Bangkok Airways: Opinions, Blue Ribbon Club, vs. TG?

Old Jun 17, 13, 9:51 pm
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Bangkok Airways: Opinions, Blue Ribbon Club, vs. TG?

For anyone with experience flying PG a lot, I'm done with TG and looking for an alternative for flying domestically inside Thailand, and also for possibly some short regional trips from BKK to nearby South East Asia countries (VTE, LPQ, REP, RGN - all of which PG flies to).

So I'm wondering about experiences on PG, how it compares in general to TG, and what are people's experience/opinion about Blue Ribbon Club. As it is, I mostly fly between CNX and HKT, for which PG has a convenient direct flights which fit well into my schedule, vs. TG which I need to have two separate flights, connecting in BKK, due to inconvenient times for their direct flight. I'll also fly occasionally CNX-BKK, vv. Right now I fly about 4 domestic segments per month on TG, but that would translate to only 2 domestic segments per month on PG, with HKT-CNX being a single flight rather than two. Plus some scattered other domestic and/or international trips throughout the year, so maybe 30 - 35 total segments per year.

Anyways, I'm not particularly fussy, though on-time performance is pretty significant. Don't travel with a lot of bags, mostly in economy. Not looking for any specific advice, just some general opinions of the airline and if I'm making a wise decision to switch to them, or if anyone thinks another option is better. I absolutely despise Air Asia though, so they're not an option, and Nok Air doesn't have enough flights or a good schedule it seems for my needs, though still might consider them.

Also, does anyone know if the Discovery Pass is still valid? There's some good fares listed for HKT-CNX (113USD), but I cannot find anywhere on the home page that it links to this page:
http://www.bangkokair.com/pages/disc...covery-airpass
So I'm worried that it's an old page and the pass isn't available anymore. That price is just marginally higher the TG with their APEX fares, but if I have to buy those at the regular price, then it's going to be quite expensive compared to TG.

I've dug up some old threads here and will study about Blue Ribbon Club on their website, but always good to get first-hand feedback from knowledgeable travelers as part of the learning and decision making process.

Thanks

Edit: Looking over their website, seems their FFP is named "FlyerBonus", not "Blue Ribbon Club" as I first thought. So my questions were about experiences with their FlyerBonus FFP.

Edit2: I found a very good thread about PG here:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other...k-airways.html
Where dsquared37 provided a lot of great information. I guess I'll try to contact PG regarding the Discovery Pass to see if it's still available or not. Seeing some posts about delays on PG has me a bit worried though. I'll need to use them with a 2.5 hour domestic-to-international connection late at night (CNX-HKT, connecting to OZ), and if the flight's delayed by too much I'll miss the connection. This is part of my regular monthly trips to Thailand, so not some one-off issue to worry about.

Last edited by A_Lee; Jun 18, 13 at 12:59 am
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Old Jun 18, 13, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by A_Lee View Post

Also, does anyone know if the Discovery Pass is still valid? There's some good fares listed for HKT-CNX (113USD), but I cannot find anywhere on the home page that it links to this page:
http://www.bangkokair.com/pages/disc...covery-airpass
So I'm worried that it's an old page and the pass isn't available anymore. That price is just marginally higher the TG with their APEX fares, but if I have to buy those at the regular price, then it's going to be quite expensive compared to TG.
That is indeed unexpected. It used to be linkable under the 'Plan Your Trip' heading but I also noticed the other headings have subsections missing right now as well.....

You can get into the main DA page here so I'd think it's still active... possibly an oversight on IT's part?

I made a comment to a res agent in a sales office recently regarding the DA and he noted a change (albeit it was minor and I don't think correct) but didn't say anythign to the effect of the DA no longer being offered.

It never was bookable online though.

One thing to keep an eye out with PG is their fare classes. Similar to TG, where W/V didn't earn until a few days ago, PG has their Q class which earns 5pts lower than all other Y buckets. Unfortunately when Q is available for sale H, the next class up, cannot be purchased online becuase they're included in the same subsection. I've complained about this and been told to pound sand.

