Transiting Don Mueang to be streamlined
In keeping with the changed status of Don Mueang as officially Bangkok’s second international airport, a new service designed to provide hassle-free transfers for passengers transiting through the airport is set to be introduced.
Thai Air Asia, who operate the bulk of traffic through Don Mueang at present, will be the first airline to trial the so-called Fly-Thru Service, beginning on 1 December. The aim is to generate more than one million transit passengers during 2014.
According to the director of commercial flights at Air Asia, Santisuk Klongchaiya, the Fly-Thru Service will make it very convenient for their passengers to transit Ai Asia’s network of 34 routes through Bangkok.
The Fly-Thru Service will mean passengers flying from one international destination to another via Don Mueang will be able to circumvent processing at immigration in Bangkok. Transit passengers will be exempt from visa requirements and the passenger service charge, better known as airport tax.
It will mean transit passengers will have their baggage checked through to their final destination, avoiding the hassle of collecting their baggage, passing through immigration and checking in for second time.
Don Mueang is currently largely dedicated to low-cost carriers and since it re-opened a couple of years ago as an international airport again it has not had the standard fly-thru service applicable at places such as Suvarnabhumi and other major international airports.
Santisuk Klongchaiya believes the Fly-Thru Service will benefit leisure travellers and business travellers. In the first category he believes those coming from China and transiting to places such as Phuket and Krabi will be pleased with the service. On the business side, he said those going from, say, Yangon (Myanmar) to Ho chi minh City (Vietnam) or from Yangon to Siem Reap (Cambodia) will find transiting through Don Mueang far more convenient.
For Thai residents living in Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai, as a few examples, will find accessing international destinations easier.
Santisuk was quoted as saying that Thai Air Asia’s most popular route “that people self-connect to is Macau-Phuket, followed by Guangzhou-Phuket and Chongqing-Phuket.”
The airport authority has prepared an area on the second floor of the arrivals section. It will have security checks, as you would expect of any major airport, as well as providing visa-on-arrival if required.
Lion Air, which is Indonesia’s biggest airline group, will be starting a no-frills subsidiary called Thai Lion Air in December. It will have both domestic and international flights.
Of course, international passengers who are transiting through Don Mueang to a domestic destination will still have to pass immigration control.