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The Fun Continues! BKK-SIN On VF (Pics)  
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8629 times:

Bangkok – Singapore
Valuair
VF 305
Seat 18 A
Airbus A320-232 (9V-VLB)
1850-2219H
Duration: approx 2hr 20 min

22 March 2004

==========================================================

Bangkok is always a top destination for us Singaporeans due to the favorable exchange rate of the Thai Baht and the geographical closeness of the 2 cities. My favorite hotel, The Swiss Lodge, was my choice this time as usual. The weekend market at Chatuchak was the main reason for this trip because I needed to shop for the house.


With tons worth of shopping and baggage, a comfortable hotel limo was our ride to the airport. Now I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would not be fined for being overweight – I mean my baggage.

When I arrived at the airport, the check in counters was in the midst of closing the earlier flight VF 303. Hence, I had to wait for a bit before they opened again for VF 305.



Nevertheless, I was still able to walk up to the viewing gallery and take in the view, which was rather quiet for Bangkok. The check in counters eventually opened again at 1600H and I was free of my baggage. Phew! It registered a total of 39.8kg!



Bangkok International Airport – Airside


The renovation and refurbishing of both terminals is finally complete. I must say that it looks good and comparable to any large international airport of a capital city. All the piers now have large floor to ceiling windows that allow uninterrupted viewing of taxiing aircraft at close distance.



At 1800H, 9V-VLB inched into gate 35 and unloaded passengers. Thus, it began a sequence of quick turn-round to receive the pax on my flight.

Soon enough, the boarding call for flight came. The usual rush to board was normal and I always wondered why? The plane is still there… I chose to stay outside for a while longer to admire the Emirates A330-200 that was at the opposite end of the concourse. A fabulous looking aircraft if u ask me.

With the traffic outside dwindling, I decided to board and was greet at Door 1L by the usual friendly staff of VF. The Crew In-Charge, Dorothy, ushered us in and left it to the rest of her friendly colleagues to help us find out seats.

1855H: The safety announcement comes on in English, and then Mandarin. This seems to be a practice on this flight. The Captain then comes on and gives us all a welcome.

1900H: Dorothy then comes on again and introduces the rest of her team by name, and points to the other in-charge, Irene…. And invites the cabin to look at her at the aft cabin.

“See, see? Can you all see her there?” she goes.

Irene then obliges by waving and surprisingly a lot of the pax actually waves back! Hehehehe… The announcements then continue with “By the way, Audrey will be in charge of your meals tonight so if don’t like you food, you can **hantam her!”

**Hantam means “bludgeon” in Malay.

And with that, the cabin erupted into muffled laughter.

1902H: Pushback as the safety demo begins. Audrey and Faridah take the aisle not before receiving some applause. After the demo is completed, the passengers clap again with Audrey commenting to those in her vicinity “My God, you all so drama…”

As the taxi to the runway began, we were informed by the Captain that we were #10 in the line up to take off so it would be quite a wait. The cabin lights were dimmed at 1908H so we just sat in our seats as we inched ever so slowly towards runway 21L.

1921H: The take off announcement finally comes on as we line up for take off. A pretty long taxi considering Gate 33 isn’t that far from the holding point! The engine revs a minute later and off we thunder for a 40 sec roll (the aircraft must be heavy from all the shopping bags!).

1925H: The flaps retract as the aircraft is now on a steady climb to our cruising altitude. The lights also come on and the cabin crew prepare their meal carts. It is interesting to note that music is played throughout this flight over the PA. Songs like “Fly Me To The Moon”, “Come Fly With Me” and “What a Wonderful World” etc…

1935H: The meal cart appear in the aisle and the children appear to be served first. As the girls are maneuvering the carts, Dorothy, who is inching backwards, hits a lady the head along the aisle with her hips! That lady instinctively touches her hair and Dorothy tells her “Don’t worry Ma’am, it’s not messy, still very pretty… Sorry ah?”

The meal box finally comes to me and the hot entrée we have to night appears to be fried noodles. It is accompanied by a walnut muffin and pre-cupped water. The music continues to play while we slurp the delicious noodles. Some pax appear to be dozing off.

After the meal, I am a happy man. Here am I on the right…
2020H: The meal boxes are loaded back into the carts while drinks are offered (coffee, tea, water and chilled green tea).

Meanwhile, I ask Irene, who is serving me tea, if a visit to the cockpit would be possible. And what do you know? Permission was granted after landing! Yippee…!

2050H: We are now 135 miles from Singapore and the Captain warns of a bumpy approach due to “rough” weather. The descend that followed was bumpy but the crew still managed to balance themselves well along the aisle, taking photographs for the passengers.

2100H: Seatbelt sign pings on followed by the final arrival announcement. Irene makes one final walk through of the cabin and stops at my row and tells me…. “Eh, I will charge you for the visit later huh?”

