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Wednesday 8 February 2017

My Flight Review For 2016

Welcome to my Flight Review for 2016! 

Hope you all have a great year ahead!


This year is not as exciting as the year before mainly because of what's going on in my personal life. Planning my future is my top priority so that's the reason why I haven't gone to lots of places as I like. 2nd year in the running without travelling out of Asia, I hope I can break that duck in this year 2017. The first destination in mind is Perth, Australia which would either take place in March or June 2017. More information on this later on. 

Hope you enjoy this flight review and sorry for the delay! (Been quite busy recently) 

*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net

My flight route for 2016 

Flights: 43

Miles: Around 30,000

Type of Classes: First Class - Nil Business Class - Nil Premium Economy - 2 Economy - 41

Most flown aircraft type: Airbus A320 (12 times)

New aircraft types for 2016: Airbus A350-900

Number of airlines I had flown: 18

Airlines flown in 2016

Scoot: 1 X Boeing 787-8 and 1 X Boeing 787-9
Jetstar Pacific: 4 X Airbus A320 
Vietnam Airlines: 2 X Airbus A321, 1 X Airbus A330-200, 3 X Airbus A350-900, 4 Boeing 787-9 and 1 Boeing 777-200ER 
Vietjetair: 2 X Airbus A320 
Thai Air Asia: 1 X Airbus A320
Bangkok Airways: 1 X Airbus A320
Thai Airways: 1 X Boeing 787-8 
Jet Airways: 1 X Boeing 737-900ER
Philippines Airlines: 1 X Airbus A321
Cebu Pacific: 1 X Airbus A330-300
Jetstar Asia: 1 X Airbus A320
Singapore Airlines: 1 X Airbus A330-300
Malindo: 2 X Boeing 737-900ER, 6 X Boeing 737-800
Malaysia Airlines: 2 X Boeing 737-800
Cambodia Air Angkor: 1 X ATR-72-500
EVA Air: 2 X Boeing 777-300ER
Vanilla Air: 2 X Airbus A320
Tigerair SG: 1 X Airbus A320

Airports visited in 2016

Bangkok (DMK)
Bangkok (BKK)
Ho Chi Minh (SGN)
Hanoi (HAN)
Da Nang (DAD)
Kabri (KBV)
Manila (MNL)
Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
Phnom Penh (PNH)

New airports visited in 2016

Krabi, Hanoi, Da Nang and Phnom Penh 

Airline Review Summary 

Airbus A320  HS-PGW (Click here for the trip report)

Economy Class 

My thoughts: Comfortable legroom place with a good set of crew made a first good impression with this airline. Although the flight was of a short 1-hour domestic sector, a hot meal was provided and the overall experience was great. 

Overall rating: A+ I highly recommend this airline when travelling into Bangkok or domestic flights in Thailand. It's one of the best boutique airlines in Asia in my opinion. 

ATR-72-500 XU-235 (Click here for the trip report)

My thoughts: Airfare was expensive but trying out this airline was worth it. The flight was short with a couple of cabin crew taking care of us for this short flight. Flying the ATR-72 isn't that bad and won't hesitate to fly on it again. 

Overall rating: B- The cabin of the aircraft looks old, tight legroom space and dirty windows but the flight was a pleasant one without much turbulence. My mood was spoilt by a passenger behind me and the next time I face such people, I won't hesitate to tell them off.

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: The lengthy delay and the cleanliness of the aircraft have a lot to be desired. Delay of flights is inevitable but the lack of update from the airline was a disappointment. In-flight service was good but that was ruined by a baby roach crawling on the headrest in front of me. 

Overall rating: D I am not in the hurry to fly with this airline especially on the cramp 3-3-3 seating configuration of this Airbus A330-300. It is what you called the cattle class! 

Click here for SIN-TPE sector
Click here for TPE-SIN sector 

My thoughts: Very pleasant experience with this airline on both SIN-TPE and TPE-SIN sectors. Featuring the latest Economy Class, it was $$ worth spent and I certainly would recommend flying with this airline. In-flight service was quite good too, an improvement over my previous flights with this airline. 

My rating: A One of my best flight experience for this year and to me its on the same par as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and the other 5 star airlines. Does it deserve teh 5-star award from Skytrax? Yes. I hope to try the 3-4-3 configured Boeing 777-300ER in the near future. 

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: It was a good experience trying out this airline on this flight and the service from the Indian crew was certainly better than the experience I had with Air India. In-flight meal was great but the lack of Individual In-flight Entertainment System was disappointing especially for those flying from India to Bangkok. 

Overall rating: B  Overall, it was a good experience and I have to fly again with this airline to experience more of it. I have plans to fly this airline's Boeing 777-300ER to a continent I have yet to step onto, India. So do look out for the trip report. 

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: A typical Low-Cost carrier based in Singapore which provides you with the most important thing that is to transport you from A to B. Nothing special to shout about but at least you can be assured of reliability. One of my options for air travel. 

