There has been some mention of this in other places here including discussions about Etihad teaming up with AF/KLM, but does anyone have any more specific information on what will happen to BKK in the Skyteam universe, in particular with the loss of both CDG-BKK-PNH and AMS-BKK-TPE this month?
I loved being able to get cheap flights on the intra-Asia legs of these services for quick weekends away. When KL stops its flight, the next best Skyteam fare in Y on BKK-TPE-BKK will cost almost double on CI.
Will the BKK mini-hub be used by AF/KL for any other Asian destinations? I know there has been speculation that AF will stop CDG-BKK completely (which would join the list of other unfathomable decisions to axe popular lines, like flights to RAK). Do we know anything more about that?
Looking forward to your insight (or failing that, whatever gossip you may have gleaned). Thank you.
Mar 6, 12, 12:00 am
BKK cannot be considered as a mini-hub. We are just speaking here about 2 daily flights which were continuing to another Asian destination.
I believe there is no specific news but there is no loss of CDG-BKK-PNH and AMS-BKK-TPE. BKK flights are becoming terminator flights from both AMS (daily) and CDG (3 times weekly).
On KL, TPE will be serve non-stop from AMS and, for AF, PNH will be served via SGN. So these destinations will still be served.
What could happen if a deal with EY is signed? Well I think everything can happen. Whatever that will sign or not with EY, I believe AF will completely axe the route and will let KL operate it, but this is just my 2c ! Otherwise, just for information, I just read on airlineroute.net that AB is axing BKK due to realignment of routes with EY...http://airlineroute.net/2012/03/05/ab-bkk-s12cxld/
Mar 6, 12, 1:11 am
AF has largely abandoned BKK and is now only operating three flights a week. Yields are low and the gulf carriers have really taken large parts of the market. At one time AF had a considerable operation there, with flights to SGN and HAN.
Mar 7, 12, 11:16 am
Thanks to the comments from my fellow Parisiens, but the loss for me is really much more about the Skyteam destinations within Asia directly out of Bangkok, not connecting in BKK from Europe. I know it was in the cards (I mean, why else was KL selling business class BKK-TPE for less than economy on CI or BR?), but it is still disappointing. I guess I'll never complete my collection of Delft Blue houses now.
There are all the Asian hubs associated with Skyteam carriers (PVG, CAN, HAN, SGN, TPE and ICN, with CGK coming soon), but as I mentioned in my question, fares are substantially higher. Ah well, such is life.
I guess there is still BKK-HKG on KQ! Maybe I should go to PNH next week just for the heck of it. The cheapest economy fare on AF is $189 r/t.
Mar 8, 12, 5:32 am
Why do you want to fly ST exBKK to regional destinations? Probably not for the very few miles you get on a deep-discount ticket. And the longhaul flights connecting to another regional destination are often not on time.
Mar 8, 12, 6:05 am
Indeed. Your apparent situation (based in BKK, looking to take "tags" on SkyTeam flights just because you can, or just because they are "cheap") is an unusual one.
In the vast majority of cases, airlines don't offer these intra-Asian connections for the purposes you are using them for - they are not there predominantly to allow passengers to connect between these Asian cities. Of course, that is a natural consequence of these tags being there (as long as they hold fifth freedom rights for those legs). These tags exist so that the airline can more economically service two different destinations (particularly when the level of demand for either would not be sufficient to offer the level of frequency that is supported when both destinations are serviced by the same aircraft).
For this reason, BKK is not, strictly speaking, a "hub". It's merely a convenient stopover (although there are indeed a lot of Asian, African and European airlines that favour BKK for this role)
Mar 9, 12, 1:57 am
Just like most people here, I am on the lookout for interesting deals, enticing loopholes, and getting the most for my time and money, while doing what I want to do and geting to where I want to go. But you're right, irishguy, the way I go about traveling is maybe not very typical of most other people here.
Despite doing the bulk of my normal commuting between Paris and Rome (hence my affinity for Skyteam, flaws and all), I have been spending longer stretches of time in Bangkok in the last couple of years. What I am looking for in this question is how to optimize travel out of Bangkok, not because I have to go anywhere specific, but because I genuinely like going to Taipei, Hong Kong or elsewhere.
So my question is really about how to make the most of my current situation. Maybe I should rephrase it:
"If you found yourself based in Bangkok with enough free time to see places you haven't seen or to go back to places you enjoy, where would you go? No bottomless expense account - you are self-employed - but enough resources to travel in reasonable comfort. You like the creature comforts of having elite status but really won't qualify for or get matched status on any other alliance than Skyteam. If there is a low-effort, low-expense way to maintain that status, you will. You are always curious about new destinations, people to meet and great food to eat."
I should add that my elite status comes from segments, not from accumulated miles, precisely because I am generally flying on cheaper tickets and not accruing tons of miles. When I say "creature comforts", I mean a drink in the lounge, a shower after a long flight and getting through airports faster. Now that Sky Priority is going Skyteam-wide, the latter should only improve. Example: I was handed a fast-track pass for immigration in BKK, before I boarded in HKG. Anyone who has flown through BKK lately knows that that can make a huge difference.
Sure I'll fly business if it's affordable (KL's BKK-TPE) but I more often fly in the back of the plane. Yesterday on my way back from HKG on KQ, it didn't really matter that my switch in 12G didn't turn on my light but made the lights in 12A flicker - it was barely a two-hour flight. I was still on a high from cheap Michelin-starred cha siu bao from Tim Ho Wan (and hoping that I'd get my stash of bao back to my fridge intact - I did, and we had them for lunch today).
More recent experiences I'd like to replicate: eating wriggling octopus and restorative sachal tang in Seoul; attending lively coffee-house debates on Taiwanese politics; seeing a kyogen Magic Flute production at Tokyo National Theatre then partying with the actors and musicians; sitting down to dinner with ex-political prisoners, students and winemakers in Yangon; and watching the planning of the upcoming George Town Festival unfold in Penang.
Why do I do it, brunos? Excuse me if this sounds flippant, but it's because I can. Call me a chronic tourist if you will.
Mar 9, 12, 3:57 am
I cannot criticize you for being a chronic tourist. I'd love to have that luxury.
I now understand that you qualify on segments and enjoy the perks of being elite+ (which you did not mention) and find no fault with your reasoning.
Mar 9, 12, 4:05 am
vincentinparis - I typically qualify by segments, too, and if I found myself in BKK long term, I would probably do the exact same as you! (And recently did - I had a few back-and-forths on *A carriers between BKK and KUL last month, including my first ever sector in LH First, a handy way to use an e-upgrade voucher I otherwise would have sturggled to find a use for!)