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BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport Update

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JohnK

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An interesting article for anyone travelling to, or transiting in, BKK from 28th September!

Bangkok Post said:
Midnight initiation for Suvarnabhumi


[SIZE=-1]DON ROSS[/SIZE]

In just 28 days, the doors will slam shut at Don Muang Airport ending its career as Asia's oldest operating commercial airport. Travellers will switch to what airport developers call a green field airport, built from scratch and by their nature subject to a host of ills that haunt projects that rise from swamps or reclaimed land.
Some Bangkok residents told me they were re-arranging their travel diaries to ensure they would not have to travel overseas September 28 or for at least a week afterwards to avoid the inevitable teething problems.

Here are a few tips that might help to reduce the pain when Suvarnabhumi Airport assumes the role of the nation's premier gateway.

It helps to know that common sense prevailed and the Airports of Thailand confirmed it will close Don Muang Airport 0100 September 28 to all commercial airline traffic. Don Muang will serve as an aircraft maintenance centre and handle VIP flights and charters. All the domestic airlines transfer after the last flights on September 27.

I measured the distance from the expressway entrance at Ploenchit to Suvarnabhumi Airport terminal at 31 km, about five kilometres more than the distance to Don Muang.
However, the taxi fares are likely to double to Suvarnabhumi from around 150 baht to 300 baht for a single trip. Limousine companies that pick up travellers from hotels and residences will probably double the one-way fare from around 600 to 1200 baht.

More...
 

Mal

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Looks like the airport has listened to some of the criticism given about the new airport and the way it was set to open.

Can only help to try and make things go smoother.

Anyone with way more local knowledge of BKK than me make any correlation of these two comments: "about five kilometres more than the distance to Don Muang." and "taxi fares are likely to double to Suvarnabhumi from around 150 baht to 300 baht for a single trip"

Are there additional toll roads or some other delay creating issue along the route?

I'm looking forward to heading over to BKK again early-mid next year. Should be nice to see what they've done with the airport.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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I am thankful I chose to route through SIN instead of BKK at the time of the changeover (if it isnt delayed yet again). If it happens on time then I'll get to see the new airport in October.

I don't think the lounge used by QF will be a QP any more so I wont be able to sample that one in my October trip, but will feedback on the *A one if no one else has by then.
 

Yada Yada

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Thanks John. Interesting information.

Here is a related story from the Bangkok Post : Business news

Jetstar Asia, the Singaporean budget carrier owned by Qantas of Australia, will become the first foreign airline to operate through Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sept 15, two weeks ahead of the Sept 28 opening date.

The carrier's decision to be the first of 80 international airlines serving Thailand to use the new airport reflects its confidence in the airport's readiness, which has been questioned by most industry executives and the public at large.
 

simongr

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I am thankful I chose to route through SIN instead of BKK at the time of the changeover (if it isnt delayed yet again). If it happens on time then I'll get to see the new airport in October.

I don't think the lounge used by QF will be a QP any more so I wont be able to sample that one in my October trip, but will feedback on the *A one if no one else has by then.
Kiwi - given how much you travel across *A and 1world - why wouldnt you be able to access the lounge (assuming its say a BA lounge) if you were flying 1world? I thought if you had status with 1world, were flying 1world (internationally) you could access any 1world lounge in the airport you were flying through?
 

NM

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simongr said:
Kiwi - given how much you travel across *A and 1world - why wouldnt you be able to access the lounge (assuming its say a BA lounge) if you were flying 1world? I thought if you had status with 1world, were flying 1world (internationally) you could access any 1world lounge in the airport you were flying through?
Because he is flying *A on that trip through BKK.

If it was a real Qantas Club lounge, then he could visit based on QF Platinum status, which permits access to Qantas Club lounges at any time regardless of travel. But a partner lounge does not permit such access.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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NM said:
Because he is flying *A on that trip through BKK.

