Yangon International Airport (RGN) – Nyaung U Airport (NYU)
STD: 3:30 PM ATD: 3:15 PM +6.5 GMT
STA: 5:35 PM ATA: 5:15 GMT+6.5 GMT
Flight Number: K7 264
Aircraft: ATR 72-20
Flight Date: May 28, 2017
Class of Service: Economy Class
Meals: Snack and beverage service
In-Seat Outlets: No
Finally! We’d made it to Myanmar. Three flights down. One more flight and we’d be in Bagan… Sort of. So something you should know about flights to Bagan (NYU). Most flights depart in the morning, and some airlines have a flight or two in the late afternoon. From what I read, this has to do with the weather, which is milder in the early and later part of the day. Since our flight from Bangkok landed after the last morning flight to Bagan, we had a 5+ hour layover in Yangon. We were booked on the last flight to Bagan, with a quick stop in Inle Lake (HEH).
Check In & Boarding
Once we landed in Yangon and went through Border Control, we made our way from Terminal 1 (the international terminal) to Terminal 3 (domestic flights). There is no walkway between the terminals, so if you have luggage, you’ll have to wheel it yourself, or catch the shuttle bus, which stops at each terminal. Since we only had one carry one luggage each, we decided to walk over on our own. Before entering the airport, each person must place their belongings through an x-ray machine and is subject to search via handheld metal detector (note: this is not the security checkpoint prior to boarding your flight – there’s another one of those later on). We headed straight to the check in counter, in hopes of picking up our tickets and passing the time post-security. Unfortunately, while the airline’s counters were open, passengers were not allowed to check in until two hours before their flight. There isn’t a ton of things to do before security. There was a Thai restaurant, a burger king, a cafe, and a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (we spent most of our time at the latter), a few stores here and there, but not much else. There is free wifi at the airport, but each device is only given 30 minutes of access, so the entertainment was short-lived. Not even the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf offered wifi – a shock (and disappointment). Finally, two hours before our flight, we checked in. I’d read some articles about hand written tickets, but we were issued standard, computer printed tickets (with seats assigned).
The line through security was only a few people long – due, no doubt, in part to the 2 hour pre-flight check in limitation. The terminal was pretty empty – while there were plenty of seats and a couple of restaurants (including a Gloria Jeans coffee shop), there were few passengers in the area.
When we got to our gate, there were only a handful of people already there. Our flight boarded on time – we scanned our tickets and made our way down the escalator to board a bus that took us to our plane.
As we boarded, a Flight Attendant was stationed at the entrance and handed each of us a moist towelette packet. The seats looked worn in – they had clearly seen better days. The same could be said for the plane in general, as water was leaking from the ceiling on row 10.
The seats weren’t particularly wide, but perfectly fine and comfortable enough for a short intra-Myanmar flight. The legroom was tight, but again, at 5’3, it didn’t bother me too much.
The standard seatback tray table matched the worn in seats in age (and looks) – it looked a little scratched from years of wear and tear when I pulled it open (sorry, didn’t manage to snap a photo of this).
The Flight Attendants were brisk and just friendly enough, though they seemed rushed to do their job. It’s not a bad thing – they were just highly efficient! Shortly after they shut the plane door, the FAs began their safety demonstration – even though many passengers weren’t paying attention.
We began to taxi at around 3:15 PM local time – a full 15 minutes early! The little propeller plane felt a lot like a flying bus, as shortly after we pulled away from our parking spot(?), we sped up for take off. We were up in the air by 3:20. I was impressed by the efficiency of this flight so far. Out the window, I watched the propellers spin as we ascended up over Yangon.
At 3:30, the FAs began their beverage service, offering a small selection of Coke, Sprite, water, and tea. Shortly after, they handed out snack boxes, which contained an egg salad-type sandwich, a cheese sandwich, cake, and a small piece of chocolate.
At 4:20 we landed in Heho to allow for passengers to disembark. Did I mention this flight was direct and not nonstop? The plane quickly wheeled over to its, uh, parking spot and the FAs came by instructing passengers whose destination was Heho that this was their stop. Most passengers seemed confused, though eventually, about a quarter of the passengers deplaned. We were on the ground no longer than 10 minutes – no new passengers boarded, and the FAs shut the door and we were on our way almost as quickly as we landed.
Twenty minutes after take off, a second snack service was provided – not a full snack box like before, just a small pound cake. A limited beverage service of pre-poured Coke and Sprite was offered shortly after.
We were in flight for only another 15 minutes before we began our initial descent into Bagan.
As we were landing, you could see the peaks of hundreds of temples in the distance! I was exhausted from spending over 24 hours getting to Bagan, but I couldn’t imagine a better view to welcome us to the home of over two thousand temples.
After touchdown, our plane hurriedly wheeled over to the terminal and we deplaned minutes after landing. The Flight Attendants promptly assisted everyone off the flight. As we deplaned, a bus pulled up to take us on a quick two minute drive to the terminal.
The bus was very basic and looked very used, but got the job done. The ride itself was quick (and frankly, a little unnecessary – though walking with luggage would surely have been inconvenient for some). We pulled up to the tiny Nyuang Oo airport and were off to our journey in Bagan!
So, I know the plane might have seemed like it was falling apart at the seems, but I didn’t actually mind the flight too much. While in-flight the plane didn’t feel unsafe (no odd noises or unusual rattling). And while the flight attendants didn’t posses the standard warm, hospitable attitude I’m used to experiencing when flying in Asia, I have to give them props for serving two snacks and two drinks on a very short flight. I’m not sure I’d suggest anyone go out of their way to fly Air KBZ, but if I ended up on another flight, I wouldn’t mind.
Check in & Boarding: 7/10 – Points off since we weren’t able to check in until two hours before our flight. Would have much preferred to have spent time in a post-security lounge (with wifi!) rather then hang out at a coffee shop. That being said, after check in, everything was a breeze.
Food: 7/10 – Again, I think I’m just giving points for having food on such a short flight.
Seat: 6/10 – The seat wasn’t exceptionally narrow, but the leg space was limited and the seat felt old and worn down. Not terrible for a short flight.
Crew: 8/10– Some people might have found their rushed attitude rude, but I found it efficient, and frankly, a little funny.
Flight Experience: 7/10 – While the plane was old and felt run down, I do need to award points for the early departure and early arrival, and overall speedy flight!
Overall: 35/50 (70%) ★★★★★