Flights Within Thailand: A Guide to Airlines and Cheap Tickets

As easy as it seems, booking a domestic flight ticket in Thailand can be more complicated than you think. With over six airlines that seem to have a different policy on everything, sometimes we just have no idea which airline we should use, especially when the price isn’t that different.

Do you know that AirAsia isn’t always the cheapest option? Have you heard about Thai Lion Air before? What is the best option you have when traveling with pets or sport equipment?

This article aims to cover all significant topics in detail, from the pricing structure, baggage policy, and loyalty system of each airline to how to get the best price, both from the official airline sites and travel agencies. Everything you need to know related to domestic flight in Thailand can be found here.

**Due to the nature of this industry, some information here is subject to change without prior notice. It is recommended to recheck with airlines, banks, and travel agencies.

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Domestic Airlines

The market for domestic flight in Thailand is competitive. There are over six airline companies offering the service. Each company has its own positioning, targeting different types of customers.

Full Service

The only full-service airline in Thailand is Thai Airways. Bangkok Airways and Thai Smile, on the other hand, do not call themselves full-service airlines but offer very similar services.  

Thai Airways

Thai Airways is the only full service airline for domestic flight in Thailand, providing free checked baggage allowance (up to 30kg for economy class), food, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for all classes.

Baggage Allowance
Exceed fee/kg55-125 THB
Seat ReservationYes
Infant Fare10% of the normal ticket
Children Fare75% of the normal ticket
Unaccompanied Minor5-17 years old
Travel with PetYes
Sport EquipmentUnder the weight allowance
Credit Card FeeNo

Thai Airways, by far, has the most spacious seat pitch, at 32 inches which is three inches wider than other airlines.

Despite being a national airline, Thai Airways covers only four destinations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Krabi. However, these routes are mainly connecting flights from international routes. Once you are in Thailand, domestic flights from Thai Airways will be operated by Thai Smile, their subsidiary company.

Thai Airways and Thai Smile have the Royal Silk Lodge for most destinations in Thailand. However, lodge access options are quite limited for economy class unless you are a card holder of Royal Orchid Plus Gold or Star Alliance Gold. Most credit cards only cover international flights.

Thai Airways is often the most expensive option for domestic flight in Thailand. Its economy class normally costs at least 1.5 times more than other airlines, excluded Bangkok Airways. However, if booked at least a month in advance, it has a chance to cost only 10-20% more than budget airlines.

Ticket Types

Thai Airways tickets are mainly separated into four classes:

  • Saver – The cheapest ticket type that comes with 20 kg. of baggage allowance. It’s non-refundable. Flights and dates can be changed with additional fees. 
  • Flexi – An upgraded version of the Saver. You will need to pay when changing flights and dates. But this time you can ask for a refund for an additional fee.
  • Full Flexi – It’s similar to the Flexi but you can change your travelling date free of charge.
  • Smile Plus– It’s similar to the Flexi but comes with 30 kg. baggage allowance. 

Thai Airways now have a very limited route on domestic flights. Even if you book a ticket on the official Thai Airways website, the actual flight might be operated by Thai Smile.

You will know it by looking at the ticket class, which will be changed to: Smile Saver, Smile Value, Smile Flexi, and Smile Plus. There will be a small remark of ““operated under Thai Smile.”” too.

Depending on flights, it’s also possible to book a Thai Smile ticket through Thai Airways website. Thai Airways and Thai Smile have the same policy on sports equipment in which you can load them without extra cost as long as its total weight, including checked baggage, is under the allowance.

If it exceeds the limitation, you need to pay an excess baggage fee, around 55-125 THB per kg, depending on your route.

Thai Airways is one of the three available airlines that allows pets. It will be loaded inside aircraft storage in a temperature controlled environment. Please contact them at least 48 hours in advance before the departure.

Regularly, Thai Airways offers a flash-sale promotion that even has a lower fare than budget airlines. However, it usually comes with a short notice and lasts for a few days, with limited departure dates.

Thai Smile

Thai Smile is a subsidiary of Thai Airways, positioning itself in the middle, between low-cost and full-service airlines. It’s cheaper than Thai Airways yet includes in-flight meals and 20 kg. of checked baggage allowance. It currently includes only 11 domestic routes, which are all major tourist destinations.

Baggage Allowance
Exceed fee/kg55-125 THB
Free MealYes
Seat ReservationYes
Infant Fare535 THB
Children FareSame as a normal ticket
Unaccompanied MinorNo
Travel with PetNo
Sport EquipmentUnder the weight allowance
Credit Card FeeNo

Main differences between Thai Airways and Thai Smile:

  • Thai Airways’ seat pitch is higher than Thai Smile
  • Thai Airways’ service includes various kinds of drink throughout the flight, whereas Thai Smile only provides a single snack box and water bottle.
  • Thai Airways is more expensive than Thai Smile.
  • Thai Smile covers all destinations except Samui

Thai Smile often comes with a good deal. It usually costs slightly more than budget airlines, sometimes less than 100 THB difference, but comes with meals, in-flight entertainment, and 20kg checked baggage allowance.

