thanks for reading! Food is not expensive, but souvenirs definitely are!

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 11):
Amazed to know Paro Airport has the last flight by 12pm.

For the summer schedule, they do allow a couple of landings/takeoffs during late noon as well. But most arrivals and departures would be in the morning hours.

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 11):
How very unusual for Changi.

Yep, my first in many years in Changi as well. Guess Drukair can't possible park their plane at the gate for 15hrs.

Quoting KaiTak747 (Reply 16):
Fantastic TR! Drukair looks like a great carrier. At some point I would like to visit Bhutan so I'm sure I will fly on them one day. The business class looks like good value.

Thanks for reading! Yes, Business is only about USD80-100 more than economy per sector. Worth it I would say, since airfares to Bhutan are already so expensive.

Quoting KaiTak747 (Reply 16):

One thing that surprised me was the open cockpit door, almost impossible these days.

I was surprised too!



My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
User currently offlinebabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 7829 times:

You sure that's Drukair? Where's the Chilli Cheese on the in-flight menu?  

I love Drukair. Great airline with great food and very well looked after aircraft. The cabin crew uniforms were really good too.

I'm surprised on a business trip you managed to see every single tourist sight of Paro and Thimpo. I'm lucky to find five minutes alone for a sandwich.

Reading your TR brought back many very happy memories of my trip to Bhutan. It's a very interesting country and not what i was expecting at all.

Thanks for taking to time to write about your trip.


User currently offline9MMRD From Australia, joined Oct 2010, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 5 months 21 hours ago) and read 7422 times:

Bhutan has officially be added to my "Places I must go" list. It looks so mysterious and tantalising!

Otherwise, brilliant trip report! Drukair looks very decent, definitely moreso than I expected, especially the open cockpit door... An opportunity well taken.  

Thank you for the effort you put into this great trip report!  



A poor student, travelling.
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1106 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (1 year 4 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 6044 times:

Great Trip Report! I flew on Drukair in 2008/2009 DEL-PBH-DEL. I also flew on the same aircraft as you, A5-RGG! I had a nice experience with Drukair, although one flight was significantly delayed while the other left an hour late or so. However, the delays were weather related like they probably often are for Drukair.

I am surprised you went to Bhutan on business. My dad and I went for fun, and we both enjoyed the country thoroughly. What did you think of the place?

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
Drukair currently only has 3 A319s and 1 ATR42 to operate its network. Due to the operation hours of Paro Airport, which closes at 12pm due to strong winds, all Drukair flight would have to arrive and depart Paro before 12pm.

Hmmm, perhaps all flights must be scheduled to arrive before 12PM. Our DEL-KTM-PBH flight was delayed 4+ hours and we probably swept into Paro at around 16:00, right before sunset.

Quoting ycp81 (Thread starter):
After the bar service, breakfast was distributed. Today the choices were simple vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Upon clarification, the crew informed that the vegetarian choice was an Indian Prata dish while the non-vegetarian choice was a cheese omelette with sausage and hashbrown. Feeling adventurous, I went for the Indian vegetarian dish. It came with a plain yoghurt, warm croissant with butter and jam (which was yum! Why can't SQ serve croissants in economy??), citrus muffin, fruits and drinking water. I also had a tea to go with my meal. A rather substantial breakfast I must say, and tasty too!

Nice! I too was impressed with the food service on my flights. I also found the flight attendants to be beautiful!

Here is my report if you're interested. Back then, KB was still using hand-written boarding passes and baggage tags.

Drukair A319 PBH-DEL In Y W/TONS Of Pix/Vid (by MHTripple7 Jan 10 2009 in Trip Reports)


User currently offlinerahulrahul From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 175 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5453 times:

Hey, great report! Food looks really good.

Rahul
btw I am writing this from 33000 feet on the way to MAA. Great entertainment  



A300/319/320/321/332/333/343/346 B732/738/744/752/762/763/772/773 CRJ200/700/900 ERJ140/145/170/175 MD88
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2193 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5349 times:

Stunning TR. Absolutely a joy to read.

Thank you so much for posting  



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
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