If it was a real Qantas Club lounge, then he could visit based on QF Platinum status, which permits access to Qantas Club lounges at any time regardless of travel. But a partner lounge does not permit such access.
Yup. Currently in BKK (int terminals) I have 3 lounges I can access at any time regardless of who I fly. With the new airport I will have 0 - access will only be based on who I fly.
 

simongr

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Interesting - I am flying to BKK in October (27th) for a week returning in Nov (4th) with BA WT+ (currently Qantas Gold and on the return trip should AA Plat) but I tihnk with changes to terminals then I will have to us BA lounge in this case?

Mind you I should really check what lounges will be at new airport first myself instead of getting you guys to advise all the time :)
 

Kiwi Flyer

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My understanding is at the new airport there wont be a BA lounge (or QF or SQ or whatever). Rather there will be 2 huge lounges - one for TG and all their partners (ie *A), and one for everyone else. Each lounge will have a first section and a business section.
 

simongr

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Hmm - that doesnt sound great for statused people flying economy through BKK... Hmm - that would really change my routing back to the UK for a personal visit - as I would fly economy personally.

Are there many other airports with that sort of arrangements? Mostly it wont affect me as international travel is business class (and on business) - the trip to Thailand is a bit of a one-off especially wth the WT+ fare class :)
 

Kiwi Flyer

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simongr said:
Hmm - that doesnt sound great for statused people flying economy through BKK... Hmm - that would really change my routing back to the UK for a personal visit - as I would fly economy personally.

Are there many other airports with that sort of arrangements? Mostly it wont affect me as international travel is business class (and on business) - the trip to Thailand is a bit of a one-off especially wth the WT+ fare class :)
Why are you concerned? There will still be a designated OW lounge so OW elites will have their usual access based on the rules. Similarly for Sky Team and for airlines not in alliance. The only difference is where airlines allow additional (non-alliance) access to their own top elites.

There are lots and lots of airports with similar arrangements (either for all airlines or a subset).
 

JohnK

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I don't think the lounge used by QF will be a QP any more so I wont be able to sample that one in my October trip, but will feedback on the *A one if no one else has by then.
The lounge that QF is using will be an "interim lounge".

When I was there in July there was a sign in QP that there will be an new QF lounge opening at the new airport and I posted some details on FT. I assume that this is still going ahead.

JohnK said:
In the past 2 weeks I used the BKK QP a few times and noticed a sign that QF have built/are building a new lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Expected move is December 06 per the sign. Sorry I didn't take down the exact words but it promises a totally new lounge experience.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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JohnK said:
When I was there in July there was a sign in QP that there will be an new QF lounge opening at the new airport and I posted some details on FT. I assume that this is still going ahead.
I am only going off information I have been given. That there will only be 2 lounges at the new airport. That there will be no airline lounges.
 

mileagemax

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Apparently there was a sign at the exisiting Qantas Club in Don Muang, that a new Qantas Club was being built at the new airport, and due to open in December.

I am not sure of the arrangement for the time between when the new airport opens and December though.

I hope there is a Qantas Club, because if it is just a OW Lounge, I assume Jetstar passengers won't get access :(
 

markis10

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I am only going off information I have been given. That there will only be 2 lounges at the new airport. That there will be no airline lounges.
The airport currently has 8 lounges of which one will be joint use, much like Hong Kong I expect the lounges will follow later after the airport opens. In the interim SQ are using the Thai lounge, not sure what One World will be doing in the interim.
 

JohnK

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Mal said:
Anyone with way more local knowledge of BKK than me make any correlation of these two comments: "about five kilometres more than the distance to Don Muang." and "taxi fares are likely to double to Suvarnabhumi from around 150 baht to 300 baht for a single trip"

Are there additional toll roads or some other delay creating issue along the route?
TIT (This is Thailand). There is no correlation between the two. Trip time will be roughly the same and you will still have a choice between using a toll road or not.

There is a rumour doing the rounds that the limousine and taxi services operating from the new airport will be a monopoly therefore an expectation that the fares are likely to increase. The fare to Ploenchit should still be the same but the "surcharge" for hiring a taxi from the airport is likely to increase, currently 50 baht from the old airport.

