I'm travelling to Thailand in 2006. The travel group agent that I use bases their Thailand fares on Phuket Air - but no longer sell those flights as Phuket Air are barred from Europe. The agents comment "Even if Phuket Air get their landing rights back in Europe we wouldn't touch them with a bargepole". I think that qualifies as a negative commen. Happily I am booked on Thai with whom I have had a couple of very good flights in the past. The only downside is that I have to go from Heathrow. What foreign visitors must think of the UK when they arrive at LHR Terminal 3 is beyond me.
Thank you for this excellent opportunity to add our voices to those who have had the dubious pleasure of travelling with Phuket Air. Our holiday was booked through Saga and although our flight out to Bangkok on 2 April was uneventful after reading in the Bangkok press about the catalogue of problems occurring whilst we were on holiday we refused to travel back to the UK on 13th April with Phuket Air. As it happened this coincided with the Thai Ministry of Transport grounding the entire fleet (11 of the 13 had already been suspended pending inspections). Saga found us seats on Austrian Airlines and Saga now want an extra £285 each for this - but that's another story! The Daily Telegraph has reported that Phuket Air's flying permit is suspended for the summer by the Department of Transport following "a number of serious safety breaches". The airline's landing rights have also been suspended at Amsterdam Schiphol.
My family and I were due to travel with Phuket airlines in July this year Gatwick - Bangkok. In January I started to get concerned with the number of cancellations and late flights. I then discovered the Skytrax site and am extremely grateful to all of you who have posted comments. In January I re booked with Thai Airlines with whom we have previously travelled it appears to be an extra expense well worth making.
We were booked on a flight with Phuket Airways to fly out on the 26th March with family about a month before we were due to fly we found this web site regarding the disasters that had already happened we have visited Thailand several times and are not nervous passengers but upon reading the reports we tried to change airlines through our booking agent but were unable to because our original tickets were not transferable so we flew to Bangkok as planned once we were on the plane we noticed that the overhead panneling was hanging down once we had taken off the passenger sitting underneath this was getting wet due to condensation they advised the cabin crew of the problem who got another member of staff who then proceeded to stuff the gap with paper and tried to seal the panel with some form of masking tape which did not work my overhead light did not work there was a blocked toilet where someone had put a disposable nappy down so eventually this toilet was taped off and out of use the passenger behind seat would not go into the upright position but because the plane was only half full he could sit in the seat next to him we eventually arrived in Bangkok without any further incidences but not looking forward to our return flight we were on holiday for three weeks but some of the family were to return on the 8th April. We proceeded our holiday and spent the last week in Hong Kong and were to return to Bangkok on the 13th April for 3 days before flying back to the U.K. with Phuket Airways once we had boarded the plane at Hong Kong (Thai Airways) we picked up a complimentary newspaper (Bangkok Post) only to see the headlines "PHUKET AIR WOES LEAVE 800 FUMING" after reading that the aircraft had not passed the safety inspections and the problems with the fuel and hydraulic systems and all but 2 planes were grounded made us very wary about flying home to the UK with them we made the decision that once we had landed at Bangkok we would try to find an alternative airline to fly home with at our own exspense we eventually succeeded to find 2 seats with Eva Air 2 days earlier than planned but for peace of mind we were prepared to pay for the airline tickets. Although we had arranged our flights with another airline we were interested to see if Phuket Airlines were still going to fly to Gatwick on the date we were due to fly with them once we were at Bangkok Airport we located Phuket Offices but they were closed our flight was the following day so when we arrived at the airport the next day we approached Phuket Offices and after waiting several minutes a member of staff appeared and we asked when was the next flight to Gatwick only to be told they didn't know switched off the lights and locked the office. We proceeded with our flight home safely with Eva Air only to speak to our family that had flown home with Phuket Air on the 8th April to hear that there had been uproar with a fellow passenger who insisted that they were assured that the aeroplane that were travelling back on was not the one that had had hydraulic problems previously he was assured by the captain that this was not the same plane but once on board the story changed and it was the same plane so all in all what a sham airline and the moral of the story is never to fly or recommend Phuket Airlines although we would not be surprised to hear that they had gone bankrupt.
