We had a really bad experience with Lao Airlines and will never use them again. Aside from the fact that it is very difficult to arrange a booking, they extorted an additional $35 US per ticket. Originally, they told us the Bangkok to Luang Prabang flight would be $235 US (round-trip). They asked for half now and half the day of the flight. They charged us half up-front but in EURO at a rate that equaled $135/ticket (not $117.50). We tried to explain this in advance and they said: "not to worry, we can deal with it at the airport". At the airport, the day of the flight, they demanded another $135 (US) per ticket in cash in Thai Bot (again, not $117.50 or $100 which it should have been). I tried to explain that this would mean paying $270 (US) per ticket, not the originally quoted $235 (US). When we refused to pay, the representative became abusive and threatened us that: "we have dozens of people lined up willing to pay double what we are paying so if we didn't like it (meaning being ripped off), we can have the tickets refunded". Obviouslly, we were at the airport and had reservations in Luang Prabang, so we agreed to the charge (extortion, really) even though we knew we were being cheated. So, travellers be warned: Lao Airlines uses a bait-and-switch tactic and will resort to threats to steal your money. Use another airline to get there.
#1 merrylg has been a member since 17/11/2006. Posts: 3
Hi I flew Lao airlines last Sunday, Luang Prabang to Bangkok. Had prepurchased my ticket in Australia via travel agent with no problems. Good flight which was full, left 10 minutes early and arrived in Bangkok 15 mins early which was useful as I only has 100 minutes to get my flight to Singapore. Only comment would be that they dont have international transfer of luggage so I had to enter Thailand, get luggage go straight out again paying 700baht departure tax rather than just being transit. Couldn't fault Lao airlines otherwise. :)
#2 kimley has been a member since 22/10/2006. Posts: 8
I used them in November from LP to Chiang Mai. Bought the ticket in LP 3 days in advance. The flight was excellent, and though only about an hour you could still scoop a pair of freebie beers.
#3 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Lao Airlines is not so bad. Bought ticket in LPB for single trip to Chiang Mai at travel agency in LPB. One agency offered $85 but did not accept Visa Card. Other one charged me $92,50 including CC charge. So in future hopefully you have better luck when buying these (paper) tickets at a travel agency, preferable the one in your hotel.
#4 buzz129 has been a member since 11/7/2006. Posts: 11
Have just done 3 internal flights with Laos Air, Chang Mai - Luang Probang, LB - Vientiene & Vient - Hanoi and i have to be honest they were brilliant!
Suggest that you purchase direct from Laos Air as you then don't pay any extra fees!!!
#5 m12lsk has been a member since 14/1/2007. Posts: 1
I just booked Lao Airlines tickets in Australia for 2 internal and 1 international flight (in April). They can't tell me what it will cost for a month but they can tell me that the booking fee is US$25 per person. Which seems excessive to me and I've never paid a booking fee to an airline!
#6 Birsay has been a member since 14/2/2007. Posts: 2
don't trust lao air, well it seems there is a complaint and some compliments, i hope to have a trouble free trip with them in april as i have dealt with a travel agent in vientane, who could not help me enough, i have booked vt to lp then lp to siem reap and the price was high compared to asian based discount airlines, so i guess thats the price we pay.
#7 waynedundas has been a member since 26/1/2007. Posts: 4
paying half up front in Euros sounds like a suspiciously familiar story. Did you perchance use www.laos-airlines.com to book your tickets originally? If so, you were taken in by a French travel agent who has created a website posing as an official Lao Airlines site, hence the prepayment in Euros. Same thing happened to us, when we arrived in Vientiane and went to Lao Airlines office to pay up the second half of the fare, we were told by the staff that they were not accepting bookings from that agent as they paid late or sometimes not at all, and that if we wanted to make our flight, we would need to buy two more full-fare tickets. They were not responsible for the half fare we had already paid, and we thankfully were able to get it refunded from the French agent without any hassle. This same agent runs similar site for two airlines in Myanmar as well, very devious, but at least we were not ripped off. The real Lao Airlines website, www.laoairlines.com, has no online booking, and you must use an agent to book flights outside the country. I don't think your problem was with Lao Airlines directly, but with this French agent posing as Lao Airlines. For future reference, the other two websites to steer clear of are air-mandalay.com and yangon-airways.com, the real airline websites do not contain a hyphen. There is a sticky thread about this topic on the ThornTree Southeast Aisa Mainland FAQ section.
btw, once we had sorted out the deception, we found the Lao Airlines staff to be very friendly and helpful with our situation, the flights were comfortable and mostly on time. I would not hesitate to use them again, just steer clear of the imposter and you should be just fine.