On the previous holiday weekend, there was a traffic gridlock leading to Don Mueang airport and long lines in front of check-in desks and the immigration department. This brought back memories of the airport before the Covid-19 pandemic when it was bustling all the time.

One month has passed since the National Covid-19 Emergency Decree was lifted and the virus was downgraded as a communicable disease under surveillance as of Oct 1. Now, foreign visitors to Thailand no longer need to show their Covid-19 vaccination or ATK test certificates, and infected people with mild or no symptoms are no longer required to be isolated.

I met two travel agents on a recent trip to Trang, who talked to me about their experience. According to them, the tourism industry had already recovered. The pre-Covid-19 situation and the current scenario are nearly identical. Europe and Japan are steadily moving to the top of the list for international travel.

In Thailand, visitors mostly come from surrounding countries like Cambodia and the bulk of them are still senior tourists and seminar groups. Currently, the majority of travellers are Indians as we await the return of Chinese tourists.

Their viewpoints made me go back to my trip to Samui last month. The majority of passengers on the packed flight were foreigners. A hundred local vendors brought the walking street in a fishing hamlet back to life by offering a range of street cuisine, regional specialities, vibrant beachwear and souvenirs. Restaurants by the shore and food trucks were crowded with foreign and Thai tourists who enjoyed fire shows and drinks at dusk.

People are keen to see the world return to normal. Many are making plans for their vacations. To gear up for the upcoming holiday season, Expedia recently released its 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report to help passengers save time and money as erratic flight prices, delays and cancellations plague the industry.

As airlines attempt to restore operations to pre-pandemic levels, the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) and Official Airline Guide’s global flight data platform show that ticket prices are still below 2019 levels. In March and April of this year, average ticket prices started to reach 2019 levels due to the recovery in demand and the relaxation of travel restrictions.

After reaching their peak during the summer, flight costs decreased once more for the autumn and are anticipated to increase once more during the Christmas season. Meanwhile, total capacity — the number of flights and seats on airplanes — has grown during the course of the year.

According to the ARC’s global airline sales database, travellers can save around 5% on domestic flights and 15% on international flights if they book their tickets on Sunday rather than Friday. Reserving domestic flights at least one month in advance can save you 10% compared to booking at the last minute. Booking six months or more in advance of an overseas trip can result in a 10% savings over waiting until two months or less.

On average, Wednesday travellers can save 15% on domestic flights compared to those who begin their journey on Sunday or Monday. At the same time, travellers who depart on Wednesday rather than over the weekend may often save 10% on international flights.

To avoid flight disruptions, early booking can lower the risk of a flight’s cancellation. According to year-to-date flight status data, planes leaving after 3pm have a 50% greater probability of being cancelled than those leaving earlier in the day.

According to data, avoiding the peak travel period might have advantages beyond only cost-savings. Flight delays often decreased by roughly 40 minutes between March and April and started to lessen again as the summer came to an end, making the fall a desirable time to fly.

Total cancellations have decreased from over 7% early in the year to around 3% in August, indicating that airlines have improved their services. Travellers should anticipate a considerable decrease in the chance of flight cancellations in 2023 as the trend is predicted to continue in a favourable direction.

My friends just posted their photos from South Korea on Facebook, while thousands of Thai tourists are visiting Japan as a result of its borders being fully reopened last month. The airlines are increasing international flights and offering promotions to keep up with the escalating demand.

To avoid crowds, I usually arrange a trip during the off-peak season or on a weekday. But these days, watching the hectic scenes at airports, tourist sites, or even hotels makes my travel more colourful.

Pattarawadee Saengmanee

Life Writer

Pattarawadee Saengmanee is a regular content creator for Bangkok Post Life section.

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