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nandgexperience Sep 13th, 2010 05:04 PM

Two flights in one day - tight connection?
Sorry to keep bombarding this board with questions, just one more about Thailand!
As all of you know, airasia is a budget carrier that does not do multi-city connections. We are flying into Bangkok from Hong Kong and have six days in Thailand - we would like to spend 3 days in Bangkok, 3 days in Krabi at Railay beach.

I thought that it might be best to fly into Bangkok, spend 2 nights in Bangkok, then fly to Krabi and spend 3 nights there, then back to Bangkok for one night before flying out the next day. This is a pretty hectic travel schedule, but one that guarantees you have the buffer to make all your flights.

I've been toying with the idea of flying directly to Krabi on the day we fly into Bangkok. There are two flights into Krabi on airasia the day we fly in, one at 1:50PM and another at 5:05. We are scheduled to land in Bangkok at 11:00 AM. Ostensibly we could make the 1:50 flight. Does anyone have any experience with going from one flight to another like this? I know we would have to wait to collect our luggage and then go through customs/security all over again.

The 5:05 flight would be safer, but we would be flying in, then taking a taxi to Ao Nang and then a longtail to Railay, so it would be very late once we finally got in.

rhkkmk Sep 13th, 2010 05:07 PM

i would go for the 5... the distances at the bkk airport are pretty far... the original plan looks good but you could do the same day, just go for the later flight...

nandgexperience Sep 13th, 2010 05:21 PM

Thanks rhkkmk. Would you say that's preferable to the 2 nights in Bangkok, 3 nights in Krabi and back to Bangkok plan?

Just hope it's not low tide when we get in if it's dark!

MichaelBKK Sep 13th, 2010 05:47 PM

FYI, to get to Railay from the airport - especially at night - you don't go to Ao Nang, you go to Nammao, which is closer to the airport. Boats from Nammao arrive at East Railay. No matter what the tide level is, assume you're getting your feet wet.

Cicerone Sep 13th, 2010 07:04 PM

I would take the 1:50 flight for several reasons. But the main reason is that to the best of my knowledge and recollection, passengers arriving from outside Thailand and connecting to a flight to Krabi <i>get to skip Baggage Claim and Immigration in Bangkok and will go through it in Krabi instead</i>. (This is also the case if you are flying to Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai or Hatyai). This saves a huge amount of time. Your baggage is automatically transferred. All you have to do is have a quick passport and security check and go to the departure gate. (If you don’t have a boarding pass for the onward flight to Krabi, you will also have to go to the transfer counter to get the boarding pass, again quite easy.) I believe this transfer procedure is still in place, see or confirm with your airline. If that procedure is in place, then 3 hours is way more than enough time to do this. Assuming it is, then I would take the 1:50 pm flight. Otherwise, you have a long time sitting around the airport.

Even if you have to go through baggage claim and Immigration in Bangkok, with 3 hours I think you should be able to do it fairly easily and with time to spare. But I can see where that might be cutting it a bit tight if there is a long line at Immigration going in or out and or a long line to check in for the Krabi flight.

If you do decide on the 1:50 flight, be sure to make sure that your originating airline checks your bags all the way to Krabi, and not just to Bangkok.

rhkkmk Sep 13th, 2010 07:18 PM

i would check that immigration thing out carefully... it does apply to some cities, but i do not think krabi is one of them...

i never like close connections in SEA, especially with air asia and international flights...

no, i think either scenario is fine, but for me just not the 1:30 flight... i hate to and will not rush through airports, plus air asia frequently has delays, especially with international flights... why put extra stress on yourself, leave that to ciccerone, who is very used to the ways of asia...

Kathie Sep 13th, 2010 07:31 PM

If Air Asia is the carrier in question, they do not transfer baggage from one flight to another - even their own flights... unless what Cicerone cites is some new humane policy they have implemented.

nandgexperience Sep 13th, 2010 08:02 PM

Unfortunately the airline I'm flying in on is different - it will be Cathay Pacific on the inbound, so I would definitely have to get my luggage and re-check it. The 5:00 flight would probably be safest, even if we had to sit around awhile. If I had only carry on luggage though I would probably take the risk and do the 1:50.

Michael, thanks for the tip. I hadn't come across ao nammao in my resarch - I'm assuming it's the same, just taxi to ao nammao and then longboat? East Railay is perfect - I'm planning on staying at the Sunrise Tropical.

Cicerone Sep 13th, 2010 08:15 PM

According to the website for Bangkok Airport, they DO still have this procedure for flights to Krabi, please refer to the link I sent. You will even see signs AT the airport for this, that direct Phuket/Krabi etc passengers to a different part of the airport than passengers going into Bangkok. This procedure is in place for Phuket, Krabi and other resort areas. This is to keep people bound for international airports in Thailand out of the mix of inbound tourists to Bangkok. It really will save you time.

The carrier to Krabi is not Air Asia, it is Thai or Bangkok Air depending on which flight the OP decides to take. The OP is taking Cathay from Hong Kong, who will transfer the bags.
The fact that you are flying two different airlines is irrelevant to whether bags will be transferred. Don't confuse partner airlines which the agrement virtually all airlines have with one another to transfer baggage. Many people do not understand this. Although Air Asia may not do it for some of their flights, they are in the <i>tiny</i> minority of airlines which do not have baggage transfer agreements. BA is another on some flights into the UK. Cathay is not, to the best of my knowledge and experience in flying transfer flights on Cathay dozens of times a year.

I would still advise on the 1:50 pm flight.

Kathie Sep 13th, 2010 08:15 PM

Why not use a full service carrier from Bangkok to Krabi? Then your luggage will be transferred, even though they are two different full service carriers. For me, it would be worth the extra money.

