Most people get around Southeast Asia by air. Air links between the major cities are frequent, and generally available from several carriers. As in other parts of the world, you often have teh choice between full service and budget carriers.
Full Service Airlines
Each country has its own full service flag carrier, but some of them do not have the best repuations. The airlines below are among the best of the regional full service carriers.
- Bangkok Airways
- Thailand's second carrier is almost solely responsible for developing special destinations such as Samui and Sukhothai. Their now extensive network covers several countries and many of the major world heritage destinations of Southeast Asia. They have some limited e-ticket capability.
- Malaysia Air System
- The national carrier flies internationally between Kuala Lumpur and major cities around the world. MAS is also the largest domestic air carrier in Malaysia.
- Singapore Airlines
- Singpore's flag carrier is one of the region's most highly regarded airlines.
- Silk Air
- This Singaporean airline flies between to destinations such as Yangon, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and many cities in Indonesia.
- Thai Airways
- The national flag carrier of Thailand flies to almost all major tourist destinations. Their web site allows you to view schedules and seat availability. You can now even book and pay online for paperless travel. See our article on Thai e-Travel for more information.
A number of regional budget airlines have grown up over the last five years or so. A number are based in the central regional hub of Singapore, while Thailand also has a fair number of carriers. When considering the use of budget airlines, be sure to read our budget airline tips.
- Air Asia
- Air Asia is Malaysia's discount domestic carrier. If you book well in advance you can get some absolutely rock bottom fares. Air Asia flies to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur.
- Jet Star Asia
- One of Singapore's own home grown budget carriers. We've actually found flying with Jet Star to be a rather pleasant experience. See our complete review of Jet Star Asia for more information.
- Valuair merged with Jet Star in early 2005 but still operates under a separate name. You can book through flights on either airline. Valuair flies mainly to destinations in Indonesia, including Bali, as well as Hong Kong and Manila.
- Tiger Airways
- Probably the largest of Singapore's budget carriers. Destinations include Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Macau and Manila.