DrukAir 500, PBH – CCU – SIN

 

Logo_KB

 

KB 500

PBH – CCU – SIN

Airbus Industrie A319-115

Economy Class, Seat 8A

 

Prologue

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Founded in 1981 by Royal Charter, Drukair has since cemented its reputation as the national airline of the Kingdom of Bhutan and a boutique player in the South Asia region. Operating a modest scheduled flight network from Paro International Airport, the airline fulfills a key role linking the landlocked country with the world. We joined Drukair on a recent flight from Paro to Singapore via Kolkata, one of its newest international routes.

 

Check-In

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Unlike other airlines, Drukair does not offer online check-in or seat selection and we arrived at Paro International Airport in the morning to report for our flight. After clearing the first stage of security, we queued in-line at the common check-in area that was processing 2 flights that day. We were quickly served by a pleasant agent and the entire process was fuss-free with our luggage tagged all the way to Singapore and boarding passes issued within 5 minutes.

 

Boarding & Departure

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Boarding was a simple affair with just 1 gate at the airport, comprising a seating area surrounded by shops retailing handicrafts and drinks. By the time the aircraft arrived from its previous sector, most passengers had already gathered at the gate and formed a line at the first activity by the gate agents. Although an announcement was made, this was hardly audible and points lost by Drukair for not enforcing priority boarding for Business Class passengers when processing the queue.

 

Seat

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Drukair had recently performed a cabin refurbishment for its Airbus fleet and our aircraft was fitted with new slimline seats from German manufacturer Recaro in a 3-3 layout. Upholstered in grey leather, we found the new seats to be highly comfortable with good seat pitch and generous recline. Seat width was also respectable with room to move about within the seat, although the armrests could not be folded flush with the seatback. We liked the padded headrest that could be adjusted for height and the ample storage space with deep seatback pockets for reading materials.

 

Crew

We had mixed opinions about the crew on this flight. While the stewardess serving our section was polite, cheerful and smiling, the other crew members appeared more reserved and did not interact much with passengers. However, service was performed efficiently and water runs were conducted periodically to keep passengers well-hydrated throughout the flight.

 

Meal

Meal1_KB500  Meal2_KB500

A snack box consisting of a sandwich, pastry and peanuts accompanied by coffee or tea was served on the short 50-minute hop to Kolkata. This was followed by a hot breakfast service on the second leg to Singapore, comprising a pasta salad appetizer, croissant, yoghurt, ham, eggs and sweet pastry. These were fairly tasty but we felt that the crew could have heated it for a longer time as the hot items were already getting cold by the time passengers were served.

 

Entertainment

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Entertainment was limited to the airline’s inflight magazine, Tashi Delek, featuring articles on topics related to the Bhutanese identity and way-of-life. Bhutanese and foreign newspapers were also available, with Business Class passengers also having a selection of international magazines. Bhutanese and western music were also played throughout the cabin during the cruise phase of the flight.

 

Arrival & Deboarding

In preparation for landing, the crew distributed candy prior to descent. Doors were open quickly after parking at a remote stand and passengers disembarked the aircraft to the waiting airport bus. Compliments to the crew and ground staff for the extra attention and assistance to several elderly passengers down the airstairs.

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