We flew with Phuket Air in January but have only just found this site. We must agree with all comments made about this airline. Our outward flight scheduled for 2.00 pm on 18 January was delayed until 7.00 am on 19 January. The aircraft was very cold for the whole journey lots of people sitting with blankets around them. The cabin crew were trying to keep the toilets clean but were not very effective. The in flight service was not of a good standard and we were left for many hours with no food at all. On asking about this we were given a tuna roll. Our return journey which should have left of 29 January at 11.50 pm was delayed until 12.45 pm on the following day. Before we left Sharjah after refuelling the engines on the right hand side of the aircraft were under observation on take off and periodically throughout the rest of the journey. We found this rather worrying more so now after the events of the last few weeks. Our travel insurance company rejected our claim for the return delay because the wording of the airline's letter stated the reason for the delay was 'aircraft rotation' and this is not covered under our policy. We arrived back at Gatwick at 8.30 pm on Sunday and were unable to use our return rail ticket and our son had to make a 400 mile round trip to collect us. We were left considerably out of pocket. We feel that the comments in the press from the airline representative over the fuel spillage incident last week patronising and indifferent to the very real fears of the passengers concerned. Phuket Air pulling out of Great Britain is the best news for travellers to Thailand. The flight problems left us with bad memories of an otherwise very enjoyable holiday.
Arrived back from Bangkok Wednesday 13th April. Started out Saturday 9th April. Flight cancelled no explanation given. Put on a bus for a hotel sat there for over two hours outside the airport. After several trips to the airport and lots of lies later we were finally told we would be taken home by Lufthansa. Great. Not so we taken to the airport again at 21.30 to check in. Lufthansa had no knowledge of us. We were then herded to check in with Phuket Air for a flight at 03.00. After several more cancellations we finally took off at 5am. The flight was uneventful thankfully. No representative from Phuket Air gave any information at any time. All the news we had of the airline being grounded was from the newspapers or family back in the UK. The staff should be given a lesson in telling the truth all we got was lies and more lies. Never again will I fly PHUKET AIR. I think 79 hours for Bangkok to Gatwick is a little too long!
I have just come back from Bangkok via Sharjah taking off April 13th - 5am Thailand time and landing 2.15pm UK time. We were supposed to take off at midnight on April 11th got to check in desk where they were checking people in and then suddenly they stopped and we were informed the flight was delayed 24 hours till the same time the next day. We were put up in the airport hotel (no complaints about that the manager was brilliant) and given vouchers for food but not for drinks not even for water. There was no Phuket Air rep around at all and rumours were spreading that they were about to go bankrupt. We had no info the next day and still no rep but were told by the hotel manager although it was not his responsibility he would try to find out what was happening and post it up on a notice board. We were told we would be updated at 1.30pm. By 5pm there was still no news some people had been stranded for 4 days at the hotel. We were told the flight could possibly go that night or maybe not for days as the airline could go bankrupt. We were eventually told the flight would be going at 3am and to check out at 8.30pm (71/2 hour check in which meant hours waiting at the airport unecessarily!). However the flight didnt leave until 5am eventually. During this time there was no airline rep present at at the airport at all to keep us informed so rumour was rife. When we landed at Sharjah we were not allowed off the plane while refuelling (is this normal practice) and delayed yet another hour for more maintenance. I would never ever fly with them again after this especially hearing about their appalling safety record and other peoples experience.
