For the first time in around a decade, this winter we’ll see nonstop flights between Thailand and North America. We’ll also see Air Canada fly nonstop to Southeast Asia for the first time.
Air Canada’s new Bangkok route
Air Canada will be launching a new seasonal flight between Vancouver (YVR) and Bangkok (BKK) later this year. The route will operate 4x weekly between December 1, 2022, and April 14, 2023, with the following schedule:
AC65 Vancouver to Bangkok departing 11:00PM arriving 5:55AM (+2 days)
AC66 Bangkok to Vancouver departing 8:30AM arriving 6:35AM
Air Canada’s Bangkok service will operate westbound on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and eastbound on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
The route will cover a distance of 7,344 miles in each direction, so it’ll be one of Air Canada’s longer flights.
Air Canada will use a Boeing 787-9 for this service, featuring a total of 298 seats. This includes 30 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 247 economy class seats.
Why this new route is pretty exciting
Thailand is a fairly popular destination with travelers from North America, but despite that, the economics of nonstop service just generally haven’t worked.
Thai Airways used to fly nonstop from Bangkok to both Los Angeles and New York, but both of those routes were cut by 2012, as Thai Airways got rid of its Airbus A340-500s. The airline had allegedly been losing money on the routes for years.
United is arguably the most “creative” global airline when it comes to launching new ultra long haul routes. The airline has done pretty well with Singapore service (and that’s even further), but United has never given nonstop flights to Thailand a try.
Admittedly the challenge is that Thailand is primarily a leisure destination, and historically you need quite a bit of premium business demand to make the economics of an ultra long haul flight work.
However, perhaps times are changing a bit, or at least this is a temporary “sweet spot” for this kind of service:
- Business travel demand hasn’t fully recovered, especially for international travel
- Because of the closure of Russian airspace, some routes aren’t feasible in the same way they previously were
- Leisure travel demand is through the roof, and people are willing to pay a small fortune for travel right now
- There’s the general benefit of lower capacity and more fuel efficient planes, like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, which make a lot more routes possible
It’s exciting to see Air Canada giving this route a try. I’ll be curious to see how Air Canada does, and if the route returns for a second season. Maybe this will be the inspiration that United needs to launch this kind of service as well.
Air Canada does have a geographic advantage with a route like this, though. The “closest” mainland gateway from which United could realistically launch this route would be San Francisco, and that route is ~600 miles further.
Air Canada will launch a new route between Vancouver and Bangkok, which is an exciting development. The route will operate 4x weekly seasonally using a Boeing 787-9, and it’ll be the first time a North American airline flies between the mainland and Thailand.
Hopefully this is the start of a more permanent service.
What do you make of Air Canada launching Bangkok flights?
I’ve been going to Thailand 1-2x a year for 20 years minus Covid. Cathay and Eva were my favourites for shortest 2nd leg with good food and service. Not a big fan of AC but nonstop is a big incentive and I live in Vancouver. I see that Cathay and Eva in January are similar price points so nonstop will win. Hope the flight makes it.
Dependent on the price I will give it a shot. I have been using the AC/NH route for years now. While I think ANA are the best Airline in that neck of the woods a direct flight to BKK would cut out the hotel for the night. I hope it works but I don't think it will.
I'm super excited! I'm a Canadian living in Thailand. Hoping they are successful and can make it an annual flight, not just seasonal.
I think another factor that may make this more viable for the moment is that there's no mainland Chinese carriers driving down prices by offering bargain basement fares via CAN, SHA, BJS, or whichever city was offering the best subsidies to open new routes at the time.
It would be great option for saving time , no transit in hongkong , Taipei , Tokyo . Air Canada service on business class is great , but economy is worrisome . Food is awful and Air Canada will not be able to compete with what the competitors offer on Asian airlines on economy . The food taste and quality on ANA on economy almost compares with the food on AC business but without the...
It would be great option for saving time , no transit in hongkong , Taipei , Tokyo . Air Canada service on business class is great , but economy is worrisome . Food is awful and Air Canada will not be able to compete with what the competitors offer on Asian airlines on economy . The food taste and quality on ANA on economy almost compares with the food on AC business but without the frills and polish . The washrooms on economy gets cleaned and checked by the flight attendants on long haul flights , try to get that done on by Canadian flt attendants . The AC food presentation on economy looks like a handout from a soup kitchen . Buns are cold coming out from a freezer opposed to getting warm buns offered on many Asian flts . Some AC flt attendants look miserable on the job and don’t know why they work on that job when they are doing a disservice to the passengers , and the company as well .
