Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lao Airlines at Luang Prabang Airport

Xian MA60 Aircraft Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines is based in the capital Vientiane, and is the national airlines of Laos which was established in 1976.

The national airline is also wholly owned by the Lao Government and has a fleet of Xian MA60 and some ATR-72 planes which service local and international routes.

From the capital Vientiane, you can easily fly to neighboring countries, or to Luang Prabang with Lao Airlines, making your travels hassle free.

Lao Airlines at Luang Prabang Airport

Airport in Luang Prabang
The Luang Prabang airport
Back in the year 2008, I took an inaugural trip to Laos from Malaysia using AirAsia. From Vientiane, I wanted to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, and there were only 3 choices.

With the hard to decide choices, they had only one practical option for me due to time, and these were the options for travelling to Luang Prabang back then;

1. A slow boat ride that took almost 2 days (US$4-6)
2. A bus ride through the mountains that took about 10 hours (US$10-12)
3. Fly there with Lao Airlines which only took 45 minutes (US$140).

Obviously, with not wanting to waste any time, I booked the Lao Airline flight to Luang Prabang without hesitation, and from the timing, you can see why. 

Notice at Luang Prabang AirportInteresting notices at the Luang Prabang airport

Traveling From Vientiane to Luang Prabang With Lao Airlines

Vientiane's International Airport has only two terminals, which is the new Wattay International Terminal, and the old run down domestic terminal. (As of 2008)

To travel locally within Laos, you would be taking a short 5 minute walk next door to the domestic terminal which was quite interesting for me.

All kinds of signs and notices were found on the old styled boards. One that caught my eye was about what kind of guns and explosives that are allowed on board.

I think by the time you are reading this, there have been huge changes to the notices and restrictions on carrying arms or explosives on flights.

Just like any other airport, the checking in and boarding procedure was no different, they even had flight announcements done in the local and English language. 

Meal on Lao AirlinesLao Airlines snack box on flight

For my flight to Luang Prabang, our plane was the China-made Xian MA60 Turboprop plane which costs about US$12.5 million.

The plane can seat 60 passengers and has a maximum speed of 514 km/h. It was reasonably comfortable and a smooth ride to Luang Prabang.

The snack that was provided during my flight was rather odd as I received a box with a bun and a Mandarin orange inside. Oh well, for a 45 minute flight, it was quicker than you expected.

Aerial View of Luang Prabang
Aerial view of Luang Prabang town from the plane
Just before arrival at Luang Prabang's airport, you could see the entire Luang Prabang town from a few hundred feet above.

Also, the Luang Prabang airport is pretty small and when you exit the terminal, tuk tuks and hotel representatives would be waiting for you.

Is it Safe to Fly Lao Airlines? 

Well, from the amazing track record they have, there has not been one accident involving any of the Lao Airline planes since the year 2000.

Also in 2007 and 2008, Lao Airlines received two awards related to service improvement and also on-time operation of flights. I would use the airlines anytime after flying twice with them.

Visit the website of the Lao Airlines for more flight information and bookings.

Lao Airlines address and telephone numbers;

Vientiane

02 Pangkham Street, P.O BOX 6441
TEL : ( 856- 21 ) 212057
FAX : ( 856 21 ) 212065

Ticketing and Reservations
Tel : ( 856 – 21 ) 212051-54
Fax : ( 856 – 21 ) 212056
Email : reservation@laoairlines.com
ticketing@laoairlines.com

Airport Office
Tel : ( 856-21 ) 512028 (Wattay International Airport )
Tel: ( 856-21 ) 512 000, 512 004 (Wattay Domestic Airport )
Tel ( 856 -30 ) 5256921

Luang Prabang (LPQ)

Town Office
Tel : ( 856-71 ) 212172
Fax : ( 856-71 ) 212406
E-mail: addy@laoairlines.com

Airport Office
Tel : ( 856 - 71) 212173
Fax : ( 856- 71 ) 252264
Email : lpq@laoairlines.com

Conclusion

Overall, if you want to save a lot of time, I would recommend you take Lao Airlines from Vientiane, if you are there. 

However, in the last 10 years, more airlines have started to fly into Luang Prabang, and recently, AirAsia and Silk Air have direct flights here from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. 

For me, I started in Vientiane, and then decided to explore my options of traveling up north to Luang Prabang, hence I used Lao Airline for my journey. 

6 comments:

AudMraz said...

Hi David

The flight Vientiane to LP; is that price USD140 return or one-way?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it is round trip price for $140. I had the same flight 3 years ago, it cost $110 for round trip during Lao New Year.

tanwa said...

If you find Laos Air Tickets you can see it in : http://www.laos-airtickets.com/index.php

- Online Booking
- Cheap Air Ticket
- Confirm your booking within 24 hours
- Secure Payment with Paypal

Let's see

tanwa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ordinary Traveler said...

I flew Lao Airlines from Luang Prabang to Hanoi, Vietnam in May of this year. The flight was smooth, the service was friendly and the best part about it was that it's quick. The only thing I found was that we paid a lot more for booking months in advance online. We paid $180 pp, I think, and we met a girl on our flight who paid $120 for buying her ticket the day before the flight! So much for booking ahead of time to get the good prices!

Cheap flights to Tokyo said...

Thanks for the information..
I purchased tickets on Lao Airlines at their website. I got email on reservation but no e-ticket. is this ok..