Ticket Types

Thai Smile tickets are mainly separated into four classes:

  • Smile Saver – The cheapest ticket type that comes with 20 kg. of baggage allowance. It’s non-refundable. Flights and dates can be changed with additional fees. 
  • Smile Value – An upgraded version of the Smile Saver. You will need to pay when changing flights and dates. But this time you can ask for a refund for an additional fee.
  • Smile Flexi – It’s similar to the Smile Value plan but you can change your travelling date free of charge.
  • Smile Plus– It’s similar to the Smile Value plan but comes with 30 kg. baggage allowance. 

Usually, the cost of Smile Saver and Smile Value Saver ticket is subject to change based on flight date and time. The longer, the cheaper. On the other hand, ticket prices for the Smile Flexi and Smile Plus are mostly the same.

Smile Value is quite worthwhile if you need to change ticket details once or twice, since the usual fee ranges from 500 to 1000 THB, depending on your flight.

However, if you book more than four months in advance, Smile Saver is normally a better option.

Bangkok Airways

Bangkok Airways is a boutique airline that comes with a 5kg carry-on baggage allowance, 20kg checked baggage allowance, in-flight meals, and lounge access. The best parts about Bangkok Airways are its great service minded policies and a lounge that is available for all ticket classes located in many airports.

Baggage Allowance
Exceed fee/kg600 THB for 5 KG
Free MealYes
Seat ReservationYes
Infant Fare25% of the normal ticket
Children Fare75% of the normal ticket
Unaccompanied Minor6-12 years old
Travel with PetNo
Sport EquipmentUnder the weight allowance
Credit Card FeeNo

Seat reservation can be done in advance during booking without any extra cost. It has the widest seat width at 19.8 inches, which is around two inches larger than other airlines. Seat pitch is also great at 31 inches, only an inch smaller than Thai Airways.

Although carry-on baggage is quite limited to 5kg, Bangkok Airways usually does not care about a little extra weight. Some people even mentioned that the airline tends to “spoil” customers.

Bangkok Airways covers all major domestic flight destinations, with several flight times. The most famous route so far is Samui because of its airport ownership. It has over twenty direct flights from Bangkok to Samui daily.

Although the cost is around two to three times higher than other airlines, with transfer services, it saves a few hours from bus and ferry.

An average Bangkok Airways ticket price is usually the second highest, lower to only Thai Airways. However, when book in advance even for a few weeks, its Web Promotion ticket can even cost lower than budget airlines normal tickets. In addition, Bangkok Airways cost aren’t that different from other budget airlines when you need to book a flight a day to a few hours before the departure.

Ticket Type

Bangkok Airways domestic flight ticket is mainly separated into 4 classes:

  • Web Promotion – Cheapest, ticket can be changed with fees. Cannot refund.
  • Web Saver – Normal price, ticket can be changed without fee. Still cannot refund.
  • Web Freedom – Normally 800-1200 THB higher than the Web Saver. It’s now refundable with fee.
  • Blue Ribbon – Business class, available only at a specific route (eg. Samui), around 1800 THB higher than the Web Freedom with additional 30kg checked-in baggage and business lounge. Free change.

Once in a while, Bangkok Airways has a promotional ticket than can even be cheaper than the Web Promotion ticket. However, you will not be able to change or refund this type of ticket.

Normally, ticket price for all classes except Web Promotion are fixed, with the exact same cost for all flight times and dates. For example, it normally costs 3,390 THB to fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for Web Saver and 4,290 THB for Web Freedom.

The ticket price is likely to increase once the tickets for that specific route are running out.

The Web Promotion ticket price is quite subjective. It can be as slight as 10% to more than 200% lower than the Web Saver, depending on the route, time, and date.

The flight date and time can be changed for 500 THB. Since the fee is subject to change, it’s better to recheck with the airline again. Also, you may need to pay for the price discrepancy.

From this data, it is cheaper to book a Web Saver ticket if you are planning to change ticket details only once. Sometimes, you can even change a ticket for free, without any cost.

If your travel schedule is highly subject to change several times, choose Web Freedom.

Travel insurance is automatically included in Bangkok Airways with an extra cost. You can uncheck it while booking.

Bangkok Airways with the Web Promotion class should be your first option, especially when the price isn’t much higher than other airlines, because of its great service, lounge, in-flight meal, and 20kg checked luggage allowance.

Bangkok Airways’ sports equipment policy is similar to Thai Airways, without an extra cost as long as it is within the baggage allowance. It costs 80 THB per kilogram for an excessive weight.

