Domestic flights in Thailand

Feb 6th, 2008, 03:10 PM
  #1  
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Domestic flights in Thailand

Hi all,
With our destinations picked out, it's time to book our domestic flights.

We arrive BKK early 4/15. I want to catch a flight out to Phuket as soon as is feasible (allowing for delays, customs, etc).

BKK-Phuket
Phuket-CM
CM-BKK

It looks like nobody flies direct Phuket-CM, so we'll have to lay over in BKK. That said, any input on which carrier to use? We're flying Thai into the country, but we won't be checking bags, so there's no need to check anything through to Phuket.

It sounds like Bangkok Air is one of the better low cost airlines, but I've been having trouble with their website. How does Thai's domestic prices compare to the low cost airlines? Should I go with Thai's 3 destination package deal?

I'd like to get this booked in the next week or so.

Thanks!

josh
JoshMiller is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 04:36 PM
  #2  
 
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Both Bangkok Air and Thai Air have three destination deals. We have been very happy with both carriers. Thai Air has more flights giving more choice.
Gpanda is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Well, first of all, Bangkok Air isn't a budget airline. Air Asia, Nok Air are budget airlines. Bangkok Air does have the Discovery Pass, so it's worth comparing prices including the Discovery Pass option.

Nok Air has gotten good reviews from locals on this board. Air Asia, people either love it or loathe it.

It's certainly worth checking the Thai Air pass, as Thai Air is the largest domestic airline so has the most flights.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 04:46 PM
  #4  
 
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I just booked flight on Bangkok Airways using their Discovery Pass. Basically we got flights from Phuket-Bkk, Bkk-Siem Reap, Siem Reap-Bkk for a little under $700 US for two. The segments to and from Siem Reap are more expensive than the internal flights. Your segments on a Discovery Pass would be $60 US plus taxes and fees. The trick with the Discovery Pass is that you have to call them and book it over the phone. I spoke with a very helpful and nice representative (Sara) a couple of times working it out. They even let me change the times of one of the segments without the usual hassle that you would get with United or American. The unusual part of it was that they e-mailed me a credit card voucher which I then had to fill out and fax back to them - they don't have a secure website where you can enter you information and they won't take it over the phone. But it was very easy. I couldn't reach them over the weekend, but I called first thing Monday morning and they answered right away and I was set within 10 minutes. The number is 1-866-Bangkok.
jcasale is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 05:40 PM
  #5  
 
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i would also look at air asia...please note the huge baggage restrictions on all discount airlines...

for this reason thai might be better, but sounds like you are travelling light...on the small planes the overheads are very small...

look at thai's 3 leg deal so as to avoid luggage problems....i would also call them and see what they will do for you seeing you are flying over with them
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 05:50 PM
  #6  
 
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If you go to Chiang Mai first, you can from there non stop to Phuket...just not the other way around. Thai Air is the only airline that does the non stop CNX - HKT.

Thai Air offers a Discover Thailand pass that is $199 plus tax/surcharge for 3 domestic legs. That would work for you.

But, if cost is important to you, check the budget carriers...Air Asia, Nok Air and 12 Go.
KimJapan is offline  
Feb 6th, 2008, 07:27 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll look into the 3-leg passes tomorrow. It occurred to me that what I'm really doing is two r/t flights: bkk-phuket and bkk-CM, with 2 restrictions:
1. the return to bkk from phuket has to be the same airport as the departing flight to CM
and 2. the flight TO phuket from bkk has to be from the new airport (i'll spell it wrong if it try), because that's where we're flying into from LAX.

From my preliminary research, it looks like the low cost airlines (like Nok) flies into the old BKK airport.

I'll look some more tomorrow.

josh
JoshMiller is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 01:11 AM
  #8  
 
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The advantage you would have using Thai is that if you are flying 'in' with Thai then they would book you on their next connection to Phuket, in the unlikely event of any delays Thai would simply put you on the next flight.
You 'were' able to be checked all the way to Phuket and clear Immigration in Phuket, there was talk of this being stopped, call Thai in your home country, if they can still check you all the way through to Phuket that would be 'great'.
Then it's simply flight change in BKK and again, any delay they would simply re-book you on the next plane, Thai are very good like that !

You are right, no non stop from Phuket to Chiang Mai but there is a Chiang-Mai to Phuket daily non stop with Thai ( 2 hrs flight ).

Also - do check fares with Thai, tell them you are booked to Bangkok and what's the deal to book through to Phuket, the fare booking your whole longhaul,

e.g Your Origin-BKK-Phuket as one return flight could cost relatively little more compared to doing a Origin-BKK return.

Thatthen allows you simply to buy a BKK-CM return, whether Thai, BKK Airways or one of the budget carriers, Nok Air or Air Asia, ( Nok Air Plus is a bargain, a little extra for 2x2 seating on a 737 in old stykle business class seats ).

One-2-Go is 'low cost', i.e the have fixed fares but they are simply 'cheap fares'.

