Thai Lion Air
Thai Lion Air is a relatively new airline, founded in 2013, and is an associate company of the Indonesia-based Lion Air. The airline is based in Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, from where it serves 22 destinations across Thailand and Asia.
The airline has 25 planes in its fleet, carrying a maximum capacity of 215 passengers. The company's very first scheduled flight was between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Routes served by Thai Lion Air
Thai Lion Air services domestic destinations across Thailand as well as international routes to airports in China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam. As with all flights, prices can change rapidly so plan ahead, but Thai Lion Air is almost always offers the most budget friendly options. The prices below are listed as a guide only and refer to flights from Don Mueang.
Most popular domestic destinations
For visitors looking to travel around Thailand, there are plenty of options with this airline. There are 11 departures to Chiang Mai each day, with a journey time of 1 ¼ hours and tickets available from around THB800. These flights depart throughout the day between 08.55-22.25. If you want to head to one of Thailand's famous beaches there are numerous scheduled flights to Krabi and Phuket every day, priced at around THB800.
Most popular iInternational destinations
If you want to pop over to Vietnam, that's easy as well. There are eight flights per week to Hanoi (at 10.00 and 17.35) and one every day leaving for Ho Chi Minh City at 05.25, with both taking less than two hours and priced from around THB1,100.
There are many options for those wanting to visit other countries within SE Asia as well. There are two departures daily to Singapore, at 07.40 and 15.40, taking around 2 ¾ hours, usually costing around THB1,800. There are also two flights every day making the one hour journey to connect Bangkok with Yangon in Myanmar (09.05 and 18.15), with prices often approximately THB1,200. The capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, is further away but there is also a departure every day at 19.05, with the 3 ½ -hour flight costing about THB2,300.
Thai Lion Air also service destinations across China. There are around 10 departures each week to Guangzhou, with a journey time of just under three hours. Chengdu has one flight a day at 22.05, taking the same amount of time as flying to Guangzhou, with similar prices of close to THB2,300. Those looking to travel to Nanjing can expect to pay slightly more, maybe around THB3,000, but there are seven flights per week making the four hour journey.
The biggest benefit with travelling with Thai Lion Air is that checked luggage is included, even sports equipment! This is the case for both domestic flights, where you receive a complimentary 15kg of baggage, and international flights where this allowance increases to 20kg. You can, of course, pay a little bit extra if your luggage is heavier but this is a real money-saver!
Although the fares can sometimes be higher than some of their competitors, not having to pay for luggage can make the flight cheaper. Plus they also regularly offer promotional fares which can be great value.
Thai Lion Air also allow you to choose your seat for free, not something that some other budget airlines offer.
Unfortunately, Thai Lion Air does not offer complimentary food or drink on its flights. You can purchase snacks and drinks when on the plane but as anyone who has flown before will know, this isn't always the best quality and usually expensive.
The aircrafts also do not have any in-flight entertainment. Whilst this probably won't be an issue for very short domestic flights lasting an hour or two, on longer flights this can be a pain. It's best to have a good book handy!
Keep in mind
Thai Lion Air is a fairly new airline so the services are continuously being expanded and improved. If they don't fly to whichever destination you want to travel to, chances are they will in a year or two. So keep your eyes peeled for any new route announcements.
When travelling with children, it's worth bearing in mind that those over the age of two will be required to pay full price for their ticket. Infants, children under two years old, are typically charged at around 30% of a full fare.
Travellers are always pleasantly surprised to learn that luggage is included when they book a flight with Thai Lion Air. This is a pretty rare perk in Asia and unheard of in Europe where budget airlines will always charge for checked bags. This can often be almost as much as the flight itself! Many customers leave glowing reviews of the airline, almost solely based on the fact that they aren't required to pay additional fees for luggage.
Complaints about Thai Lion Air tend to focus on the size of the seats on their flights. Unfortunately, for many travellers of average height or above, it is likely to be a bit of a squeeze and may not make for the most comfortable flight. This shouldn't be too much of an issue with domestic flights but if you're travelling for four hours, from Bangkok to Nanjing for example, then this could be something to consider.
Finally, as is the case with airlines across the globe, delays are not uncommon. It's always worth leaving plenty of time if you have a connecting flight, just in case. This is especially true if you need to travel from Don Mueang International Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport, as Bangkok is notoriously busy at the best of times!