If you fly with Bangkok Airways regularly, its ticket price can be further decreased with their FlyerBonus program.

Starting January 2022, you does not allow travel with pet anymore.

Budget Airline

The domestic flight market in Thailand is very competitive with many budget airlines to choose from. These airlines only come with 7 kgs. of carry-on baggage. You need to pay for checked-in bags, meals, and even seat reservation. 


AirAsia is the most popular budget airline in Thailand. It normally has the lowest fare, with promotions throughout the year. Being a budget airline, every additional option, except 7kg carry-on baggage, comes with a cost, including credit card surcharge, seat reservation, meals, checked luggage, and insurance.

Because of its low price, it’s a great option if you want to fly without much luggage and can book at least a few weeks before your travel date.

Baggage Allowance
Checked-in15kg – 468 THB
Exceed fee/kg1000 THB (15kg)
Free MealNo
Seat ReservationNo
Infant Fare556.4 THB
Children FareSame as a normal ticket
Unaccompanied MinorNo
Travel with PetNo
Sport Equipment676 THB per 15kg
Credit Card Fee128.4 THB

If you book together with a hotel on AirAsia website, you can save an additional 10% to 50%. And during promotional periods, you can save more than 70% on hotel and flights.

AirAsia has some of the smallest seat space at only 17 inches seat width and 29 inches seat pitch on average, which is around two inches smaller than other airlines.

AirAsia has been expanding domestic routes recently and now covers nineteen provinces, including all major destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. In addition, it has almost twenty bus and ferry transfers to popular tourist attractions such as Koh Lanta, Lipe, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and more.

AirAsia web check-in is available fourteen days to one hour before departure. It is especially recommended if you fly without luggage. This way you can prepare a boarding pass, including an e-boarding pass, in advance and go straight to the gate without having to wait in a long queue at the check-in counter.

AirAsia regularly provides a promotion, sometimes having a surprisingly low fare that may be even lower than taking a bus. Without a promotion, it still has one of the lowest fares for domestic flights in Thailand.

AirAsia’s ticket fare is quite varied based on time and date. Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can cost as low as 790 THB to even higher than 3,000 THB, with an average price at 1,570 THB, excluding other fees such as credit card processing.

Price is normally cheaper when you book at least two weeks in advance. The cheapest date is from Tuesday to Thursday.

Ticket Type

While booking an AirAsia ticket, you can upgrade to the value pack. This option includes a 20kg baggage allowance, a meal, and seat selection. Or you can opt for premium flex, at 1,765.50 THB, that comes with two free flight date/time changes, up to twenty kilograms allowed for baggage, hot seats, and so on.

The best part on the premium flex, is an express baggage delivery, boarding, and check-in. This allows you to quicky grab your baggage after you arrive at your destination and give you more time travelling.

With premium flex, the average ticket price will not be that much different than Bangkok Airways Web Saver. It can easily be higher when only booked a few days in advance.

Without the premium flex option, it is still possible to change flight details, both time and destination, with AirAsia for a 750 THB fee up to 48 hours prior to departure, if it is not a promotional ticket. Because of the price, many people decide to just tear up the ticket and buy a new one instead.

Therefore, premium flex is worthwhile if you have to change a ticket date at least once.

If you book a wrong destination with AirAsia, asking for a refund is the only option. However, unless it is AirAsia’s fault, asking for a refund is not worth at all. You can only ask for airport tax, which is normally lower than the refund fee.

Although AirAsia regularly shows up as the cheapest option on any price comparison site, it might not actually have the lowest price at all, considering the lack of free checked luggage and the credit card processing fee.

In addition, you should be very cautious while booking a ticket. It automatically includes 15kg checked luggage and travel insurance, and this has to be cancelled one by one before the check-out page.

While flying AirAsia with baggage, you should be really careful on the weight. AirAsia is very strict on this and has a 400 THB fee per excessive kilograms.

Flying with certain sports equipment starts at 676 THB for up to 15kg. Only small equipment can be included in checked baggage.

Seat reservation can be done in advance for 194 THB on a standard seat and up to 584 THB for hot seats, which come with priority boarding and wider leg room.

One of the most important fees from AirAsia is the 128.4 THB processing fee when paying with a credit/debit card per person and flight. Meaning that if you book a round-trip ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, the processing fee will be 256.8 THB, VAT excluded.

In case you do not have these online banking options, ALWAYS add 130 THB for a one-way ticket and 260 THB for a round trip.

To completely avoid the fee, you can book it from an agency site like Traveloka. However, you are unable to receive AirAsia Big Points in return.

Nok Air

Nok Air proclaims itself as a “premium low-cost” airline in Thailand, offering a budget flight ticket with a 7kg carry-on baggage allowance, in-flight snack, water, and advanced seat reservation. In addition, free Wi-Fi is now available on some routes without extra cost.

