BA agrees codeshare deal with Bangkok Airways

British Airways, a UK-based air carrier, has agreed a codeshare deal with Thailand-based airline, Bangkok Airways.

The agreement will come into play on four routes between the Thai capital city, Bangkok, and Singapore, Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai. It will enable British Airways customers to book flights to any of these destinations, via Bangkok, in one transaction at ba.com. BA currently provides a daily flight to Bangkok, while flights to Singapore leave twice daily.

From October this year, British Airway’s service to Bangkok from Heathrow will be moving to the airport’s Terminal 5 from its present location, Terminal 3.

British Airways’ head of alliances, Steve Ronald, said, ‘Thailand will be more accessible to European tourists now that we have teamed up with Bangkok Airways. The move of our Bangkok service to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 will also serve to streamline connections between Europe and the Far East.’

Bangkok Airways senior vice president for network management, Peter Wiesner, said in a statement, ‘This new partnership will offer smooth transit for passengers travelling from long-haul routes with British Airways to Bangkok and Singapore for their onward journey to Thailand’s key destinations.’

Established in 1968 as Shakol Air, Bangkok Airways has now grown to a fleet size of 23 aircraft that serve 20 destinations, including those in Thailand, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Maldives, Burma, India and Singapore. The airline is also believed to have more aircraft currently on order, including a number of Airbus A320-232’s. Its main base is Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok.

 

New Luxury Hotel Okura Prestige Opens in Bangkok

The new, luxurious Okura Prestige Bangkok hotel opens in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 14, 2012.

A hotel from the Japan-based Okura Hotels & Resorts brand, the property is located in Bangkok’s new Ventures Ecoplex, around 40-minute away from Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

The Okura Prestige Bangkok features contemporary design with a large helping of Asian flavour. The hotel includes 240 guestrooms, as well as a spa, a fitness centre, four restaurants and bars, and a business centre with latest technology. The hotel also has four meeting rooms for hosting events and seminars.

Toshihiro Ogita, the president of Hotel Okura Co Ltd, owner of the Okura Hotels & Resorts and Nikko Hotels International brands, said, ‘We are proud of our newest addition, which we think will be the best hotel in Bangkok. We’re looking forward to welcoming many international guests.’

The hotel is offering special introductory packages from May 14 to September 30, 2012 to celebrate its opening in the city.

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a favourite destination for tourists from across the world. The main tourist attractions in the city are the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. The city serves as a gateway to other tourist destinations in Thailand, such as Phuket, and Krabi.

The city also hosts many festivals, including the Bangkok Songkran Festival from April 13 to 15; The Royal Ploughing Ceremony in May; The Queen’s Birthday Celebration on August 12; Trooping of the Colour in December; and The King’s Birthday Celebrations on December 5.

Tourists warned to avoid Bangkok as waters rise

Rising floodwaters has meant British holidaymakers have been warned to avoid all but essential travel to the Thai capital, prompting a mass evacuation from the city.

 

Evacuation orders have been sent to tens of thousands of people in the capital following changes made to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice. This is in response to the large volume of floodwater that is expected to hit the capital later this week.

 

More than 350 people have been killed from floods as a result of heavy rainfall causing widespread disruption in the worst flooding Thailand has seen in 50 years.

 

On Tuesday Bangkok and 20 provinces announced a five-day holiday giving people the chance to escape the rising waters.

 

Authorities are scrambling to try and pump water from the Bangkok region, however the risk of flooding has increased due to record-high water levels in the city’s Chao Phraya River, especially if heavy rain returns when the tide is high.

 

Bangkok’s second biggest airport Don Muang was forced to close yesterday until November 1 due to surrounding water in the area making access difficult for passengers and staff.

 

Residents of Don Muang and Bang Phlat districts have been told by Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra to leave for their own safety.

 

He said: “This is the first time I am using the term ‘eviction’, the first time I’m really asking you to leave”.

 

Thailand’s main airport Suvarnabhumi has not been affected because it was on higher ground. Thai Airways however, announced flights may be reduced because of staffing concerns.

 

The FCO website states: “We now advise against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok and the 26 provinces in Thailand affected by flooding”.

 

“Our advice against all but essential travel does not include transit through Suvarnabhumi international airport. Flights to destinations elsewhere in Thailand (the resorts of Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Koh Samui) continue to operate normally”.

 

Customers due to travel within the next few days should contact their airline or travel provider for the latest information.

 

By Charlotte Greenhalgh

 

Bangkok’s Hottest Hotels: Which 5-Star Suite is Best?

Singapore-based Banyan Tree luxury hotels group has decided to reduce its dependence on Thai investments, selling its Phuket resort to an undisclosed bidder. The company is one of several in Thailand’s high-end travel industry, and its reversal of a previous ‘expansion first’ policy is great news for other operators in the country’s highly competitive luxury travel sector.

Given that the company’s Bangkok hotels are intact, competition remains fierce in the Thai capital of over twelve million. The city boasts numerous high-end hotels, particularly those with presences in Thailand only. The celebrated Lebua Hotel chain operates exclusively in Thailand and southern New Zealand, offering visitors a taste of cultural luxury within the Thai capital.

That luxury, however, comes with a price. Rooms at the hotel start from £170 – an alarming rate in a country where most struggle to earn £600 monthly. The hotel backs out onto Bangkok’s riverfront shopping and restaurant area, offering visitors a combination of convenience, culture, and the city’s celebrated street side cuisine.

Lebua’s top competition comes from one of the Banyan Tree Group’s own hotels – their own Westin Banyan Tree on Sathorn Road. Famed for its rooftop restaurant and view-focused shape, the hotel is one of several in Bangkok offering open air dining to guests and outside patrons. Prices begin from approximately £130, with the hotel’s well-known international suites priced upwards of £1200.

With the country’s tourism in a state of uncertainty, however, many of the listed prices for high-end hotels within Bangkok are negotiable. Aggregate travel websites such as Agoda have several of the city’s top hotels listed with rooms discounted almost seventy percent, while a number of the largest hotels in Bangkok offer even greater walk-in discounts. Our advice: compare, call, and negotiate.