Includes Bangkok Airways luggage
Bangkok Airways - Everything about the airline from Thailand
Bangkok Airways from Thailand describes itself as Asia's boutique airline and the popularity among many Thailand holidaymakers is actually great. I have also flown several times with Bangkok Airways and was sometimes quite impressed.
This article is not about the services of the airline from Thailand, but rather about the history, the fleet and the possible flight routes. The airports, which Bangkok Airways owns and partly operates exclusively in Thailand, are to be examined more closely here.
Last but not least, I want to go into the safety of Bangkok Airways and the incidents with the airline. So here you get a complete portrait of Bangkok Airways from Thailand and you can decide for yourself whether the airline is something for you or not.
Note: Airguru does not want to badmouth Bangkok Airways and occasionally uses the airline's service itself. In this article, only carefully researched facts, free of any evaluation, have been compiled.
Bangkok Airways is a Thai airline that is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. The airline is headquartered in Bangkok and operates from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Koh Samui Airport.
The history of the airline can be traced back to 1968, when it was founded under the name Sahakol Air as an air taxi company under the contract of the US construction company OICC. The airline carried out its first scheduled flights in 1986 and then renamed itself Bangkok Airways in 1989.
In April of the same year, Bangkok Airways opened its own airport on Ko Samui, from which it offers direct flights to Phuket, Hong Kong, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi and Singapore. In 1996 it opened its second airport, Sukhothai. In March 2003, the third airport of its own was opened to traffic, Trat Airport near the island of Koh Chang, which will soon be an important tourist destination.
In 2000, the airline took over its first jet in the fleet with the Boeing 717-200. Previously, only Dash 8 and ATR propeller aircraft were used. Since 2004, the Bangkok Airways fleet has been replaced by used Airbus aircraft. Bangkok Airways bought old machines from other airlines or leased the aircraft. The Boeing 717 was gradually retired until only Airbus A319, A320 and ATR were in use.
Between 2004 and 2009 and 2011, Bangkok Airways won the Skytrax World Airline Award “Best Regional Airline” six times. In 2014, Bangkok Airways received the World Airline Awards "The World's Best Regional Airline 2014" and "Best Regional Airline in Asia 2014" from Skytrax.
Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited
founded in 1968 as Sahakol Air and renamed Bangkok Airways in 1986
- Headquarters: Bangkok, Thailand
- CEO: Dr. Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth
- President: Capt. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth
- Main airport: Suvarnabhumi International Airport
- Private airports: Samui Airport (1989), Sukhothai Airport (1996), Trat Airport (2003)
- IATA code / ICAO code: PG / BKP
- Fleet size: 39
- Frequent flyer program: FlyerBonus
- Domestic routes: 12
- International routes: 18
The Bangkok Airways fleet is certainly not the youngest in Southeast Asia and is one of the oldest of the airlines operating in Thailand.
Bangkok Airways primarily operates aircraft of the type Airbus A319 and A320Many of these aircraft are over 10-13 years old and have already served several previous owners. Some Airbus models come from Air Berlin's inventory and were withdrawn from there a decade ago. Many of the Airbus pilots at Bangkok Airways are clearly old. I have seen a worn interior and defective seats several times.
In addition to the Airbus models, propeller planes of the type ATR72 operated, which are mainly used at small airports and on ultra-short routes (e.g. HKT-USM).
Many of the ATR-72 (600 series) are already 15-17 years old! The average age of the ATR72 fleet could only be drastically reduced by many new orders.
The same applies to the overall age of the Bangkok Airways fleet. Had it not been for the new ATR72 models, the overall age of Bangkok Airways aircraft would be somewhere in the range of 13-15 years.
Bangkok Airways model airplanes
- 15 x Airbus A319s with an average age of approx. 12 years
- 9 x Airbus A320s with an average age of approx. 13 years
- 14 x ATR72 with an average age of around 8 years
The total age of the Bangkok Airways fleet is 10.6 years on average, what comes last in the comparison of the most important airlines operating for tourists in Thailand.
Almost all competitors have more modern and significantly younger aircraft fleets. Even Thai Airways, which operate a large long-haul fleet (these planes statistically have to serve longer), are below the average of Bangkok Airways.
Fleet age of competing airlines (as of 11/18)
- Thai Lion Air: 3.2 years
- Thai Smile: 4.8 years
- AirAsia: 5.2 years
- NOK Air: 5.5 years
- VietJet: 6.3 years
- Thai Airways (including long-haul fleet): 9.3 years
- Bangkok Airways: 10.6 years
As you can see, Bangkok Airways planes are a good two to three times as old, but the ticket prices are often a good 5-10 times more expensive than the competition ... Something doesn't fit together.