Nok Air is a few airlines that you can still travel with pets in Thailand.

Baggage Allowance
Checked-in15kg – 450THB
Exceed fee/kg1200 THB (20kg)
Free Meal
Seat ReservationYes
Infant Fare300 THB
Children FareSame as a normal ticket
Unaccompanied MinorNo
Travel with PetYes
Sport Equipment500 THB per piece for item under 20kg
Credit Card Fee225 THB

Nok Air’s seats are also wider than a normal low-cost airline, at a 31 inch pitch and 17.2 inch width on average.

Nok Air currently has the highest number of domestic routes, covering over twenty provinces all over the country, with bus and ferry transfer services to nearby vacation destinations.

However, Nok Air has a bad reputation for delays. Many people have regularly reported this issue, from a slight thirty minute delay to even more than five hours.

Although an average Nok Air ticket price is higher than AirAsia, it can be cheaper after including all the add-ons. Similar to other budget airlines, Nok Air has several promotions throughout the year, reducing the net ticket price sometimes to even lower than 1000 THB for a one-way ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Ticket Type

Nok Air tickets are mainly separated into three classes:

  • Nok Lite–Normal tickets come with only 7 kgs. of carry-on baggage.
  • Nok X-tra – Comes with 20 kgs. checked baggage allowance with water on the flight and seat reservation. 
  • Nok Max – In addition to what’s provided on Nok-Xtra, you get a meal and the ability to change flights without having to pay additional fees. 

Nok Air’s ticket prices are likely to change, depending on flight time and date. Similar to AirAsia, it costs significantly less when you book a ticket a few weeks in advance, especially from Tuesday to Thursday.

Unless you book a Nok Max ticket, changing your traveling date costs 900 baht for the changing fee and 225 baht for the processing fee. It means that if you want to change the traveling date, you need to pay 1,125 baht for all the fee. This means it often cheaper to just buy a new ticket.

Changing your flight detail must be done 24 hours before departure.

With a flexible ticket, you can freely change your traveling date without any cost within 90 days after a complete transaction. After that, the same fees apply.

The check-out process is quite simple, allowing you to uncheck add-on services, such as premier seat, travel insurance, and an extra 5kg checked luggage allowance, right at a single place.

In case you are traveling with an infant who is less than two years old, it is an option for him/her to sit on your lap for an additional 300 THB per person/row.

The only fee you should be aware of is, similar to AirAsia, the processing fee, for a net amount of 225 THB per person per flight.

Excess baggage rate depends on your ticket type. You can see a full list on this page.

Sports equipment, musical instruments, and oversized baggage are considered as a special baggage. You need to pay an additional 500 baht per piece for the first 20 kgs. and another 500 baht for the next 5 kgs. It should be packed appropriately and weigh less than 30 kgs.

Nok Air have a pet carriage service that accepts dogs, pets, and rabbits that are older than two months. Please note that it’s a cargo option and you need to drop off pets yourselves in these locations.

Thai Lion Air

Thai Lion Air is another low-cost airline coming with free 7 kgs. of carry-on baggage. The major difference between Thai Lion Air and other budget airlines is the flexibility in checked-in baggage.

One of the great things about Thai Lion Air is that all plans come with 10kg checked-in baggage.

You have an option to exactly choose how many kilograms you want for your checked-in baggage starting from starting at 150 THB per 5 kilograms. You will get a cheaper rate when buying for more than 10 kilograms

Baggage Allowance
Checked-in150 THB per 5kg.
Exceed fee/kg400 THB
Free MealNo
Seat ReservationYes
Infant Fare410 THB
Children FareSame as a normal ticket
Unaccompanied Minor8-12 years old
Travel with PetNo
Sport EquipmentUnder the weight allowance
Credit Card FeeNo

Seat selection can be chosen in advance through web check-in, available 24 hours before departure. It has the smallest seat space, at a 29 inch seat pitch and 17 inch width, which is the same size as AirAsia.

Thai Lion Air currently covers only thirteen provinces, including Bangkok. Flight schedules, especially on unpopular provinces, are quite limited.


An average Thai Lion Air ticket is comparable to AirAsia, making it one of the cheapest options for a domestic flight in Thailand. It also has various promotions throughout the year that even make the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route to be less than 1200 THB.

However, the number of seats for this type of promotional ticket is quite limited.

Ticket Type

Thai Lion Air tickets are mainly separated into two classes:

  • Promo – Promotion ticket. Can be 20% to over 100% cheaper than the Economy.
  • Economy – Normal ticket.

Similar to other budget airlines, price is subject to change based on flight times and dates. The closer the departure, the more expensive the ticket will be. It can be even higher than Bangkok Airways.

If you want to fly with Thai Lion Air, it’s recommended to book a ticket a few weeks in advance. It normally becomes the cheapest option this way.