The majority of private limousine services have assured customers that they will not be charging extra for pickups/dropoffs to the new airport.

Another possible consideration which may effect taxi fares, not just from new airport, is the recent change to the law regarding the maximum age of taxis reduced from 9 years to 7 years.

In saying all of this there is nothing stopping you from using the free shuttle to go to the bus stop outside the airport and picking up a taxi from there. Due to the new strict laws of which taxi company can pickup a fare inside the new airport you will find that there will be a lot of taxis returning empty and they will be more than happy to pickup a fare.

Mal said:
I'm looking forward to heading over to BKK again early-mid next year. Should be nice to see what they've done with the airport.
I have been past the site several times now and it looks spectacular. Hard to believe that just a few years ago it was swampland. I will be there in December/January and looking forward to exploring inside the new airport.
 

Gazza

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From the Qantas Sept 2006 E-News

Suvarnabhumi Airport is the new Bangkok International and
Domestic Airport, which is due to open on 28 September 2006.
The switch over from the current Don Muang airport to the new
airport will be overnight. The new airport is 30km east of
Bangkok.
Temporary Lounge Access at New Bangkok International Airport
The Qantas/British Airways First and Business lounges at the
new Bangkok airport have not yet been completed.
Accordingly, from September 28 until late December 2006,
Qantas will be using temporary lounge facilities for our
First and Business Class customers in Bangkok. Due to space
limitations, access to these facilities will be restricted to
customers travelling in First and Business Class on the day
of travel. Unfortunately access will not be possible for
other customers travelling in Economy that would normally be
entitled to use the lounges (e.g Platinum Frequent Flyers,
Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members) and guest
access will not be available during this time. We apologise
for this inconvenience, and look forward to welcoming all
eligible customers to our new Lounge opening in late December
2006.
When open, the new luxuriously furnished First and Business
lounges will be 40% larger than the current lounges offering
improved business facilities, a variety of seating and
entertainment zones, improved shower facilities and a new
style menu offering complimentary beverages and refreshments.

This has the potential to be a major pain in the John Howard.

Gazza
 

simongr

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Gazza said:
Unfortunately access will not be possible for
other customers travelling in Economy that would normally be
entitled to use the lounges (e.g Platinum Frequent Flyers,
Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members) and guest
access will not be available during this time.

This has the potential to be a major pain in the John Howard.

Gazza
Hmm - I am off to BKK at end of Oct - flying BA WT+ - wonder if that will still get lounge access...
 

Mal

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simongr said:
Hmm - I am off to BKK at end of Oct - flying BA WT+ - wonder if that will still get lounge access...
Nope out of luck as well:
https://ukprepin.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/ukprepin.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2377
"Are there lounge facilities at Suvarnabhumi Airport?

We are currently designing new FIRST and Club World lounge facilities at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which are scheduled to open late December 2006. From 28 September 2006 until the new lounge is open, Qantas and British Airways will be using temporary lounge facilities.

Due to space limitations, access to these facilities will be restricted to customers travelling in FIRST and Club World on the day of travel. At this time, lounge access will not be possible for Executive Club Gold or Silver members, or oneworld Sapphire members travelling in World Traveller or World Traveller Plus."


Looks like they missed "Emerald" in their writeup, but if BA Gold'ers are left out in the terminal, so will be every other OW Emerald pax not in J or F.
 

simongr

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Well that just totally sucks. This Thailand trip is getting suckier and suckier for me. One of things we were looking forward to was taking mrs sim to the lounges.

Its not like its just for a week or two either - its three months. I wonder how many WP/1world Emerald (do we have an abbreviation for them on this site?)/SG/1world Sapphire travel through BKK in economy. I cant imagine (showing my ignorance here) that it is a major business destination for a lot of the QF fliers? As such is it more likely that anyone flying through who is WP/SG is travelling for fun? Maybe its just me who doesnt go to Thailand for business ;)
 
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