In general, Bangkok Airways plans to invest heavily in the fleet and to modernize it over the next few years. It would be desirable in any case!
Comment: In general, a higher fleet age doesn't have to mean something bad. With good maintenance, even 15-year-old aircraft are safe from a safety point of view. Often you can tell the age of the aircraft inside and in the end the comfort of the passengers suffers as a result.
All information about the age of the aircraft via Airfleets.net
Former Bangkok Airways fleet
Before the complete switch to Airbus and ATR, Bangkok Airways operated a fleet of Boeing 717, Bombardier Dash 8 and Fokker 70/100. All of these planes are out of service today.
Bangkok Airways maintains a dense network of flight routes in Thailand and also operates some flights throughout Asia. The focus of Bangkok Airways is clearly on the tourist routes, which are particularly frequented by tourists from Asia, but also from all over the world.
Especially the Holiday islands Koh Samui and Phuket are very popular with Bangkok Airways. These are served from Bangkok as well as from a number of large destinations such as Hong Kong. This opens up a simple connection to Thailand's interesting tourist destinations, especially for travelers in Southeast Asia.
Bangkok Airways destinations
- Koh Samui (exclusive)
- Has yai
- Stepped (exclusive)
- Sukothai (exclusive)
- Chiang Mai
- Chiang Rai
- Mae Hong Son
- Hong Kong
- Da Nang
- Siem Reap
- Phnom Penh
- Phu Quoc
- Kuala Lumpur
- Nay Pyi Taw
- Luang Prabang
You can query the current flight plan of Bangkok Airways individually and easily here ...
Bangkok Airways is an airline that operates overall three own airports operates. The most famous of these is likely to be the island's airport Koh Samui (USM).
But also in the up-and-coming tourist region Stepped Bangkok Airways operates an airfield that is regularly served by Bangkok Airways flights.
Close to the historical sites of Sukothai there is the third airport, which is owned by Bangkok Airways and is also served by Bangkok Airways several times a day.
- Koh Samui Airport (USM): Domestic flights Bangkok Airways Exclusive, otherwise 2 flights from Silk Air & Tibet Airlines from abroad
- Trat Airport (TDX): Bangkok Airways Exclusive
- Sukothai Airport (THS): Bangkok Airways Exclusive
But what does it actually mean when an airline operates its own airport? Basically, that first of all it can be determined who is going to the airport and who is not. In addition, you save the parking and landing fees for your aircraft and can actually operate more efficiently.
In the case of the airport on the popular holiday island of Koh Samui, Bangkok Airways takes full advantage of this situation. Where you can stay away from the competition, there is ultimately only one provider and that in turn means that you can set the prices as you like.
Until September 2018 at least Thai Airways operated regular flights on the Bangkok - Koh Samui route, so there was still an alternative. Unfortunately, the contract for airport use ended and was not continued.
A monopoly arose on all flights to and from Koh Samui, which is bad for you as a user and all other travelers ... More on that later in the article.
As a genuine boutique airlines, Bangkok Airways cannot fail to operate its own lounges at various airports in Thailand. The in-house lounges are also represented at the airports that belong to Bangkok Airways. I have put together a list of all Bangkok Airways airport lounges for you here.
- Boutique lounge (Bangkok Domestic & International, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Luang Prabang, Phnom Penh, Phuket (Domestic), Siem Reap
- Blue Ribbon Lounge (Bangkok Domestic & International, Chiang Mai Domestic, Chiang Rai, Phnom Penh, Samui Domestic & International, Siem Reap)
- Courtesy Corner (Chiang Rai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Samui Domestic & International, Sukhothai, Trat Domestic & International, Pattaya)
The courtesy corners are small areas in which guests of Bangkok Airways are served free drinks and small local snacks and not full-fledged airport lounges.
Bangkok Airways operates from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and flies from there to all destinations in Thailand as well as abroad.
The in-house island airport will serve as a further hub in the south of the country Koh Samui (USM) used, from which the second most flight connections in Thailand and the neighboring countries depart.
Above all, the airport on Koh Samui is strategically extremely important for Bangkok Airways, as all direct flights to the popular holiday island are handled here. With code-share agreements it has also been possible that the island airport can be selected directly when booking through many third-party airlines and served with a stopover in Bangkok.
As already mentioned, Bangkok Airways has established a broad network with codeshare partnerships, through which Koh Samui in particular can be booked and flown to internationally. All codeshare partners with whom you have a Part of the route with Bangkok Airways will be covered, here at a glance.