I think contacting Thai / your travel agent for a 'Origin-BKK-Phuket' return fare could work out well, worht a try!
JamesA is offline  
Feb 8th, 2008, 07:51 AM
  #9  
 
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We've used Nok Air on 2 Thailand trips with no problems. They were a bit less expensive than other domestic airlines -- at least at that time. Be aware that they fly in/out of the 'old' airport. Wasn't a problem with our schedule -- actually worked out better for us. Happy travels.
kywood1955 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 04:13 PM
  #10  
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Hi all,
Sorry for the delay - I got lazy.

I spoke with Thai this evening about the Discover Thailand pass.

1. Because Thai doesn't fly Phuket-CM direct, they would make me use 2 coupons for the Phuket-BKK and BKK-CM legs of the Phuket-CM flight.

(quick background: the Discover Thailand pass is $199 + taxes/fees for 3 domestic legs). The additional coupon would cost another $59.

2. The casually added "taxes and fees" is unusually high. The Thai rep (very friendly and patient) priced out my Discover Pass + 4th coupon ($199 + $59) at $354.64 per passenger. When I asked, she told me the added ~$100 is taxes and fees.

3. Going Bkk-CM-Phuket doesn't work for us, since my fiancee really wants to unwind after the wedding-planning stress on the beach first thing.

4. Given the price of Thai's pass, I've been trying to check out Bangkok Air. But their website has been very slow and keeps crashing on me. Does this happen to other people?

5. Other carriers:
The low-cost carriers I've looked at are Nok Air, Air Asia, and 1-2-Go. Of the 3 only Air Asia offers flights for our itinerary. For 2 r/t itineraries, it would be about $600, a savings of about $100. I've read mixed reviews of Air Asia. I'm tempted to spend the extra $100 on Thai, since I don't want to get off the 14 hr flight from LAX and then have a negative experience first thing.

6. JamesA, I don't quite follow your suggestion about trying to change our original itinerary of LAX-BKK to LAX-Phuket, and then booking a r/t ticket on a low-cost carrier BKK-CM. Because the adjustment would still leave us needing to get from Phuket-BKK. What am I missing something?

Oh, and the Thai agent said we would go through customs in Phuket (assuming we fly with them on to Phuket from BKK).

Josh
JoshMiller is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 04:41 PM
  #11  
 
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Your best bet on checking on Bangkok Air is to call them directly since the Discovery Pass can't be booked on line anyway. Just so you know, they will also count the Phuket - BKK - CM flight as two segments. We are flying Phuket - BKK - Siem Reap and that counts as two segments. That was fine for us since we only have one other segment (back to BKK) so I wanted it to count that way. Our cost was a bit higher than your will be since two of the segments are international and those cost more. That being said, our three segments are running about $360 per person. That apparently includes a 6% surcharge for using a credit card. I don't know that sending a check was an option - I didn't ask. But they were very helpful on the phone and subsequent e-mails, so I would suggest calling them. God luck.
jcasale is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 08:03 AM
  #12  
 
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The tax (fuel surcharge, insurance and airport tax) for the Thai pass is the same as included when you get a reglar ticket (805 baht or $25). So the pass works out to be around $91 each for the 3 and $84 for the 4th. Regular fares are about $100 to Phuket and as low as $63 to CM in April.

The Bangkok airpass works out to be around $80 per flight (55 + 22 in taxes and 3 for airport tax).

As to where you pass through immagration is confussing. It was proposed that the airport you first landed in Thailand would be where you would clear immagtation but your bags (if cheched through) would be cleared by customs at that point. This may or may not be in effect yet although it was to start late 2007.
Scotters is offline  
Feb 15th, 2008, 10:43 AM
  #13  
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I talked with Bangkok Air, and I think we're gonna go with them. The only issue is they don't fly direct CM to BKK (only BKK-CM), so we're going to book two one-way flights on one of the low cost carriers CM-BKK.

It comes out to $238 per passenger for the Discover Pass, plus $20 or so for the 2 one way flights. Still cheaper than 2 r/t flights on Air Asia ($298).

So the plan is:

Bangkok Air:
BKK-HKT
HKT-BKK
BKK-CM

and then to-be-booked CM-BKK at the end.

Thanks all.
JoshMiller is offline  
Feb 15th, 2008, 03:17 PM
  #14  
 
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More like $85 (Air Asia) for two, for the return flight CM/BKK unless you can get their promotion rate of around $24 each. You could also fly Thai for $127 if you are worried about the limited baggage allowance on AA.

Bangkok Air used to have return flights from CM to BKK but now only to Siem Reap and Samui. And only 1 flight to CM.
Scotters is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 09:18 AM
  #15  
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I've been busy at work lately and haven't gotten around to booking the domestic flights yet.
Scotters' comment made me revisit NokAir and Air Asia, and he's right- although the price of the ticket may be very low, the final price (after the ever-present taxes and fees) can be more than double the original ticket. Case in point: Nok Air has a flight for 500 baht, but the final price per passenger is over 1500 baht. Most of it (650) is a fuel surcharge, according to the website.

Still going back and forth between the Discover passes with Thai and Bangkok Air. Neither one has "ideal" flight times from our point of view; getting from Phuket to CM is going to kill the day, leaving around noon and getting in around early evening.

JoshMiller is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 12:44 PM
  #16  
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Hi all,
sorry for the lack of update. I went with TG's Discover Pass, and I'm trying to book a one way flight from CNX to BKK on Nok Air.

josh
JoshMiller is offline  

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