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Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

Chicago
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Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

I will be traveling between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Siem Reap and Bangkok and Phuket, and I think these are my main choices for air travel.

All of my flights will be short trips - roughly one hour each. I will be traveling with both a backpack and a larger suitcase (20 kg/45 pounds). I'm not so concerned with maximum comfort and luxuries since these will all be short haul flights, but I don't want to be uncomfortable.

And I would like to be able to distinguish between these airlines as best possible. I'm Star Alliance silver which I believe would entitle me to free luggage on Thai Airways but I have yet to confirm this. I'm not sure if there are other extras on these airlines (such as luggage), or if people perceive one to be far better or worse than another, but I would appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Buckinghamshire...
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1. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

I think Bangkok Airways are the only airline which do the BKK - Siem Reap leg. I haven't found many others if any.

Thai IMO is probably the best. But as they are all short flights, I personally wouldn't be bothered on any of them.

Recently I've booked with Air Asia and Bangkok Airways. Travelled with Thai about 6 years ago no probs, but then it was ages ago. Same with Bangkok Air.

One thing to remember on Air Asia their flights seem cheap but you have to pay for baggage etc. I think we paid around £12 for 20kgs. But the flight overall was still the cheapest at the time. When I looked at Bangkok airways their luggage was at no extra charge, but I seem to recall limit of 20kgs was the standard.

Plymouth, United...
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2. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

I used Airasia last year, firstly from Stansted-KL LCCT, then from LCCT to Krabi. To be honest the LCCT leg was fine however i think it speaks volumes when i say that next years holiday to Krabi is via BKK with Quantas.This despite the fact that Quantas were a good deal more expensive. I also checked out the price to fly from BKK to Krabi, and to be honest after all the hidden charges that Airasia have i chose to pay just a little extra and fly Thai.

It is obviously all a matter of personal preference but i wouldn't touch Airasia with a barge pole, i put them alongside Ryanair-the highlighted price looks good but by the time you come to pay the price is nothing like what you originally thought, and the quality of service? What service?!

wigan
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3. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

I have used all of these airlines and will be using Air Asia again next month - bangkok-phnom penh. The cheapest airline gets my vote. I couldn't care less about service as you will be preparing to land after flicking through the airline magazine! Long hall flights are a different story...

lewes uk
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4. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

Hi,

If you're silver with star alliance, you get an additional 10kg luggage on top of the 20kg you get with the ticket price on Thai Airways. If you join Bangkok Airways ffp which is free, you will also get an additional 10kg on top their 20kg allowance. With Air Asia you have to pay for baggage in addition to the basic ticket price.

The only airline flying BKK-REP is Bangkok Airways so you will have to use them on that leg, unless you decide to save money by using Air Asia to Phnom Penh and then the bus up to Siem Reap. You could look at buying a Bangkok Airways "discovery pass" which offers discounts on multi leg itineraries, that way you could use BA for all the sectors you are flying. The details are on their web site.

I also prefer Thai, but all three are perfectly ok, the onboard service with Bangkok Airways is a little better imo.

cheers

Bedfordshire
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5. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

How big is your backpack and do you plan to take it as hand luggage? If so you need to be aware that bangkok airways has a restriction on the size of cases and bags that can be taken on board as hand luggage and its nowhere near as big as the big backpacks that most travellors use. You might need to check the hand luggae dimensions out on their website. Also, if you plan to check the suitcase and backpack into the hold, many airlines now have a 1 piece limit for checked baggage, so might be worth checking all 3 out for restrictions.

I've flown both Thai and Bangkok airlines for short haul and I prefer bangkok airways but both are good airlines. My experience is that Bangkok Airways are slighly cheaper than Thai and they have two lounges in Bangkok - one for economy and one for club class. In economy they serve nibbles, tea coffee and soft drinks. For economy class that's a bonus as its somehwere quiet and comfortable to sit and wait for the flight.

Bangkok
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6. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

Hi,

Couple different ways to analyze this:

Cost:

I think that for the most part this will be a mathematical equation.. With Bangkok Airways (PG), and Thai Airways (TG) you get a free basic checked baggage allowance-- and it can be supplemented by FFP affiliation.. By contrast, Air Asia (FD/AK) requires payment for *all* checked baggage regardless of ticket type or passenger profile...

So, just on the cost side alone, this will be determined by the math.. Is the TG and/or PG tickets equal to or no more in price to that which FD/AK is offering even when *including* the costs for your bags?

Service/Amenities:

There is some difference here.. As example, TG and PG run departure lounges for departing passengers. If you want or need to use these lounge services, then you'll need to stay with TG/PG as FD/AK does not have these options. TG allows you the ability to select seats, PG can accept fee-free requests and FD/AK charges for advance assignment.

In-Flight: Both TG and PG do provide for free basic drink and/or snack service depending on time of day and route.. Everything served on FD/AK is charged separately. None of the carriers really run any form of in-flight entertainment, so that aspect is equal among the carriers.

Mileage Accrual:

Since your a silver member with a Star Alliance carrier you are most likely eligible to accrue miles for your travel on TG (some tickets are disqualified from mileage accrual). There is no mileage or point accrual for AK/FD tickets..

In the end, I think you need to measure how important or not are these travel aspects to you.. and will you have the need to use them..

It's my own persona opinion that for a flight of such short duration, the ground services and on-board aspect is really nominal..i think a fair portion of your consideration will be the baggage aspect, as there is a clear cost component to it.

Travel Safe,

Chicago
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7. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

Thank you all for the advice. The least expensive tickets appear to be on Air Asia except that with the Discovery Airpass on Bangkok Airways, BA might be cheaper. And since we will be traveling 6 segments, the Airpass would be useful. Mileage accrual will not be a big deal for me since these are all short hauls.

So my next question is whether I should wait. That is, is is possible that fares could get cheaper? We're traveling late December to mid-January so I also want to ensure that seats do not sell out. And are there typically any inexpensive upgrades on either Air Asia or Bangkok Airways that I should be investigating? Thanks again.

Bangkok
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8. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

Hi,

Given that you're traveling right in the middle of the overall 'peak' period, I'd be more inclined to buy now versus waiting.. to a point, most people who have planned vacations here have *probably* booked already, but again, this is peak period so booking levels will be naturally high..

it's my own opinion that if you're holding out for a cheaper fare, that you're going to be disappointed.. Given that the loads are historically high during that time, I see no reason why the airline would be inclined to run a fare sale during this period... again, stranger things have happened, but I don't think the overall odds are in your favor by waiting..

Travel Safe,

Chicago
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9. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

And I believe it makes sense not to wait, particularly since we have finalized our travel plans and booked our hotels. Assuming we can travel on the preferred dates/times, we'll purchase the Discovery Airpass and travel on Bangkok Airways. And I signed up for their frequent flyer program to take advantage of the luggage issue. Thanks again everyone for the very valuable information.

Maui, Hawaii
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10. Re: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways

Air Asia ony allows 7 kilo carry on (VERY STRICT) and charges luggage by weight and can get relatively costly, I am star alliance gold and would go Thai. But double check their bag policy

Edited: 06 November 2010, 05:01