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Airline Ticket Prices in Thailand Causing Concern Among Domestic Travellers

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The hike in Thailand’s airline ticket price has sparked widespread concern among travellers. Airfares in Thailand have doubled since the pandemic, causing concern among travellers. 

As complaints about the steep increase in airfares from Bangkok to various destinations, including Krabi, flood social media channels, the pressure mounts on airlines to address this pressing issue.

During peak travel seasons and holidays, the exorbitant costs of flights within Thailand have come under scrutiny, with prices soaring beyond what many passengers deem reasonable. 

The public outcry over inflated airfare prices on popular routes like Bangkok-Krabi highlights the challenges travellers face when seeking affordable travel options.

Industry experts predict that ticket prices will likely remain high, aligning with forecasts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regarding the aviation sector’s pricing dynamics. 

Reduced Flights Post Pandemic

The current scenario poses a significant challenge for budget-conscious travellers and raises questions about the factors contributing to the escalating cost of air travel within Thailand.

The limited number of flight options and reduced flight schedules in Thailand play a crucial role in escalating airline fares. With fewer airlines servicing certain routes or operating flights at specific times, travellers have fewer choices. 

This reduced competition in the market allows airlines to maintain higher prices without significant pressure to lower fares. As a result, consumers are left with limited alternatives and are more likely to encounter expensive ticket prices.

Social media platforms are buzzing with frustrated travellers sharing their experiences facing sky-high fares that have surged in Thailand since the pandemic. 

Many are expressing concerns about the financial burden that booking flights has become, significantly impacting their travel plans and budgets. Social media was awash with comments this week from local travellers bemoaning the high price of airfares to Phuket.

One contributor revealed that airfares offered by low-cost carriers from Bangkok to Phuket spiked to around 14,000 baht per trip 2-3 days before the planned departure date. Others said they paid 5,000 baht for a one-way trip to Phuket despite booking weeks ahead of their scheduled travel date.

Government Urged to Take Action

Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the the Thai Hotels Association (THA) southern chapter, said the average prices of airfares and hotels in Phuket have been consistently increasing since the end of the pandemic.

Both the Transport Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) are being urged to take the necessary actions to keep airfares at reasonable prices, after consumers cried foul over expensive airfares during the weekends and long holidays. 

Travellers want the relevant authorities to consider interventions to make air travel affordable, which would benefit the government’s tourism promotion policy and efforts towards stimulating the economy.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), the regulated ceiling price for the 698-kilometre one-way trip from Bangkok to Phuket is 6,561 baht for low-cost carriers and 9,074 baht for full-service carriers.

Thanet Tantipiriyakit, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said the tourism sector has been monitoring airfares but has yet to find any airlines selling their tickets at prices above the ceiling price.

However, other fees and taxes were included in the calculation. In that case, the price may exceed the regulated rate, in which case the airline would not have broken the rules regarding the ceiling prices as the ceiling rate does not include additional expenses, he said.

Changes Coming to Thailand’s Airports

Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand (AoT) will raise passenger service costs at six international airports beginning April 1, 2024, with funds allocated through a new operating system known as Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (Cupps).

The additional 30 baht tax is included in ticket rates, resulting in a new total service fee for customers of 730 baht.

People who go through Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports may be familiar with Cupps’ self-check-in kiosks and self-service bag drops.

The approach is designed to eliminate long lines at check-in counters, but some congestion during peak hours is unavoidable.

In addition to AoT’s six airports (Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Hat Yai), additional airports under the Department of Airports will impose a new tax, with Krabi airport charging 16 baht and the rest establishing an acceptable cost.

Santisuk Klongchaiya, CEO of Thai AirAsia and SET-listed Asia Aviation, stated that 20-30% of its passengers use self-service check-in at Don Mueang airport. He stated that because most passengers utilise their mobile phone or a website for online check-in before arriving at the airport, they can avoid checking in.

Though self-service bag-drop has not yet begun at Don Mueang airport, the airport is less congested than Suvarnabhumi, both for outbound and inbound passengers, due to its physical construction and smaller size, which allows for faster operations as a secondary Bangkok hub.

As AoT evaluates biometric technology for passenger authentication, Mr Santisuk stated that Thai AirAsia will participate in the test. Thai AirAsia intends to implement this system once it is ready, while airlines and passengers can expect to share the additional operational costs, he said.

Mr Santisuk believes that automated ground handling services will become increasingly important for airports in the near future, particularly for those facing labour shortages.

By Geoff Thomas

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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