Phuket Air on the 25th March 2005 to a lovely holiday in Thailand. What turned out to be a nightmare was the return flight from Bangkok to Gatwick on the 9th April 2005. On arrival at Bangkok airport on the 26th March 2005 we were handed a sheet of paper and told to ring the number given 72hours before the flight was due to take off to reconfirm the flight and times. We took the flight tickets to an agent and ask if he would do the necessary for which he did it cost 200 baht to get this done we were told that all was in order and was even given a reference number which turned out to be totally ficticous. On arrival at Bangkok airport everything was total chaos as the flight had been cancelled but there was no one from Phuket Air to give any information out to us we were left to roam the airport ourselves to see if we could find anyone that knew anything about the cancelled flight. After several hours we were told that there was a bus waiting outside to take us to a hotel but once outside more chaos as we got on the bus with our luggage we were told that we would have to wait until the bus was full then it could leave. We waited and waited and waited two hours we sat on that bus even the police moved it on as it was there too long. We finally set off only to go round the ring road back to the airport. Still not a word from anyone at Phuket Air. Trying to phone Phuket Air but no answer or engaged. Trying to get home from Bangkok airport flying Phuket air since 9th April 2005 finally got home 14th April 2005. Anyone thinking of flying Phuket air should think again and go by a decent airline as Phuket air doesn't seem to care about it passengers just the money it can get from them.
I work on a consumer programme for ITV and would be interested in hearing from anyone who was on the Phuket Air flight which had a reported fuel leak during a routine stop at Sharjah on Sunday 3rd April 2005. We would be interested in hearing your story. Please send your contact details using the Comment Form at the bottom of this page and Skytrax will put you in touch with Sarah.
A word of advice - do not under any circumstances fly with Phuket Air! If you are due to fly with this company to London Gatwick in the next few days I would strongly advise trying to change airline companies. We just landed after a hysterical journey from hell - which began in Bangkok on Saturday night and ended in London (via Sharjah and Amsterdam) on Monday afternoon.
I agree with other comments from fellow passengers on flight 618 on April 2nd. It was a complete nightmare and an exhausting experience for all involved. The lack of communication the standard of accommodation at Sharjah and the lack of food and water for hundreds of stranded and delayed passengers left a lot to be desired. Horrified to read their UK sales manager's Gordon MacFarland's quotes to the press. Come on Phuket Air take responsibility especially in light of further problems with your aircraft and apologise please.
I was also on the same nightmare flight and got stranded in Sharjah. If Phuket air did not think they done anything wrong or that there were no problems with the planes they should have been available and around the hotels talking to us. We are still waiting for an apology.
I was on the same 72 hour nightmare from hell trip as the others but it is not a one-off. On our flight out we ended up taking 10 hours to get from Bangkok to Phuket but not before our first plane had set off only to return 20 minutes into the flight due to "technical problems" with no explanation ever offered to us except being offered 200 baht to spend in the restaurant. This experience paled however next to the return flight. Despite the British Embassy getting involved the Sharjah branch switched off their phones and fled their offices the Bangkok office would not answer their phones and no member of the crew were prepared to speak to the passengers in person. I telephoned every other airline and if a flight had been available I would have booked it whatever the price! If you are offered a flight for nothing with this dreadful outfit please decline it.
BKK-LGW with Phuket Air on 04-05-05 - total chaos!! Passengers on plane before us would not get back on plane after re-fueling at Sharjah - because of the "minor problem" of fuel leaking out of the engine! We flew in 2 days later to find them still waiting at Sharjah for our plane to pick them up. Bit of a problem though our plane was also leaking fluid from the engine (different plane). Waited in Sharjah for 16 hrs for the muppets to fix the plane (well kind of fix it). Don't fly with them - Dangerous !!
I have just arrived back in the UK after the journey from hell the April 02 flight 72 hours from Bangkok to Gatwick. After being stranded in Sharjah UAE for 60 hours and an almost total lack of communication from Phuket Air I can do nothing other than urge anyone who is planning on taking a flight to cancel their tickets immediately and find someone/anyone other than these clowns to travel with.