Good comment except for the description of AC business class service being great. I find it ranges from indifferent to ok, but rarely great. To Asia AC would be one of my last choices.
This is also great for connections onto Thai Airways throughout South East Asia and South Asia. Currently, passengers from Canada flying to those destinations on Star Alliance have to fly through the U.S.. I'm sure many of these passengers would prefer flying Air Canada through Bangkok for the status benefits. Also, for passengers flying from Western Canada to South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), flying AC through Bangkok and connecting onto a Thai Airways flight would...
This is also great for connections onto Thai Airways throughout South East Asia and South Asia. Currently, passengers from Canada flying to those destinations on Star Alliance have to fly through the U.S.. I'm sure many of these passengers would prefer flying Air Canada through Bangkok for the status benefits. Also, for passengers flying from Western Canada to South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), flying AC through Bangkok and connecting onto a Thai Airways flight would actually be the same trip duration or likely even shorter than flying through Europe or the Middle East.
You don't have to fly through US from Canada on Star Alliance.
This route would help reduce 1 connection for some people.
It's optimised connection only on the return for South Asia -> YVR sector. For the onward journeys, it's often a bone crushing 10+ hr transit!
It is precisely because AC's 789s have nearly 300 seats that the economics will work on this route. Air Canada has long used its position north of the US and "on the way" on most great circle routes to connect demand from the US over Canadian hubs.
United does not have a joint venture with AC over the Pacific and has little to no incentive to route a passenger over Vancouver vs. over its JV partner in Tokyo.
Now tell us how great Delta is
Flight times make it easy for United to offer connecting flights to/from DEN and SFO, maybe even ORD.
Wouldn't Seattle be closer than SFO?
Seattle is not a United hub.
pls consider adding a gcmap screenshot so it is easier to visualize the route!
Does anybody have an idea of when tickets for this flight will be available, specifically award availability?
Award seats are available now.
Old United did fly SFO-BKK with 747s until the Great Recession.
UA never flew SFO-BKK (or any USA-BKK flight) non-stop.
Was it a tag flight from SGN? It was definitely direct service from SFO, but perhaps not nonstop.
Given Air Canada's 30% on time performance.... no thanks!
Because on-time performance is so important for a leisure route?
I miss CPAir (Canadian Pacific), Empress Class. With their gorgeous orange/metallic 747s. All planes named with an 'Empress of ....' prefix. These used to ply the Canada- Asia routes.
If they have to avoid Russia though, SFO-BKK might be pretty much the same as YVR-BKK. I wish you could see a route with avoiding a country on GCMap.
Yeah but major difference Antonio. Vancouver has international airside transit avoiding immigration for ppl coming from 3rd countries. Anyone who has transferred at SFO or godforbid LAX knows what a nightmare it is it can take hours between immigration, customs, taking a bus to another terminal, checking your bags in again, security again .... At YVR for anyone flying from USA, Canada, Europe, Mexico or anywhere else, they can head straight to the next gate...
Yeah but major difference Antonio. Vancouver has international airside transit avoiding immigration for ppl coming from 3rd countries. Anyone who has transferred at SFO or godforbid LAX knows what a nightmare it is it can take hours between immigration, customs, taking a bus to another terminal, checking your bags in again, security again .... At YVR for anyone flying from USA, Canada, Europe, Mexico or anywhere else, they can head straight to the next gate without immigration or rechecking their bag, its a big deal.
For people coming from Latin America or Europe, Canada is much more suitable for intl-intl transfer then USA. Not to mention for Mexicans they need a visa for USA, even for transit, whereas for Canada they do not.
In all likelihood Air Canada's main market on this is international connections, not only Canadians, as its a small country of only 30 million.
Why would a normal person (not a mileage runner) in Europe fly the other way around the Earth rather than flying nonstop to BKK from any European hub?
Yay, more white trashy cheap Farangs are flocking to the Land of Smiles, cruising along Soi Cowboy, Walking Street and Silom. Chayoo! 555
Better Canadians than Americans.
Do Americans behave differently than Canadians on Nana beds?
You know you love them.
Not the 1st time AC has flown to South East Asia. Had a route YYZ LHR BOM SIN a generation ago. During the mid to end of 80's