Ukrainian International Airlines: Why I don’t want to save money on flights anymore



Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 21/06/2024, 18:00

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Ukrainian International Airlines are one of the top airlines that fly between Thailand and Europe and because of their prices many people choose to holiday in the tropics. Expats from many countries very often use deals and promotions from UIA to visit their families, or to go for a short break to their home countries. Prices are usually low and only a few other airlines can compete with those offered by UIA.

I chose them myself – after checking a few options I decided that Ukrainian International Airlines have the best deals for one way tickets from Poland to Thailand. That was my best option to visit the Land of Smiles in the high season. I was after a cheap ticket and that was what I got, but after my experiences I decided that from now on it was better to spend a little more and travel comfortably.

The layover

A few days before the trip the Ukrainian International Airlines informed me that my flight from Kiev to Bangkok was rescheduled and now I had 9 hour layover and not 6 as previously planned. I couldn’t go outside the airport as it was winter and I was completely unprepared for snow and below zero temperatures. I could only stay in the terminal.

I tried to convince the airline to upgrade me to a business class, or pay for a few hours in a business lounge, but they refused. In situations like that airlines don’t have to compensate for the reschedule flights. So, I paid for the business lounge myself. 2 hours cost me $14 and I had a free buffet, unlimited drinks, shower, comfortable seats and super-fast internet.

I was a little sleepy when I got to my gate. As it turned out the flight was delayed another 1,5 hours, so I waited 10,5 hours all together!

The plane

After taking my seat I started thinking that Ukrainian International Airlines are a long-haul Ryanair. As a short person I had enough space for my legs. However, many other people, especially men, barely could fit in the seats, which seemed smaller and narrower than those found in other airlines.

To me this wasn’t the worst. In the whole plane there was no entertainment. There were no films, games, no music, not even a small screen showing the route of the plane. This reminded me of my flight to Australia with AirAsia. They at least had special laptops you could book with some DVDs and music.

After an hour I fell asleep, waking up from time to time. Slowly I started to feel very uncomfortable. The seats didn’t recline, the person in front of me was wriggling, hitting me in the knees with the back of their seat. My back, which always hurts whenever I sit for long periods of time, was starting to kill me, my legs felt numb. At the end of the flight I wanted to jump out of that horrible plane.

Food was served shortly after take off. Surprisingly, the first course – chicken in white sauce with rice – was good and made me feel a little better. The next meal was scheduled around an hour before landing. I am used to good customer service in Turkish Airlines, which is my favourite when it comes to flights to Thailand, so I was very disappointed that there was no one to serve drinks during the flight. A couple of times I had to go to the back of the plane to ask for water. Stewardesses and stewards were always hiding and were nowhere to be seen.

I got to Bangkok totally exhausted and in pain. It was the longest flight I have ever taken. Because of lack of sleep I couldn’t get rid of the jet lag for a couple of days, which spoiled my stay in Bangkok completely.

Who is Ukrainian International Airlines for?

Definitely not for me. I think that one gets a little bit more comfortable and demanding with age. The Ukrainian International Airlines are great for those who are not afraid of inconvenience and are really after saving money. It’s a good option for backpackers and students. My flight made me decide that from now on I will be willing to spend a couple of Euros more and fly comfortably rather than be squeezed like a sardine on a 9 hour flight.

Flights to Thailand – useful information

  • There are all sorts of airlines going from Europe to Thailand. I have great experiences with Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines, which offer great service for reasonable prices.
  • If you have a long layover then buying a stay in a business lounge is a great idea. It costs only $10-$14 for an hour or two. Some banks and credit cards offer this option for free, so check with your branch before you travel.
  • And if you really want to travel with UIA then prepare yourself for a long and uncomfortable flight.