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Thought I'd start a thread with airline news and route information....Mod's, perhaps consider a new sub forum? Or move as you see fit...

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THAI Airbus A380 Operation News

The way I read this, sounds like the A380 doesn't appear to be heading to London as planned....most likely due to the recent increase in APD tax, and the reduction of passengers it will no doubt cause...

Thai Airways International on Saturday 21APR12 further updated its Winter 2012/13 schedule, including additional Airbus A380 routes. Initially the airline will operate service to Hong Kong and Singapore from 28OCT12 for 6 weeks, before entering long-haul service including Frankfurt and Paris CDG. Planned A380 service to Tokyo Narita remains unchanged, but will not be the first A380 route.

Bangkok – Hong Kong 28OCT12 – 14DEC12 TG600/601, 1 daily

Bangkok - Singapore 28OCT12 – 14DEC12 TG409/410, 1 daily

Bangkok – Frankfurt eff 15DEC12 TG920/921, 1 daily

Bangkok – Tokyo Narita eff 16JAN13 TG676/677, 1 daily

Bangkok – Paris CDG eff 16FEB13 TG930/931, 1 daily (Overall frequencies will reduce from 10 weekly 777-300ER to 1 daily A380)

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New Low Cost Option To Bangkok From Singapore

Possible connections to/from Sydney and the Gold Coast too...

Singapore Airlines' low-cost carrier Scoot today (24APR12) announced the launch date for its planned Singapore - Tianjin service, as well as a brand new destination, Bangkok.

From 05JUL12, it'll launch daily Singapore - Bangkok service, followed by Singapore - Tianjin 4 weekly flights from 23AUG12. Last week the airline announced that it will be moving forward launch date to early-June 2012 (daily to Sydney from 04JUN12 and 5 weekly to Gold Coast from 12JUN12).

Singapore – Bangkok eff 05JUL12

OQ302 SIN1725 – 1845BKK 777 D

OQ301 BKK2000 – 2315SIN 777 D

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Thought I'd start a thread with airline news and route information....Mod's, perhaps consider a new sub forum? Or move as you see fit...

We can pin it, as saving on the cost of a flight is a major factor for a trip to Los or elsewhere. No point in letting valuable, money saving info drift down the pages.

Keep us posted FB, cheers.

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Will try and keep updated as I can...and let you know of any "Insider" knowledge...

Also to all members...please see my signature.

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Bangkok – Tokyo Narita eff 16JAN13 TG676/677, 1 daily

Thanks for the intel, FB. Wish they had more.

In the last 24 hours, it looks as if my summer plans have changed. It's not perfectly on-topic, but as this thread is the most current, I hope I can throw out a question here...

I've never actually booked an international round-trip flight originating in Thailand. Are there any sites or resources that are best other than the usual?

Also, are any sites/parties particularly conducive to being able to choose your own layover destination?

Long story short, ideally, I'd like to fly to the east coast of the States via Narita (Tokyo), and be able to extend my layover by a few days each way.

Any advice or input is greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

fb

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Great idea to pin this.It's nice to have a BM in the industry.

I think pinning a hotel thread would be a good idea too.

Good suggestion Katana, have just done so with the Pattaya Accommodation.

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What is the usual FB?

I'd start with the Thai based Expedia site....doing it on my own and avoiding any Thai travel agent...

http://www.expedia.co.th/

Can I just clarify what you want? To stop in Tokyo for a few days each way? Or a flexible ticket that your can change from the US if you want to stay longer?

If its the first, I'd be looking at booking fares directly with the airline you want to fly on. There is an option of "Multi Tripping" on Expedia, but think you'll be paying a premium in order to do so...these kind of sites really specialise in giving you the quickest, cheapest options to your final destination....worth a go though?

If its the second, I'd be contacting airlines direct....these will know their own charges, and ticket flexibilities better than any agent or online travel store and be better to advise you...

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For those who like to fly with Eva Air, their application to join the Star Alliance network has been accepted. This should be good news, as it means easier connections with the other 20+ airlines, and use of the lounges if you are in a premium loyalty category for your mileage/points accumulation.

I didn't see the dates yet, but it is probably in the not too distant future.

