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Tourist On A Boat At Ban Rak Thai Village, Mae Hong Son Province

Budget-friendly flights to explore the beauty of Thailand: A detailed comparison of airlines and flight search tips

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country known for its gorgeous beaches, lively cities, rich culture, and mouthwatering cuisine. Exploring this diverse and exciting destination doesn’t have to break the bank with some savvy flight booking. This comprehensive guide compares flight options to find the most budget-friendly tickets to Thailand.

Cheapest time of year to visit Thailand

Thailand has a tropical climate with a rainy season and a dry season. The best time to find cheap flights is during the hot and dry months from November to February. However, the peak tourist season from November to March means higher hotel rates. For fewer crowds and lower room prices, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October.

Comparison of budget airlines flying to Thailand

Several low-cost carriers offer affordable routes to Thailand from destinations around the world. Here is an overview of popular budget airlines servicing Thailand:

 

Airline Hub Airports Sample Destinations Sample Fares* Perks Things to Know
AirAsia Kuala Lumpur Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai $50-200 ● Flies to over 130 destinations regionally ● Regular sales and promotions ● AirAsia BIG loyalty program ● Charges extra for checked baggage, seats, meals, etc. ● Prone to delays/cancellations during poor weather
Nok Air Bangkok (DMK) Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi $50-150 ● Flies domestically within Thailand ● Allowance for a small personal item ● Participates in common booking platforms ● No frills – charges added for extra services ● Limited regional routes ● Older aircraft fleet
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur Bangkok $200-400 ● Long-haul budget flights to Asia and Australia ● More legroom and comfort for long flights ● Frequent sales and promotions ● Limited destinations compared to short-haul AirAsia ● Baggage limits still strict for a full-service flight
Jetstar Singapore, Australia, Vietnam Bangkok, Phuket $75-250 ● Flies to over 80 destinations ● Codeshare agreements expand network ● Smooth online booking system ● Beware added fees for check-in, baggage, exit row seats, etc. ● Prone to delays
Thai AirAsia X Bangkok (DMK) Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul $100-300 ● Affordable long-haul flights on Airbus A330 planes ● Generous baggage allowance ● Lie-flat seats on some aircraft ● Limited regional network ● Can only book directly through website or call center
Thai Lion Air Bangkok (DMK) Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City $50-100 ● Newer Boeing and Airbus fleet ● Affordable add-ons like extra baggage ● Smooth mobile app ● Still building destination network ● Prone to delays

 

Sample fares are estimates for round-trip economy class tickets, excluding added fees. Fares fluctuate frequently based on season, demand, and sales.

While Bangkok is the primary international gateway, those wanting to start elsewhere can find domestic connections on low-cost carriers like Nok Air, AirAsia, and Thai Lion Air.

Tips for finding cheap flights to Thailand

Take advantage of these tips and hacks to unlock the best deals on airfare:

Book during sales: Sign up for email alerts from your preferred airlines to get notices for website-wide promo fares and flash sales. These are often first-come, first-served.

Be flexible with dates: Use the whole-month view on booking sites to pinpoint the cheapest travel days. Flying midweek is generally cheaper than weekends.

Try alternate airports: Nearby airports sometimes run special routes or sales that you can take advantage of. For example, flying into Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) instead of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK).

Use price prediction tools: Google Flights and Skyscanner have price prediction calendars that suggest the cheapest dates.

Set fare alerts: Save your ideal flight parameters and get email or app notifications when cheap seats open up.

Check budget airline sites directly: Carriers like AirAsia often run specials directly on their sites that third-party booking platforms can’t access.

Try incognito browsing: Airlines sometimes use browser cookies to personalize fares. Browse anonymously in private/incognito mode to compare base rates.

Book multi-city fares: Combining the cheapest one-way routes to create a custom multi-city itinerary can save money compared to round-trips.

Take advantage of error fares: Rarely an airline accidentally posts incorrect super-low fares, and for a short window will still honor the booking price. These deals get shared rapidly on deal sites.

Consider open-jaw tickets: Fly into one Thai city and out of another, allowing you to see more regions on one trip while usually still pricing cheaper than two one-ways.

Enroll in loyalty programs: Sign up for free airline frequent flyer programs, even on budget carriers, for access to special member fares and earning toward future rewards.

Follow airfare specialists on social: The latest deals and airline sales get shared by accounts like @Airfarewatchdog and The Flight Deal on Twitter and Facebook.

