Review: Engaging Myanmar – Yangon Airways 910 Bagan to Yangon ATR 72

Introduction
Dragonair 252 A321 Economy Class Hong Kong to Yangon
Inya Lake Hotel Yangon
Yangon Airways 917 ATR 72-212 Yangon to Bagan Nyaung-U
Hotel Umbra Bagan
Teaching in Myanmar
Yangon Airways 910 ATR 72-212 Bagan Nyaung-U to Yangon
Myanmar Life Hotel Yangon
Dragonair 251 A321 Economy Class Yangon to Hong Kong


We checked out from the Hotel Umbra at 7 AM for our 8:25 AM flight (badass, I know). Being bussed to the airport, we arrived the airport at around 7:30 AM, and checked in. We were assigned free seating – it was my first flight ever with no assigned seating.

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Bagan Nyaung-U Airport Entrance

Check-in consisted of a counter – all the luggage was hauled right from the road to the tarmac by this special luggage truck.

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Yangon Airways Check-in Bagan Nyaung-U Airport

After check-in, a few of us went outside to play a game, a game that persisted on throughout the day during flight waiting. We were all ready to go by 7:50 AM. Now that‘s what I call an efficient group check-in process!

I guess I would have enjoyed that at Hong Kong Airport more than I did here, as the waiting area consisted of chairs and…chairs.

In my understanding, all of Myanmar’s domestic airports (Yangon excluded) are set up with the exact same chairs in the exact same way. While I wasn’t expecting any more, it definitely was a place I wouldn’t spend too long in – especially when the aircraft aren’t right next to the terminal.

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Boarding Area Bagan Nyaung-U Airport

At around 8:05 boarding was called, and again I was the first on the bus and the first (from Bagan) on the plane. The flight was operated by Yangon Airways’ other ATR 72-212 (they own two ATR 72-212s, and I flew one of them in from Yangon – this was the other one), so I had flown 66% of the airline’s fleet (the only aircraft I hadn’t flown was an ATR 72-500, XY-AJI, which mostly operates the Yangon-Mandalay-Heho-Yangon route). That’s possibly more than the percentage of aircraft on Cathay Pacific that I’ve flown!

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Bagan Nyaung-U Airport

Once again I boarded the stairs onto the aircraft.

Yangon Airways Flight 910
Friday, November 20th, 2015
Origin: Bagan Nyaung-U (NYU) Gate: B Dep: 08:25 (08:10)
Destination: Yangon (RGN) Gate: 1 Arr: 09:45
 (09:35)
Duration: 1 hr 20 min (1 hr 25 min)
Aircraft: Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-212
Seat: 4C (Economy Class)

While I’d say there were minimal differences to the seats, they were basically as comfortable as the seats on the outbound. The seats were the same colour, had the same headrests and were equally wide. While I was the first person to board from Bagan, there were people still on the flight from Mandalay.

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class

While I wanted to take seat 4A, my friends found themselves seat-less and they wanted to sit together, so I sat across them in 4C. 4D was taken up by another one of us (he was probably the best teacher on the trip and knew possibly as much about all the grade 7s as I knew my kids), and he proceeded to be on his iPod and sleep throughout the flight (which was fine with me).

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class

Legroom was adequate, though, obviously, wasn’t amazing.

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Legroom

Every seat was filled up on the aircraft, this time, so there wasn’t much wiggle room (see what I did there? Aha). The aircraft was fully loaded right after the second boarding bus arrived, so we were set to go by 8:10 AM.

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Full Cabin

The plane rolled out onto the runway.

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Bagan Nyaung-U Airport Terminal

And soon we were off back to where we started, with wheels up at around 8:15 AM. While I had intended to sit on the left side to catch the last of the pagodas, the right side’s view isn’t half bad either.

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Climbout Bagan Nyaung-U Airport

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Climbout Bagan Nyaung-U Airport

Shortly after takeoff, we were provided with a meal. I won’t rehash how much the meal service makes sense, so you can check the outbound review for details on that. I was expecting my chocolate danish to be terrible, but even though the cake, as expected, was, the actual danish wasn’t. I found it to be more of a croissant, but it tasted good. One thing that I found pretty interesting was that the chocolate inside wasn’t only solid, it tasted exactly like tempered chocolate – in the sense that it gave a satisfying crackle when you bit on it. That was really interesting, as normally when untempered melted chocolate cools it has this horrible dense texture, which wasn’t the case here.

I had the meal with a Coke – there was the signature “enjoy your chocolate danish”. Yeah, I understand why they don’t tell you to enjoy the cake, too – forget that I said that.

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Chocolate Danish

While service was friendly on the last segment, the service on this segment was indifferently unmemorable.

I fell asleep for around 25 minutes, waking up around 15 minutes out of Yangon. Shortly before we landed I visited the lavatory. I won’t rehash how cool the water flushes are, but they were on this flight too (unsurprisingly as the aircraft type was basically the same as the outbound).

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Lavatory

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Lavatory

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Lavatory

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Lavatory

Shortly before landing, the flight attendants came passing out candies.

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Standard Class Candies

After that, we began our slow descent into Yangon, which consisted of pretty amazing undeveloped city views. While it wouldn’t be my favourite city in the world, Yangon is unexpectedly vibrant, and I guess it showed from above. Like Hong Kong, it’s a perfect mix of architecture and nature, yet it’s slightly less developed.

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Descent into Yangon Airport

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Descent into Yangon Airport

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Descent into Yangon Airport

I mean, look at the size of Yangon. It’s ridiculously massive (which we found out on the way to the Shwedagon pagoda later in the day).

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Descent into Yangon Airport

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Descent into Yangon Airport

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Final Approach into Yangon Airport

Wheels down was at 9:40 AM, and it was a pretty quick taxi to our remote stand.

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Touchdown Yangon Airport

We parked pretty close to the terminal, so I could get a pretty nice view of both the domestic and international terminal.

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Yangon Airport Traffic

Our bus ride to the terminal was equally impressive, with us parking next to a Singapore Airlines Airbus A330.

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Yangon Airways ATR 72-212 Yangon Airport

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 Yangon Airport

After a speedy security check, we found ourselves right where we started in the domestic terminal. We hopped onto a bus the school had arranged for us, and it was right off to the Scott Market an hour away.

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Yangon Airways Domestic Terminal

BOTTOM LINE ON YANGON AIRWAYS ATR 72-212

I can’t imagine how far ahead other airlines could be in Myanmar, but as far as I think Yangon Airways may be at the top of the pack.

To justify that above sentence, I’m dying to try another airline within Myanmar, which I may do next time I go depending on what airline the school books us on. As far as these flights went, though, I was happy, and would fly Yangon Airways in a heartbeat if I managed to book one of their flights.

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