Overall rating: B+ Flew with this airline a number of times, and I have nothing to complain about it. In-flight service is very typical type. Not rude nor are they over-friendly, just professional. 

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: Jetstar Pacific is based in Vietnam and this trip I got to experience the new A320 featuring the latest in-flight product. Legroom space is the same as the old one, only thing is the seat itself is more modern and in my opinion, comfortable as well. 

My rating: B+ Similar to Jetstar Asia in terms of in-flight service. With new aircraft Jetstar Pacific is operating now, this airline gets my vote ahead of Jetstar Asia. 

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: Pleasant flight with Malaysia Airlines but legroom space is quite tight. For both SIN-KUL and KUL-PNH sectors, the rides were smooth and enjoyable. In-flight meal service on KUL-PNH was decent, overall Malaysia Airlines is recommended. 

Overall rating: B+ The combination of the cheap ticket and flight timing gives me the perfect the opportunity to fly my next flight with Cambodia Angkor Air. Fortunately, no delays in either sector allow me to complete the day's flight without issues. 

(No Trip Report)

My thoughts: This is now my regular airline for regional routes. If offers very low airfare yet provide service more than Low-Cost Carriers. Although a stopover is required, I feel it is worth every cent of it. For flights to Ho Chi Minh and back to Kuala Lumpur, I have yet to encounter a full load. So if you want a whole row to yourself, you have a good chance to experience it on KUL-SGN sector. 

Overall rating: A- For the airfare, it can be cheaper than Low-Cost Carrier and the best thing is it offers more, what a bargain it is I personally feel, hence the high rating. Under the Lion Air Group, Batik Air also offers identical products, as they are under the same group. Hope to see both airlines offering codeshare flights which help to boost their revenue. 

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this airline, for its service and the in-flight wireless entertainment system (using your own electronic device to access) Seats are comfortable and in-flight meal and crew were great. I can't ask more from.

My rating: A  I would definitely fly with this airline in the near future, perhaps in the long haul route with the airline's flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER. 

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: The airline's Airbus A330-300 aircraft is a temporary replacement for the Boeing 777-200ER on regional routes and will be phased out once more Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787-10 enters the fleet. The first Boeing 787-10 will enter the fleet in 2018. Flying the airline's A330 is enjoyable. 2-4-2 seating configuration with up to date IFE system. My flight experience that time was just average for SQ's standard. 

Overall rating: B The in-flight experience was kind of a let down on the overall. However, the in-flight meal and entertainment system was pretty good, so no complaints there. Hope to fly more with SQ in this year. 

Thai Air Asia 

Click here for the trip report

My thoughts: Thai Air Asia is based in Thailand and looks to be working well for Air Asia group. Overall my flight experience was a pleasant one and will fly with this airline again. 

Overall rating: B+ No complaints about this airline, will fly again if I need to. Together with Thai Lion Air, their safety record seems decent. 

Click here for the trip report

My thoughts: Flying with Scoot's Boeing 787 Dreamliner is enjoyable especially if you choose the right seat. I recommend the Scoot-in-silence cabin especially on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, they offer better legroom space as shown as this photo. In-flight service is normal and like other Low-Cost Carriers, they charge for an in-flight meal. Pricey and food quality is so-so. 

Overall rating: A- Enjoyed my flights with the airline. I was treated well for the flights and if they can sort out the on-ground issues (flight delays) and all that, more folks would choose this airline over its competing rivals. Personally, I would rather fly on the 3-3-3 Boeing 787 Dreamliner over the 3-3-3 Airbus A330 (Air Asia X and Cebu Pacific)

Click here for the trip report 

My thoughts: Flying with Thai Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a great experience, featuring the latest in-flight cabin product which is pretty decent. Service on board was average but the overall experience was positive. I am glad the aircraft was not changed to another aircraft type. 

My rating: B Its a pity the cabin service wasn't that good but the airline has got itself a good cabin product, competitive one against the other top airlines especially in Asia region. I hope to try the airline's Airbus A350 in the near future. 

No trip report 

My thoughts: Just another Low-Cost Carrier that flies you from point A to B and my experience with this airline has been positive so far. What I dislike about it is booking the website where all the charges would be listed out only at the end of the booking (before making the payment) and sometimes it can be more expensive than its rivals. 

Overall rating: B+ Good in-flight service on this short flight, emergency row exit is expensive that's why I would avoid paying that kind of $$ if I can for short-haul flights. For flights longer than 3 hours, I would rather fly with the full-service airlines. 

Click here for the trip report

My thoughts: Decent service and good new cabin product on the airline's Airbus A320 is worth flying with this airline on both domestic and international routes. However, do note that the airline is operating both the new and old cabin, so which would you get is all down to luck. 

