Upgrades and Other Changes at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi

On the eve of AirAsia’s departure from Suvarnabhumi to the refurbished Don Muang Airport, there have been a number of announcements regarding the plans for the main international airport going forward. The airport plans to improve the baggage claim process, with a goal of delivering all bags within 30 minutes of landing. Currently it can take well over 30 minutes for the first bag to appear. The airport also wants to tackle the somewhat intransigent problem of long immigration queues. Other improvements include wider availability of wi-fi Internet access, further tweaks to the air conditioning and rest room facilities.

AirAsia’s move back to Don Muang, as mentioned here previously, will reduce the load at Suvarnabhumi by around 10 Million passengers a year. That should put the load at Suvarnabhumi back down to what it was designed for, at least for a while. The airport still plans to undertake a expansion that will add another runway and possibly a mid-field terminal.

The airport operator also announced plans to hike passenger service charges next year. Charges for international passengers will go up by 100 Baht while domestic fees will increase 50 Baht. In the grand scheme of things, the extra US$2 to $3 which gets added ticket prices probably won’t be noticeable.

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New Routes for Thai Smile

Thai Airways’ recently launched ‘lite’ subsidiary, Thai Smile, has announced the addition of two new routes for the up-coming high season in Thailand. Starting on 1 October 2012 they will begin daily flights between Bangkok and Phuket, and then on 28 October a daily flight between Phuket and Chiang Mai will be added. There’s a special promotional fare on offer for the Phuket – Chiang Mai route.

Thai Smile is a difficult venture to categorize. It is not a budget airline. It offers two classes of service, free seat selection, free baggage up to 20 kg in economy and mileage accumulation with Thai or any other Star Alliance member. It appears more and more that it would be better described as a regional subsidiary along the lines of Singapore Airline’s Silk Air.

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AirAsia Flies to Lombok

Lombok’s new airport now truly deserves to have “International” in its name, now that low-cost giant AirAsia has announced plans to fly direct from their base in Kuala Lumpur. Flights start on 12 October 2012 and will initially be offered three times a week. There’s a special introductory offer if you book before 26 August; the all-in fare is about $70. You must fly before 22 May 2013.

You can find more details on Bali Discovery, or to book the promotion you can go to AirAsia’s web site.

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