Folly of following an email promotion

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Bangkok, 5 October 2018:  October is not the busiest month for Thai airlines in the run-up to the traditional peak season that gets underway in November.

But Bangkok Airways is making the most noise with its “Amazing October” promotion, that focuses on three destinations; Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi.

However it was just noise as the email blast details were out of sync with the airline’s website.

It posted an email newsletter 28 September to promote an offer running 1 to 31 October that clearly advertises a one-way fare pegged at THB890 before tax.

Bookings and the travel period are open until 31 October.

The email shot provides two direct links to book the promotional fare http://www.bangkokair.com/  and http://www.bangkokair.com/special-promotion.

It turns out the THB890 offer mysteriously disappears in cyberspace when you follow the links. It is in fact THB990 for a one-way fare and to be eligible for the deal a minimum of two people must travel together, which spoils it for solo travellers.

Confusion in the ranks of Bangkok Airways aside, the best offer no matter what links you follow will get you a THB1,300 fare to any of the three destinations plus THB100 tax. That’s a THB1,400  fare before you click on your favourite payment channel.

But does the “Amazing October promotional fare whatever it is (THB890, THB990 or the more likely THB1,400) really stack up?  We check them out on the popular fare comparison sites.

Predictably, Don Mueang-based Thai AirAsia swings in with one of the lowest one-way fare to Phuket at THB494, but that is the base fare without checked luggage. The fare increases by around THB350 when you add 15 kg of luggage.  A meal would cost THB120, but let’s face it we can survive without an inflight meal on a one-hour flight.  The fare floats at around THB850 including 15kg luggage for a trip mid-October.

From the same airport, Thai Lion Air quotes a one-way fare of THB620, which looks like the lowest deal as you can factor in 10 kg of free check-in luggage, fine for a long-weekend trip.

Nok Air sells a one-way fare for THB954, but it ditched its free 15 km baggage allowance last year so that the bottom line increases to around THB1,300.

Vietjet, famed for publicity stunts, comes good with a THB603 fare to Phuket out of its Suvarnarbhumi airport home, but it increases to around THB920 once you click on the 15 kg luggage box.

Thai Smile, also flying from Suvarnabhumi sells a Phuket fare for THB1,300 and includes 20 kg of free check-in luggage. It provides a snack, a bottle of water and plenty of leg-room, to make the journey more comfy than low-cost competitors.

Thai Airways International also flies the Bangkok-Phuket route mainly to serve its international connecting passengers.  It quotes a fare of THB1,350, including luggage and an inflight light meal.

PG’s one-way fare at THB1,400 is around THB50 cheaper than Thai Smile and Thai Airways International and they don’t demand two people travel together. If you like to fly light and cheap, minus check-in luggage, the choice is between Thai Lion and Thai AirAsia.

Bangkok-Krabi fares start a little higher than for Phuket.

Vietjet’s best fare is THB623 before you add a luggage fee.

You can count on Thai Lion to keep its fare low and it offers 10 Kg of free check-in luggage. On the Krabi flight the starting fare is THB669

ThaiAir Asia is slightly higher at THB707 and again you have to add THB350 if you need 15 kg of check-in luggage.

Nok Air’s lowest fare is THB755 before the add-on for luggage.

Bangkok Airways THB1,400 fare makes it more expensive than Thai Smile’s best offer of THB1,305.

One-way fares to Chiang Mai lead off with Vietjet at THB612 and Nok Air at THB930. On this route Thai Lion appears to have the best deal at THB973 with luggage included.

Thai AirAsia trails the price leaders with a THB1,130 offer with no check-in luggage. Once you add THB350 for 15 kg, the bottom line exceeds Thai Smile that offers a THB1,300 fare.

Again, Bangkok Airways’ THB1,400 fare per person fare is higher than Thai Smile.

I clicked on the email newsletter links repeatedly finally giving up. The airline’s THB890 or THB990 teaser does indeed tease too much.  (Checked the PG offer 1800, 4 October).

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