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Laos forum

air travel - cheaper to book when I'm there?

Posted by Intrepid82 on 27/7/2009 at 09:12

Is it cheaper to purchase domestic/international flights once you are in the country of origin??

IE if I want to fly from Siem Reap to Vientiane or from Vientiane to Phonsavan should I wait until I am in Cambodia/Laos to book?

#1 Intrepid82 has been a member since 21/4/2009. Posts: 33

Posted by buecax on 27/7/2009 at 18:31

i´d be interested in the answer to that as well ;-)

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Posted by BruceMoon on 28/7/2009 at 14:26

I hope Somtam comes in on this one.

My understanding is that aside from AirAsia to Vientiane (as a low cost carrier) and Bangkok Airlines to Vientiane and Luang Prabang (as a mid priced carrier), both of whom offer discounts to early paying pax, the remainder are what is termed full cost carriers and tend not to offer discounts to early booking pax.

I would like to be wrong, so I'll await Somtam's knowledge as he's closer on this than I.


#3 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by somtam2000 on 28/7/2009 at 18:12 admin

Low cost carriers - eg NokAir, AirAsia, Tiger and Jetstar have special deals all over the shop. You can gamble and leave it till the last minute hoping for a killer fare, but it doesn't always work that way.

I think though the OP is referring to tickets for Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines being cheaper to buy in Laos and Vietnam respectively (rather than say New Zealand, Chad or Mexico) -- in that they are right, tickets for those two carriers are cheaper in-country...

HOWEVER, some of these routes fill up fast (for eg the Siem Reap - Vientiane flight) and it becomes a balancing act between saving money and walking. In VN you can book well in advance by booking through one of the 47 b'dillion Vietnamese travel agents online, in Laos, there's less choice, but still possible.

Some still report actually being able to book online through the Lao Airlines website, but there is no way I'd put my credit card anywhere near it.

If you're getting to Laos or Cambodia outside of peak season and will have some leadtime to buy the tickets, and are flexible on departure date, then book on arrival, but if you have zero flexibility and little time, then I'd consider working through an agent.

Hope that helps

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Posted by Nokka on 28/7/2009 at 18:50

I managed to book an online flight for Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang for later this year on the Laos Airlines website, just last week. The site is a bit flaky, but got there in the end.

I had some problems with it initially and emailed an agent in Chaing Mai to see if they could do the booking for me. They could, but at a more expensive price. In the end the website worked and all went through OK.

This was the official site, by the way, not the Paris based one.

I haven't read anything before about this site being potentially a bit iffy with credit cards. Should I be concerned ? What's the story ?

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Posted by valmobabe on 28/7/2009 at 19:11

We are spending 5 weeks in Laos and Cambodia from September. I also am interested in where and when to buy flights.
We want to fly from Xieng Khuang to Vientiane and Pakse to Siem Reap and maybe if short of time Vientiane to Pakse. I have tried in vain to buy a Discovery Pass - I live in the UK and am getting no reply from the Bangkok Airways agents - so am resigned to buying flights separately. However the official Lao Airlines site has a condition that says "To ensure you obtain the ticket(s) at the quoted fare(s), they must be purchased in the country of departure." Does that mean Lao or UK?
Is there a serious question about credit cards in Laos. I have already given details of ours when booking the Luang Say cruise.

#6 valmobabe has been a member since 22/6/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 1

Posted by hotchily on 6/8/2009 at 10:56

here's something for you valmobabe (email from Bangkok Airways) regarding flight from Pakse to Siem Reap ......

Thank you for your interest in Bangkok Airways' service.

With reference to your email. We sorry to inform you that Bangkok Airways is not operate both flight that you prefer. We would like to advise you to contact Laos Airlines for Pakse - Siem Reap and Airasia for Siem Reap - Kuala Lumpur.

Should there be any further inquiries or more assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely Yours,
Reservation Contact Center
8/3/2009 11:58:17 AM
Bangkok Airways Co., Ltd
Address: 09 Mu 14, Vibhavadirangsit Rd.,
Chom Phon, Chatuchak,
Bangkok, 10900, Thailand1
Tel.: 66 (02) 270 6699, Local Contact: 1771
Fax: 66 (02) 265 5556

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Posted by BruceMoon on 6/8/2009 at 11:14


Xieng Khuang to Vientiane is an internal flight and Laos Air will be the company.

Elsewhere, people have said they can purchase Laos Airline tickets online but only through IE. I've got IE8, and I just tried and I can buy (if I wanted to) at US$78.

Make sure you go to, NOT the one with a hyphen between Lao and airlines.

Note also, the Laoairlines website has domestic and international sections and you must direct to whichever to get 'connected'.

- - -

Pakse to Siem Reap is operated by a couple of airlines. My understanding is that the Pakse airport is being upgraded (apparently for some major event) and I'd heard that it was intended for re-opening in August sometime (but, in Laos, that has to be a guide only).

Again, I tried the Laoairlines website and for September 9, it is showing I can book online for US$110 pp 1 way.

I understand that Siem Reap Airlines and Cambodia Air also do this trip.


#8 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by traveldoc77 on 28/8/2009 at 22:59

I have just had an email from Laos airlines confirming that Pakse airport is closed - whilst it was supposed to open at the end of august they expect it will not open until the end of september.
They will still fly to Savanakhet as mentioned on other postings.
Does anyone know if I can get a visa on arrival in Savanakhet airport?

#9 traveldoc77 has been a member since 28/8/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by buecax on 29/8/2009 at 00:07

hm, i´ve actually have a confirmed reservation for pakse - siem reap for october 20th... now i´m a lttle worried...

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Posted by somtam2000 on 29/8/2009 at 07:39 admin

Pakse Airport is scheduled to reopen August 30, but as per traveldoc77 they're running late -- in the meantime they continue to use Savannakhet instead.

I'd assume you will be able to get visa on arrival there (if only because it was possible at Pakse airport and is available at the land crossing into Savannakhet). I've not heard any complaints about people being turfed out of the country for not having visas, so I guess they've worked something out.

Siem ReapAirways has been grounded for almost a year now after the EU added it to its list of unsafe airlines -- in this case for inadequate compliance to safety standards (more info here: ) In practise they're just using Bangkok Airways planes for most of the flights that SRA used to fly -- I don't think that is the case on the Pakse run though.

Cambodia Air? Is there yet another new Cambo airline or do you mean Cambodia Angkor Air? If the latter, as far as I know they don't fly to Laos at all.

buecax - at worst you'll have to fly from Savannakhet.

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