Regarding your concern about a 2.5 hr layover late at night, PG 220 has a stop in BKK so it's a direct but 1 stop flight. Fortunately, as per Flight Stats the second leg on-time performance is generally within your threshold. Still a bit risky to have a 1stop connection.
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Old Jun 18, 13, 3:42 am
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If I book all my flights via the Discovery Airpass, then I won't have to worry about the booking class being they'll all be in the higher earning class (class L), based on a post I saw you made in the other thread. That is assuming I book well enough in advance and L is available. But if I end up booking regular tickets on their website, then guess I'll run into the issue of Q vs. H class you mentioned. Also noticed the price differential isn't much for web purchased tickets if booking HKT-CNX as two separate flights or the direct with one stop flight. But the direct flight I'm assuming only earns the points as if it's one flight, vs. two separate flights I'm guessing will earn double the points, so probably worth it for a couple hundred baht more, other than the need to the cool my heels at BKK for the next flight. Anyone know from experience about CNX-HKT if that's the case with the points for direct vs. separate flights?

PG 220 being a direct flight with a stop in BKK doesn't help me much with my concerns, because if the flight is delayed by more than 1.5 hours leaving CNX, it won't make up any significant time before arriving at HKT and I'll risk having check-in closed for my connecting flight at HKT. I guess if I took the earlier flight (PG 226 + PG 279), I'd be safe, though a 16:35 departure is a couple hours earlier than I'd like. Hmm, I wonder if booking combination flights like that count as one segment for the Discovery Airpass, but earn as two segments as far as points go? That'd be cool - paying USD 113 and earning 20 points. Anyways, I guess I'll try to see if I can track PG 220 for a while and see what kinds of delays it typically experiences. I'm not in a big rush being I've already booked my upcoming domestic travels on TG and won't have an opportunity to start using PG or another alternative till the fall.
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Old Jun 18, 13, 4:17 am
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Originally Posted by A_Lee View Post
If I book all my flights via the Discovery Airpass, then I won't have to worry about the booking class being they'll all be in the higher earning class (class L), based on a post I saw you made in the other thread. That is assuming I book well enough in advance and L is available. But if I end up booking regular tickets on their website, then guess I'll run into the issue of Q vs. H class you mentioned. Also noticed the price differential isn't much for web purchased tickets if booking HKT-CNX as two separate flights or the direct with one stop flight. But the direct flight I'm assuming only earns the points as if it's one flight, vs. two separate flights I'm guessing will earn double the points, so probably worth it for a couple hundred baht more, other than the need to the cool my heels at BKK for the next flight. Anyone know from experience about CNX-HKT if that's the case with the points for direct vs. separate flights?

PG 220 being a direct flight with a stop in BKK doesn't help me much with my concerns, because if the flight is delayed by more than 1.5 hours leaving CNX, it won't make up any significant time before arriving at HKT and I'll risk having check-in closed for my connecting flight at HKT. I guess if I took the earlier flight (PG 226 + PG 279), I'd be safe, though a 16:35 departure is a couple hours earlier than I'd like. Hmm, I wonder if booking combination flights like that count as one segment for the Discovery Airpass, but earn as two segments as far as points go? That'd be cool - paying USD 113 and earning 20 points. Anyways, I guess I'll try to see if I can track PG 220 for a while and see what kinds of delays it typically experiences. I'm not in a big rush being I've already booked my upcoming domestic travels on TG and won't have an opportunity to start using PG or another alternative till the fall.
The comment by a sales agent I alluded to in the previous post had to do with a direct flight. He mentioned that it would now be considered as 2 segments but I haven't tested this belief. The comment was also in reference to a int-dom connection which could be viewed differently than a dom-dom connection.

For domestic flights you can generally find prices better than the DA costs. The main benefit of a DA purchase, IME, is for one way international flights where PG pushes the booking class up to K.

Call PG and see if 220 + another segment qualifies for purchase. If so then it is counted as 2 segments. If not then you know it's only 1.

Tangentially if it's considered 2 segments I'd expect to get 20 pts. If its considered one then a 20 pt posting would be a bonus to exploit (and please notify me by PM )
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Old Jun 18, 13, 5:15 am
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I played around a bit with the booking engine, and looks like they charge between 190 and 200 THB more for booking a non-direct flight. But that price is identical as if you book the two flights separately as two bookings or as one booking. So I'm fairly certain that booking a flight like that would earn points as two segments. At only 200 THB extra, might as well just book the direct flight (if it's suitable) as the two separate segments and be guaranteed it'll earn as two.

Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
For domestic flights you can generally find prices better than the DA costs.
Well, I'm not seeing that. For most domestic flights it looks to be the case, but for CNX-HKT, the Web Promotion fare is 3780 THB for the direct flight or 4080 THB if the flight isn't direct. Compared to USD 113 for the DA comes to 3486 THB according to Yahoo Currency Converter. So the DA is a few hundred baht cheaper than the direct flight, and even more if the DA can be used for a different non-direct flight.

Anyways, those prices are for Web Promotion (Q). For Web Saver (H), it looks to be at least 270 THB more expensive for the direct flight, and more yet for the non-direct. So if you want an equivalent point earning class, the cost for the DA is even better.

For Web Promotion (Q), I noticed it's only available for flights out to about 2 months into the future. Beyond that, it's not available. Is this normal, or is that fare only available certain times of the year? Anyways, I doubt it makes much sense in my case to be booking online, at least for the HKT-CNX-HKT trips, because seems the DA will be way cheaper for full points earning. For some simple CNX-BKK trips though, I'll have to consider their web booking. Or if L is sold out, then I guess I'll have no choice. But in general I'll be able to buy my tickets several months in advance, so unless it's during peak season, I imagine L will always be available.

Oh, I just checked availability around Christmas time for one of my trips I have planned then. BKK-HKT section only has Y availability on a Saturday. I guess they know from experience that flights get sold out then, so they don't release any of the lower booking classes. I doubt they're already completely sold out on all other booking classes already for all flights that day. 8565 THB if I want to book it on PG's website. A bit steep, but if it only happens once a year I guess it's ok, or go with another carrier in those cases.

Anyways, I'll check into everything a bit more and after that give PG a call and try to get more information on the DA to see if it'll work for me and if I can pay for a single CNX-HKT segment on a non-direct flight or not.
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Old Jun 28, 13, 5:50 am
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I stopped by the PG ticket counter at BKK today while passing through and asked them about HKT-CNX. They said it's up to me when I ticket it to ask the agent to ticket it as one or two coupons. Even if I choose a flight other than the direct flight, it can still be ticketed as one coupon. If one coupon, even if split into two different flight numbers, it will only earn the points as if one flight. If it's booked as two coupons, and even if the direct flight, it will earn points as if two flights. That's what I was told. I won't have a chance to see if it works any different in practice until later this year.
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Old Jun 30, 13, 6:20 pm
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Personally I choose PG over TG on the route I fly most often (BKK-RGN). The fares tend to be a bit cheaper. i think the food is better on PG. But the big difference for me is that as a Premier on PG you get much better treatment than as *G on TG and Premier is pretty easy to get.
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Old Jun 30, 13, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
But the big difference for me is that as a Premier on PG you get much better treatment than as *G on TG and Premier is pretty easy to get.
Other than the ease of check in I'd completely agree. With only 1 Premier lane in BKK there were a couple of times it would have been quicker to be in the Y pax lanes.

As a *G checking in with TG I usually just walk up to an open counter.

Last edited by dsquared37; Jun 30, 13 at 6:34 pm
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Old Oct 2, 13, 12:23 pm
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Is there any change of getting the Blue ribbon seats nowadays on BKK-PNH flights instead of a'la intra-europe?
I wasn't able to get PNH flight with reasonable layover to fit my schedule so I opted to book PNH flight separate.
Now I'm debating between TG and PG J-class. Latter one is cheaper but Thai offer decent seat and champagne..
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Old Oct 4, 13, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by pekkav View Post
Is there any change of getting the Blue ribbon seats nowadays on BKK-PNH flights instead of a'la intra-europe?
I wasn't able to get PNH flight with reasonable layover to fit my schedule so I opted to book PNH flight separate.
Now I'm debating between TG and PG J-class. Latter one is cheaper but Thai offer decent seat and champagne..
Occasionally but there's no way to know what plane you're booking into when purchasing a ticket. If the flight is operated by an A320 then none of the PG fleet has any offering other than Y. If you're booked on an A319 then it's a pure crapshoot and you're unlikely to win.
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