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Thailand is located almost exactly on the opposite side of the world from the United States, so finding a flight to Thailand can be a bit of a hassle. However, once you have arrived in Thailand, all of the painful travel and planning becomes well worth it. From the unique beaches of Phuket to the bustling markets of Chiang Mai and everything else in between.
Finding a flight to Thailand can be done with ease with a little bit of knowledge on how to shop for flights and the best airlines to take you there. Rather you’re looking for the cheapest flight, the quickest way there, or how to get there with the least amount of discomfort.
Most Budget Friendly
Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to travel in once you get there. You can get anything from fine dining to an hour massage for under USD 10. The most expensive part of your trip will most likely be the flight to get there.
Depending on how long you are staying, flights can sometimes cost just as much or more than your whole entire vacation in Thailand. You don’t always have to spend an arm and a leg getting there though. If your main priority is spending as little as possible getting there and not comfort or getting there fast, here is some guidance.
Tips and Tricks
Fly into Bangkok
Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s international airport, is the cheapest airport to fly into Thailand. Flights can be up to $200 cheaper than if you were to fly into Phuket or Chang Mai. Spend a couple of nights exploring the city and then make your way to your destination through cheaper airlines, like Air Asia, or by overnight bus or train.
Fly on a Tuesday
You can save around $50 a flight by departing and returning from Thailand on a Tuesday. Do not try to fly on Saturdays if you are trying to save a little more money. You will end up paying on average $80 more. Mondays and Wednesdays are also decent days to fly to and from Thailand.
Shop international airlines
The cheapest flights on a U.S. airline are through Delta, costing as little as $1,005 roundtrip. If you look at international airlines, such as Air China or China Southern, you can find flights for as cheap as $585 roundtrip from Los Angeles International Airport and $535 from John F Kennedy International Airport.
Travel in Spring and Fall
Summertime is Thailand’s peak tourist season. Prices can reach well above $1,000 during this time, even on International airlines. Thailand stays fairly warm year-round, so you’ll still have a great vacation if you go during early spring and late fall.
On average, looking at all of the times and airports that you could fly into, China Southern is the most budget-friendly airline from the west coast. Prices drop as low as $533 round trip through China Southern if you are following all of the criteria above.
If you are flying out of the East coast, the cheapest airline to fly through is Air China. Leaving from John F Kennedy International Airport, you can find prices as low as $531 roundtrip through Air China.
The best way to find budget-friendly flights always is to watch flights over time. You can do this very simply by going to Google flights. Simply search for the flight you are looking for, time and destination, then turn on “track prices”.
Quickest Way There
Getting to Thailand fast is not really an option. After all, it is over 8,000 miles away from the United States and that’s if you could fly straight there. You are going to have a long flight no matter where you fly from or how you do it.
There are no straight-through flights to Thailand from anywhere in the United States. Thai Airways used to provide a straight-through flight from Los Angeles and John F Kennedy, but those stopped in 2012 due to a loss in profitability. Thai airways may start the straight-through flights again in the future, but that is still not certain.
There are faster and slower ways to get to and from Thailand. If you follow these guidelines, you will most likely find the fastest way to Thailand.
Tips and Tricks
Fly From San Francisco International Airport
The east coast is roughly 400 miles further than flying from the west coast. The shortest flights from the United States are found on the west coast, specifically out of San Francisco. If you fly out of Los Angeles it may add on just an hour or two, but definitely chose San Francisco International airport if you have the choice.
Choose flights with only 1 stop
The more stops along the way, the more travel time you are adding. Each transfer has at least a one-hour time span between your flight landing and your next flight taking off. Rather you are flying from the east coast or the west coast, you can find flights with only one stop along the way.
Fly into Bangkok
Suvarnabhumi is the largest airport in Thailand. It has the most airlines flying into it out of all the airports in Thailand. Therefore you have more of a chance of getting a flight into Bangkok from wherever you are than Phuket or Chiang Mai.