- Cathay Pacific
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- Japan Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Thai Airways
- EVA Air
- Philippine Airlines
- British Airways
- Oman Air
Many flights are also offered in flight search engines under the logo of other airlines and are then operated by Bangkok Airways.
In addition, with Bangkok Airways it is also possible to pass luggage through to the following partner airlines or to have boarding passes issued for the entire journey at check-in.
More info Through Check-In Bangkok Airways…
Bangkok Airways' safety statistics can be described as high. In its 50th anniversary, there have been two notable incidents. That makes 0.04 incidents a year, which is pretty small.
Unfortunately, people died in both incidents with Bangkok Airways. Thus, these can be described as serious and reduce the safety index of Bangkok Airways.
Bangkok Airways Accident 1990 - DHC-8-100 - Flight 125
On November 21, 1990, a Bombardier DHC-8-100 on Bangkok Airways Flight 125 from Bangkok to Ko Samui crashed into a coconut plantation shortly before landing. The bug is due to confused pilots. These had been misled by a failed attempt to land, which had been caused by a prevailing storm. All 38 occupants, including 33 passengers, lost their lives.
Bangkok Airways Accident 2009 - ATR72 - Flight 266
On August 4, 2009, an ATR 72-500 on Bangkok Airways Flight 266 with 68 passengers and four crew members on board came from Krabi when landing on Ko Samui from the runway and hit a disused control tower. The captain was killed, the copilot and six passengers suffered serious injuries. Heavy rain showers and a storm prevailed here too.
In both incidents, bad weather played a role, but not a technical defect. Basically, however, both accidents can be traced back to pilot errors or misjudgments by the pilots. The flight captain should always head for an alternate airport in unsafe weather conditions instead of landing on Ververben.
Bangkok Airways Safety Index
According to the website AirlineRatings.com, Bangkok Airways achieved a safety index of 4 out of 7 in November 2018. Bangkok Airways is licensed to fly in European airspace and has been IOSA certified since 2017.
In comparison with all major airlines operating in Thailand, Bangkok Airways still only does that third from last place. This is due to the fact that Bangkok Airways was the only airline to record personal losses in the last 10 years and also that FAA and ICAO audits are missing.
Business at Bangkok Airways is going well, even if there was a decrease in profit compared to the previous year. A near bankruptcy and thus the loss of flight tickets is definitely not to be expected. The biggest problem at the moment is modernizing the fleet. Allegedly, the Airbus A319 / A320 fleet is said to be thirsty for fuel. In the course of 2019, they want to finally place the order for new aircraft, which are to replace the old Airbus planes. That would certainly benefit Bangkok Airways in all respects.
The hot candidate is the Bombardier C-Series, which is now being sold as the Airbus A210 / A220. New ATR72s were also ordered in February 2018, so the quite old planes will certainly be gradually replaced here.
After all, the ICAO certification was mastered in 2017 and therefore Bangkok Airways is currently classified as a safer airline.
Although the service at Bangkok Airways is good and you as a passenger are flattered by many small attentions, in my opinion you get too little for your money on certain routes (e.g. Bangkok-Samui) with Bangkok Airways.
The oldest aircraft fleet in Thailand and that third worst security ranking don't exactly speak for Bangkok Airways. Much worse is the fact that the flights with Bangkok Airways especially to the exclusive Koh Samui airport are too absolute overpriced prices Tobe offered.
Good and happy a ticket costs 10 times as much, to Koh Samui compared to the mainland airport in Surat Thani, which is only 100 kilometers away. If you are traveling with a large family, you can easily calculate the additional costs yourself.
In the example I have selected the one-way flight prices for you on exactly the same day. While AirAsia offers the flight to Surat Thani for 592 baht (15 €), Bangkok Airways charges 4,190 baht (111 €) in the low tariff.
To be fair, however, you have to note that when you fly with AirAsia, checked-in baggage has to be booked for around € 8 extra, but with Bangkok Airways, 20kg are already included.
Why is Bangkok Airways so expensive?
Why Bangkok Airways is so expensive, many questions may now be asked. The answer is simple: because they can. The demand for direct flights to and from Koh Samui is simply there and Bangkok Airways has one monopoly. In the end, this means that you can set prices as you like. In general, I think the price for the service offered is absolutely not justified, even if the service at Bangkok Airways is very courteous and you get a lot of amenities for free.