The main difference between the Promo ticket and Economy is that the Promo ticket allows you to send a refund quest for the airport fee. For Economy, you are required to pay a fee of 90% of the ticket fare if canceled less than three days before the departure date.

If the cancellation request is sent three days before, the fee will be 50% or 1,000 THB, depending on which amount is higher. Since a Thai Lion Air ticket isn’t that high, a refund is not worthwhile unless it’s the airline’s fault.

Flight details can be changed four hours prior to the departure date with a 750 THB fee. However, it is impossible to change a flight route or transfer the ticket to someone else.

During check-out, the only thing you need to be aware of is the travel insurance at 399 THB. Do not forget to uncheck it on the booking summary page. Unlike other budget airlines, Thai Lion Air does not have a credit card processing fee during check-out.

The excess baggage fee is 350 THB per kilogram. You can only purchase an extra baggage allowance four hours before departure.

Sports equipment, including bicycles, can be checked-in without extra cost, as long as it does not weigh more than the baggage allowance.

As of now, Thai Lion Air does not have a loyalty system like other airlines. They might add it in the future though.

Thai Lion Air is a great option for a cheap domestic flight if you don’t require a spacious seat.

VietJet Air

VietJet Air is a budget airline from Vietnam. It’s the newest addition to budget airlines for domestic flights in Thailand. Because of its recent operation, they still have limited flights to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Krabi, and Phuket. 

VietJet Air is the only budget airline that flies to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Because of this, they are a good choice for those who want to take connecting international flights from Bangkok to other countries.

Baggage Allowance,
Checked-in15kg – 379.85 THB 
Exceed fee/kg400 THB
Free MealNo
Seat ReservationNo
Infant FareFree of charge
Childen FareSame as a normal ticket
Unaccompanied Minor8-12 years old
Travel with PetNo
Sport EquipmentUnder the weight allowance
Credit Card Fee164.78 THB

VietJet Air has regular promotions throughout the year. Sometimes you only need to pay for airport tax, making VietJet Air prices occasionally the lowest.

Their website is their major weakness. It’s not intuitive or user-friendly compared to their competitors. They also don’t have online check-in. 

Flights are usually on-time. Services are comparable to other airlines.

Ticket Type

VietJet Airline comes with three following ticket types:

  • Promo – a non-refundable promotional ticket coming with 7kg carry-on allowance. 
  • Eco – a normal ticket ticket coming with 7kg carry-on baggage. You can change flight details with an additional fee
  • Skyboss – a business ticket coming with 10kg carry-on baggage, 30kg checked baggage, seat selection, priority check in. 

Please note that prices shown on VietJet Airline don’t include airport tax and surcharges yet. You will only see the final price after choosing your route. 

Local Airline

Previously, there are two additional local airlines, including Kan Air and Orient Thai Airlines. However, they are no longer in operation. They are small airlines with very limited routes. 


Airlines in Thailand have very similar procedures for checking in. The check-in counter is open two hours and closed 30 minutes before departure.

Online check-in is available 24 hours to one hour before departure. To check-in online, you can go to the airline’s website or app, fill in your booking information, and select your seat. Once it’s done, you will get a mobile barcode boarding pass. And you can use it to board the flight right away without having to go to a check-in counter.

There’s a baggage drop counter in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. You can drop your checked-in baggage there.

Normally, checking in one hour before departure is more than enough when flying in Thailand. Airports in Thailand aren’t big. Once you pass the security counter, most of the time you can walk to the boarding gate within minutes. 

The exception is when flying from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Don Muang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok are big and crowded. If you need to go to a check-in counter, it’s safe to go there two hours in advance.

Although Chiang Mai and Phuket airports aren’t big, they are always crowded with tourists. Online check-ins are highly recommended if you don’t want to wait in long queues.

Travel Insurance

Another important question when flying to Thailand is whether or not you should buy travel insurance. Some people might not consider coverage necessary. But having travel insurance is a great way to guarantee that you won’t break the bank when unexpected accidents happen.

This is especially true when your traveling plan includes adventurous activities with many uncontrolled factors. Jellyfish strings, coral cuts, sea urchin stings, sea snake bites, and even boating accidents often happen during beach trips. Accidents may also happen while riding elephants, hiking, and zip lining in the mountains.

You can get good travel insurance from ACS.

But in case you want to stay in Thailand long-term, it’s better to check out health insurance instead.


This section will give you an idea how much it costs to fly within Thailand to popular destinations.

Note that airfare depends on various factors. It’s going to be high during the peak season and cheap in the low season.

Flights during weekdays will be cheaper than weekends.

A full-service airline normally costs two-times higher than a budget airline.

An easy way to compare and find the cheapest flight is to use cheapOair. The great part about them is that they show promotional prices without having to check each airline website individually. 

