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Millions of travelers fly to Thailand each year to visit the pristine beaches in the south and the delightful ancient temples in the north. Travelers often need to fly from the south to the north or vice versa at least once to uncover the exotic beauty of Thailand, so it’s worth finding out what the best domestic airlines are.
There are many airlines in Thailand that will get you to various destinations. Domestic airlines in Thailand are very convenient and affordable. Most flight routes around Thailand are reasonably priced and short. To go from the southern island of Koh Samui to Chiang Mai in the north, it takes less than 2 hours on a non-stop flight. It is the best way to travel in this country, especially for those with a family or wanting a faster getaway.
In this article, we will introduce you to the eight best Thai airlines ranging from boutique high-end ones to no-frills airlines and from family-friendly choices to the best budget airline options, to suit different travelers’ preferences and needs.
Suvarnabhumi Airport: Your international flight out of Bangkok will most often be from Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is the new airport. The higher-end domestic airlines fly in and out of this airport.
Don Mueang International Airport is the old airport, which is now used for budget airlines. It is harder to catch a taxi leaving from Don Mueang International Airport and it costs more to get to a central Bangkok location.
Bangkok Airways is known as “Asia’s Boutique Airline”. It offers private lounges at many of the airports in Thailand. You have the chance to relax before your flight and enjoy free food, drinks, and Wi-Fi. The service is impeccable and you’ll enjoy all the small details offered. The airline really goes out of its way to offer you a pleasant flight experience.
You will feel that the airline puts you first with its VIP service. There is a big luggage allowance as well, with many nice little extras. Bangkok Airways is a small airline that really focuses on offering an unforgettable experience for you. It costs more than other airlines but you can get deals if you book ahead of time to certain locations. For example, you can fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Krabi one-way for 1,350 TBH. The airline’s service covers Southeast Asia, India, China, and the Maldives.
Thai Airways might be considered economy class but it offers things that make it feel more like a luxury option. Within Thailand, its prices are similar to Bangkok Airways but it offers a lot. No other domestic airline in Thailand offers in-flight entertainment. If you’re traveling with a family, this is a great option. It’s not just the free luggage or the free food and drinks you’ll enjoy — there’s also plenty of legroom.
If you’re accustomed to business or first class, Thai Airways offers both and really takes care of you. Even if you’re flying economy, the staff are helpful, friendly, and go out of their way to make you feel special. The airline has amazing food on its flights too. The flights can be pricey but if you book in advance, you’ll pay about 20% less. Also, the Royal Orchid Plus program offers flight and hotel packages to popular destinations, such as Krabi and Phuket. You can stay in affiliated high-end hotels and get discounted prices on your accommodation and flight.
Thai Smile is a low-cost subsidiary of Thai Airways. Its service is mid-range so even though you’re paying less, you will get some good perks. There might not be an airport lounge but you do get a free allowance of 20 kilograms of checked luggage plus free snacks and drinks. If you are particular about where you sit on a flight, you’ll be pleased to know that you can choose your seat up to 90 days ahead of time.
Most importantly, if reliability matters to you, you’ll like Thai Smile because it has a good reputation for taking off on time. While it’s not a luxury airline, you’ll get a comfortable short distance flight experience.
AirAsia is one of the cheapest options when flying around Thailand but it’s also a great airline. If you’re traveling light with just a 7 kilogram carry-on, AirAsia is a good option. With AirAsia, the base price is cheap, especially when booking online. You can sometimes fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for as little as 20 USD. Add-ons may add up if you want an in-flight meal or a particular seat. The airline has varying prices for its seating if you don’t choose Premium Flex. The extras can add up but let’s talk about the service offered to you.
As well as such reasonable pricing, the airline is very helpful. It has machines you can use to check yourself in at the airports. There is always an attendant there to help you through the process. The machines mean you don’t have to wait around for very long. AirAsia almost always takes off on time unless there’s something out of its control.
Nok Air has a bird theme and everything, including the airplanes and the flight attendants, maintains the theme. The airline gives you free snacks, water, and Wi-Fi, and its service is exceptional. The staff members are all smiles and your kids will love their bright yellow uniforms that mimic colorful birds. The airplanes have a beak painted at the front of them, which again is really fascinating for children.
The airline has a lot of options for flying around Thailand. You can fly from Bangkok in the morning, afternoon, or night to the most popular destinations. The upgrades don’t cost much more if you want some extra comforts and services for your family. The airline’s service is fantastic for the price, which matters when you’re flying with a family and paying for multiple seats.
Thai Lion Air offers you prices much like those for flying with AirAsia but it gives you more. You can check up to 15 kilograms of luggage for free. If you catch one of its online promotions, you’ll pay very little. For example, a Bangkok to Chiang Mai flight can be on sale for 800 TBH.
There’s not too much to say about Thai Vietjet Air as it’s still quite new, having opened in 2014. The airline doesn’t go to many destinations within Thailand. The one thing that could be highlighted is that it’s a budget airline flying out of the main airport. If you’re flying into or out of Suvarnabhumi Airport on the same day, this airline makes it easy for you.
Kan Air is a small airline based in Chiang Mai. It services the north and northeast of Thailand as well as Bangkok. However, if you want to get to Mae Hong Son and avoid the curvy roads you’d need to travel on by land, this is the best option. This flight route is in partnership with Bangkok Airways. Kan Air offers you free checked baggage on its flights.
There was a time recently when Thailand had questionable safety standards. This caused the ICAO to downgrade Thailand’s airlines. In turn, this caused airlines like Bangkok Airways to have reduced flights to certain places. However, the airline has worked hard and the ICAO has now said it’ll be upgrading the airline back to a Category 1 rating.
AirlineRatings.com is an independent site for gauging the safety of airlines. There are up to seven stars available for safety. The company gave two stars to Nok Air, AirAsia (Thailand) and Bangkok Airways were given three stars, and Thai Airways received four stars. These airlines carry out compulsory safety audits, which continually improve the safety standards.
Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport in Bangkok, whether it’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang International Airport. The traffic can be horrendous, and queues can be long at the check-in counters.
1. When you’re taking AirAsia, it’s well worth the extra money to pay for Premium Flex. You get 20 kilograms of free luggage, the best seats are available to you, and meals are included.
2. Take a taxi from one of the taxi stands when you leave the airport. There will likely be people ready to confront you but they’ll charge a high flat rate.
3. Take your own items of comfort on the airplane, such as a pillow or blanket. It might be hot in Thailand but the airplanes usually have air-conditioning on high.
4. On the first floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport, there’s a food court with excellent food.
We can tailor-make your Thailand trip. We have lots of experience with creating the perfect trip for any traveler. Our travel consultants will handpick the best domestic flights in Thailand to suit your needs and tastes. We understand what makes traveling special and are dedicated to providing a unique and special experience. To find out more, please send us a message. Here are some of our best Thailand tours, for inspiration: