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Air Travel (domestic)

Thailand - Air Travel (domestic)

Thailand has a number of options when it comes to domestic air travel. Low budget airlines are offering flights around the country and there are now several to choose from in addition to the standard airlines. The standard of domestic flights is excellent. All major airports can be reached from Bangkok at a fairly low cost and the cost of a domestic flight in Thailand is very reasonable when compared with train and bus journeys across the country, particularly considering the amount of time that a flight can save. Most airlines run special offers on a regular basis which mean that you can go from one airport to another without breaking the bank.

Thai Air is one of the main airlines offering domestic flights although they are not really a budget option. There are flights to all the domestic cities apart from Koh Samui. In addition to domestic flights they also offer international flights. The airline operates a frequent flyer scheme which is named Royal Orchid Plus. There are two classes of ticket on a domestic flight, these are known as economy and Royal Silk (the equivalent of Business class). Those who have a Royal Silk ticket will have wider seats and more space generally. All those who fly with the airline are entitled to a meal and a drink but what is served depends upon the time of the day and the length of the flight. The airline also provides magazines and newspapers for passengers to read during the flight and specific seats can be reserved.

One of the main low cost airlines operating in the region is Air Asia. This is actually a Malaysian airline but has a number of domestic flights in Thailand included in its schedule. This is the first airline in Asia to operate the e-ticket procedure and the flights are considered to be no frills. There are no extras such as snacks and drinks included in the cost and passengers are not able to reserve a specific seat as you simply get on board and find somewhere to sit, although if you are prepared to pay for express boarding you will get first choice of seat. Air Asia makes a separate charge for checked luggage. Air Asia often has ‘free flight’ sales. These are only on for a short time so passengers need to book quickly and it should be noted that taxes and other charges will still apply.

Nok Air has flights from Bangkok to several major airports in the country including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Udorn. This airline is part-owned by Thai Airlines. Domestic flights are available to all the major airports in the country from Bangkok. There are both business class and economy seats on most flights and seats can be reserved. If you have a seat in business class then extras are included in the cost of the ticket, with newspapers, snacks and drinks available. Bookings are available through the website but if you want to pay with cash you are able to reserve your ticket online and simply go to a participating 7-11 store to make the payment or an ATM machine.

Bangkok Airlines is also an international airline and which travels to Koh Samui from several of the country’s airports including Bangkok and Krabi. In addition there are flights from the capital to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Trat. Extras such as snacks, drinks and newspapers are included and passengers are permitted up to 20 kg of checked luggage with no charge. Specific seats can be reserved in advance.

In addition to these airlines there are smaller operators which deal mainly with routes that are less popular and off the beaten track. In the north these routes are served by PB Air and SGA Airlines. If you are in the south of the country, Destination Air operates out of Phuket. This is a seaplane service which takes passengers to other islands in the area and out of the way places. These services are particularly popular during peak season so reservations in advance are essential.

Useful Resources

Air Asia
Tel: +66 2515 9999

Bangkok Airways
Tel: +66 2265 5555

Nok Air
Tel: 1318 (within Thailand)
Tel: + 66 2900 9955

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