BANGKOK, 26 April 2018: Planning a trip to Yangon for a short break appears to be simple enough if all you want is the cheapest fare for the one-hour 25-minute journey with no thrills, not even a check-in bag allowance.
There are scores of online booking sites that deliver point-to-point options and some even claiming to be one-stop shops.
We checked out Expedia for a trip to Yangon 15 to 22 May. Quotes are for roundtrip fares. Expedia grades the travel experience by each airline on a scale of one to 10 for flight duration, aircraft used and amenities.
Just for the record the roundabout routing via Chiang Mai on Bangkok Airways is rated 4.5 out of 10. That’s the lowest for very good reasons. The routing with a stop in Chiang Mai for two hours and 20 minutes and the switch from the roomy A320 to a space starved ATR72 dooms this offer as does the roundtrip price at a ridiculous THB 7,510.
At a score of 8.5 out of 10, Thai Airways International has the best rating for its evening flight (1750) using the very roomy A330 and including amenities such as an evening meal and a handsome bag allowance. The roundtrip fare starts at THB 6,750.
At the other end of the fare scale, with a rating of 7.1, Thai AirAsia will get you to Yangon on its evening flight for a roundtrip fare of THB 2,208. But there’s not a single perk to be seen for that price. There’s no seat allocation, no food nor drinks, no baggage allowance. You will have to dig into your pocket for a snack, and that will set you back by THB 300 if you opt for a fast-food burger at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport.
Nok Air is in the bare-bones class too, with its roundtrip THB 2,190 fare for exactly the same reasons. It is rated 7.4.
Thai Lion Air, using a Boeing 737, sells its best roundtrip fare at THB 3,490 on its evening departure from Don Mueang Airport.
Myanmar Airways International has a higher score of 8.1 for its 2020 departure from Bangkok using a Boeing 737. The flight time is exactly one hour the shortest available. The fare is THB 4,370.
Thai Smile offers a mid-day departure from Suvarnabhumi Airport with a roundtrip fare of THB5,270. The flight time is one hour and 25 minutes and its rating 7.4 out of 10.
Finally, Bangkok Airways’ most sensible option is its direct service departing at 1645 quoting a roundtrip fare of THB 5,920. This option gets a 7.4 rating.
Not much difference between the ratings with the lowest at 7.1 and the highest at 8.5.
The downside is you have to repeat the entire browsing process all over again to book hotels, airport transfers and sightseeing. If you want to book a tour around Yangon or beyond, you face a complete disconnect. Back to sending emails to a travel agent wasting time when you want to conclude the entire holiday booking in one simple session with darting from website to the next.
You will discover that even the travel companies that claim to have an online presence with bookable content on their website have mostly invested in a static showcase for viewing only. Purchases are not possible you have to be customised.