And with that comment, the lights dimmed in preparation for the landing.

Approach for Singapore Changi Airport was done from the north towards runway 20L.

2109H: Cabin crew, landing stations, please!

The flaps are extended further and the sounds of gears are heard beneath me. A few minutes later, touchdown – and I was back on home turf.

Dorothy: Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived in Singapore Changi Airport and the local time is now ten twenty, an hour ahead of Bangkok. Please stay in your seats until the aircraft has stopped at the terminal building. You know, some passengers were asking us to sing but unfortunately, none of us can sing today. But we can tell you that we are all dancers and you are more that welcome to stay in the plane later to watch us dance, ok?

Laughter…

And don’t forget, we, at Valuair, love you all very much because we love to help you all save money. So thank you for supporting Singapore’s first private airline and good night!

Laughter and applause from the cabin, while Dorothy waves and bows from the front. Meanwhile, the song “Celebration” was blasted through the PA and that was surely a good end to the flight!

The aircraft finally comes to a stop at Gate D47 at 2225H local time.

While the passengers disembarks, there were actually a few groups that stayed behind and we all joined in and started chanting “Dance! Dance! Dance! Dance…” The girls than started blaming Dorothy for staring this whole dancing issue and we all had a good laugh about it. Meanwhile, the cockpit door was open with the Captain beckoning us to come in. Below are some of the photos from the end-of-flight ruckus we created in the cabin.




As we milled out of the cabin, all the girls stood at door 1L and shouted “Bye! Bye!” and Dorothy, being the crazy self that she is shouted “You all better say sorry to the cleaners who are standing there and waiting for you to come out before they can start cleaning…”

The noisy banter didn’t stop there. While we were all queuing at the immigration, Dorothy and her team walked by and again some passengers to wave and stir again. I shouted “We are still waiting for that dance!” loud enough for the hall to hear and once again the chortles flowed.

What a fun flight!

While I was wheeling my luggage out to the taxi stand, Dorothy and Irene actually ran up behind me, grabbed my waist and shouted “HAH!” before running away in squeals of laughter. The Captain ran up behind them not before telling me “No worries mate, I am taking them to the mental hospital now.”

Check in: 8/10… Painless. Handled by Thai Airport Ground Services (TAGS) who were friendly.
Boarding: 9/10… Very orderly, by row numbers. No complaints here.
Inflight service: 10/10… Full marks without hesitation! They successfully managed to interact with the pax and the constant laughter proved it.
Catering: 8/10… Excellent for a budget carrier.
Arrival: 8/10… Luggage was already on the belt. Then again, I did spent a considerable amount of time in the aircraft after the bulk of the pax disembarked!

Overall: 86%... A fabulous first experience with budget travel, Singapore style. The assigned seating was a big bonus because I think culturally; we South East Asians simply cannot be left alone free for all. I have seen what happens when an Air Asia flight boards with people scrambling for the gate. Not good. Therefore, I hope Valuair continues with their present path with more destinations coming on line without diluting their standard of service. Final words – I AM UTTERLY IMPRESSED!


Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStarFlyer From Germany, joined Sep 2002, 987 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8242 times:

Wow, sounds like a great experience! I always enjoy those flights the most when the cabin crew actually pulls a few jokes - and yes, that actually happens on Lufthansa too! Big grin

How much was the flight in total? And what is so budget about Valuair? You get seats assigned, meals, generous luggage announcements! Sounds a lot like European Business Class!  Big thumbs up

Regards,

*sf



Yours truly - StarFlyer
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1797 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8215 times:

Excellent trip report, hope you love the A320. She is a marvellous plane to fly on right ? I will definately choose Valuair over Air Asia anyday.  Smile


Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineCXA330300 From South Africa, joined May 2004, 1563 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8199 times:

Marvelous, marvelous trip report. Glad you enjoyed yourself. Sounds loads better than Air Asia.


The sky is the limit as long as you can stay there
User currently offlineCx123 From Australia, joined May 2004, 695 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8154 times:

I can guarantee you that NO US airlines can match the product offerings of these new Asia LCC!!

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8155 times:

And what is so budget about Valuair?

That is the question on everyone's mind. The price of their tickets are very cheap (S$199 return from SIN-BKK). They operate a single a/c type fleet, one class, no in-flight mag, leather seats to make cleaning easy.... All characteristics of a budget airline.

But the fact that they can still afford to offer a few frills like meals and assigned seating is pretty amazing in itself. Critics are actually scoffing at how long the airline can survive doing this while charging rock bottom prices. Well, they have only been in operation for a month or so, and it remains to be seen how well they perform against their competitors like SQ and TG who have been slashing their tickets like mad to compete.