Gatwick to BKK. Flight to BKK was excellent no problems. The plane was old but everything worked and the staff were excellent. Plenty of food and drinks were available on request. I flew back on 16 march and apart from the hour to refuel in Sharjah which is a little inconvenient the flight was excellent.
Intrigued by Fern Tuppen's comments below. We were on the same LGW-BKK plane on the 24 February and condition wise the cabin was dirty and scruffy. Torn and stained seat covers and staff service was offhand to say the least. Are the staff the Thai Airways rejects because they really do not come close to the Thai standards. I agree about the flights not being full and have heard rumours that Phuket Air will have to cut these long haul flights because it is crippling the airline to keep losing money. I would not repeat the experience even though I admit it was cheap! I do have real concerns for the maintenance and safety standards for this outfit and fear the worst has yet to come for them.
LGW to Bangkok out 24/2/05 back 10/3/05. I had been dreading it. Maybe we were just lucky. The planes are a bit old and tatty but no worse than others I've flown - in our case the ex-KLM both ways. We were in Economy and legroom and seat width was OK both flights were around half full so we had a row of 3 between the 2 of us - makes a world of difference! Service was excellent food better than average drinks available- although on request because the cabin crew don't hassle you much. Managed to get some kip on the way home which for me is unusual. Both flights were on time and devoid of trauma. Yes the plane stopped at Sharjah for about an hour and the toilets were cleaned and checked which took about 20 minutes.
Myself and my partner flew Phuket Air to BKK in Oct 04. The flight over was ok the plane was an old KLM jumbo which was tatty but comfortable. I agree with the comments about the cabin crew not being able to handle drunken louts. On the flight out there were a group of middle age men who were served alcoholic drinks from the time of serving to just prior to landing. Although they didn't cause any trouble I was very surprised that the cabin crew continued to serve them over a period of 11 hours. Our return flight was a bit of a nightmare. Having spent 6 hours waiting in Bangkok airport we boarded the plane at midnight. Our take off time came and went 40 minutes passed and we were told nothing. Then the captain said we would be taking off in 10 minutes (no apology). This came and went then another announcement there was a problem loading the luggage and we would be taking off in 10 minutes. Again this came and went. One and a half hours passed before we finally started to move. This KLM jumbo was really in bad shape and was much worse than the plane on the flight over it was dirty my table was broken and we generally didn’t feel that happy flying in it. As the plane turned the corner and revved the engine to join the runway there was the most horrendous smell of burning. We were sitting at the front end of the plane near to the kitchen in the nose cone. As the plane started to go down the runway the smell got much worse. All the cabin crew were up running about looking in all of the ovens trying to find the source of this smell. They all looked terrified which is pretty off putting to the passengers in the first place! The plane continued down the runway with the smell getting worse all the time. Even as the plane was taking off the crew continued to look for the problem. My partner and I were terrified as too seemed those people sitting around us. One lady even got us and asked the crew what was going on. They didn’t really tell her. The plane climbed very slowly with this smell still present. Whilst we were still climbing the captain came out and sniffed about with all the cabin crew flapping around him then the co-pilot came out and done the same. I think everyone on the flight feared the worst. We honestly thought we were going to be blown out of the sky. About an hour later the smell went away but we couldn’t settle after the adrenaline rush of panic. We also stopped in Sharjah which was awful as the air conditioning was switched off and we were delayed here too. We weren’t given any drinks were told not to use the toilet and weren’t allowed off the plane. Our journey home took us over 36 hours which marred the end of our holiday. I was most upset by the lack of information provided by the crew. We were not told about the burning problem or the cause of it or reassured about it there were no apologies at all. I would never fly Phuket air again nor recommend it. I am surprised that the BAA allows them to provide a long haul service from the UK.
LGW-BKK 05/02/05 and BKK-LGW 16/02/05 in Business Class. The flights were on time - Business Class cabin located upstairs and spacious quiet clean. Seats comfortable with good recline legroom and personal video display. Food was excellent and the service very friendly.