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Ericka Apr 17th, 2006 05:05 PM

Need help w/flights within Asia - BKK/SIN, CMB, MLE
Hello Asia experts!

I need help with flights within Asia - Bangkok or Singapore, Colombo, and Male.

I'm working on a *Alliance itinerary from the USA to Sri Lanka and then the Maldives. Getting the nice non-stops from NYC to BKK/SIN has been working well so far, but once in Asia, the award tickets are at bad times and have multiple stops. We are thinking of buying our tickets once in Asia in order to have better control of our schedule.

Does anyone know of:
- Any Asian airline that would have good nonstops and maybe inter-Asian fares from (1) BKK/SIN to CMB (2) CMB to MLE (3) MLE to BKK/SIN
- Or any websites that would show the schedules for Asian carriers ala Expedia or Travelocity?

Thoughts? Thanks!

peppersalt Apr 17th, 2006 05:18 PM

I have booked all my inter-asia flights directly with Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Try going to their websites and check-out their flight and prices. Good luck.

TracyB Apr 17th, 2006 05:27 PM

How about Sri Lankan Airlines..Try them out..

Hanuman Apr 17th, 2006 05:34 PM

You can save some money for the BKK - SIN sector by flying the low cost airlines. Here are some link for the airlines:

Ericka Apr 18th, 2006 04:08 AM

Our award travel (to Sri Lanka) includes the use of Thai and Singapore Air, and we were also planning to use Sri Lankan to get from Sri Lanka to the Maldives. But there are so many flights within Asia with this itinerary:

Bangkok to Singapore
Singapore to Colombo
Colombo to Male
Male to Colombo
Colombo to Singapore
Singapore to Bangkok

I was thinking if I stopped the award reservation at Bangkok (or Singapore), I could have better routing by purchasing the tickets as follows:

Bangkok/Singapore to Colombo
Colombo to Male
Male to Bangkok/Singapore

In this case, would we book 3 1-way tickets from 3 different airlines? :-S

JamesA Apr 18th, 2006 04:44 AM

Sorry but a little confused, are you saying you want to go from BKK to Colombo and then on to Male and then from Male back to Colombo and then Singapore ?
Is there a reason for backtracking ?
Maybe I've had a long day but rather confused.

Let's look at this way, the airlines that operate those sectors are:

BKK-Colombo : Thai, Srilankan and Cathay Pacific

SIN-Colombo : Srilankan, Singapore Airlines and Emirates

CMB-Male : Srilankan and Emirates

On BKK-SIN you have multiple choice of around 20 flights per day including: Thai, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Swiss ( operates also for Scandianvian ), Turkish and Garuda.

Budget airlines on the route: Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, Tiger Airways

Note that for Star allaince BKK-SIN you now have a choice of Thai, Singapore Airlines or Swiss.

If you use Thai non-stop into BKK and also return with them 'from BKK you could just get a Srilankan fare BKK-CMB-MLE that allows you to stopover in Comlombo.

Then back in BKK just either use a Budget carrier for a BKK-SIN return but also check for cheap fares on good carriers, Swiss and Finnair have good fares too, Turkish is cheap also. USD 150-170 return region covers you well for a full service airline. Budget fares are very cheap if you book well in advance but note baggage limit is low and problems if you get delayed.

if you use Singapore Airlines into SIN then get a Srilankan fare again allowing stopover in Colombo, then get a cheap/budget flight SIN-BKK.

That will almost certainly work out better 'unless' Sri lankan could offer a good deal SIN-CMB-MLE-CMB-BKK or vice versa.

I will dig out the email for Seatours BKK who are very good and reliable with fares ex BKK ( they are Amex agent ), for ex Singapore is MISR Travel in Singapore who are good.

As Tracy said also look at the Srilankan website to see if they have any promotions.

If it's a BKK or SIN situation then Srilankan return to male via CMB seems your easiest bet.

