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Thai Airways - SFO To BKK - Why Not?  
User currently offlineGoomba From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 309 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9533 times:

I thought I'd start this thread to see if anyone could explain why Thai Airways does not operate a non-stop from San Francisco to Bangkok and back. Considering Thai Airways is a Star Alliance member, and with respect to the heavy traffic to and from Asia and SFO, I would think this is a no-brainer.

Surely there is something that prohibits this route...does anyone know what it is?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2454 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9499 times:

1 They dont have the aircraft - only 4 A345 tied up with LAX/JFK.
2 There isnt the traffic - fifth freedom traffic usually props up (ultra) long routes.
3 There isnt the yield - it's all leisure back-end traffic.

When they struggle with nonstop LAX why would SFO be any better? The few airlines that fly ULR in the world today have proven it is hard to make it work. I doubt there will be any more ULR routes before the next generation aircraft arrive.

[Edited 2008-03-10 08:19:54]


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User currently offlineB742 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 3768 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9471 times:



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 1):
1 They dont have the aircraft.
2 They dont have the traffic.
3. There isnt the yield - it's all leisure back-end traffic.

Pretty much summed it up.

A possible BKK-SFO flight would perhaps do better via another Asian city such as HKG, otherwise I don't see non-stop flights.

Rob!  wave 


User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6138 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9433 times:

That says it all....

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineB747-4U3 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 990 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 9257 times:

I would have thought that BKK-SFO non-stop would do well if it is timed to optimise connections. BKK and SFO are both large Star hubs, and TG could time the flight so that it connects with its Indian operations. Remember, CX once said that their 2nd daily SFO service depended on being given additional rights to India, so it must be an important market.

User currently offlineUA76Heavy From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9114 times:



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 1):
1 They dont have the aircraft - only 4 A345 tied up with LAX/JFK.
2 There isnt the traffic - fifth freedom traffic usually props up (ultra) long routes.
3 There isnt the yield - it's all leisure back-end traffic.

4 They code-share with their Star Alliance partner, UA (UA837, 838).


User currently offlineDLPhoenix From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 419 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9035 times:



Quoting UA76Heavy (Reply 5):
3 There isnt the yield - it's all leisure back-end traffic.

4 They code-share with their Star Alliance partner, UA (UA837, 838).

5. It's a ULH route. You need enough passangers willing to pay for the cargo you replaced with fuel. ULH is also limited to O&D trafic (e.g why fly SEA->SFO->BKK when you can fly SEA->NRT->BKK for less while avoiding a segment with domestic service and a messy connection at a US airport).

DLP


User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9023 times:



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 1):
There isnt the traffic - fifth freedom traffic usually props up (ultra) long routes.

Can you explain this second part? Do you mean beyond BKK or SFO conenctions? There should be plenty. Fifth Freedom is when a Carrier from County A carries pax between county B and C. Im not sure where 5th Freedom would come in here.


User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2454 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8972 times:

Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 7):
Can you explain this second part? Do you mean beyond BKK or SFO conenctions? There should be plenty. Fifth Freedom is when a Carrier from County A carries pax between county B and C. Im not sure where 5th Freedom would come in here.

I meant such a route would normally have a stop at Taipei/HK/Seoul/Osaka a la SQ SIN-HKG-SFO/SIN-TPE-LAX and the old Thai 1-stop flights. These typically pick up passengers at the stop. The additional revenue is significant.

It's a double whammy to take out the stop - you lose fifth freedom revenue and you burn more fuel to carry more fuel while taking a hit at cargo payload.

[Edited 2008-03-10 14:08:36]


A310/A319/20/21/A332/3/A343/6/A388/B732/5/7/8/B742/S/4/B752/B763/B772/3/W/E145/J41/MD11/83/90
User currently offlinePA110 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2006 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8924 times:
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Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 1):
When they struggle with nonstop LAX why would SFO be any better?

Exactly! TG really struggles with LAX because they are forced to rely almost entirely on local Thai Town VFR traffic. TG has virtually no sales organization, and even less marketing to attract possibly higher yielding markets. Unfortunately TG is cursed with being saddled with short term appointees from BKK head office who don't understand the market, let alone even speak the language. It really is sad. There is only a relatively small Thai community in the Bay Area, but that still presents the problem of strictly low-yield fares. In order to gain the larger and higher yielding SF area markets, and to develop interline connecting markets, TG would have to invest in a competent and trained U.S. Sales and Marketing staff, which they sorely lack at the moment, and have thus far shown they are unwilling to do.

TG burned a hell of a lot of bridges with corporate and leisure contract accounts when they shut down their sales offices around the country. TG left their accounts to be serviced by one small office in LAX who catered primarily to the local ethnic Thai community. Phone calls were never returned. The rep barely spoke English. Most former accounts simply moved business to other carriers like SQ and CX.

