Airlines + Aviation
Bangkok has two international Airports: Don Mueang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Most airline passengers don’t have a choice. For travellers with a choice of airports, which airport is the better option?
Don Mueang International Airport is used exclusively for domestic flights and by budget air carriers. Suvarnabhumi Aiport is used primarily for international travel.
If travelers have a choice, which airport is more convenient?
Bangkok has two airports. Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which opened in 2006, is served by more the 50 airlines – foreign and domestic, with flights connecting the Thai capital with travel destinations throughout the world.
Serving as Bangkok’s only airport from 1914 through 2006, Don Mueang International Airport is older and less impressive. Closer to Central Bangkok, it is served by domestic airlines flying to travel destinations in Thailand and budget air carriers serving several international travel destinations within the region.
Most passengers don’t have a choice. If they are travelling to other travel destinations in Thailand, they usually have to fly through Dom Mueang. If they are flying nonstop to or from the Americas, Europe, or the Middle East, Suvarnabhumi Airport is the only travel option.
Passengers travelling between Thailand and many regional travel destinations, however, often DO have a choice because many short distance routes are served by both legacy and budget air carriers.
Take the Hong Kong – Bangkok route, for example. Thai Airways International, Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, and several other legacy airlines – including African, European, and Middle Eastern – ply the route.
But so does AirAsia, a low-cost carrier, which finds considerable favourable among many frequent fliers.
I decided to fly on AirAsia on a trip between Bangkok and Bali for 4 reasons. First, the air fare was attractive. Second, the schedule fit in perfectly with my plans. Third, I had flown AirAsia before, and I was happy with the comfort of the seats and the service.
Fourth, the airline served Don Mueang International Airport, which is a short taxi drive to and from the house of a friend, whom I wanted to spend some time with at the beginning and end of my stay.
The shorter lines at customs and security at Don Mueang were a bonus. Maybe I was lucky, but on both my arrival and departure there were never more than 2 people queuing up in front of me at security or customs.
There were also no lines at the check-in counter because I splashed out for Premium Flex, which offers priority check-in, boarding, and baggage claim. The only lines were at the taxi rank, which the airline has no control over.
I believe, however, that lines would always tend to be considerably shorter at Don Muaeng than at Suvarnabhumi because the overall number of international travellers is considerably smaller.
Also, budget air carriers operate smaller aircraft than legacy air carriers, whose jumbo jets can disgorge more than 500 passengers at a time.
When several jumbo jets arrive within minutes of one another, you can expect lengthy lines at passport control.
Since budget airlines fly smaller planes, even if multiple flights arrive within a short period of time, they will all be deplaning considerably smaller numbers of passengers than legacy carriers usually would.
Ironic, isn’t it? Cheapskates flying on budget airlines get to travel through an airport that is closer to downtown. It is also less crowded and has shorter lines.
Recommended: Flying AirAsia from Hong Kong to Bangkok
My Flight in Pictures
On Monday 26 October 2015 I fly from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport to Denpasar International Airport in Bali. The flight takes 4 hours and 10 minutes.
From check in to arrival, here’s a look at my flight in pictures – and some of the friendly people I met along the way.
Do you prefer Don Mueang or Suvarnabhumi when you travel to or from Bangkok?
Please post your comment on Facebook at the following link: Accidental Travel Writer on Facebook. And don’t forget to LIKE us while you’re there!