If Valuair actually succeeds, it makes you wonder at how why are the majors charging such high prices for the same frills offered on a budget airline like VF?

Therefore, VF is a notch above Air Asia in terms of the frills they offer. Frankly, "free sitting" was the main reason that put me off from budget airlines. Now with the emergence of VF, my pockets can breathe easy. With Tiger Airways due to begin ops in a few months time, it will be time for another round of catfight in Lion City. Phew..... lets not forget about Singapore's silly decision to allow QF to start a "Jetstar Asia" based in Changi! Interesting times ahead indeed!



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineCx123 From Australia, joined May 2004, 695 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8133 times:

How much does Assign seating and meals cost really???

User currently offlineYUL2010 From Canada, joined Jun 2003, 320 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8089 times:

WOW! Awesome! Thanks a lot for posting your excellent trip report. I have a much better idea on how to arrange my small trips once I'm in Singapore. I'll definitively consider Valuair.
Do you have any suggestions for clean and cheap Hotels/Hostels in BKK?

YUL2010



"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
User currently offlineWidgetBoi From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1432 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8064 times:

Awesome report and great pics  Big grin

jeremy


User currently offlineCOAB767 From Guam, joined Nov 2003, 1377 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8013 times:

Great report and pics


Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7920 times:

Do you have any suggestions for clean and cheap Hotels/Hostels in BKK?

The hotel I satyed in, The Swiss Lodge, works out to be about US$50-60. If not, you can always check out Bangkok.com to get some accomodation ideas. That was where I booked my hotel from.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineCXA330300 From South Africa, joined May 2004, 1563 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7888 times:

A SIN-BKK-SIN RT at the end of July costs US$140, SGD 238.

Who does VF's catering?



The sky is the limit as long as you can stay there
User currently offlineGoldenMAS From France, joined Mar 2002, 57 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7852 times:

hi Ryanair!!!

Nice report.....Keep it coming, especially those from MH.

By the way, it is not only South East Asian that cannot be left alone to board the place (without seat assignment).... But it happens here as well in Europe where people just rush to board the plane when seats are not assigned (i.e Easyjet)

Keep the reports coming!

GoldenMAS


User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 7837 times:

S$238 for a ticket to Bangkok on VF? That's expensive. Thai, SQ and the European fifth freedom airlines that do SIN-BKK are definitely cheaper.

User currently offlineQantaspower From Australia, joined Aug 2002, 516 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7810 times:

"Phew..... lets not forget about Singapore's silly decision to allow QF to start a "Jetstar Asia" based in Changi! Interesting times ahead indeed!"

Ryanair!!! ... can you please elaborate on this comment. I am not sure I understand where you are coming from.



User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7707 times:

Very good reports (I also read the first part), I enjoyed reading and watching the pictures. It seems that I will move to SIN later this year, so I will definitely give Valuair a try.

Patrick


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 16, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 7666 times:

"Phew..... lets not forget about Singapore's silly decision to allow QF to start a "Jetstar Asia" based in Changi! Interesting times ahead indeed!"

Ryanair!!! ... can you please elaborate on this comment. I am not sure I understand where you are coming from.


Where am I coming from? In the push to let Changi become the #1 travel hub in Asia, the government is inviting QF to start up a budget carrier based in Singapore. Our dear Senior Minister has already mentioned that he is willing to sacrifice SQ in order to retain Changi's position to remain #1.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineMiami1 From Australia, joined Feb 2001, 706 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7641 times:

CX123 -
Meals and catering cost airlines a HUGE amount. Perhaps these services are cheaper in Asia.

For instance in Australia for QF to provide you with a box with an apple and a rice cake (normal snack for Vegans) it costs up to $50 (!!!) over the amount it costs to provide a snack box with a biscuit and a fruit nut mix. Just for the caterer to print the SPML label and place it on the tray / box is $10! The costs associated are exremely high! In Australia anyway.

In fact. I know that Freedom Air rarely makes money on its food sales. The service is their merely due to longer flight length. So catering is a VERY expensive cost. Obviously depends on the caterer too.


User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (10 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 7621 times:

Great report. It just seems surreal to experience such cabin service on a Singaporean carrier. Then again, I guess we have been brought up on SQ's prim and proper (albeit plastic) type of service. Just by this report alone, I will plan for a trip on VF soon...but still don't know where to go lah.

Ryanair!!!, did you manage to find out which carriers did all the crew on your return flight work with previously? I'm quite sure they weren't from SQ...;p Howvever, looking at the group picture taken at the end of the flight, if I used my palm to block out their cheap polo tees, leaving their face and hair-do in view, I'll bet you I'll still mistake them for our SQ girls...

Well, seems like you had a real party onboard. I'm just wondering if this is how VF plans to position themselves (to contrast themselves from SQ type service). Will this enthusiasm from the crew be sustainable once things settle down, or will everyone start getting complacent (like in SQ's case).