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Good suggestion Katana, have just done so with the Pattaya Accommodation.

Excellent

A thread for BKK,Phuket,etc,would be good too.BMs. could rate the hotels they stayed in(good or bad) ,or have stayed in ,in the past.Or ask questions about a hotel they are going to stay in,on their forthcoming trip.

Look how much time we spend in the loom...sleeping ,shagging,escaping from the mid-day heat,or just getting over a hangover!

Viva la "hong"(room)

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Also, are any sites/parties particularly conducive to being able to choose your own layover destination?

Long story short, ideally, I'd like to fly to the east coast of the States via Narita (Tokyo), and be able to extend my layover by a few days each way.

I booked a few flights using FF miles on United. I couldn't book "layovers" or an "open jaw" online; I needed to deal with a phone rep. I did lots of research using the online system though so I knew exactly what I wanted so the phone rep could give it to me.

When booking FF flights (not what you're doing) on United, one is permitted either one layover or one open jaw. Just me, or do these terms seem sort of sexual?

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EVA airlines joining the Star Alliance is great news for us on the US west coast. Thai airlines just terminated their non-stop flights fom LAX to BKK, the only non-stop flight on that route, and started using differen planes thereby eliminating the Premium Economy Class which was certainly worth the extra money. Now EVA provides better and faster service than Thai and a Premium Economy class equal to what Thai used to provide. Makes one wonder what Thai Airline is thinking. Oh Yah, its another state run airline.

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Larry... & others using FF points, don't forget to explore all options when booking FF reward flights, eg., booking 2 OW legs instead of a RT, using partner airlines, open jaws, etc....

I don't know United's system, but with AA if I book a OW award from say, BKK to USA, I can schedule a "layover" to anywhere in North America - that includes Canada, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico from a AA gateway airport .... so with my return from BKK I can also build in a free RT to Honululu or St. Martin 8 months later for free!

There are a number of ways to play the angles in the FF game...

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Thai airline = parent company is Thai Government Ministry of Finance. Yes , it is a "public traded company", but the Ministry of Finance is holding 53.77% of the Shares. Sounds to me like a state run operation.

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Thai Airways got a new Board of Directors on the change of government. So you can draw your own conclusion!!

I used to get some reasonable 'Thailand-based' deals from Chawla Travel (based in Patpong, but dont let that put you off!) I recently booked a BKK-London return ticket through an airline website. That's probably the best option if they have any offers. Suggest you register for the airlines' email newsletters ..... with Thailand as your designated 'home' country.

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http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/travelers-ed/nine-must-dos-before-a-long-haul-flight

Nine Must-Do's Before a Long-Haul Flight

longhaulbookingbhp.jpgIf you don't take long-haul flights very often, everything about the experience can seem intimidating -- the interminable hours aloft, the sketchy choice of seats, choosing an airline you know nothing about, wondering if and how well you will be fed, dealing with boredom, and more. And then there is of course pricing, which can put you back on your heels within seconds of clicking "Search for Flights."

All told, a long-haul flight can be the most physically and financially demanding component of travel to faraway places. To help you keep long-haul flying from becoming long-suffering, here are nine tips to consider before booking your next big international flight.

1. Do not judge by price alone.

Once you get into the stratosphere of long-haul flight pricing, the numbers involved start to become a little scary -- there aren't many three-figure long-haul price quotes out there, and the sticker shock can sting.

However, when you consider a long-haul flight as a by-the-hour experience, a higher cost on a decent flight on a comfortable aircraft with a stellar entertainment system and good food may start to seem fairly attractive when compared to a hellish flight on a cramped aircraft with overhead screens showing bad movies.

So after reviewing the recommendations below, take stock of your options carefully when weighing price vs. amenities; if you are going to be on a plane for a total of 30 hours coming and going, and it costs an extra $150 to get a better flight on a better airline, ask yourself if you would pay $5/hour for a much better seat, with better food, better movies and better service.

redcarat-IT.gifWhat Not to Do at the Airport

2. Watch out for gnarly connections.

Sometimes you simply can't get from one point to another on a single lengthy flight, so you will have to choose a connecting flight. On long-haul travel in particular, where you will in many cases make your connection on foreign soil, transferring to another flight can be an arduous endeavor. Frequently it can involve clearing customs, picking up luggage, moving to a different terminal, rechecking bags, clearing security again, etc. -- this can sometimes take hours.

