Fares that take you further

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under TAKEABREAK, Thailand

UDON THANI, 9 August 2017: Low cost airline, Thai Lion Air, betters its competitors on the Bangkok-Udon Thani route offering the lowest roundtrip fares starting at USD38.

A check of roundtrip fares during September for flights to Udon Thani, a gateway city in upper Northeast Thailand, indicates Thai Lion Air is a good deal cheaper than other local competitors.

Udon is a popular destination for international travellers, who intend to visit Laos. The domestic fare to Udon is considerably cheaper than the fare on the international route Bangkok-Vientiane.

Udon is around 60 km from the Mekong River border with Laos and Vientiane is a 20 km taxi transfer beyond the river’s bridge. The saving on the airfare is irresistible for the budget traveller, plus the commuter van transfer to Nong Khai, on the banks of the Mekog River, gives them an opportunity to spend a night at one of the guest houses next to the town’s riverside boulevard noted for its food stalls, restaurants and market.

Both the upper Northeast and Laos stand to gain from low-cost flights to Udon Thani. If there are more direct flights from beach destinations in South Thailand it will encourage travellers to extend their stay in Thailand and take a trip to the Northeast and then travel further north overland to Luang Prabang in Laos.

Or they could visit Vientiane the capital of Laos and after a two-day stay fly on Lao Airlines to Luang Prabang. From Luang Prabang travellers can fly direct to Bangkok, or Singapore, to connect with international flights home.

Bangkok (DMK) to Udon

Using Boeing 737-900, Thai Lion Air operates three daily flights on Monday, Friday and Sunday, four daily on Wednesday and Saturday and five daily on Tuesday and Thursday. That gives the airline 27 flights a week on the Bangkok-Udon route. The flight time is one hour and five minutes. The airline inclusive roundtrip fares start at USD38 with a 15 kg baggage allowance and seat selection.

Thai AirAsia competes on the route using an Airbus A320 offering 56 flights a week with an inclusive roundtrip fare stating at USD41. It includes 7 kg carry-on baggage, but no meal or seat selection. Once the baggage allowance of 15 kg, a meal and seat selection are added the fare rises to USD69. The airline operates eight daily flights on the route from Bangkok.

Using Boeing 737-800 Nok Air’s lead-in fare is USD49 with 7 kg carry-on baggage, a bottle of water onboard and seat selection. The fare increases to USD84 once you include 15 kg baggage. Nok Air operates five daily flights connecting the capital city to the northeast province.

Bangkok (SWB) to Udon

Departing Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai Smile offers an inclusive roundtrip fare of USD89 including a 20 kg baggage allowance and snack. The airline uses an Airbus A320 serving the route with five daily flights.

Fly from Pattaya

Udon’s fortunes in tourism took a turn for the better in 2015 when Thai AirAsia started a route out of Pattaya’s U-Tapao airport. It became the airline’s fifth hub and the first secondary airport to have a flight to Udon that was not routed through Bangkok. Currently, the airline offers two daily flights on the route. It serves passengers who are visiting relatives in the upper Northeast and travellers in Pattaya keen to extend their holiday northwards to Udon and Laos. In the same token, residents and tourists in Vientiane, Laos, can transfer by commuter van to Udon and take a nonstop cheap flight to Pattaya. It might not save time but it saves travel costs.

The carrier sells an inclusive roundtrip fare on the U-Tapao-Udon Thani route starting at USD35 including 7 kg carry-on baggage without a meal. To include baggage allowance 15 kg with meal and seat selection, the fare will increase to USD63.

Phuket link to Udon

In addition, Thai AirAsia offers a direct service to Udon from Phuket.

Thai AirAsia currently operates a daily flight on the route. FD3170 departs Phuket at 1545 and arrives in Udon Thani at 1740. The return flight, FD3171, departs Udon Thani at 1805 and arrives in Phuket at 1945.

The airline’s lead-in roundtrip fare on the Phuket – Udon Thani route is USD71 including 7 kg carry-on baggage but no  meal, or seat selection. Once you include the 15 kg baggage allowance, a meal and seat selection, the fare increases to USD101.

Hat Yai connection

Travellers from the southern Thai town of Hat Yai also can fly to Udon Thani on Thai Lion Air, which offers five weekly flights.

SL990 departs Hat Yai at 1305 and arrives in Udon Thani at 1515 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. SL992 departs Hat Yai at 1515 and arrives in Udon at 1725 on Tuesday and Sunday.

The return flight, SL991, departs Udon Thani at 1610 and arrives in Hat Yai at 1820 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The second return flight, SL993, departs Udon Thani at 1810 and arrives in Hat Yai at 2020 on Tuesday and Sunday.

Thai Lion Air’s inclusive roundtrip fare on the Hat Yai-Udon Thani route starts at USD87 with a 15 kg baggage allowance and seat selection included.

There are reports that Lion Air will start a direct service to Udon from either Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai in the near future.

(Source: Fare quotes via Skyscanner)

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