Home Airlines First Time Flying On An ATR 72-600 (Lao Airlines)

First Time Flying On An ATR 72-600 (Lao Airlines)

by joeheg

While we fly regularly, our travels around the US are usually on A320, A321, 737-800 or 737-MAX planes. Every once in a while, we’ll get to fly on a 757-200 or an E190, but trying a new aircraft is still a thrill. That’s why I was so excited to try the A350-900 when we flew to Singapore.

On our recent trip to Southeast Asia, we took several short flights. The first ones were with Vietnam Airlines on their A321 and were not much different from what we’d get at home (except for the flip-down TVs)

However, we only had one non-stop option from Hanoi to Luang Prabang (HAN-LPQ); it was with Lao Airlines on an ATR 72-600. This would be a new experience for us as the only other propeller plane we’ve flown was years ago with Silver Airways.

According to Airfleets.net, our plane was 8+ years old and has always been flown by Lao Airlines. The airline has a fleet of 3 ATR 72-600s with 70 seats.

We boarded through the rear door. Once you got over the advertisements everywhere, the cabin was fresh and clean.

The slimline seats were comfortable enough for a short flight.

Despite my fears, there was plenty of legroom and my backpack fits easily under the seat in front of me.

Another surprise was the large overhead bins.

Did I mention there were ads everywhere you could think to put them?

Even being a short flight, the cabin crew handed out snacks.

I passed on the danish-like item but did enjoy the crackers/chips.

As an additional bonus, when you’re flying on a smaller plane, you can take pictures with your aircraft.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t know what to think before our first flight with Lao Airlines and the first time on an ATR 72-600. I was impressed with both the airline and the aircraft. We had another flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane on the same plane and the experience was almost identical.

Everything was so positive that I looked forward to our flight on their A320. That ended up being a totally different experience.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


NedsKid March 29, 2023 - 10:15 pm

I like the ATR-72-600. I have flown on one recently with Silver MCO-FLL. Having flown on maybe fifteen of them back when I went to college in Jacksonville (older ATR-72-200 when American Eagle ran a hub of them out of Miami), certainly some improvements in overhead bin size and noise reduction. American Eagle had some massive closets about the size of two rows at the back for roller bags, and if I recall correctly the seats in the last few rows were actually the “Elite” seats because less noise and nearer the door. The -600 is a nice update. I think that in the US there is a stigma against turboprops these days, but there’s very much a market and a certain type of mission suited for these planes.

Lars March 30, 2023 - 9:35 am

Well said, @NedSkid. I’ve flown Silver’s ATR-72-600 and ATR-42-600 on their FLL-TLH route and agree with everything you said. It’s an overall pleasant flight experience and a noticeable upgrade from prior generations of ATR, and a massive upgrade over the Saab-Fairchild SF 340’s that Silver had before.

joeheg March 30, 2023 - 11:07 pm

According to Silver’s website, those Saab planes now operate routes in the Caribbean.


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