When booking your travel, you may sometimes see a connection that the airlines think is reasonable -- but often these decisions are made based on arbitrary, computer-imposed timeframes, and simply are not possible. A connection may be "legal," but that doesn't mean you can make it happen, or even come close.

For example, I recently was shown a 50-minute connection on a flight coming from Mexico, connecting to another airport in California. This connection gave me 55 minutes to get off the plane, collect my bags, clear customs, recheck my bags, go through U.S. security and get to my gate. Given that you are really required to be at your gate 20 minutes minimum before takeoff, in truth we had about a half-hour to do everything -- that is, if our first flight arrived and unloaded on time.

Another connection I was recently offered by an online system turned out to require an overnight stay in Germany -- so even discounting the hassle, we would have had to pay for a hotel room to boot. The flight was priced nicely, sure -- but add 100 euros to the airfare, and it didn't look so great any longer.

Hipmunk.com is a useful tool to check out for its "Agony Index," which ranks flights using a combination of price, duration and number of connections. Flights are presented graphically as multi-colored horizontal bars, which allow you easily to see the length of layovers and flight segments.

redcarat-IT.gifHow to Sleep Better on Planes

3. Choose your airline wisely.

Not all airlines are created equal; in fact, long-haul travel may be where you find the greatest differentiation between airlines. You will want to concern yourself mainly with three things:

- Food

- Entertainment

- Comfort

For food, almost all long-haul flights include a sensible frequency of meals. If you are a picky eater, however, you will want to do some research on the meal offerings of your various airline options. Almost all airlines have this information on their Web sites -- or check out AirlineMeals.net, which has thousands of pictures from different meals on countless airlines.

On your own, you will want to plan to pack some food that you would eat during a normal day at home or work -- so if you eat a handful of gorp every morning to get you through to lunch, plan on having some when you fly.

After making sure you will more or less like the food, you will want to know how you are going to fill the hours on the plane, which will pass more slowly than you think. In particular, unless you have a massively tricked-out tablet going, a decent in-flight entertainment system is absolutely critical. Start by checking out our best airlines for in-flight entertainment, and try to get on one of those.

In the absence of one of these top five, I suggest one important amenity: go for seatback screens instead of overhead screens. Seatback screens offer two advantages:

1) Over the course of several hours, they are far less physically demanding to view.

longhaulbookingbhp3.jpg2) Seatback systems usually offer much greater variety, so you are not stuck watching whatever terrible movie has been loaded for everyone to watch on the aircraft equipped with overhead screens, whether they like it or not.

SeatGuru and other seating chart sites can really help here as well, as they include information not only about seat locations, sizes and the like, but also whether the aircraft has seatback or overhead screens.

For comfort, read on.

4. Choose your aircraft wisely.

Before you purchase a long-haul ticket, you will want to research what type of aircraft your airline options are likely to fly on the route, and how they have configured the aircraft, both with respect to the seating setup, and other important factors like seatback screens vs. overhead screens. This information will come in handy not only when choosing your seats immediately after your purchase, but in choosing between competing airlines on the same route.

For example, a plane with a 3 - 3 configuration is typically more grueling than some other setups, such as a 3 - 5 - 3 configuration, mainly because the presence of only one aisle will have you competing for space not only with other passengers, but especially with flight staff as they perform drink and meal services. These days passengers are expected to stay seated during these times -- and on a long flight, this can be tough, not to mention unhealthy.

Going back to SeatGuru, there are a few other seat considerations to take into account. Having a seat that reclines, and does not have foot area obstructions, and does not have a ton of foot traffic, and has a window, etc. etc., will make a huge difference over the course of 15 hours as opposed to four or five. Make sure your aircraft and your specific seats do not show any yellow or red flags.

redcarat-IT.gifGet the Best Airplane Seat

5. Do absolutely anything you can to get an upgrade.

As I have written previously, the only flight I was ever sorry to see end was a long-haul flight on which I had used miles to upgrade to first class. I had decompressed to an extent that I had not felt since I was a school kid on vacation; it was an odd sensation.

