Guide to Flight Delay Compensation for Domestic Flights in Thailand

by | May 31, 2023

While most travelers have heard of EU261 compensation rules and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s customer service dashboard, many are unaware that Thailand also has regulations in place to protect passengers on domestic flights. Thailand’s laws are not nearly as customer friendly as European laws but I thought it’d be worth taking a look…

Understanding Passenger Rights in Thailand

Thailand has always been a popular destination but with traveler favorites scattered across the geographically disparate country, you’ll likely need to take a domestic flight at some point on your trip. It’s worth knowing your rights so a weekend enjoying a Koh Samui beach club doesn’t turn into a nightmare in Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).

In Thailand, flight delay compensation applies to airlines holding an air operating license on domestic scheduled flights. only A passenger’s rights are protected under various scenarios, such as flight delays or cancellations. These rights are based on an Announcement of the Ministry of Transport on Protection of Passenger Rights Using Thai Carriers’ Services for Domestic Scheduled Routes 2010 (B.E. 2553).

Flight Delay Compensation on Domestic Flights in Thailand

If you’re caught in a flight delay while traveling within Thailand, it’s essential to know your rights as a passenger. The compensation guidelines for domestic flights are as follows:

Flight delay between two and three hours

If the delay is between two and three hours, the airline must:

  • Provide food and drinks to passengers free of charge, considering the waiting time before boarding.
  • Offer necessary and appropriate communication facilities such as telephones, fax, and email services free of charge.
  • Refund the airfare based on conditions.

Flight delay between three and five hours

If the delay is more than three hours but does not exceed five hours, the airline must:

  • Provide food and drinks to passengers free of charge, considering the waiting time before boarding.
  • Offer necessary and appropriate communication facilities such as telephones, fax, and email services free of charge.
  • Present passengers with the following options: (a) refund the airfare (b) reschedule the flight (c) travel via other appropriate means of transport to the destination specified on the ticket.

Flight delay between five and six hours

If the delay is more than five hours but does not exceed six hours, the airline must:

  • Apply the same rules as in the case when the delay is more than three hours but not exceeding five hours.
  • Compensate 600 Baht in cash immediately before the passenger departs to the destination, except when the airline can prove that the delay was caused by an unexpected situation beyond its control. That, of course, is only about $17 USD — but it is additive to other duty of care obligations the airline must assume outlined here.

Flight delay of more than six hours

If the delay is more than six hours, the airline must follow the rules related to flight cancellations.

Flight Cancellation or Refusal of Transport

In cases where a flight is canceled or a passenger is refused transport, the airline must:

  1. Offer passengers the following options:
    • Refund the airfare.
    • Reschedule the flight to the destination specified on the ticket.
    • Provide alternative transport.
  2. Undertake the following actions to care for passengers:
    • Provide food and drinks appropriate to the waiting time before boarding free of charge.
    • Offer necessary and appropriate communication facilities such as telephones, fax, and email services free of charge.
    • Provide a hotel room for passengers free of charge for at least one night, including transportation between the airport and the hotel, if the new flight is scheduled to depart later than the original schedule for one day.
  3. Compensate 1,200 Baht in cash immediately before a passenger departs to their destination, except if the airline can prove specific conditions related to flight cancellation. That of course is only about $34 USD but it is additive to other duty of care obligations the airline must assume as outlined before. Cash compensation does not apply if the airline can prove one of the following:
    • The airline notified passengers about the flight cancellation at least three days prior to departure.
    • The airline notified passengers about the flight cancellation less than three days prior to departure but provided a new flight departing within three hours of the original schedule.
    • The flight cancellation was caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the airline.

Conditions of Carriage

Passengers should be aware that conditions of carriage apply to their tickets, which they agree with airlines upon purchase. I’ve never pursued compensation for a delayed Thai domestic flight so it’s unclear to me whether the conditions of carriage trump the flight delay compensation rules.

know your rights to flight delay compensation on domestic flights in thailand
Don’t let a trip to Thailand be ruined by a domestic flight delay

How to Claim Flight Compensation in Thailand

How easy is it to claim delayed flight compensation in Thailand? Supposedly, airlines should proactively be taking the steps outlined above. Of course, we know that airlines often try to wiggle out of their responsible soo this might not always happen so you may need to assert your rights as a customer. It’s always better to do so in-person at the airport.

If you were unable to resolve the issue at the airport and believe you are eligible for compensation due to a delayed or canceled domestic flight in Thailand, follow these steps:

  1. Contact your airline and provide them with details about your disrupted journey, such as your booking reference number, date of travel, and reason for compensation.
  2. Keep all relevant documents handy, such as your original ticket, boarding pass, and any other related communication from the airline.
  3. If the airline refuses to compensate you, consider filing a complaint with the Ministry of Transport or seeking legal counsel. If you’d like to complain to the Ministry of Transport, the following is their contact information for aviation complaints:

Department of Civil Aviation
71 Soi Ngarmduplee, Rama IV Road,
Thung-mahamek, Sathorn District,
Bangkok 10120, Thailand.
Telephone: 0 2287 3373,
email: airtravelcomplaint@aviation.go.th

This is likely to be a quite time-consuming process so if you’re concerned about flight delays, I definitely recommend applying for and booking your flights with a credit card that includes strong delayed flight protection to ensure you’re protected. A good travel insurance policy also goes a long way.

Bottom Line

Interestingly, Thailand has its own equivalent to EU261 for domestic flights. The compensation is not nearly as generous as in Europe and probably won’t get you very far, however, so you definitely should consider using a credit card with strong traveler protections or a travel insurance policy. While the cash compensation probably wouldn’t be worth pursuing for most of our readers, it’s worth being knowing about and you may want to claim your rights to food and drinks in a pinch.

Have you ever had a delayed domestic flight in Thailand?

Giovanni Hashimoto

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Giovanni Hashimoto is editor of Travel Spill. He's a growth hacking consultant and an expert in maximizing credit card rewards and loyalty programs. Giovanni grew up as a third-culture kid and is a citizen of the United States, Japan, and Italy. He's now a digital nomad who's visited over 65 countries, often leveraging points and miles to improve his travel experience.

Giovanni Hashimoto is editor of Travel Spill. He's a growth hacking consultant and an expert in maximizing credit card rewards and loyalty programs. Giovanni grew up as a third-culture kid and is a citizen of the United States, Japan, and Italy. He's now a digital nomad who's visited over 65 countries, often leveraging points and miles to improve his travel experience.
All posts by Giovanni Hashimoto

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