Will A Nonstop Flight Between the US and Thailand Return Any Time Soon?

by Anthony Losanno

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Every year when the three major US carriers tease their new routes, countless people take to FlyerTalk and X to speculate if this will be the year that we see a nonstop return to Thailand from the United States. And, every time folks lament that Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) did not make the list. Many hope that it will pop up soon. Will 2024 be the year that service is restored?

Thai Airways

Thai Airways stopped flying nonstop from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 2012. The airline deemed the transpacific route unprofitable and pulled it from its route network. In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded Thailand’s aviation safety rating and banned Thai carriers like Thai Airways from flying to the United States. This caused Thailand to join Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Angola, Haiti, and Uruguay as Category 2 countries that are not allowed to fly or codeshare with other airlines on flights to the United States. Mexico recently moved off of this list and regained its Category 1 status (more here).

Thailand tried to move off of this list, but failed its audit again in 2019 and was denied a shift by the FAA. When another audit will be conducted has not been disclosed, but travelers are optimistic that Thai Airways will return. Business Traveler reports that the carrier recently ordered 45 Boeing 787 Dreamliners (with an option to drive that number up to 80 aircraft). We’ll have to wait and see what the result is once they accept deliveries and get these flying.

Air Canada 787-10

While a direct flight between the US and Thailand is not currently an option, Air Canada flies between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) 3x to 5x weekly (seasonally). This route was launched in December 2022.

Anthony’s Take: Hopefully, the Thai government will do what it needs to in order to get its Category 1 rating back. I love Thailand and a nonstop option would be a great addition for United Airlines.

(Image Credits: Remi Prevost, Thai Airways, and Air Canada.)

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