“You may sit wherever you like on the plane sir”
“Yes sir, no seating assignments on the flight”
After a long hot day seeing some of the amazing sights of Mandalay, the 2nd largest city in Myanmar, our driver took my friend Bert and I to the airport at 3:00 pm for our 4:45 pm flight to Nyaung U (Bagan). As we had a bit of time, the first place we headed to was a cafe on the departures level to bring our body temperatures down with the air conditioning and a cool drink. After finishing our icy Margaritas, we were about to order another, when the waiter asked what flight and airline we were on. After telling him Air KBZ, he raced out of the cafe across to the check-in counters and brought back with him an airline employee who started collecting our bags. We quickly paid our waiter and followed the chap from Air KBZ across the terminal to the Air KBZ check-in desks. He then took our tickets and passports to the check in clerk and returned to us with the boarding passes.
It was at that point we were informed that there was no seat assignments for the flight. Neither of our names were on the passes either, but we were each branded with a sticker on our shirts saying Air KBZ to help identify us as passengers of that airline.
As there are a couple of airlines all departing at roughly the same time to the same destination, the sticker helps the ramp staff make sure we are heading to the right aircraft at the right time.
We were bussed to the aircraft on standoff and boarding was fairly orderly considering there were no seat assignments and by roughly counting only 40 or so passengers on this 72 seater plane, we weren’t too fussed about where we sat. We boarded through the rear stair and as the aircraft filled from the back, most people took the rear seats first. As a lot of people were travelling alone m
Air KBZ is a private airline owned by Kanbawza Bank (hence the ‘KBZ’) and started domestic operations in April 2012. Their fleet consists of 9 aircraft, 3 ATR72-500’s and 6 ATR72-600’s. Our aircraft, an ATR72-600 was a mere 4 months old at the time of the flight having been delivered to the airline in late January 2015.
The aircraft was so new and clean it was like it had just come off the assembly line, even though it had been in service for 4 months. Configured in a 2-2 seating arrangement, there was quite a generous seat pitch.
The scheduled flight time was 30 minutes but the actual flying time was a mere 20 minutes and the crew managed to serve every passenger a soft drink. Starting from the front and rear of the plane, the cabin crew came along the aisle with a tray offering cola, lemonade or orange flavoured soft drinks and a cool refreshing towelette. A few moments later, they again came through the cabin collecting the rubbish while another crew member came through with a basket of ‘landing lollies’ – hadn’t seen that for years and it was such a nice touch!
We landed smoothly over a coupe of the 12th century temples that dot the landscape of Bagan. It was an impressive sight and got us excited for what we were about to see in the Ancient city of Bagan.
We disembarked the aircraft at Nyaung U, the airport that serves the townships of New and Old Bagan, on time and were again bussed from the aircraft to the terminal. It was a fantastic short flight with smiley, friendly and service orientated crew on a comfortable aircraft. A wonderful first domestic flight in The Republic of the Union of Myanmar!
Bert and FreakyFlier paid for his own Ticket on Air KBZ