Flights to Bangkok aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but there are still some good deals to be had if you can be flexible with your dates and don’t mind indirect flights. The peak time for tourism in Thailand is November to April and flights are normally at their most expensive from mid-December through to early January. If you are travelling over Christmas and New Year try to book your flight as early as possible to get the best deal.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
Direct flights from London to Bangkok take approximately 11.5 hours. Eva Air, Thai Airways, Qantas and British Airways fly direct from London to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. In my experience, Eva Airways often have the lowest prices for direct fares (though not always), but I’d still recommend shopping around as airlines sometimes have promotional offers available for limited periods.
Indirect flights will take longer, but considerable savings can be made. Many of the Middle Eastern airlines such as Gulf Air, Emirates and Qatar Airways have very competitive fares to Thailand. A relative newcomer is Jet Airways which flies from London to Bangkok via India.
(See my airline reviews further down this page.)
If you are holidaying in Phuket, Krabi or Trang it’s worth comparing flight prices to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from where it’s quite easy and convenient to fly to Thailand’s south. Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines both have excellent reputations and there are numerous options for connecting flights to Thailand’s southern resorts which are served by low-cost carriers such as Air Asia and Nok Air.
Flights from the USA and Canada
The rise in fuel prices has forced Thai Airways to cut its direct service from New York to Bangkok and also reduce the number of flights out of Los Angeles. If you are travelling to Thailand from North America then you’ll probably need at least one stop en route either in Europe or Asia. Actual flying time (excluding layovers) from Los Angeles (via Asia) is around 18 hours and it’s approximately 19 hours from New York (via Europe). Flying time from Canada (Vancouver) is around 16 hours (via Asia) and 20 hours from Montreal (via Europe). The layover time can vary quite dramatically from airline to airline. I’ve never flown to Thailand out of North America so I can’t make any real recommendations other than to say shop around for the best deal. At the bottom of this page I’ve listed my experiences with various airlines from London Heathrow to Bangkok which may help if you are flying via London.
Flights from Australia and New Zealand
Direct flights to Bangkok from Sydney or Perth take approximately 9 hours with carriers including Thai Airways, Qantas and British Airways. Indirect flights to Thailand from either Australia or New Zealand via Singapore or Malaysia are normally cheaper and may even be more convenient if you are visiting the south of Thailand because it saves the need for doubling back on yourself from Bangkok. Thai Airways runs services from Auckland although direct flights are under review as a result of rising fuel prices.
Flights from Europe
Numerous airlines run direct services from Europe to Thailand including KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, Thai Airways and Air Berlin. Indirect flights via Dubai and other Gulf countries are often a cheaper alternative.
It’s been just over 2 years since I last flew with Eva Airways but when I’ve flown with them in the past their economy service has been very good. In flight entertainment has varied in quality mainly because they haven’t always had the personal entertainment systems standard with other airlines such as Emirates. I understand this has changed as the fleet has been modernized and indeed the last time I flew with Eva there was a personal entertainment system with individual screen. The food I’ve always found to be quite good and the staff polite and efficient.
I’ve flown with Emirates twice in recent years between Bangkok and London and have been impressed with their service. The food has been very good and the in flight entertainment excellent. The staff were quietly efficient and all in all the economy service has represented good value for money. The stop-over is at Dubai which is a great airport for shopping, but beyond the obvious glitz and glamour it’s still just another airport with people waiting around for connecting flights.
I flew with Qatar from Bangkok to Heathrow in economy back in July of this year. The food was excellent and the on board service was good. I had the passenger from hell sat next to me, but that wasn’t the airline’s fault it was just my bad luck. It meant I was continually being elbowed by a large man as he continually fidgeted and seemed intent on occupying my seat as well as his! That aside, I had no complaints about flying with Qatar Airways particularly as they came up with the cheapest price I could find. The stop-over is at Doha which is a fairly basic airport in stark contrast to Dubai but ultimately whenever you take an indirect flight all you are doing at connecting airports is killing time. Personally speaking, if I’ve got a book to read and somewhere to sit I’m reasonably content. In my opinion Emirates are better than Qatar for economy seats, but there wasn’t as much in it as I thought. I’d rate Emirates at 8 out of 10 and Qatar Airways at 7.
It’s been 5 years since I last flew between London and Bangkok using either of these two airlines which also code share. The only reason I haven’t flown with them since is that I’ve always found their fares to be much more expensive than the alternatives. My own experience with BA and Qantas has been positive, but I have heard a few negatives from friends and family. The entertainment was excellent as was the food. I think it would be fair to describe the staff on my flights as ‘no-nonsense’ types; definitely not as polite or as charming as flying with an Asian or Middle Eastern airline, but not a deal-breaker.
One Way Flight Tickets to Thailand
An airline may happily sell you a one-way ticket to Thailand, but the ticket by itself is no guarantee that you can board the flight. See the article below for a full explanation:
Visa regulations for one way tickets to Thailand »
The articles here will give you an idea of what to expect on arrival in Bangkok and detail how to get to your hotel or guest-house:
Arriving at Bangkok airport »
Waiting time at Bangkok airport »
Bangkok airport’s best kept secret »
Internal Flights in Thailand
Visa Requirements for Thailand
There are a number of variables which will determine whether you need to apply in advance for a visa for your visit to Thailand. These include your country of origin and the length of your stay in Thailand. Check the following articles for more comprehensive information:
Do I need a visa for Thailand? »
Can my airline stop me from boarding if I haven’t got a visa for Thailand? »
Detailed visa requirements listed by country including links to Thai embassies to download application forms »