Fly early in the morning
There tend to be fewer delays and shorter lines if you fly early in the morning. Due to air traffic, delays get worse throughout the day, starting around 8 a.m. and reaching a peak at 6 p.m. The airports are also less crowded and have shorter lines in the morning because nobody else wants to start their vacation early.
Flying out of San Francisco International Airport, China Airlines is the quickest airline to go through. They can get you to Thailand in 18 ½ hours and get you back home in as little as 16 ½ hours. Each way only has one short stop total along the way.
If you must fly out of the East coast, fly out of John F Kennedy International airport on Air China. When flying from the East coast they fly you right over the north pole rather than directly around the earth because that is the shortest way. Therefore, there really is no short way from the east coast. Air China can get you to Thailand in 20 hours and get you back in 23 ½ hours.
For such a long flight, comfort is key in making it there without a stiff back and feeling exhausted. Once you land in Thailand you want to feel energized and ready to go for your vacation. Which is still very possible, even with an 18-hour flight.
If money and time aren’t an issue, you can get to Thailand without feeling like you ever left the comforts of your home. With airlines offering anything from basically tiny apartments to free movies and wifi. You can start your Thailand vacation off right with these airlines listed below.
Best First Class Suites
Singapore Airlines, hands down, offer the best first-class suites to Thailand. The seats offer your own private area with a door that can be closed for maximum privacy. There is a separate bed from the actual seat in these suites that can be turned into a double bed if you have two seats. You can also enjoy free movies and TV on the 32-inch flat-screen TV, along with unlimited champagne.
The only downside is that you will have to make 2 transfer stops if leaving from San Francisco on the way to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. One in Hong Kong and one in Singapore. However, with the purchase of these suites, you get access to The Private Room at Changi Airport in Singapore, which offers a la carte dining.
Best First Class
With the largest seat on the market, Cathay Pacific takes the prize for best first-class seats to Thailand. These seats are 36 inches wide and can fit up to 3 people in them comfortably. The seat also comes with one of the most comfortable lie-flat beds you can experience.
Service onboard Cathay Pacific first class is unbeatable. You’ll enjoy multiple course meals, including caviar, champagne, and chocolates. Along with complimentary pajamas! The staff is very friendly and accommodating as well. You can also get to Bangkok from San Francisco with only one stop in Hong Kong.
If you don’t have an abundant amount of money to spend on first-class seats, but would still like to be more comfortable than the average budget airline, Emirates Economy seats are the most comfortable. They have the most seat room out of all airlines flying to Thailand with a seat pitch (legroom) of 33-34 inches and a width of 18 inches.
Emirates economy seats also come equipped with a large library of free entertainment and wifi at cost. You will receive an amenity kit when boarding Emirates as well. The kit includes an eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, and socks.
Overall Best Airline
Out of all this information on the most comfortable, fastest, and budget-friendly airlines, the most well-rounded of all categories is Air China when flying to Thailand. It came in number one on some categories and number two in almost any other category.
Air China is the cheapest airline to fly through when coming from John F Kenndy airport and the second cheapest, if not about the same, airline if flying from San Francisco. Prices are as low as $531 roundtrip if you go during spring or fall and you’re flying into Bangkok. That is about $50 cheaper than the next cheapest airline.
The quickest airline to get you to Thailand from John F Kennedy airport is Air China. I would only fly out of the east coast if you have to though because it takes about 3 hours longer to get there. Air China is the second-fastest from the west coast, getting you there with only an extra hour of time than China Airlines.
Air China’s seats are not that far off from Emirates seats in comfortability. Their seat pitch is 31-33 inches, which is only a couple inches short or even the same as Emirates legroom. The width of the seats is also barely short or about the same as Emirates being 17-18 inches. You are also equipped with FREE wifi aboard Air China.
Remember to always shop around for a few days. Flight times, prices, and availability can change daily. Google flights flight tracker is a great tool because they send you e-mails every time there is an update on flights. Remember to have fun while shopping for flights! You are going to Thailand, “the land of smiles.”