Officials warn against Phuket flight price gouging

Authorities are warning airlines not to price gouge for Phuket flights. (via PxHere)

If you are frustrated at the rising costs of airfare to Phuket, you’re not the only one. The popular resort island has been facing complaints from tourists regarding rising airfare prices during the high season. In response, the Provincial Public-Private Joint Economic Development Committee has warned airlines against overcharging customers for flights to Phuket, especially during long holidays.

The warning was put out even though fares are currently below standard benchmarks. But the committee has pledged to get involved if necessary.

Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan, who chairs the committee, explained that the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has put airfare control measures in place. These measures categorize flight routes into two types based on benchmark fares. Phuket has been classified as having a rate limitation for both full-service and low-cost carrier charging.

The CAAT’s notice states that full-service flight operators have their price limited to 13 baht per kilometre and includes:

  • Seats
  • 29 kilogramme luggage allowance
  • Onboard food and drinks

In contrast, carriers that do not provide these services are considered low-cost and are limited to charging less than a maximum of 9.40 baht per kilometre.

Airlines should charge no more than 9,074 baht per flight for a full-service flight or 6,561 baht per flight for a low-cost carrier travelling to Phuket. He believes that high demand during the tourist high season, such as during the New Year’s Festival and Valentine’s Day, has led to overpriced airfares.

Ticket prices are expected to reach 4,000 to 5,000 baht per seat during the upcoming long holiday for Maka Bucha Day and Songkran.

The average ticket price for this time of year is estimated to cost tourists between 2,800–3,000 baht, according to Amnuay, based on a flight departing on March 11 and 12.

Low-cost carriers are currently averaging around 1,100 to 1,300 baht per one-way flight. Prices spike over 2,000 baht for Songkran.

The CAAT requires every carrier to publish a fare rates report every month and every trimester to prevent predatory ticket pricing. Anyone found overcharging on popular routes could face a penalty of at least six months in jail and a fine of up to 20,000 baht, according to aviation law.

Although high demand during the high season may cause prices to rise, the committee has warned airlines to adhere to the established benchmarks to prevent price gouging.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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