Overall rating: B+ Reliable Vietnamese Low-Cost Carrier giving Vietnam Airlines/Jetstar Pacific some good competition. Flew with this airline a few times and punctuality isn't very good in my record book but I won't hesitate to fly with the airline again. 

Click here for the A350 trip report 
Click here for the Boeing 787 trip report
Click here for the Airbus A321 trip report
Click here for the Airbus A330-200 trip report
Click here for the Boeing 777-200ER trip report

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Airbus A321 

Airbus A330-200

Airbus A350-900

Boeing 777-200ER

My thoughts: I was fortunate to experience both old and new aircraft of Vietnam Airlines. The Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner are meant to replace the Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 777-200ER. The cabin products are definitely an improvement over the older ones especially the 777. I can see some improvement in the cabin service,  but still, have room for improvement especially comparing to the top airlines. 

Overall rating: B+ The Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 are great aircraft to fly on, I need to try them on international routes to fully enjoy it. Flying with Vietnam Airlines often offers good airfare and if you come across a good deal, why not fly with this airline? Stopover at Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City airports are not too bad and I definitely recommend this airline to those thinking about it. Aircraft changes take place more regularly on domestic flights (SGN-HAN) due to operational reasons so if you book yourself on one, be prepared for aircraft change. 

Click here for the trip report

My thoughts: This reliable Japanese airline offers a low-cost service on a 5th freedom route. Flight timing may not be ideal but both flights I had with this airline were pleasant and I won't hesitate to book with this airline. Good Japanese in-flight service with a good command of English, the set of crew were professional and friendly. 

Overall rating: A  

Overall, I enjoyed my flight with this airline. Despite the cramp seats, it was a good flight and I recommend this airline to anyone flying to Japan or domestic routes. Service is very much similar to others such as Peach Aviation and Jetstar Japan. 

Charles Ryan's Award for 2016

This is based on my flying experience with this list of airlines flown in this year. 

Best Premium Airline Flown: EVA Air 

For the in-flight service, meal and flight experience, this was an easy decision.

Best Low-Cost Carrier flew for this year: Vanilla Air 

The airline's livery, cabin crew's uniform and the flight experience get my vote. 

Best Economy Class: EVA Air's Y Class 

Tough decision between this and Vietnam Airlines A350/B787 but this overall gets my vote for the better seat comfort and In-flight Entertainment System.

Best In-flight Entertainment System: Thai Airways 787

Tough decision to be honest. I decide on this in the end because this is a big improvement over the older aircraft's IFE system in the airline's fleet. I like the interface as it is easy to use and has more contents than the older ones.

Best Business Class: Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

I didn't fly a lot on premium airlines this year, so another tough decision to make. In the end, I chose this because the interior enhances the business class experience for the passengers. 

Best in-flight meal: Singapore Airlines A330 (SGN-SIN flight) 

I felt this was quite well done - pork rice with vegetables. Another difficult decision to make. 

Best in-flight service: EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER (SIN-TPE sector)

This set of crew was friendly and professional, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of service. 

Fastest Flight: 20 mins early (VN261 HAN-SGN) Boeing 787-9 VN-A864

Most enjoyable aircraft to fly on: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (VN-A866)

Airline with the nicest livery: Vietnam Airlines

Most interesting airport: Taipei Taoyuan 

You have some interesting interior design all over the airport including Hello Kitty Gate and self-check-in counters. 

Best Airport Experience: Changi Airport 

Most comfortable airport to hang around especially flight connections exceeding 3 hours


Not as many trips compared to the previous year but I am happy to have at least add a new aircraft type this year which is the Airbus A350. Flying the Airbus A350 impresses me with the wider cabin but I still prefer the Boeing 787 in terms of the cabin design and the exterior as well. Both aircraft are nice to fly on especially on medium to long haul sectors. I know some travellers complain that the 3-3-3 seating configuration on the 787 is quite tight, I do agree with that but they aren't that bad to me. Airlines flown this year are limited but I am happy to see of the airlines improving in both soft and hard products.

For 2017

I won't be doing a lot of flight trip reports, instead, I will focus more on aviation-related issues based on my opinion, to make up for the lack of reports. There are a few in my mind right now for this year and that is a trip to Australia with Qantas. Most likely will take place in June so stay tuned for that. Nothing else is added to it after than the frequent trips to Ho Chi Minh City. Cathay, Thai and Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 flights are also being considered at this time but once that is decided, I will let you guys know. Keep a lookout on my updates on Twitter (@Charles787Ryan). 

Hope you enjoy this flight review! 

For my Flight Review for 2014, click here
For my Flight Review for 2015, click here

Best Regards,


  1. Hi Charles, thanks for all the reviews. Extremely helpful and am glad to have found your blog! Am planning to fly to Seoul soon- would you recommend Jeju Air, Jin Air or Eastar?

  2. Hi Jessi,

    All 3 airlines are fine. Depends on your departure airport, go with the one with the best price and timing.