Here’s a list of average prices for a one-way ticket between Thailand airports throughout the year.

FromToLow CostThai SmileFull Service
BangkokChiang Mai1200 THB2000 THB3000 THB
BangkokChiang Rai1000 THB1700 THB2000 THB
BangkokPhuket1100 THB1800 THB2300 THB
BangkokKrabi900 THB1600 THB2000 THB
BangkokSamui*1800 THB6000 THB

*Only Bangkok Airway offer a direct flight to Koh Samui.

Bangkok to Phuket

Bangkok is around 844 kilometers away from Phuket. It would take around one and a half hours by flight. Being the top tourism province in Thailand, flights from Bangkok to Phuket and the other way around are available throughout the day from all airlines.

Ticket prices to Phuket will be most expensive from December to March, which is the high season. During these months, it usually costs more than 1,500 baht for a one-way ticket even when flying with a budget airline.

When flying during a long holiday, such as Christmas and New Year’s, ticket prices can double.

On the other hand, June to October is the monsoon season with occasional storms. An air ticket will be the cheapest during this time. It’s even possible to get a one-way promotional ticket for less than 600 baht during this time. 

Bangkok to Chiang mai

Chiang Mai is a beautiful mountainous province in the north of Thailand. It’s around 690 kilometers away from Bangkok. Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes an hour.

Flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and the other way around are available throughout the day for all major domestic airlines.

The most popular month for Chiang Mai is from December to January. It’s the cold season in Thailand, which is great for climbing mountains, with a lot of long holidays. Tickets normally start at 1,500 during this time.

The worse time to go to Chiang Mai is the burning season starting from mid February to the first week of April. However, Chiang Mai is at its peak again in the middle of April during Songkran Festival.

Chiang Mai is one of the most popular destinations for the Water Festival in Thailand.

Bangkok to Koh Samui

Only Bangkok Airways offer a direct one-hour flight to Koh Samui. Other airlines fly you to Suratthani and then connect you with a shuttle bus and ferry, taking around eight hours in total.  

Koh Samui is the most expensive destination. A one-way direct flight normally starts over 6,000 baht even during the monsoon season. The airfare can rise to over 10,000 baht during the long holiday in December.

A cheaper alternative is to take a budget airline. It’s possible to buy a ticket to Samui, including flight, shuttle bus, and ferry, for less than 1,200 baht for a promotion ticket. 

Bangkok to Krabi 

Krabi is another popular beach destination. It should be even more popular after the release of Fast of Furious 9, which was filmed in the Southern parts of Thailand, including Krabi. 

Krabi is 789 kilometers away from Bangkok. It takes one hour and fifteen minutes to fly there.

An air ticket to Krabi is quite cheap compared to other beach destinations. It’s possible to grab a ticket for less than 700 baht. Even during the peak season in December and March, airfare is less than 1,500 baht. 

What’s the Best Thai Airline?

One popular question that we get asked regularly is, “What’s the best airline in Thailand”? The answer is there is no absolute best airline in Thailand.

The airline industry in Thailand is very competitive. All airlines have been working hard to develop themselves in the market. It can be simply said that all airlines are good.

Therefore, it mainly depends on your needs. If you want to fly comfortably with meals and in-flight entertainment, it’s better to go with a full-service airline.

If you only want to fly from point A to point B, a budget airline is a good choice. 

What’s the Cheapest Airline?

“What is the cheapest airline?” is another popular question. Again, there is not a single cheapest airline in Thailand.

Each airline regularly releases promotions. During the promotional period, full-service airlines like Thai Airways can be even cheaper than AirAsia.

cheapOair is a great way to compare and buy the cheapest ticket price.  

Special Conditions

Flying with Infants and Children

All airlines have a similar policy on flying with infants and children. An infant should be around fourteen days to two years old on the flying date. It costs from 300-600 THB per infant if they sit in an adult’s lap. Thai Airways can be the cheapest in this option since it costs only 10% of the adult fare.

Also, an infant ticket comes with a 10kg checked baggage allowance for all airlines that offer free checked luggage.

For children aged two to eleven years old, ticket prices and conditions are the same as for adults. Only Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways has a policy to charge only 75% of the adult fare.

Flying with Tons of Luggage

Carry-onChecked-inFee for 15kg
Thai Airways7kg30kg
Thai Smile7kg20kg
Bangkok Airways5kg25kg
AirAsia7kg468 THB
Nok Air7kg450 THB
Thai Lion Air7kg10kg375 THB
VietJet7kg379.85 THB

Since extra baggage costs between each airline isn’t that different, most of the time VietJet offers the best ticket price when flying with 15kg checked baggage.

If you carry more than 30kg, it is a better idea to look at only Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways. Their average ticket price isn’t much different than budget airlines when including the add-on baggage allowance. They also tend to ignore if you carry a few more kilograms than their regulations to keep customers happy.

