28 August 2012

Budget Airline Excess Baggage Charge (Special Rate)

This morning I went to the airport with my wife because it's that day of the year again, when she will return home to visit her family, and eat all her favourite food, papaya salad, fried ants, yeah. According to a neighbour in her home town, those are the top two delicacies of northern Thailand. The first one is arguably okay for me, but I just can't bring myself to try the last dish.

And so we were well aware that her checked luggage was over the 25KG allowance that we purchased during booking, and it's a total of 7KG over the limit, and we just wanted to try our luck and see if we could get through without paying, but before I continue, I just want to emphasize that the point of this post is not to get anyone into trouble.

The lady at the counter told us to put our checked luggage on the weighing machine and the overweight came at no surprise. She told us there would be a charge of 20 Singapore dollars for each extra KG over the allowance and the total charge was 140 Singapore dollars. So I said hold on, let me discuss with my wife. And while we were about to start discussing, that lady moved closer and changed to a whispering tone, she said we could pay 60 Singapore dollars instead, we just have to put it in my wife's passport or the itinerary and hand it to her and don't let anyone see. Wow, okay, sounds like a good deal, so I told my wife and she was both surprised and confused and that lady popped in again and made another offer, this time it's 50.

When my wife finally regained her mind, she told me to try 40, yeah okay I tried and it was refused and I realized we were taking quite a while already, and come on, it's just 10 dollars, so trying to be decisive man, I grabbed the itinerary printout, shoved 50 dollars inside and handed over to the counter lady, she took it, checked in my wife's luggage and that's it.

For this to be happening in Singapore, and at the airport, I was very surprised, but I think such things are happening all the time, it's just that we don't see it very often.

So before you book that ticket, take some time to determine how much luggage you will be carrying, and buy more just in case, like for my wife's case, she told me she needed only 25KG, but she ended up with 32KG, I could have saved some money if I bought 35KG instead.

Enjoy your journey!

08 August 2012

How to Pronounce Suvarnabhumi?

When me and my wife were discussing whether she would like to go Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airport...

Me: So you want SU VAARR NUB HU MI (slowly read out loud) airport?
Wife: (laughs) SU WARR NA POOM.
Me: Why POOM?
Wife: Thais say SU WARR  NA POOM.
Me: Ok...

Now I know why that taxi driver in Bangkok gave me that weird look when I told him to go SU VAARR NUB HU MI, and why my wife chuckled in a corner...

Airline Currency Conversion VS Bank Currency Conversion

Yesterday I bought a Tiger Airways ticket for my wife, flying from Thailand to Singapore and at the payment section, I noticed that there is an option to pay in Singapore dollars; usually when I buy from Thailand to Singapore, I pay in Thai Baht and then my bank will do the conversion and charge me in Singapore dollars.

Tiger Converts 2615 Thai Baht to 108.18 Singapore dollars

So I did a quick search on Google using 2615 thb to sgd and the result is about 103 Singapore dollars. Obviously I should continue to pay in Thai Baht, so I did and here's what my bank statement shows:

Bank Tentatively Charges Me 102.90 Singapore dollars

But do note that 102.90 is not confirm as it's still pending settlement. When the bank finally charges, they will use as of that day's conversion value, so the final amount that they charge could be slightly higher or lower, but I'm sure it will still be much lower than what Tiger Airways is charging.

So make sure you do a quick check, unless you don't mind donating money to Tiger Airways.

UPDATE: I just checked and the charge has been settled at 106.36, not a big difference but well, still cheaper than settling via Singapore dollars at Tiger Airways booking system.

07 August 2012

Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang?

As you will know by now, some budget airlines will be relocated to the old Bangkok airport i.e. Don Mueang International Airport.

When buying ticket, bet you will wonder which airline fly to which airport.

No worries, I'm sure you've seen the code BKK, and you probably know BKK means Bangkok, you are quite right.

BKK is also a 3 character airport code, see here,
BKK = Suvarnabhumi Airport (New Bangkok International Airport)

So what about Don Mueang? See here,
DMK = Don Mueang International Airport

So make sure you know where you are going before you buy that ticket!

Anyway, they are not incredibly far apart, check this out.