My First Turboprop! – and Yangon Airways Initial Impressions

While I was in Myanmar, I had WiFi, but it was terribly slow, and my computer wasn’t with me. Given how tired I was with the kids (I’ll have a post on that using mainly my friends’ photos in the report), I really didn’t have time to wait out in the hallway for the WiFi. That’s why I’ve decided to push out all my first impressions when I got back to Hong Kong, so here you go…


During the trip, I took my first turboprop. Asian Wings sounded sketchy enough to start with, but their three flights from 6am to 7am were all booked out, so the school booked us on Yangon Airways.

IMG_4232

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Bagan Airport

The slogan is “you’re safe with us”, and it’s not even in capitals…’nuff said.

I’ve decided to write a post on the four things I noticed about my first and second turboprop flights on Yangon Airways, and will share my first impressions on Yangon Airways too.

Four things I noticed on flying a turboprop

1. THE PLANE IS LOUD

The plane is loud. Very loud. From takeoff to landing, the plane was filled with a noise that could easily have reached 85db. It seemed louder near the ceiling than near the floor, so I wasn’t sure what it was, given the engines are near the bottom of the cabin. It took me almost the hour to get used to it, but I wouldn’t want to take the plane for more than two hours with that noise in the background. Is it the ATR 72s, or are all turboprops this loud?

IMG_4128

Initial climbout Yangon Airport

2. THE TOILETS ARE COOL

I wasn’t expecting at all to see that the toilets are water controlled. The sinks are really loud, especially when clearing them, but the toilets being water controlled is something I’d like to see more of. Unfortunately, ATR 72s don’t really speak “modern”, so it looks like the future isn’t towards these.

IMG_4681

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Washroom

3. WING PICTURES ARE COOL

The iPhone likes scanning pictures from top to bottom, so the propellers appear curved instead of straight. This makes for cool photos and bragging (“guys, our plane had curved propellers!”).

IMG_4689

Flying above Mandalay

4. THE PLANE IS SMALL

Last of all, the plane is truly small. On China Eastern’s Boeing 737-700, I was surprised by how small the cabin was. This is truly on a different level. The plane literally has eighteen rows, and sitting near the front every time, the cabin feels tiny.

IMG_4685

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Cabin

On the China Eastern flight half a year ago I commented how I could feel like the plane was flying at the speed it was, given how small it was. Given how loud this plane was (and the fact that it flies at almost half the 737’s speed), I couldn’t really feel that there.

I guess I won’t be flying these for a while, so down to…

First impressions of Yangon Airways

YANGON AIRWAYS ATR 72-212 STANDARD CLASS SEAT

Yangon Airways’ seat was nothing to speak of. It featured the base of the seat, and that was about it – a seat cover, a table, and a bit of legroom. It’s not likely that the plane was refurbished in its 20 years of existence, but that works for me (the plane had been in Yangon Airways all its life, but changed its fleet number once when the Myanmar aviation government standardised all their planes to fleet prefix XY-).

IMG_4675

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Seat

IMG_4112

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Seat

The meal table was one-fold, but for such a short flight I’m not going to work.

IMG_4163

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Tray Table

One thing I noticed a lot on the outbound (and not on the inbound) was the number of PSAs stuck on the cabin. They were of helping NGOs and anti-human trafficking companies. No complaints from me, as I fully support these companies, but I’m not sure if that’s the best way to advertise these ads.

IMG_4174

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Cabin Graffiti

YANGON AIRWAYS ATR 72-212 STANDARD CLASS BATHROOMS

Apart from the water flushing, the bathrooms aren’t much to speak of. They feature soap, which I can say about basically every washroom in Myanmar, so I’m a happy camper. One thing to point out – when I pressed the button to clear the sink, the sink growled. The pressure, much like the 737, was so loud, it was scary.

IMG_4161

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Lavatories

IMG_4160

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Lavatories

YANGON AIRWAYS ATR 72-212 STANDARD CLASS MEALS

The meals Yangon Airways provide are pretty good. On the way there, there was a canned-spread chicken mayo sandwich, and on the return, it was a chocolate danish. The chicken mayo was acceptable, as was the chocolate danish, which was more of a croissant with a solid chocolate filling (it even had the tempered chocolate-like crunch).

IMG_4169

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Chicken Sandwich

Here’s the thing. There are regional airlines I take that try to complicate meals, while failing to execute. On Dragonair’s short Kaohsiung hop, the dim sum is pretty bad. Then there are regional airlines that industrialise their shorthaul meals so badly that they’re literally inedible (such as China Eastern’s morning Kunming to Hong Kong flight). Realising that it would be unprofitable for a complicated hot meal (these guys have three planes total), Yangon Airways chose to have rather “light snack at home” food items on the menu, which I found really smart, given they still want to feed their passengers to a certain extent. I don’t know if it’s the norm with regional airlines, but I was actually really happy with the catering on this flight.

IMG_4680

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Chocolate Danish

YANGON AIRWAYS ATR 72-212 STANDARD CLASS SERVICE

While Yangon Airways still has the “no mobile phones upon takeoff and landing” policy, I found the flight attendants pretty friendly. While it was rather like an assembly line, I don’t expect to talk to the flight attendants on such a sketchy flight. For a Euro-banned Burmese airline that ceased all operations three years ago just to restart them again, I don’t envy their job.

IMG_4226

Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Flight Attendant in Jumpseat

BOTTOM LINE ON YANGON AIRWAYS ATR 72-212 STANDARD CLASS

Overall I didn’t mind Yangon Airways for the two short flights I took – I found them good to travel with. Ultimately I have no idea what their competition is like, but they definitely exceeded my expectations, so I’m happy.

While I don’t particularly love the ATR 72 now, I’m happy to have flown one (or two), and wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again. That said, the A319 domestic flights are appealing, and I’m willing to try them too, especially on Asian Wings, also a non-government owned airline.

Advertisements

Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s