Bottom line.... TG doesn't understand how to do business in North America. They never have, and if history is any indication, they never will - unless there is a fundamental way in which the retired Air Force generals and their cronies run TG.

[Edited 2008-03-10 14:41:33]


It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
User currently offlineLDIkaros From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8837 times:



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 1):
1 They dont have the aircraft - only 4 A345 tied up with LAX/JFK.
2 There isnt the traffic - fifth freedom traffic usually props up (ultra) long routes.
3 There isnt the yield - it's all leisure back-end traffic.

And don't forget there are already plenty off one-stop options from SFO to BKK, such as UA and NW, plus countless Asian carriers. I would rather connect in NRT/ICN/TPE than spend 16+ hours on a single flight.


User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7595 posts, RR: 24
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8817 times:



Quoting LDIkaros (Reply 10):
I would rather connect in NRT/ICN/TPE than spend 16+ hours on a single flight.

You know this is a good point that it seems like alot of people forget when dreaming about ULH routes. I did LAX-SIN nonstop on SQ and was MISERABLE! I think it is better to break it up when im facing more than a flight such as LAX-HKG or LAX-SYD. The idea of doing that again doesnt sit will with me.

That being said I think the biggest reasons for no SFO-BKK have already been discussed. There isnt nearly as much traffic between SFO and BKK as there is from LAX to BKK and they struggle enough with that. Im honestly surprised there still here and at JFK.



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User currently offlineGoomba From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 309 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8744 times:

Thanks everyone...this is great insight.

I flew to BKK from SFO and back last year on UA - through NRT. It was nice, although the 744 from NRT to BKK and back to NRT on the return was PACKED to the hilt. Not an empty seat on the plane.


User currently offlineWarreng24 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 707 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8692 times:



Quoting Goomba (Reply 12):
I flew to BKK from SFO and back last year on UA - through NRT. It was nice, although the 744 from NRT to BKK and back to NRT on the return was PACKED to the hilt. Not an empty seat on the plane.

Loads are pretty seasonal.

I've flown with a full house and I've flown as the single passenger in the E+ section.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25288 posts, RR: 22
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 8653 times:

As far as I know, TG transpacific flights have always been unprofitable,or at best very marginal, and that was even with the help of 5th freedom traffic to/from intermediate points. BKK is generally a very low yield market and fares for travel originating in BKK are usually among the lowest in Asia due to all the competition. TG doesn't only have competition from almost every other transpacific carrier via their own hubs, but also from from all major transatlantic carriers since the mileage from North America to BKK, especially from the east coast and central regions are very similar both via the Pacific and via Europe.

User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3230 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8462 times:



Quoting B747-4U3 (Reply 4):
BKK and SFO are both large Star hubs, and TG could time the flight so that it connects with its Indian operations. Remember, CX once said that their 2nd daily SFO service depended on being given additional rights to India, so it must be an important market.

There was huge potential, and at one time TG was a good option on the BLR-BKK-KIX-LAX-SFO routing, which changed to BLR-BKK-LAX-SFO once the non-stop came into operation. However at some stage TG changed the flight timings in a manner that there was a 20 hour layover in each direction, and the route suddenly become unviable.

Now with Indian carriers increasingly getting into the India-SFO game (9W, IT & AI have announced plans to start this year), TG is going to find it tough to get decent yields on this route (there's always traffic, but the yields will drop due to very quality alternatives like 9W and IT).



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User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39873 posts, RR: 74
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7261 times:

Goomba:
Thanks for asking the question. This is something I've always wondered.
Being a San Francisco resident that frequently visits Bangkok, I would love to see Thai Airways fly here non-stop to SFO.
Their service is phenomenal and I would love to fly their A340s or 747s across the Pacific.
As PA110 already noted, they are struggling with making money on their Los Angeles and New York sector. Los Angeles may have a very small Thai community but it's not like they are flying to Bangkok everyday.
Our Thai population here in San Francisco is much smaller and they are going to buy the lowest fares as anyone else would. Thai Airways LAX-BKK is significantly higher than the one stop flights on EVA, Cathay Pacific, JAL and ANA at least when ever I've checked

Perhaps things will change when they get their A350 or 787s.
Who knows?



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User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 79
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 7169 times:



Quoting Superfly (Reply 16):
Thai Airways LAX-BKK is significantly higher than the one stop flights on EVA, Cathay Pacific, JAL and ANA at least when ever I've checked

I've always found the same thing. There's no way that you can do LAX-BKK direct cheaper than a one-stop because of the fuel loads involved, so Thai's only choices are to charge significantly more for the direct flight or operate at a significant economic disadvantage against the one-stop crowd.

Tom.


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