JamesA Apr 18th, 2006 04:49 AM

Here is email for Eddie at Seatours BKK, I am not going to put as it 'normaly' is as Foders now creates a 'link' and that can get spammed

replace XX with @ and then add .com after seatours


Tell him you want a cheap deal on Srilankan to CMB and Male and that he has been suggested by others on Fodors, he must be used to it by now! Although they are the Amex agent they are great for cheap deals and I have used them for something well over 10 years now.

Ericka Apr 18th, 2006 06:52 AM

JamesA - you understand me correctly! The reason for the backtracking with my original itinerary is that this is an award trip from JFK - CMB. It's the only option they will give me. The nice thing, is that it is all Biz class but it wastes a lot of time. :-)

Your suggestions are exactly what I was looking for. I've been doing some searching myself but have been coming up empty for better options. To top it off, the Sri Lankan website keeps throwing errors.

I believe that I will contact your agent! Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!

The last thing that occurs to me is that perhaps I could do the award trip open jaw - arrive CMB but leave out of BKK to avoid some of the backtracking. I'll look into that.

Kathie Apr 18th, 2006 07:21 AM

Good luck, Erica! I've also used Eddie at SeaTours. He was excellent! In fact, I need to contact him about some tickets for November.

cruisinred Apr 18th, 2006 07:25 AM

Hi Ericka-

You have probably already noticed this, but something else to keep in mind when looking at flights to MLE from Colombo or SIN is that most of them get in very late at late to have a seaplane transfer to your resort. This forces an overnight in Male, unless you spend the first night or 2 at a resort close to Male that has late night speedboat transfers.

JamesA Apr 18th, 2006 08:37 AM

That's a very good point cruiseinred, I have never figured out how that workds as so many of them including the popular SQ flights arrive in the dead of night! Do the boats go at night or do you hang around until morning?

Ericka: Which airline system are you getting the awards on as that helps if you are trying to do an open-jaw.

JamesA Apr 18th, 2006 08:45 AM

Sorry just noted it's Star. If you can get Thai into BKK and then just do a local add-on with Srilankan sounds the way to go. But 'all' those flights land Male around 1 am.

Ericka Apr 18th, 2006 08:59 AM

Yes on the probable overnight in Male - but it looks like there is a decent hotel just 5 minutes walk from the airport. Hulhule. Looks suitable for a few hours sleep. Anyone been there?

Yes on the Star Alliance award. We have the TG JFK-BKK on hold. For the inter-Asia travel, we'll be weighing all of the options (paid/coach/nonstop versus award/SQ Raffles/awkward stops) and let you know our final itinerary.

More soon! I need to have the award part of this trip nailed down by Thursday. ;;)

Ericka Apr 21st, 2006 07:27 AM

For those who helped me scout flights for this itinerary, here is what we finally decided.

We have ticketed the original award itineray of JFK-CMB and will purchase the flights from CMB to MLE. The itinerary is as follows:

Thai JFK-BKK biz award
Singapore BKK-SIN biz award
Singapore SIN-CMB biz award
(3 days Sri Lanka)
Sri Lankan CMB-MLE rev coach
(8 days Maldives)
Sri Lankan MLE-CMB rev coach
Singapore CMB-SIN biz award
Singapore SIN-BKK biz award
(1 day in Bangkok)
Thai BKK-JFK biz award

Yes, the routing and backtracking are a bit painful. But after (A) doing a lot of my own research based on all of your suggestions and (B) consulting with Seatours, our other scenarios were going to eliminate 1 or 2 flights but the timing of those flights was the same as our award itinerary. In the end, we would have to pay more cash out of pocket to fly coach, not get to use the lounges, and have to do more of our own luggage transfers involving multiple airlines. And for all of this, we wouldn't gain even an additional half day of vacation.

Conclusion: flights into and out of the Maldives and Sri Lanka are very limited whether you are working with award travel or purchasing them with cash. ;;)

Thanks again for all of the suggestions. We're very excited about our trip and will post a trip report next year!

TracyB Apr 21st, 2006 07:42 AM

That's great..So where are you staying in the Maldives, i am just curious?

Ericka Apr 21st, 2006 08:11 AM

Amangalla - 3 or 4 nights

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru (opening November) - 4 nights
Four Seasons Island Explorer - 4 nights

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