Getting Around Thailand By Air
Air Travel in Thailand
Getting Around Thailand by Air
Getting around Thailand by air is fast & inexpensive. You can fly anywhere in less than 2 hours & Thailand domestic airlines serve over 20 destinations. Air travel in Thailand can be as cheap or cheaper than the bus or train making domestic flights in Thailand good value. If you’re leaving Bangkok by air to other destinations in the region or domestically there are several airlines to choose from. The competition ensures competitive fares are common on popular routes. The cheapest flights in Thailand are usually offered by Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air & Thai Vietjet Air. Most budget airlines in Thailand depart from Don Mueang Airport which is Bangkok’s Low-Cost Carrier hub. Thai Airways, Thai Smile, Thai Vietjet Air & Bangkok Airways depart from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Thailand domestic airlines also fly International routes to other countries in Asia & beyond.
Air Travel Within Thailand
Domestic flights in Thailand fly directly to over 25 destinations from Bangkok. Another 25 destinations are available as fly and ride packages with onward travel from the nearest airport by bus and/or ferry. There are also direct connections between regional Thai cities such as Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and Hat Yai. No destination airport in Thailand is more than a 75-minute flight from Bangkok.
How much are internal flights in Thailand?
Fares are good value mostly costing from 1000-1500 baht one-way outside of national holiday periods and as low as 400 baht during promotions. The exception is flights to Samui as Bangkok Airways & Thai Airways have a monopoly on this route (they own Samui airport) so prices are not cheap. The cheapest fares are usually to be found on Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air & Thai Vietjet Air.
Thai Smile is slightly more expensive while Bangkok Airways positions itself as a “boutique” airline and has similar fares to Thai Smile. Thai Airways are a full-service airline and are the most expensive airline to fly with domestically. To get the best fares you need to book in advance, the further in advance the cheaper it is. Fares go up as the plane fills up. Thailand’s domestic airlines do not offer last-minute discounts. Watch out for sales & promotions which is when you get the best deals.
Cheap flights from Thailand
Internationally there are direct flights from Bangkok to nearly all Asian destinations. Some International flights also leave from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hat Yai, Hua Hin, and Krabi.
Thailand Domestic Airlines
Air Asia Thailand
Air Asia Thailand has an extensive network of domestic flights to 21 destinations in Thailand. There are also joint fly-bus & fly-ferry tickets to even more destinations. There are also international Air Asia flights to most countries in Asia & beyond including Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, and Nepal. Some routes are direct and some go via their hub in Kuala Lumpur. Flights depart exclusively from Don Mueang Airport.
Air Asia Thailand – Fares & Fees
Air Asia usually has the lowest base fares with flights from as little as 400 baht, though they sting you with extra charges for checked luggage. Some low-cost operators include this in the ticket price. Book your luggage in advance online as the charges are excessive at the airport. Checked luggage charges are 405 baht for 20k up to 1100 baht for 40k. Hand luggage is 7k. Seat selection costs 80 baht & pre-booked meals start at 120 baht. If you pay by debit/credit card there is a 128 baht processing fee. The processing fee for counter payments is 80 baht.
Air Asia Thailand Booking
You can reserve Thai Air Asia flights online and then pay for them later. You have to pay within 24 hours of making the booking. If you book an Air Asia flight within 24 hours of departure or if the flight is almost full you may have only a few hours to visit a convenience store to pay. This can be done at branches of 7-11, Family Mart, Tesco Lotus convenience stores, or Post Office Counters. You can also book Air Asia Thailand flights over the counter at most 7-11 branches. Air Asia Thailand has ticket counters at Don Mueang Airport at the departure level in both terminals.
Nok Air is Air Asia’s main competitor domestically with a similarly extensive network flying directly to 21 destinations. There are also fly & ride services to other places near the destination city. These bus or van services are only included in full price tickets. If you are traveling on a promo fare you must book & pay separately. They can cost up to 300 baht extra. There is also a Fly & Ferry service covering 16 islands.
Nok Air Luggage Fee
Fares on Nok Air are usually slightly more expensive than Air Asia but includes 20kg checked luggage on domestic flights and 30kg on International flights. This does not apply to promo (Nok Lite) tickets. Checked luggage costs from 350 for 15k to 1500 baht for 40k. You also get a free bottle of water. Internationally Nok Air flies to Australia, China, India, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Some International flights are code-share with their partner Nok Scoot. Nok Air flies exclusively from Don Mueang Airport.
