If you plan on arriving in Thailand via a low cost airline in October 2012 and beyond, you had better be aware that they will be arriving at Don Mueang airport and not Suvarnabhumi. Well at least that is the plan. This is a change that has been kicked around for awhile by the Thai government and just recently they have announced that they plan on making the move for low cost carriers beginning in October.
Thai Air Asia is the first airline to officially announce that they will begin their service on October 1, 2012. Other airlines have yet to officially announce a date when they will make they will make the move, but all low cost carriers will follow…maybe. There is squabbling amongst many of the airlines over incentives (or lack thereof) being offered. Some say they have no incentives to move. Things can’t be this fucked up can they? After all, this is Thailand we are talking about, and we all know they don’t screw anything up.
Suvarnabhumi is currently overcrowded and moving all the carriers to Don Mueang does make sense, however this will cause many inconveniences that will need to be worked out and I’m sure it will take time to work out the bugs. Some issues probably will never be worked out. That is once the airlines officially move out to the old airport that was underwater last year during the floods for months.
If you’re arriving at Don Mueang and travelling to Pattaya, you will probably have to add about an hour or so onto your travel time. This is how everyone used to arrive in Bangkok before “swampy” (Suvarnabhumi) opened in September of 2006. If you have been travelling to Pattaya for a long period of time, then this will bring back memories, but I’m sure they aren’t fond memories. Swampy made it very convenient for people to get to Pattaya. It shouldn’t take you more than 90 minutes to get to Pattaya from swampy. Now expect about a 2 ½ hour ride to Pattaya and of course it will be more expensive.
The full list of carriers and dates has yet to be announced and anytime you’re dealing with Thai officials, expect the unexpected. The best thing for you to do is be aware of the changes and if you have booked a ticket, or are planning on booking one after October 1, 2012, make sure you know which airport you will be arriving. That way you can make proper travel arrangements if you are heading to Pattaya, or anywhere else for that matter. To be continued…