In my opinion, Bangkok Airways and their flight offers are suitable for two groups of people. People what directly from other European countries want to travel to Koh Samui are well served with Bangkok Airways. The codeshare connections enable travelers to travel directly to Koh Samui with only one or a maximum of two stopovers (depending on the airline and previous route).
The service is also suitable for anyone who needs a domestic transfer in Thailand, but never by bus or boat want to get to their destination. Both groups of people should then expect significantly higher costs for the flight.
Another advantage that speaks for Bangkok Airways is the departure from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). Some travelers seem to place great importance on it here.
The really exceptionally good service on the Thai short haul is probably pretty unique at Bangkok Airways. In some cases, Bangkok Airways is at the level of long-haul flights with other premium airlines, and that is remarkable. Even on the ground, the staff is nice, courteous and always ready to help. So if you attach great importance to good service and great food on short-haul routes, you will definitely be one of the best with Bangkok Airways in Thailand!
For flights to destinations in Thailand or nearby foreign countries that are served by several airlines (e.g. Phuket, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc.), I clearly advise you to trust other airlines.
Many of the alternatives to Bangkok Airways have a significantly higher safety ranking, a more modern fleet and much lower prices.
In Thailand I especially advise this Thai Airways or Thai smile to use. These airlines are among the best in Thailand and convince with a good price / performance ratio.
If you want to go to destinations outside of Thailand, then I recommend you as an alternative to Bangkok Airways tickets AirAsia, Jetstar, Thai Airways, VietJet or Silk Air to book.
Arrival Koh Samui
Fortunately, there are alternatives for the journey to Koh Samui and you do not have to resort to Bangkok Airways and the expensive ticket prices in every case.
Flight Surat Thani - bus to ferry - ferry transfer
Surat Thani Airport is only 100 kilometers away and is used by many low-cost airlines, so you can get very cheap tickets here. In addition to AirAsia, Thai Smile is also particularly suitable. With AirAsia you also have the option of booking combination tickets, which include flight, bus and ferry transfer.
Find flights to Surat Thani
Bus from Krabi & Phuket
From Krabi or Phuket, the bus or a minivan transfer is an alternative. From there you can get to Koh Samui in a few hours. The cost is only a fraction of the flight.
You can easily book bus tickets online at 12go.asia - especially in Thailand, the portal offers the possibility to book transfers and bus tickets in advance with absolute reliability or to get an overview of the travel options.
Find bus tickets to Koh Samui
Arrival Koh Chang
You can travel to Koh Chang via Trat Airport with Bangkok Airways. Unfortunately, other airlines do not fly to Trat. The two are also an alternative Bangkok Airports + Bus transfer or the Pattaya (UTP) Airport at.
Of Bangkok's downtown I recommend the trip from the Ekkamai or Mochit bus station. In both cases, buses go directly to the ferry pier in Koh Chang, making a flight from Bangkok to Trat unnecessary.
Find transfer Bangkok - Koh Chang
Arrival in Sukothai
Also for the journey to Sukhothai is the bus ride from Morchit bus terminal the inexpensive, albeit more time-consuming, alternative. Tickets for the bus start at 346 baht - a flight with Bangkok Airways always costs around 2,000 baht.
Find transfer from Bangkok to Sukhothai
Of course, Bangkok Airways also has some great advantages to offer. In the end, that's the one Departure point in Bangkok (BKK) at Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Direct connection to Koh Samui.
Free baggage allowance is a particular strength of Bangkok Airways. Also the service on the ground and the many Comfort even in economy class make Bangkok Airways a very special airline in terms of passenger experience. In addition to free Drinks and snacks at the airports there are also many amenities on the plane itself. The lounges on the ground are also impressive and so, in my opinion, the customer experience is clearly in the foreground at Bangkok Airways.
With a wide network of offices across Thailand You also know how to appear customer-friendly and thus to retain one or the other passenger permanently.
In general, I recommend that you book your flights with Bangkok Airways as long in advance as possible. Then there is the best chance of saving something. It is also advisable to pay attention to special offers.
When booking, I particularly recommend using the Airguru flight search engine, as all online travel agencies there are scoured for cheap Bangkok Airways tickets.
If you want to fly directly from Europe to Koh Samui, then always try to book the ticket as one. With a little luck, you can enjoy discounts through promotional campaigns. The price comparison is also recommended here. In addition, in the event of a delay, the airline must take care of everything else and transport you appropriately to your final destination, Koh Samui.
Inexpensive tickets for flights to Koh Samui can be found here:
What is your opinion on Bangkok Airways, the fleet, the prices and the safety. Leave a message in the comment section!* With some links we may receive a commission upon successful completion. The price for the user remains unaffected.
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