Where does VF fly to? I know I can check their website, but lazy lah...it's Monday and I'm in the office  Sad

Thanks for the great report...and I am still amazed at the rate you churn out your reports.




There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 19, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7585 times:

Irene was defintiely from SQ because I teased her about her SQ-esque hairdo. To that she said that was not the only thing about her that was "SQ". I presumed she was referring to her make-up. Dorothy was from SQ too but the rest were all newbies.

VF flies to Bangkok, Hongkong and Jakarta (although I am not too sure if CGK is online yet due to the administration problems they had with the Indon aviation authorities).

In fact, I was telling myself to enjoy VF's enthusiasm before they get jaded and become another Ryanair (oops, is that my nick?) or Easyjet. But anyway, please fly VF soon. The A320s are VERY spacious! They advertised a 32" pitch but it seems to be more that that.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 20, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 7576 times:

Good to see the service was great on the return too. Wish I could experience them. Unfortunately I won't be in the Far East for quite some time. Shame. No LCC here comes close to this kind of service. Guess I'll just have to be content with NW/CO for now! Big grin

Did it feel strange flying a narrow body on such a large route? When I lived in the Far East, an A330 or 767 was about as small are you could get. 744's and 777's were the norm. How times seem to be changing.

Great pictures by the way.

SR 103


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4756 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7507 times:

Did it feel strange flying a narrow body on such a large route? When I lived in the Far East, an A330 or 767 was about as small are you could get. 744's and 777's were the norm. How times seem to be changing.

Not true, it really depends on what airline you are flying on. When it comes to budget carriers, it is a single-type fleet and normally a narrowbody, eg. Air Asia's 733s.

- Garuda hubs through Singapore with a bulk of their 733/734.
- China Eastern flies all the way to Shanghai on an A320 (shudder).
- MAS shuttles to KL and flights to KK and Kuching very frequently uses the 734s.
- Philippine Airlines uses the 734s on some of their afternoon flights to Manila (depending on the day of service).
- Myanmar's national airline has a leased MD83 from Lion Air... and the latter flies to Singapore too.
- Thai's 734s are occassional visitors as well.

That's a whole lot of narrowbody flights on some popular routes for you.  Big grin



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6921 posts, RR: 76
Reply 22, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7428 times:

"Well, seems like you had a real party onboard. I'm just wondering if this is how VF plans to position themselves (to contrast themselves from SQ type service). Will this enthusiasm from the crew be sustainable once things settle down, or will everyone start getting complacent (like in SQ's case). "

SQ ? Service? *Why do I want to laugh?* j/k...

On the narrowbody...

Garuda also flies (CGK-)SIN-BKK on the 733....
China Airlines flies CGK-HKG-KHH on the 738....
Garuda will fly 73Gs CGK(-SIN)-HKG 2x daily when they come... *yikes*

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7282 times:

"SQ ? Service? *Why do I want to laugh?* j/k..."

I am glad you have a sense of humour. I want to laugh too.  Big grin
If your statement is meant as a joke, yeah...you got me there...funny  Smile

If it wasn't, then yeah, without any prejudice or biaseness and with some objectivity, I would say that SQ DOES/DID provide a unique blend of "service".




There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineTsentsan From Singapore, joined Jan 2002, 2016 posts, RR: 15
Reply 24, posted (10 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7279 times:

Wow! Great Report Ryan!

I think I have to fly ValuAir before they disappear. I dont know, but I have a strong hunch that they wont be around for too long. Their load factors and prices dont seem to be a good indication of their future. AK's cutting them down drastically. As a matter of fact, I'll be on AK again soon  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Look set to meet up with you again, maybe at the airport like the last time?



NO URLS in signature
25 FlyingKangaroo : Great report!!! It's been a long time since I've been to BKK....... flyingKangaroo P.S. It looks like one of your friends has the same watch as me!!
26 Post contains images Ryanair!!! : Oh yeah? The Swatch? It is a Athens Olympic 2004 edition.... Glad that you enjoy Bangkok, I know I always do! Cheers
27 Ryanair!!! : Their load factors and prices dont seem to be a good indication of their future... Load factors? Well with regards to that, the load was 100% on both
28 Post contains images Tsentsan : Thats great news Ryan From what I've heard and notice, their flights average out 50-70 pax,
29 Post contains images INNflight : Excellent, just great! Lovely images and great report! Seems like the flight was great fun, so was the crew heh?
30 Ryanair!!! : They were fantastic. Lets hope that this airline survives long enough into the future. With another 2 more LCCs coming online from Singapore, there ar
31 Ryanair!!! : My goodness... Valuair got hold of this report and they want to feature it on their website! So look out for it ya?
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