A simulation flight is an extra-special gift for everyone, from young children who dream of being pilots to those who have a passion for planes, and according to research it can even help those who are scared of flying find their wings. The experience feels so realistic that the cockpit in Bangkok has even been used in films and TV shows, and although it isn’t a bargain, it still costs significantly less than in Australia or Europe.
Flight Experience Bangkok is located in the second floor of Gateway Ekamai Mall, which is easy to find as it is connected to Ekkamai BTS Skytrain Station on Sukhumvit Road. It moved here in 2016 from a much harder-to-find location, which has also given it more space to add a second simulator and larger reception area. In terms of prices, a 30-minute flight costs around 4550 baht, with their most popular 60-minute package costing 6900 baht. With current exchange rates the hour flight is 60 AUD cheaper than in Sydney – a worthwhile saving!
The set-up is very professional and the fact your session is led by a genuine pilot makes the whole experience incredibly realistic. The simulator has the exact specifications as a real aeroplane and the staff members are all dressed like crew. The cockpit is the same size as you’d find in a genuine Boeing 737-800NG, and with the majority of buttons and switches linked to computers, this is more advanced than some of the simulators used by pilots for their initial training and there is even a live air traffic control you can communicate with, and face it: who hasn’t dreamed of being in charge of the seat belts ‘off’ button?
Before you get behind the wheel (or the ‘yoke’ as pilots call it) you are given a briefing by your instructor. All instructors have pilot’s licenses so you don’t feel too overwhelmed by everything. There will be someone sitting next to you helping with the controls as much or as little as you need, but they won’t let you crash. A session here is suitable for anyone from children as young as five but also those who want something far more genuine than flying on home computers. I have little sense of left or right, but the crew at Flight Experience are very friendly, helpful and speak great English so even if you are a complete novice you will still get so much out of your flight.
There is a choice of 24,000 airports to take off from, so you can pick Bangkok or even the airport closest to your town. In the 30-minute package you get to do two take off and landings. I piloted a takeoff from Hong Kong, and got to fly amongst the skyscrapers before landing. Although the simulator is fixed, the audio and visuals are so good you really feel like you are in the sky, and the detail is impressive. For those who want more of a challenge, the simulator can replicate bad weather and you could even be one of the first pilots to land in Bangkok when it is snowing!
Being a pilot for an hour at Flight Experience Bangkok is a real treat, something you will be talking about for days after. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the captain in your family, this is the place to bring them.
- BTS: Ekkamai
- Address: Gateway Ekamai, 2nd Floor, Sukumvit road, Klong Toey, Phra Khanong, Bangkok
- Tel: +66 (0)2 048 9922, +66 (0)84 614 2694 and +66 (0)92 529 4616
- Price Range: a 30 minute flight experience costs 4,550 baht; a 60 minute flight experience costs 6,900 baht