Fare bargains on Mekong routes
BANGKOK, 10 August 2012: Although Thailand’s gateway status to the Mekong region is under threat as Southeast Asian carriers add nonstop services, Bangkok still offers more frequencies and lower fares to connect to Mekong destinations.
There are four carriers operating on the Bangkok-Yangon route — Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Myanmar Airways International and Thai AirAsia, all with double daily services. Thai AirAsia will increase frequency to three daily departures in October.
THAI’s lowest fares are Bt8,055 for economy class and Bt15,717, business class under its 52nd Anniversary promotion, available for departure until 30 September. Bangkok Airways quotes Bt8,610, while MAI sells at around Bt7,800. Thai AirAsia sells Bt4,630 for its regular fare and is the only LCC on the route.
Thai AirAsia, this week, also announced it will start four weekly services to Mandalay from 4 October with fares from Bt6,190. For bookings made by 12 August, the one-way fare is Bt1,500 for travel until 31 December.
Air Bagan operates a twice weekly service between Chiang Mai and Yangon, quoting a fare of around Bt9,400.
Three carriers are now operating flights to the capital city, Vientiane — THAI, Lao Airlines (double daily each) and the new Lao private carrier, Lao Central Airlines (daily). It sells the cheapest fare at Bt2,400 for roundtrip travel.
THAI’s anniversary promotion quotes Bt8,055, economy class and Bt14,180, business class, while Lao Airlines sells at around Bt8,200.
To Luang Prabang, both Lao Airlines and Bangkok Airways operate daily flights selling at Bt10,340 and Bt10,100.
Lao Airlines also operates four weekly flights to Savannakhet and Pakse in central and southern Laos, quoting fares of Bt8,200 and Bt9,300. It links Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang daily quoting fares from Bt9,100.
Thai Airways International operates double daily services, while Bangkok Airways offers four flights daily and Thai AirAsia, daily. THAI’s fares start from Bt8,530, economy class and Bt16,190, business class. Bangkok Airways sells at Bt9,065 for economy and Bt17,675, business. The LCC’s fare is Bt6,270.
Bangkok Airways is the only carrier operating Bangkok-Siem Reap services with five daily flights at a round trip fare of Bt11,125.
Vietnam has the most options to major cities — Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Its flagship carrier, Vietnam Airlines, operates two flights daily to each city selling economy at Bt5,450 to Hanoi and Bt5,510 to HCMC, while business class sells at Bt16,850 and Bt16,110.
THAI has double daily services selling at Bt8,245 to Hanoi and Bt8,305 to HCMC. Its business fares start from Bt15,905 and Bt15,965 on these routes.
There are also European and Middle East carriers offering flights to Vietnam from Bangkok. Lufthansa flies to Ho Chi Minh City three times a week selling at Bt4,175. Its business class fares start at Bt12,735.
Turkish Airlines operates a daily flight to HCMC at Bt5,996, economy and Bt12,340, business.
Qatar Airways flies to both Hanoi and HCMC, daily. Its Hanoi fares start from Bt6,375, economy and Bt16,505, business. Its HCMC fares start from Bt5,485 and Bt15,330.
All fares are subject to availability and subject to change due to currency fluctuation.