Domestic flights have been available in Thailand for a long time but the last years have seen a massive surge in the number of destinations offered, regional hubs and growing International Connections. Bangkok is primarily served by Suvarnabumi (pronounced “su-wan-na-poom”) opened in 2006 and the original Don Mueng International Airport. This duo is now being joined by the development of U-Tapao approximately 140 km southeast of Bangkok. U-Tapao is currently handling 12 International airlines in addition to 4 Domestic operators.
In Thailand there are currently 24 airports offering domestic flights and 12 now offering International Connections. A vast choice if you are looking to fly domestically plus the advantages of onward International connecting flights sometimes avoiding the necessity to always fly out of Bangkok. So who are the major airlines offering Domestic Flights?
Quirky Nok Air (Bird Air) with their bright livery and cheeky beak logo on the nose cone of every aircraft, current offer 24 direct flights in addition to a vast array of Fly & Ride/Fly & Ferry options to 45 more with seamless and efficiently co-ordinated connections. Nok Air is efficient and easy to book online www.NokAir.com offering new aircraft, friendly/efficient staff and simple service.
AirAsia (Thai) https://www.airasia.com/en/home.page with their bright red and white livery are another low cost airline currently offering 21 domestic destinations from Don Mueng airport in addition to a vast network of International flights. Thai Lion Air, https://lionairthai.com/en/ an associate company of Lion Air of Indonesia offers 13 destinations from Don Mueng and a new flight from U-Tapao to Chiang Mai.
Orient Thai, http://www.flyorientthai.com also operating out of Don Mueng appears to be currently only flying to Phuket. Thai Smile https://www.thaismileair.com/en is the low cost division of Thai Airways currently flying to 13 destinations in Thailand from both Suvarnabumi and Don Mueng. Naturally Thai Airways https://www.thaismileair.com/en with their legendary service are amongst the leaders with daily departures to 11 destinations in Thailand. Bangkok Airways http://www.bangkokair.com Thailand’s Boutique Arline offers full service on all its 6 destinations and is probably best known for it’s high quality flights to the island destination of Koh Samui where it actually built the airport and still enjoys a monopoly on the busy Bangkok Koh Samui route.
Flying domestic is a pleasure. Whilst some prefer to depart from Suvarnabumi, Don Mueng is actually an easier airport. Whilst there is currently no Airport Link to Don Mueng it enjoys easy taxi access from the Don Muang toll road. Initially due to be retired when the new airport opened Don Mueng is undergoing a massive renaissance especially due to the low cost carriers.
The terminals in the provincial cities vary from International standard and quality to relatively simple and small facilities. Each airport does offer full facilities for taxis etc and sometimes if you are looking for the Car Rental offices, you have to go outside where you will find the desks of the rental companies located street-side.
Booking for most airlines is generally on-line and relatively simple. On-line check-in is generally available and is highly recommended often meaning that you can proceed directly to the gate if you have no luggage to check-in. Useful flight price comparison sites/Apps can save you time looking for the best price and most suitable flight times. I find https://www.skyscanner.net one of the most reliable, closely followed by https://www.skyscanner.net and local matador https://www.traveloka.com/en-th/
Domestic flights in Thailand are generally simple, reliable and simple. Enjoy and continue to explore Amazing Thailand!