You will want to check for upgrades before, during and after you book your flight; see First Class for Free: How to Get an Airline Upgrade for some ideas.

6. Check for loyalty program implications.

If you are going to endure 14 hours in the air both coming and going on a long trip, you might as well get some frequent flier benefit from the experience. To this end, you may want to choose an airline with which you already have a membership, or at least one that's in the same alliance as the airline you belong to.

For example, Emirates is an extremely well-regarded airline (it made our list of the world's best), but does not belong to any of the three global alliances -- so unless you have reason to fly Emirates again and regularly, the miles probably may not do you any good for future trips.

7. Choose your travel clothing carefully.

Most people choose comfortable clothes when flying, but it isn't uncommon to see men in stiff business suits and women in high heels wobbling onto planes. When it comes to a long-haul flight, these choices become critical when you remember that you will likely want to do the following:

- Fall asleep. You will want clothes that are forgiving of slumping in your seat, "rolling over" without clinging or potentially even lying across a couple of seats if available.

- Take off your shoes. Go for footwear that can be easily slipped off and back on again, all without having to strain to reach under the seat in front of you.

- Walk around. Pick shoes that are very comfortable, and easy to balance in if you hit some turbulence.

- Stretch. Choose clothes that move with you.

I covered this a bit in 10 Ways to Survive a Long-Haul Flight, which is definitely worth a look once you have booked your trip.

redcarat-IT.gifFive Things You Shouldn't Wear on a Plane

8. Trick out your tablet.

With tablets becoming ever more popular, especially among folks who travel quite a bit and are likely to take long-haul flights, this needs mentioning here. In this case, I don't mean making sure your apps are up to date and organizing your icon and folder system -- no, this is a much more serious task.

longhaulbookingbhp2.jpgIf you are going to rely on a tablet to get you through two 17-hour flights coming and going, you are going to need new, fresh and absolutely compelling stuff on your tablet to get you through. We are talking at least a couple of movies -- and these should be bucket-list movies that will absolutely absorb you, not just whatever you have sitting around in your movie queue. Then add at least a couple of books in digital format, of different genres, so if you tire of a long novel, you can go read about indigenous local plants to consider for your garden.

So maybe you load up one fiction book -- one that you know you are going to like -- and then one non-fiction, utilitarian book focusing on a subject in which you have a longtime, serious interest (business or hobby titles, an oral recording history of the Beatles, that kind of thing).

redcarat-IT.gifWhat's the Best Way to Survive a Long Flight?

9. Prep for a holiday.

As I suggest above, a long-haul flight in first class is like a vacation day. I am not kidding. And unless you indulge in in-flight Internet access, it might be the only true day off you get all year. Even if you don't end up in the front of the plane, it is still a full day away from phones, e-mail, driving around, lawn-mowing, etc. So when you are preparing for a long-haul flight, weigh all your options as if you were choosing your only day off all year -- and then prepare yourself to take that full day off, complete with favorite clothes, favorite books and movies, a nap, good snacks, all of it.

Go Anyway,

Ed Hewitt

TravelersEd@aol.com

Features Editor

The Independent Traveler

Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, which also owns SeatGuru.com.

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Yes I read quite a number of them and all interesting.

Since I have traveled a lot I chuckled and winced at a lot of what the author(s) had to say. Been there, done that, kinda thing. Nonetheless a terrific read.

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Air Asia Big Sale starts 14th May....

www.airasia.com

EDIT: Travel period 4 Jan 2013-22 May 2013

Example fare; Bangkok - Phuket THB 300 (plus tax)

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Of course with AirAsia what you see is not always what you get after luggage fees, taxes, booking fee, etc. but these prices look pretty good, note the travel period in FBUK's post above. Gotta book soon though.

Fly from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok to: Domestic All-in-fare from Chiang Rai rowGreyDivider.gif USD 4.00 Trang rowGreyDivider.gif USD 4.00 Ubon Ratchathani rowGreyDivider.gif USD 4.00 Udon Thani rowGreyDivider.gif USD 4.00 Nakhon Phanom rowGreyDivider.gif USD 4.00 Phuket rowGreyDivider.gif USD 11.00

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