In addition, the penalty for an excessive fee is a lot lower compared to other airlines.

Flying with Sports Equipment

If you need to carry sports equipment with you, Thai Airways, Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, and Thai Lion Air are where you should look. They count it as checked luggage, without extra costs, as long as it is under the weight allowance. The normal excessive fee applies if the weight is more than the allowance.

Flying with Pets

The option to fly with pets is quite limited. As of now, Nok Air can be your only option.

Nok Air offers a pet carriage service through their cargo, including dogs, cats, and rabbits, with a price starting at 410 THB. However, some routes are operated by 3rd party services. It is necessary to send the pet to the cargo 2 hours before the departure time.

Cargo location as well as other information including prohibited dog species and conditions can be found here.

Airline Mileage Programs

Each airline has their own mileage reward program that can get you over 70% off ticket prices. We show you how to do this in an exclusive guide for our premium subscribers.

Price Comparison Sites

There are five comparison sites for finding the best domestic ticket price: Google Flights, Expedia, Skyscanner, Traveloka, and Jetradar. The reason is that they include most available airlines in Thailand.

Other sites like Cheapticket and Kayak do not include local airlines, like Nok Air, Thai Lion Air, and, sometimes, Thai Smile. These comparison sites also offer a car rental service.

Before searching on any site, it is recommended to change the currency into THB, if possible, to prevent unexpected fees including conversion exchange fees. In case you want to collect mileage, it is better to recheck an agency and airline before booking a ticket. Mileage terms and conditions are subject to change all the time.

Please also be informed that sometimes a cheaper ticket price can be found on the official airline sites. You should do a quick check before making a final purchase.

These comparison sites also show flight deals to Bangkok.

Google Flights

Google Flights works well in terms of searching and comparing all available flights. It comes with one of the fastest flight search, showing flight times with outstanding price tracking and alerts system. Alternative dates with cheaper priced tickets can be found on the date selection calendar.

Google Flights also offers map searches suggesting different destinations based on your time-frame and interests. The feature is recommended for those who have the budget and time but still do not have an idea of where they should go.

Unfortunately, prices shown on Google Flights are not that accurate. It tends to show an average cost of each route instead of their exact price. In addition, it has not included Nok Air and Thai Lion Air yet.


Although you cannot book a ticket directly from Skyscanner, it is one of the world’s largest travel search engines, comparing millions of flight in order to find the cheapest deal.

Skyscanner also covers other traveling related services including hotel, car rental, and airport transfer. This saves you the headache of dealing with a scam taxi at the airport.


Expedia covers all major available domestic airlines, as well as other international airlines. International airlines are also included in their price comparison tool that sometimes offers an even cheaper price than the local airlines. After choosing a route, you can book a ticket directly on the site.

Expedia has a comprehensive comparison tool and regularly offers promotions. It can be your go-to website when it comes to booking a flight ticket.


In case you are still not sure about the traveling date, Jetradar is a good option. Apart from being a good price comparison tool, it allows you to find the cheapest price with only the departure date selected. You can subscribe to their price alert and wait for the cheapest price for your selected route.

Please note that sometimes Jetradar redirects to their allied agency to complete the booking. It may have an additional processing fee.


Traveloka is an online travel agency where you can directly book a ticket on the site. The price shown on the price comparison page is a net price, including fuel surcharge, airport taxes, and credit card surcharge. In addition, you do not need to worry about accidentally adding unnecessary options, such as travel insurance, during the check-out process.

In addition, price displayed on Traveloka is closely similar to the official airline sites, sometimes even lower. This makes it becoming a popular choice to a lot of local people.

Agencies vs Official Airline Sites

Normally, domestic ticket price in Thailand between agencies and an airline’s official site isn’t much different at all. You usually find a similar price no matter where you look.

Booking through an online agency is better, in a way, to compare prices between each airline. This way you can find out which one is offering the best price, so that you can go to the airline’s site and recheck the price again.

An online agency also gives more freedom on the round-trip ticket. For example, if you want to travel to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, it can be cheapest to fly with Thai Lion Air and then fly back with AirAsia.

Unlike budget airlines, some agencies like Traveloka do not include any hidden fee, so that you can have more peace of mind while booking a ticket with them.

On the other hand, booking a ticket through official airline sites is better in terms of collecting points from their loyalty systems. This is the only way to make sure that your points will be accumulated correctly.

When you will be flying with special conditions, including special meals, sports equipment, extra luggage, pets, infants, and so on, it is a good idea to book a ticket through the airline site directly. It is difficult for an online agency to fulfill your specific requirements. This includes any other conditions such as changing flight details, a refund, or anything requiring further special assistance.