Smeagol Sep 13th, 2010 10:29 PM

I would go for the 1.50 also. I have done an Int flight into BKK and then had a flight on AA that night (in fact i have done it a few times - but i guess it does all depend on your first flight taking off on time) If you want to ensure you get through immigration qickly why not use Bangkok flight services, they are a company who fast track you through.

KimJapan Sep 14th, 2010 12:23 AM

Cicerone, I think you missed that the OP said the flights to Krabi were on a budget carrier, and said that it was Air Asia. Air Asia, as a budget carrier, does not offer any services beyond point to point carriage. Regardless of what airline you fly in on, if you connect to any Air Asia flight, you need to start the check in process from the beginning. Arriving in Bangkok from Hong Kong, the OP will need to go through immigration, claim luggage, clear customs, and get to the Air Asia check in counter at least 45 miinutes prior to scheduled departure time.

Also, arrival into Bangkok from another country and continuing onto another Thai destination is special if you are flying full service carriers and your bags are checked through. Last time we did this, from Siem Reap to Phuket on Bangkok Airways, it was immigration in Bangkok, and baggage claim and customs in Phuket. I don't believe this has changed in the past year.

It is possible to fly on Thai Air from HKG to Krabi for about HK$2500, connecting in Bangkok. HK$2300 gets you nonstop to Phuket, from where you could get ground transport to Krabi, though the overall time would probably end up the same and overall cost maybe more.

A viable option may well be Air Asia HKG to Phuket, as it is cheap at under HK$1000 every day I checked, though the flight arrives late at night. This might give the OP a bit of extra time, by leaving the night before the originally planned departure day. Arrange with your Krabi hotel for pickup in Phuket and pay the price for that for peace of mind for late arrival, and perhaps gain 1/2 to a whole day holiday. And no connection to worry about.

Cicerone Sep 14th, 2010 02:12 AM

To the best of my recollection from her other posts, the OP is flying into Bangkok from Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, not Air Asia. (I also can tell this is the case because Air Asia’s earliest flight into Bangkok from Hong Kong does not arrive until 12:40 pm. Cathay has a flight which arrives at 11 am, which is the time which the OP has indicated above that she will arrive in Bangkok.)

The OP is <i>connecting</i> to an Air Asia flight to Krabi. So it is CATHAY which will transfer her bags. They are a full service carrier. They will transfer her bags to the Air Asia flight.

KimJapan Sep 14th, 2010 02:42 AM

Cathay can't transfer the bags. Air Asia does not accept them. You must check in and check your bags for each and every flight with Air Asia.

Scotters Sep 14th, 2010 07:46 AM

Kim is absolutely right with her informatiom. Air asia does not accept checked through baggage. It is a discount point to point airline.

And to the best of my knowledge all passengers landing in Bangkok from an international flight and continuing onto a domestic o must go through immagration at a special check point. If the bags can be checked trough to the final destination they will be collected there in the international baggage clain section

Nice to see you post once in a while with always good data. information

nandgexperience Sep 14th, 2010 12:15 PM

Thanks everyone. I'll be flying from HK on Cathay, but this airasia flight is a completely separate booking - no connections. Unfortunately I've already booked HK to BKK so I won't be able to change that. I'd like to stick with airasia because a full service carrier is charging much more than air asia would for this flight.

I guess then the key is: will I be able to get through customs and immigration, get my bags, then re-check in for my air asia flight on time. Unfortunately the answer seems like: it depends.

If I do choose the later flight I think I will definitely arrange for transfers from Krabi through my hotel. It seems worth it to pay the extra for peace of mind when it's dark.

Kathie Sep 14th, 2010 12:46 PM

As you make this decision, consider your priorities.

Certainly, Air Asia is cheaper. But if you opt for Thai Air, what time could you get to Krabi? Compare the costs of Air Asia vs. Thai Air and of a hotel airport transfer vs. one you arrange yourself. Oftentimes, hotel airport transfers are so expensive that it would pay to opt for the full-service carrier.

How important is it for you to have some daylight that first day in Krabi?

If you book the earlier Air Asia flight, if you don't make that flight for any reason, you forfit what you paid and must buy a new (usually higher-priced) ticket. Are you willing to take that risk?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on what is important to you.

rhkkmk Sep 14th, 2010 12:49 PM

take the later flight... you are aware of the luggage restrictions on air asia i hopr??

KimJapan Sep 14th, 2010 01:44 PM

I'm seeing Air Asia BKK to Krabi pricing at between 1500 and 2000 baht per person in mid November. Thai air is pricing at 2850 baht. For an extra $35 - $50 per person I'd take Thai and connect to their 1:50 flight. You should have no trouble checking through on that and you would just have to go through immigration in BKK, which is super quick for transit passengers.

Were you to take the later Air Asia flight, you will have lost the entire day traveling. With the earlier flight you run the risk of misconnecting and being stuck buying a new ticket on the spot, wiping out any savings for taking a budget airline.

For about $100 you can have a quick and smooth journey without the risk og Air Asia. Seems worth it considering your very short time frame - why spend an entire day traveling when you don't really have to.

Also, you might check your Cathay Pacific ticket to see what the penalty is for changes and cancellation. It could be that the penalty is less than the savings you could get from flying Air Asia to Phuket, thereby getting to Krabi late at night but one night earlier, saving the whole day to enjoy Krabi rather than spending it getting there.

mcbg1 Sep 14th, 2010 03:53 PM

Maybe you could book a flight from HK to Phuket instead of Bangkok on Air Asia, it's much closer to Krabi...

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