BANGKOK, 30 August 2021: Thailand’s
domestic airlines are attempting to resume services starting 1 September, but
passengers should be wary they may face strict quarantine rules at their
All six domestic airlines operating in
Thailand have indicated they will resume “some services” from Bangkok
starting this week, but details of the routes are sketchy, and airlines are
pointing to their refund and rebooking policies which will intensify passenger
concerns that flight schedules could be erratic.
Bangkok Airways offered the most precise indicators by confirming the exact destinations it intends to reinstate at the weekend.
It identified five routes. They are Bangkok – Samui, Bangkok – Chiang Mai, Bangkok – Phuket, Bangkok – Sukhothai and Bangkok – Lampang.
Initial flight schedules for the five routes are:
1. Bangkok – Samui (v.v.) 3 flights daily;
2. Bangkok – Chiang Mai (v.v.) five flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday);
3. Bangkok – Phuket (v.v.) five flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday);
4. Bangkok – Lampang (v.v.) four flights per week (Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday), starting from 9 September 2021 onwards;
5. Bangkok – Sukhothai (v.v.) three flights per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), starting from 16 September 2021 onwards.
PG supports the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus with the following services:
Bangkok – Samui (v.v.) (sealed-route flights) which accommodate transit/transfer international passengers, connecting from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) to Samui island (two flights per day);
Samui – Singapore (v.v.), three flights per week (Monday, Thursday and Sunday);
Samui – Phuket (v.v.) five flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
THAI Smile Airways announced on its Facebook page at the weekend that it will reintroduce some domestic flights from Bangkok and plans to “be back to normal services” again on 1 September but “under strict epidemic control measures”, which makes the services anything but normal.
It also underscores its flight cancellation
policies regarding flight date change of route rules, which is not very
reassuring for passengers. Many of them are already out of pocket for not
securing refunds from the country’s domestic airline since the Covid-19
pandemic struck in March 2020.
Vietjet confirmed on its Facebook page last week a special promotion with one-way fares as low as TH499 on cross-country routes that will resume in September and October.
Cross-country routes due to start soon: Phuket – Chiang Rai / Chiang Mai / Udon Thani and Hat Yai – Chiang Rai.
Direct flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport will launch in September or October to Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai / Phuket / Krabi / Hat Yai / Nakhon Si Thammarat / Surat Thani / Udon Thani / KhonKaen / Ubon Ratchathani.
For the Phuket – Chiang Mai route, flights should start from 15 September and on the route Phuket to Udon Thani from 10 November.
From Phuket to Chiang Rai and Chiang Rai to Hat Yai, flights should resume on 1 October.
In addition, Vietjet is advertising the
resumption of some international routes such as Bangkok – Taipei commencing 20
October; Bangkok – Singapore and Phuket – Singapore from 21 October.
Nok Air promises, according to its Facebook posts to return to its Bangkok home base at Don Mueang airport on 1 September, offering flights from the Thai capital to specified destinations up to 7 September in addition to the services routed through its temporary flight hub at U-Tapao on the eastern seaboard just south of Pattaya.
But again, its Facebook and website updates fail to identify the domestic destinations it will serve from Bangkok.* However, it is very clear what passengers can expect regarding rebooking and refunds if the flight fails to materialise.
*Late Sunday the airline posted an update on its Facebook page indicating it would resume services to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Nan, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Buriram, Sakon Nakhon, Phitsanulok, Mae Sot, Ranong, Chumphon, Phuket, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Hat Yai. The list appeared to be its entire network of destinations when the airline was operating maximum domestic services in 2019.
Air Asia Thailand will return to the skies, starting with domestic flights on 3 September 2021. The reinstatement of flights by AirAsia Thailand will kickstart with 11 domestic routes from Don Mueang Airport to Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chiang Rai, KhonKaen, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Panom, Roi Et and Narathiwat.
The airline is offering a 30% discount on all seats for all flights, including weekends and public holidays, to celebrate the restart. The booking window closes on 5 September for travel from 3 September to 31 December 2021.
Check the travel rules
All airlines flying domestic routes must comply with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand conditions and the specified travel measures at the destination provinces.
It could require passengers to present documents to prove they are fully vaccinated and have documents showing a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test result or negative Antigen Test Kit (ATK) result. Some provinces accept a document certifying a passenger has naturally recovered from the infection within the last 90 days. Quarantine or self-isolation may also apply at the destination.