Nok Air Booking
You can reserve flights online and then pay for them later. You have to pay within 24 hours of making the booking. If you book a flight within 24 hours of departure or if the flight is almost full you may have only a few hours to visit a convenience store to pay. This can be done at branches of 7-11, Family Mart, Tesco Lotus convenience stores, or Post Office Counters. You can also book Nok Air flights over the counter at most 7-11 branches. Nok Air has ticket counters at Don Mueang Airport at departure level in both terminals.
Thai Lion Air
Thai Lion Air operates domestic flights in Thailand to 12 destinations and Internationally to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Taiwan & Vietnam. Domestic destinations on Thai Lion Air are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattaya, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Surat Thani, Trang, Ubon Ratchathani & Udon Thani.
Thai Lion Air Baggage
Checked baggage is free depending on the route & class of travel. Domestic flights on Thai Lion Air include 10kg free checked luggage and 20kg on International flights & up to 30kg on the Yangon route. Hand luggage is 7kg. Thai Lion Air operates exclusively from Don Mueang Airport.
Thai Lion Air Booking
Tickets are available online or at the ticket offices on the departure levels of terminals 1 and 2. You can make an online reservation and pay for your ticket in cash at branches of 7-11 and Family Mart, Tesco Lotus or at Post Office counters.
Thai Smile Thailand
The budget Thai Smile Air is a low-cost airline flying both domestic and International routes exclusively from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thai Smile destinations are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Narathiwat, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ubon Ratchathani & Udon Thani. Internationally, Thai Smile flies to Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia & Myanmar. Thai Smile fares are usually more expensive than the other low-cost airlines but cheaper than flying with Thai Airways. Fares usually start at 1100 baht. Checked baggage, meals, and seat selection are included. Checked baggage allowance is 20k domestic, 30k international. Tickets are available online or at the ticket office on the departure levels of both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
Bangkok Airways Thailand
Bangkok Airways labels itself as a boutique airline and provides a high level of personal service. Destinations in Thailand are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, Sukhothai & Trat. Bangkok Airways are the only airline flying directly to Sukhothai, and Trat. They also fly to Samui along with Thai Airlines. Bangkok Airways offer international flights to Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Laos, Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Fares are higher than the low-cost airlines but lower than major carriers. There are no extra charges for checked luggage (20k), meals, and seat selection. Note that hand luggage is only 5k. Bangkok Airways have free Boutique lounges with free snacks & refreshments. Fares for air travel within Thailand start at around 1300 baht except for Samui which starts at 2850 baht. All flights depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport. You can buy tickets online (no debit/credit card fee) or at the ticket office at Suvarnabhumi on the 6th floor. Online bookings can also be paid for in cash at branches of 7-11, Family Mart, Post Office counters, Tesco Lotus and Big C. The counter fee is 30 baht.
Thai Airways is Thailand’s national carrier and operates flights from Bangkok to many destinations worldwide. Domestically the network is limited with other destinations operated by their lower-cost subsidiary Thai Smile. Domestic destinations are Chiang Mai, Samui, Krabi, & Phuket. Fares are more expensive than the low-cost carriers but include the usual major airline level of service. 30k checked luggage, 7k carry on, meals & seat selection included.
Thai often have Promotional fares for air travel within Thailand especially Chiang Mai & Phuket for as little as 1200 baht while flights to Samui are 5200 baht. Domestic flights in Thailand only leave from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thai, is the only airline apart from Bangkok Airways that offer flights directly to Samui. Tickets are available online or at the ticket office on the departures level at Suvarnabhumi airport. Online bookings can be paid for in cash at branches of Family Mart, Tesco Lotus, Big C and Post Office counters.
Thai Vietjet Air
Thai Vietjet Air is a Vietnamese budget airline that also operates in Thailand. Vietjet flies internationally from Bangkok to the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang, (for Hoi An) and Dalat. They also fly to Taichung in Taiwan. Domestic flights in Thailand serve Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Krabi, and Phuket. There is an extra charge for checked baggage starting at 235 baht for 15k up to 1000 baht for 40k. 7k hand luggage is free. Meals & seat selection is not included. All Vietjet flights depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Tickets are available online or at the customer service counter at the check-in desks at the airport. The online debit/credit card payment fee is 82 baht. Thai Vietjet Air is often cheaper than the other low-cost carriers. If booking Vietjet we suggest you book through 12go as the online Vietjet booking system is in Vietnam rather than Thailand.
International Budget Airlines
Nok Scoot has low-cost International services to and from Bangkok. They depart from both Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Tiger Air, Malindo Air & Cebu Pacific all fly from Don Mueang. Jetstar flies exclusively from Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Thai Domestic Flight Search
You can search, compare prices, schedules and make reservations for air travel within Thailand and international budget airline flights at 12go. As well as Air travel in Thailand you can make bookings for internal & International flights in/between Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Philippines, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong, Australia & New Zealand.