A special promotion is another factor that needs to be considered if you really want to find the cheapest deal. Sometimes, official airline sites have special promotions that cannot be found elsewhere. Or online agencies have a special deal with credit card companies. It’s better to do a quick check before making a final purchase.

Deals and Promotions

Finding available ticket promotions in Thailand is quite easy. There are many sites out there that regularly post available promotions, for both domestic and international flights from Thailand, in real time. Sometimes airlines use these sites to publicize their promotion directly.

One of the biggest, regular discount offers is available on the Thai version of Expedia:

Fear not, you can switch to English and use the website the same way as the international version. What’s special is that the Thai version discounts of up to 30% on airline tickets that aren’t posted on any of the other flight comparison sites.

You can also stay informed about upcoming deals by installing the Skyscanner app and activating their push notifications. This way you’ll get an immediate heads-up when a deal goes live.

Credit Card

The flight ticket price can be further decreased when using the right credit card. Some banks regularly have a co-promotion with airlines, directly providing great promotions to their customers, from a 20% discount, point redemptions, to other related benefits such as priority service, airport pickup, lounge access, and more.

This section will give you an idea of which credit cards from which banks are recommended for domestic flight. However, please note that some credit cards or benefits might not be available in the future. It’s better to recheck directly with the bank again.


KTC has been well-known for its co-promotions with airlines for many years. It even creates its own service called KTC World, providing special information, assistance, and promotions for everything related to traveling, from airplane, tour package, and restaurant to hotel.

At present, KTC is a partner of Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, and AirAsia, regarding the point redemptions with the following rates:

  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus: Ten points per one mile for standard Gold and Classic cards, and two points per mile for other superior cards. (15,000 to 25,000 miles required for a free ticket)
  • Bangkok Airways FlyerBonus: One thousand points per ten FlyerBonus points for most cards. For Bangkok Airways Visa Platinum and Titanium MasterCard, it’s going to be 750 points for the same FlyerBonus. (100 points required for a free ticket)
  • AirAsia Big Point: Ten points per one Big Point for standard Gold and Classic cards, and two points per one Big Point for other superior cards. (10,000 to 15,000 points required for a free ticket)

KTC X World Rewards Mastercard

Looking at the rate, Bangkok Airways has the best point redemption rate with KTC, requiring 10,000 points (250,000 THB spent) for a free ticket, while other airlines need at least 20,000 points.

One of the most recommended KTC card for domestic flight is KTC X World Rewards Mastercard, providing an additional 5% discount for flight tickets with other travel-related benefits, and a three times point bonus multiplier when spending on eating, shopping, and traveling. Minimum salary for a foreigner is 50,000 THB a month.

Despite having a 5,000 THB annual fee, you get 25,000 points that can later be redeemed for a round flight from Bangkok to CNX.

Additionally, you might even get further discounts when booking a flight ticket with KTC through their occasional special promotions.


Other credit cards are mainly aimed at a specific airline. One of the most notable cards is CityBank Royal Orchid Prefer, where you can redeem one Royal Orchid Plus Mile for every 15-20 THB spent. It means you get a free Thai Airways ticket after spending 225,000-300,000 THB with the card. This does not include other promotions that the CitiBank may have with the airline in the future.

Citibank Royal Orchid Plus Preferred

However, the CitiBank Royal Orchid Plus card comes with a minimum 80,000 salary for a foreigner, with an annual fee at 4,000 THB per year unless you spend 300,000 THB within twelve months.

The CityBank card also comes with limousine service, and free Royal Silk Lounge access when flying overseas with Thai Airways.

**Currently, this card is no longer available since CityBank Thailand have been taken over by UOB. However, there might be a similar card in the future.


In case your salary is less than 80,000 THB a month, AEON Royal Orchid Plus Platinum card is a good option. Its redemption ratio is slightly higher than Citibank at 20 THB per one mile, but requires only 30,000 THB minimum salary.

The Aeon Royal Orchid Plus Platinum card can even be a better option than the CitiBank, with its up to 5% cash back and 2,000 miles bonus from Thai Airways when flying with them every four sectors.

AEON Royal Orchid Plus Platinum card

The downside is that you cannot redeem miles to other airlines under the Star Alliance.

There are also a lot of credit cards that aren’t mentioned in the article. It is not that they are not worthwhile, but their current benefits for flight aren’t that better than the aforementioned cards. However, this might change in the future.

Now, on to You

Thailand’s competitive domestic airline space offers a lot of great options at equally competitive prices, which makes it easy to decide which airline to go with. But this ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. You can conveniently compare and book domestic flights from different airlines in Thailand through cheapOair.

If you would like to share your experiences with any of the airlines mentioned above, leave a comment below.

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Saran Lhawpongwad is a Bangkokian by birth. He loves to share what he learns based on his insights living and running business in Thailand. While not at his desk, he likes to be outdoors exploring the world with his family. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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