Myanmar Domestic Flights Updates

Due to the bad road infrastructure, traveling in Myanmar by domestic flights may be the most comfortable choice to access main visiting places. However, the flight within this country very much different from other countries in South East Asia. Here are some noticeable points for travelers visiting to Myanmar.

PAPER TICKET REPLACED BY E-TICKET

Up to 2014, you might not find any “paper ticket” in other Southeast Asia countries. However, some Myanmar domestic airlines used them till early 2015. And especially, if you had lost the ticket,you would have had to buy a new one. So we used to advise our travelers to keep the airline tickets carefully. 
You can see a photo of paper tickets by one of HIT Myanmar staff on her inspection in late 2014 below. 
The airlines very well catching up with the speed of Myanmar improvement as a whole. Not too long since Air Bagan and Air KBZ started to use e-Ticket system. Now most of the airlines in Myanmar use e-ticket issuing system that is more convenient in no doubt.
 
Myanmar Domestic Flights
Flight within Myanmar
This boarding pass for a flight from Mandalay to Yangon but it stopped en-rout at Bagan airport. The sticker indicated which passengers were going to land in Yangon.

BOOKING TICKET IN MYANMAR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

At the present time in Myanmar, the electronic ticket is used commonly however most airlines do not yet offer online booking with secure payment gateway. The online payment by cards may end up to 4 - 5% surcharge for card processing fee. Then HIT Myanmar strongly recommend you should book your Myanmar flights locally. Moreover, the domestic flights within Myanmar sometimes cancel with very short notice that severely impacts to your Myanmar travel plan. A local agent is much more effective in dealing with this issue and rearranges another flight as well as amend all services accordingly.
 
Where to book
There are several ways to book locally.
Hotel – You can show your travel plan to your hotel concierge. They will research the options and book flight tickets on your behalf as a small commission.
Travel Agent – Contacting a local Myanmar tour operator is another good choice who can support you good booking in advance. 
International booking engine - Priceline.com is a huge name for ticket and hotel bookings. You can book from your home country too. Only route between Yangon - Mandalay available and vice versa.
Plan and purchase – You can review flight schedules online then confirming with the airline office by a phone call. You will need to go to the office or have it sent to you to make payment and purchase the ticket.
If you know exactly your travel plan, you can purchase your tickets at the airport when you arrive in Myanmar. Remember to transfer from international terminal to domestic terminal to buy.
 
When to book
Generally, as early as possible. Mostly we recommend our customers should book weeks in advance. If it is a holiday or festival or peak days, a month advanced booking is highly recommended.
Most the domestic tourist flights depart around the same time. Thus, even if the airline you opt is sold out, you can purchase the ticket at the same time, destination or itinerary of other airlines. Moreover, in case that a flight has to cancel due to some unexpected reasons, the carrier often works with others to move your booking to the soonest flight schedule.
 
Currency
Tickets are quoted and paid for USD. If you try to pay by Myanmar Kyat, you still have to exchange the currency BACK to USD to buy the ticket. 

ROUTES AND SCHEDULES

Most Myanmar tourist destinations are accessible by a plane including Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Ngapali of which Yangon and Mandalay have international checking counters. One thing you need to pay attention when booking is how many LAYOVERS in each route because this can add a significant amount of time for the journey.
Most of the carriers operate as commuter planes and circle around primary tourism destinations of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake. Some can skip a city or fly to other directions. Therefore, you should know surely the route and not just the direction, to avoid the case that you can disembark at a wrong place. However, you will be attached STICKERS on your chest to verify which flight you are on.
 
fly within Myanmar
 

Burma domestic airlines is small with a few airplanes ( 2 - 3 we must say) so most routes are only available once a day or less. From Yangon, you usually leave in the morning and come back in the afternoon. 
You should prepare, plan and be ready in the situation of DELAY. They usually wait until last minutes to see how many travelers book, and unless there are enough passengers, they will CANCEL. In recent year, thanks to many tourists travel to Myanmar, flight cancellation is not taken place frequently anymore. They can cancel because of weather as well, particularly during the heavy fog of winter months or low cloud during the rainy season.
At busy destinations, they will simply REGROUP PASSENGERS from different flights onto one flight, so Air Bagan, Asian Wings, and air Mandalay, for instance, will use just one plane, so even if you book with Asian Wings, you can be on a Mandalay flight. Similarly, if there are insufficient people on a Yangon - Mandalay flight, they will combine it with a Yangon – Bagan flight, so you will realize that you stop at Bagan too.

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