Bangkok Airways resumes Singapore to Koh Samui flights…or has it?

Last Updated:

Bangkok Airways now offers thrice-weekly service from Singapore to Samui. The problem? The flights aren't actually happening.

In late July, Bangkok Airways announced that it would be resuming its thrice-weekly Singapore to Koh Samui service from August onwards.

This was presumably in support of the Samui Plus scheme, under which fully-vaccinated tourists from selected countries (including Singapore) could visit Koh Samui, without quarantine. 

Well…not really

We’re now halfway through August, and there’s just one problem: the flights aren’t actually happening. Ever since the route supposedly commenced on 1 August 2021, PG961/962 has been cancelled every single time. 

It’s not exactly an auspicious start, but well…

Bangkok Airways’ Singapore – Koh Samui route

Bangkok Airways has resumed service between Singapore and Koh Samui…on paper

On paper, Bangkok Airways was planning to operate thrice-weekly service between Singapore Changi Airport and Koh Samui, with flights on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. 

 Days
PG962
A319
SMTWTFS
SIN 
(T1)

1930
USM
(Intl)

2035
    
PG961
A319
SMTWTFS
USM
(Intl)

1505
SIN
(T1)

1800
    

PG962 would depart Singapore at 1930 and arrive in Koh Samui at 2035 (not great timing really, since you lose the whole first day and basically pay an additional night’s accommodation). PG961 would depart Koh Samui at 1505 and arrive in Singapore at 1800. 

This is obviously a significant reduction from the 14 times per week service we saw prior to COVID-19, but in any case, there’s literally no competition on the route- SilkAir has since been folded into Singapore Airlines, and the SIA Group no longer operates the A319 (the only aircraft in the fleet capable of serving Samui airport). 

Despite the route’s, shall we say, chequered operating history, Bangkok Airways is still selling tickets as per normal. Heck, I can buy a ticket for this Thursday’s flight, which I’m not very confident will actually materialise. 

On the bright side, I’ve never seen Bangkok Airways price this route so low. Prior to COVID, Economy Class tickets from Singapore to Koh Samui would typically retail at around S$600-800, barring the occasional sale. We’re now seeing tickets as low as S$366 nett.

If you felt inclined to burn miles (not advisable, since you’d still be paying S$183.30 of taxes and fees), the following programs offer Bangkok Airways redemptions:

  • Etihad Guest: 7,500 miles
  • Asia Miles: 10,000 miles
  • Qatar Privilege Club: 15,000 miles

Mileage requirements refer to one-way Singapore to Koh Samui redemptions in Economy Class

Unfortunately, you can’t view Bangkok Airways award space online (unless you have the KVS Tool) so you’ll have to call up your frequent flyer program to make a booking.

Do note that Bangkok Airways has only loaded inventory on the Singapore to Koh Samui route till October 2021. 

How does Samui Plus work?

Samui Plus FAQs

Under Samui Plus, fully-vaccinated travelers from 69 countries/territories can travel to Koh Samui without quarantine.

⛱️ Samui Plus Eligible Countries/Territories
  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Mongolia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • UK
  • USA
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

Samui Plus travelers must make a prior application for a Certificate of Entry, and meet the following criteria:

  • Passport with at least 6 months validity;
  • Been in a Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved country for 21 days or more;
  • Fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) (children under 18 need not be vaccinated if traveling with fully-vaccinated parents/guardians);
  • Booked and purchased return air travel;
  • Booked and paid for accommodation, and required RT-PCR test/s at a Samui Extra Plus or SHA Plus hotel;
  • Purchased medical insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least US$100,000;
  • Tested negative for COVID-19 no longer than 72 hours before travel.

Guests will be required to stay at a designated Samui Extra Plus hotel for the first 7 nights of their trip, after which they can move to an SHA Plus hotel on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao for the other 7 nights. After 14 days, they can travel freely around Thailand.

Here’s how the Tourism Authority of Thailand describes the schedule:

After waiting for the test result in your hotel room on first arrival (Day 0) and the result is negative, you can travel around as follows:

  • Day 1-3: Can leave the hotel room for designated areas in the hotel only;
  • Day 4-7: Can travel within designated routes and on tour programmes on Koh Samui only;
  • Day 8-14: Can travel within Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao;
  • Day 15: If the last test on Day 12-13 is negative, can go anywhere in Thailand.

Samui Plus Travelers can stay in Koh Samui for fewer than 7 nights, but must immediately depart Thailand after checking out. 

In my opinion, all the restrictions make leisure travel rather unattractive. You’re basically confined to your hotel for the first 3 days, and the scheme only makes sense for those willing to do a prolonged vacation.

Is Samui Plus a realistic option for Singapore travelers?

Travelers from Koh Samui to Singapore are unlikely to enjoy SHN-free concessions anytime soon

While quarantine requirements are somewhat relaxed on arrival in Koh Samui, Singapore residents will still be subject to a 14-day SHN at a hotel upon returning to Singapore, which costs at least S$2,000. 

There’s no suggestion at all that Thailand will be among the first batch of countries approved for SHN-free travel come September; on the contrary, it almost certainly won’t.

While Koh Samui’s new caseload is below that of Thailand’s, the Singapore authorities are unlikely to assess it in a different category from the rest of the country. Thailand is reporting around 30 new cases per 100,000 people, with just 7% of its population fully-vaccinated- a far cry from the low risk criteria that Singapore has described. 

But I don’t think Bangkok Airways had Singapore residents in mind anyway. Rather, European residents seem to be the target audience, and Bangkok Airways is code sharing with several European and Middle Eastern carriers on this route. 

Conclusion

Conrad Koh Samui

I have a soft spot for Koh Samui- in fact, I was planning to go again in March 2020 before the SHN restrictions kicked in. While I’m pleased to see direct air links re-established, it’s unlikely to be a viable travel option for 2021, or even early 2022. 

If you’re hoping to kick up your feet on a beach anytime soon, Sardinia might be a more realistic prospect than Chaweng. 

Anyone knows what’s happening with Bangkok Airways’ Singapore to Koh Samui route?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

5 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
freedom

for transit Singapore to Koh Samui from Europe or anywhere else, have those airlines obtained approval from CAG/CAAS for transit right? I thought still SIA group of airlines are the only allowed to offer transit flights in Singapore?

Sam

BA still can’t transit, this was a popular option before (with a BA codeshare) so I’m surprised they don’t fix this, quite a long transit on the return though

anon

Maybe if you book the fight, it will happen coz there will be a passenger (you). Only reason its cancelled now is coz there are no passengers! 😀

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

7,110FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

RECENT COMMENTS

TAGS