Why was I interested in flying Lao Airlines?

  1. I don’t know anyone who has ever flown them before.
  2. They are a national state-owned airline of a developing country.

lao airline atr

Needless to say, I googled to see any recent crashes and the only thing that came up in the last 10 years was a crash into the Mekong river during a typhoon.  

So considering that there were no typhoons in the forecast, I was good to go to try Lao Airlines.  It’s not like they were flying over the Hudson River after all.

Lao eticket

Lao Airlines – How Was It?

Lao Airlines certainly seems to be a point of pride to the people of Laos.  What Lao Airlines writes as a slogan caught my eye:  “We are ready to be a Lao National Airline with international standards.”  


Lao airline

Jumping to my conclusion, how would I rate them against international standards?  I will give them an A for effort.  And yes, I would be just fine flying them again.

Flying Lao Airlines

Our flight was from Luang Prabang, Laos to Pakse, Laos where we picked up and dropped off some passengers, then onward to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

ATR 72

I have a bias.  I love planes with propellers, because I feel like I am really flying.  Feeling the turboprop bank left, bank right, bump into a warm air mass, pick up a tail wind, rise with a thermal – that is what flying really feels like and it is too often missed with the power of the jet engine.

Lao airlines airplane
ATR 72 Turbo Prop

Yes I know plenty of you see a plane with propellers and hope there are enough puke bags in the seat backs.

Please recognize that Lao Airlines has seven ATR-72 Turboprops with one class of service.  They also have four A320 jets offering two classes of service.


lao airlines boarding
Boarding in Luang Prabang

On Board Lao Airlines

Both the ground staff and the flight attendants were pleasant, helpful, and efficient.  Boarding is done on the tarmac from the rear.

The interior of the plane was clean with a reasonable pitch and seat width.

Lao airline cabin

The seats were comfortable.

Paul flies lao airline

Take Off and Views

This was definitely a flight worthy of a window seat.

Lao Airline taking off
Rolling down the runway in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang and the Mekong River
Laos from airplane
One of the many iconic Limestone Karst of Laos
Mekong getting much wider as we fly south
laos village
Landing in Pakse, Laos
floating village
Floating village on Tonle Sap in Cambodia – really cool to see from the air.

On Board Service

Although each leg was fairly short, we were given a lunch snack box on each leg.  Were they edible?  Yes.  Were they good? Eh, but I did eat them.

Lao airline lunch 1
My guess:  The sandwich was chicken and bamboo with a scallion marmalade.  The dessert was banana bread.
Lao airline lunch 2
My guess:  Bamboo and imitation crab made to be like a coleslaw.

Lao Airlines

Lao Airlines flies domestically in Laos, primarily north-south routes because of the geography of the country.  They also fly internationally in South East Asia, including to Korea, China, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Their fares are often a bargain. I would say give them a try if you are in the region.

For highlights of sites in Laos please see Visiting Laos.

For highlights of sites in Cambodia please see Visiting Cambodia

Thank you for reading.