Flight Review: Myanmar National Airlines Heho to Bangkok
Itinerary: HEH -> RGN -> BKK
After a few weeks in Myanmar, we were ending our trip at Inle Lake, where international transport links are quite tough. Our only real option was flying Myanmar National Airlines to Bangkok via Yangon from Heho Airport.
Check-In: Heho airport is nothing more than two tiny, austere buildings. We checked in at a table with Myanmar National's logo on it. After presenting passports, we hoped our checked luggage could be checked all the way through to BKK. The initial agent said it could not be done, so we grabbed our boarding passes. and trudged on to security. As we stepped 10 feet away another agent chased us down and said it could be done. We waited about 15 minutes while our old bag tags were ripped off, phone calls were made and everything was signed, sealed and delivered.
Flight UB0418 Heho (HEH) -> Yangon (RGN)
After security, we waited in the departures hall. There were no airline employees in departures, so it became frustrating as our flight was getting delayed, our connection time in Yangon was getting shorter and no updates were being shared. Eventually our aircraft arrived, and we departed about 45 minutes late. The ATR 72 plane was perfectly serviceable, and reminded me of Portland to Seattle hops on Alaska Air Q400s. Pastry boxes were served onboard along with tea or coffee which was a pleasant surprise.
Flight UB017 Yangon (RGN) -> Bangkok (BKK)
On arriving in Yangon, many people tried to help in getting us to the international terminal. The bus driver from the plane to the terminal even said he would manually grab our bags and drive them to our next aircraft. Since we arrived in the domestic terminal, we would have to switch terminals to the international one. An airline employee walked us to a van which he mentioned would take us to the other terminal. It was full of airport employees who waited patiently with us for a few minutes. When it didn't seem like the driver was leaving anytime soon, they told us they were walking and it was only a few minutes away. It was literally the next building over, a less than 5 minute walk. We ran through security and were the last ones on the plane. Inside, it looked like a standard United or AA 737-800, although with only two rows of First Class which was fully occupied and even had a monk sitting in the second row. A full meal was served, which was more or less inedible. We obviously didn't mind considering we don't expect food on flights this short and we arrived in Bangkok right on time.
Tsunami Says: If flying in Myanmar, make sure you are flying on the same airline all the way through, and have sufficient connecting time. This is an under-developed country and things don't always run on schedule here. In the end, Myanmar National Airlines got us from point A to B (and fed us on the way!), and our only qualm was with be the lack of communication and airline staff after security in Heho Airport, which meant getting info about the delay was a detective's task.