Booking platforms for finding flights

Check across these flight comparison platforms and metasearch engines to have the widest net for catching deals:

  • Skyscanner: Searches both budget and major airlines. Offers whole-month and multiple-city booking views.
  • Kayak: Searches hundreds of sites and airlines in one view. Price prediction tool shows fare fluctuations over time.
  • Google Flights: Intuitive interface makes customizing flight searches easy. Price tracking shows historical fare data.
  • Momondo: Excellent for searching open-jaw and multi-city fare combinations. Fare alerts notify you of price drops.
  • Trip.com: Meta search includes major OTAs plus low-cost carriers. Rewards program gives points for bookings.

Check budget airline websites directly as well, as they don’t always share the lowest promo fares through third parties initially.

Top places to visit in Thailand

Once you’ve scored an affordable flight, Thailand offers endless possibilities for planning the journey of a lifetime across a diverse landscape encompassing modern megacities, tranquil villages, jungle-shrouded ruins, and postcard-perfect beaches. Here is just a sample of top destinations and attractions to consider:

Bangkok

The vibrant capital mixes glitzy shopping malls, historic temples, legendary nightlife, and fantastic food. Don’t miss attractions like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Chatuchak Weekend Market, and Chao Phraya river cruises.

Chiang Mai

The cultural capital of northern Thailand blends ancient Lanna tradition with modern amenities. Take in elaborate temples, hill tribe villages, cooking classes, jungle treks, and elephant interactions.

Phuket

Asia’s premier beach resort destination features luxury hotels, epic nightlife, water sports, and offshore snorkeling and diving. The island holds over 30 amazing beaches like Patong and Karon.

Krabi

This southern gem boasts 100+ limestone karst islands perfect for island hopping, rock climbing, sea kayaking through sea caves, and lounging on hidden lagoon beaches only accessible by boat.

Ko Samui

Thailand’s second largest island dazzles with lush jungle interior, coconut groves, beach resorts, and a lively backpacker scene. Don’t miss the iconic Big Buddha statue, Ang Thong National Marine Park, and dipping into paradise coves like Chaweng and Lamai.

5 Questions to ask when booking flights to Thailand

Before confirming your Thai getaway, keep these key questions in mind:

1. What is the baggage allowance?

Many low-cost carriers have strict size and weight restrictions, charging added fees per checked or carry-on bag. Know policies (and tricks for squeezing more into hand luggage) before you reach the airport.

2. Does my passport meet entry requirements?

Most nationalities receive 30-day stamp-on-arrival visas for Thailand. Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from entry date in case an extension is needed.

3. What vaccinations or health precautions should I take?

Consult your doctor or travel clinic on advisable shots and medication for preventing malaria, typhoid, dengue fever, and other diseases when traveling in Thailand.

4. How reliable is this airline and route?

Research any ultra-low-cost carriers thoroughly on flight rating sites like AirlineRatings to confirm safety, service standards, and on-time performance before you fly.

5. Should I consider travel insurance?

Review policy inclusions like emergency medical, lost luggage coverage, and trip cancellation which can protect against plans gone awry in this distant destination.

What are the low domestic airlines I should check within Thailand?

The main low-cost domestic carriers in Thailand include Nok Air, Thai Lion Air, Thai AirAsia, and Thai VietJet Air. Checking their websites directly can uncover special promotional fares not available on third-party sites.

Which hub cities generally have the cheapest flight deals to Thailand?

Typically Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, and cities across China and India offer very competitive fares thanks to all the budget airline competition on those routes. The Middle East hubs of Dubai and Doha also run regular fare sales.

Should I book flights to Thailand as part of a Southeast Asia multi-stop trip?

Definitely! Many travelers plan epic adventures hitting Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and more. Tour companies and airlines cater flight+hotel packaged deals, or you can mix and match budget airline one-ways. Just be mindful of luggage limits hopping multiple LCCs.

How far in advance should I book a cheap flight to Thailand?

Ideally 4-10 weeks out for the best fares, but stay flexible. Last-minute deals do pop up to fill empty seats. For peak holiday times like European summer, Chinese New Year, Christmas, etc. look 2-3 months early.

Should I chance waiting for a future sale if fares seem high now?

Not necessarily – some routes see prices only go up over time. Set price alerts and watch for patterns. If current fare seems reasonable for your dates, it may be advisable to book when you see a good deal.

Can I trust very cheap promotional fares from unknown airlines?

Extremely low fares may look tempting but be wary of airlines with little verifiable background and safety record, as scam bait fares sadly do exist. Thoroughly research carriers before handing over payment or personal information.

Start planning your Thai adventure!

A vacation to Thailand offers an outstanding blend of culture, cuisine, natural beauty and hospitality that engages all the senses. With an array of flight deals opening the door to this mesmerizing country, you’ll create memories to last a lifetime.

The key is knowing where to find budget-friendly fares, when to travel, and how to maximize the value of your booking. Use the tips in this guide to confidently search out affordable flights that work within your schedule and budget constraints. Plot out your personalized Thai itinerary, pack your bags, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

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