Burma - flights okay?

Aug 20th, 2007, 09:04 AM
  #1  
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Burma - flights okay?

Wondered if those who have been to Myanmar in the last year might comment on the internal flights. We heard from a friend that the flights can be a bit harrowing, but that there is not really an option to drive an itinerary given government restricted areas. Any comments on the quality/age of the planes and general safety would be helpful (we had some pretty scary flights in India - wondering if flights in Myanmar would be comparable). Thanks for any input!
WinterTravel is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 11:23 AM
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My trip was in February of 2007:

Within Burma, fly. Roads are very poor. Riverboat travel is OK. There is a fancy cruise boat, The Orient Expressí boat (I did not take), goes from Mandalay to Bagan. Fly Air Bagan whenever possible (jets). After that use Air Mandaly or Yangon Air (good turboprops). AVOID Air Myanmar!

Get to airports early, planes can leave ahead of schedule.

Although....even without computers...I found traveling from Yangon back to Bangkok to be better and more organized than my recent travels in the US airports.

In Burma...The best was Inle Lake and Bagan...the rest(if you have traveled much) could be skipped.

The hanicrafts in Bagan and Inle will not be found elsewhere. So don't hesitate if you see something you like and think you can purchase back in the capital.

The Burmese people are wonderful! Be prepared to smile a lot.
andgil is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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WT - As you know from reading my report, my trip was also in February 2007. We flew Air Bagan exclusively but not all of the flights were on jets. That being said, everything went smoothly. The planes were all clean and relatively new. The biggest problems you will have are figuring out when your flight is called (all airlines leave at about the same time early in the morning) and what to do when you arrive at your destination (the routine varies from place to place).
Craig is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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Avoid the government airline and you should be fine. Just make sure you get to the airport early as all of our flights left 30-60 minutes earlier than scheduled.
glorialf is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 08:52 AM
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Many thanks for all of the comments. We noticed that Myanmar International has codeshare with THAI for flights to/from Bangkok, but that Bangkok Airways also flies that route. We can buy THAI and/or Bangkok Airways online. Has anyone purchased internal Myanmar flights (on any of the carriers mentioned) online, or is it necessary to do that through a travel agent?
WinterTravel is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 09:59 AM
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I believe that our travel agent here in the states contacted the hotels in Burma and the hotels made the internal flight arrangements.
andgil is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Also....when communicating with your hotels...I found that it was easy to skype them...but, they responded to emails much better (and you have something in writing to print out)
andgil is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 10:47 AM
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If you use a Myanmar-based travel agent you will save money on your hotels but internet prices should be about the same for your flights. We used an agent for both. You MUST confirm all of your flights the day before while in Myanmar - if you use an agent, they should do it for you. Someone reported a while back that they booked flights on line with no problem.

Do NOT use Myanmar Airways - in addition to being the government airline, they are absolutely unreliable and potentially unsafe as well.
Craig is offline  
Aug 24th, 2007, 10:08 PM
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Thanks so much for all of this helpful information. One other question -- we are assuming that planes within Myanmar will likely be small (1-cabin) and only economy class. Are we right about this? Did anyone have any troubles with luggage restrictions when flying around the country?
WinterTravel is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 03:54 AM
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As I recall there was a business class on some of the flights. The flights are very short and you spend more time waiting in the terminal with everyone else than in the air so there's no reason to pay extra for business class.

We had to pay extra for overweight luggage. The cost, which seemed rather arbitrary was about $20-$40 per flight. There were no restrictions on carry-ons (liquids,etc.) on interior flights.
Craig is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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Most of the planes are ATR - 72 prop planes. Quite comfortable and safe and only 1 cabin(or 1 class). Some of the airlines like Air Bagan fly the Fokker jets and they have 2 class - business(or they might call it first class) and economy.
Hanuman is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Thanks again. Sounds like there is no need to fly business where offered given the short duration of flights, unless it would impact luggage.

Craig -- were you flying coach or business internally when you were charged for luggage overage? Do you recall what the allowance was?
WinterTravel is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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We flew coach internally and checked 2 big rolling duffle bags and 2 smaller rolling bags. I have no idea what the allowance was but I am sure we would have been beyond the limit on almost any airline.
Craig is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Thanks Craig. We too have found that it is pretty difficult to travel under the luggage limit on a long trip.
WinterTravel is offline  

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