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Adequate time for connection flight using Air Asia (Bangkok)?

Posted by joenerf on 9/9/2011 at 23:15

There are a few topics here dealing with how much time is required to make a connection in Bangkok using Air Asia, after arriving internationally from another carrier. Those topics are a little old now, so I was hoping for an update.

It appeared that the consensus was (with some debate) that if you are arriving in Bangkok on an international flight, and want to get off the plane, collect your bags, go through immigration and customs, then get to the Air Asia line-up, an adequate time to allow for was 3 hours. Is this still the consensus?

My wife and I arrive from Siam Reap via Bangkok Airways at 16:40, and my Air Asia flight, to Phuket, departs at 19:30. So that's 10 minutes shy of 3 hours. We are both Canadians, and do have one checked luggage each.

Have I given myself enough time to make that Air Asia flight? I understand that Air Asia closes their counters 45 minutes prior to take-off, so realistically, I have to be at that Air Asia counter prior to 18:45 or within 2 hours and 5 minutes of landing.

What's the consensus? Will I make my flight with breaking into a cold sweat?

#1 joenerf has been a member since 7/7/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by MADMAC on 10/9/2011 at 00:15

You will most likely make that connection, however, if it were me, I would not risk it. First of all, it adds stress to your vacation. Why do that if you can avoid it? IF for some reason your Thai Airways flight is delayed, not only will you miss your connecting flight and have to make other travel arrangements, BUT Air Asia probably won't reimburse you and Thai Airways might not compensate you either. Is there a compelling reason you can't either take a latter flight or spend the night in Bangkok and head to Phuket the next day?

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Posted by SBE on 10/9/2011 at 01:23

Nobody can predict flight delays but I think you'll be fine. There can be queues at immigration (usually not more than 30 minutes though). If immigration is slow then at least you won't have to wait for your bags to arrive.

I'd risk it anyway.

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Posted by joenerf on 10/9/2011 at 01:30

compelling reason?

I wish I had a compelling reason, but really what happened was I did researched and figured 3 hours was enough time without worry, so I booked everything. Then I started to think about it some more. I realized Air Asia would not be the most forgiving airline for a missed connection, they closed their desk 45 minutes before a flight and I began to worry. So I guess I was hoping for reassurance :)

Time is tight, so I really want to be in Phuket that night. There is another later flight with Air Asia. But that won't get me to my hotel until 2am. And I wanted to get in earlier than that. However, stress is no fun either. :(
Anyone know how easy or uneasy it is to change flight times with Air Asia, via the internet?
(On a side note; when all is said and done, and you pay all the "service fees" and "luggage fees" that Air Asia has, the price from Bangkok to Phuket is not really that much cheaper than Bangkok Airways).

#4 joenerf has been a member since 7/7/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by KirstyB on 10/9/2011 at 03:03

It's fairly easy to change an Air Asia flight on line but it's not cheap! You'll pay a processing fee and the difference between what you paid for your original flight and what is currently available at the same or higher price. Once I had a situation where a cheaper fare was technically available, the exact fare I original paid wasn't, but of course a more expensive fare was - it was irrelevant about the lower fare and I had to pay the difference between the original and higher fare. Sometimes it's more cost effective to forfeit the original ticket (you can apply for a refund on the tax) and make a new booking!

It won't help if you're very delayed but you might want to check in for both Air Asia flights in advance via their website or mobile web - I think you can check in up to 7 days ahead of the flight. It'll get one small part of the process out of the way and somehow it gives me a little extra peace of mind ......

Yep, you need to make sure you factor in taxes, baggage and (in)convenience fees when doing comparison with other airlines a £7 flight can easily turn into a £25 fare ....... still very cheap thou! :-)

#5 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 152
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Posted by busylizzy on 10/9/2011 at 04:02

Since you have already booked the AA flight, I would tend to leave it as is rather than paying the $40 or so change fee plus/minus any difference in fare price for the later flight. (I think that's what it cost me in NZD last time). I find that customs and immigration is usually pretty quick (esp compared to US, NZ, etc). You have a good chance of making it.

If your Thai Airline flight is late, then you know you have to deal with 'worst case'. At the time that occurs, you know there is probably not much you can do at that point except deal with it when you arrive. So sit back on the Thai Air flight, enjoy another wine, and try to relax anyhow.

When you arrive, go straight to AA desk and see what they can do. Worst case, you buy a new fare. (OK, worst case the later flight is booked out - but deal with that if/when it happens).

Compare the price difference of losing the fare and having to but a new ticket -vs- the cost of changing your flight. Go to AA website and start a flight change online to the point that you accept it. That will indicate total change cost. What's the dollar difference between the two and how does that stack up compared to everything else? (Stress, waiting time, late arrival, etc). The length of trip might also impact your decision - if you are only there a week, you will want to max your time in Phuket. If you are there for months, then a delayed start doesn't matter so much.

Good points above out checking in on AA flight before you leave. AA now charge you extra if you don't check in on line ahead of time anyhow.

#6 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by joenerf on 10/9/2011 at 04:22

^ yeah, I don't see any reason to change my flight with AA at this point.

Really the only thing I was trying to see is if 2 hours and 50 minutes is enough time to disembark, pass through immigration & customs, find AA, check in, and get to the gate. Looks like it is.

No one seems to indicate otherwise, unless the plane is delayed. But even if I booked the later plane, I could still miss that one if my plane gets delayed long enough. (Heck, I could even miss the morning plane if my plane is delayed long enough.)

Judging from what I've read, my plane from Siem Reap could be delayed up to a full hour, and I would still have enough time for my 19:30 flight. That's as long as customs, immigration and luggage pick-up doesn't exceed 45 minutes.

So I'm starting to think there's really nothing to worry about...

Maybe I should be asking about how reliable Bangkok Airways is for being on time from Siem Reap to Bangkok?

#7 joenerf has been a member since 7/7/2011. Posts: 10

Posted by MADMAC on 10/9/2011 at 10:31

If you've already booked then I'd just go for it. Rolling into Phuket at 2 am wouldn't exactly be a barrel of laughs either. I would have spent a couple of days in Bangkok while I was there, but I like Bangkok and I don't like the sea in the first place. So obviusly my preferences are not suitable to you. You'll probably be fine. No point in sweating it now.

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Posted by savorygal on 11/9/2011 at 10:14

I suggest doing the web check in & print your boarding pass before you go to the AA desk. It makes much smoother

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