The best route (and airfare) for flights to Chiang Mai will depend on your departure point in the U.S. Please read the below Steps for Booking Flights, Important Flight Booking Notes and FAQs in full before booking your flights.
TEAN offers suggested flight itineraries with a partner travel agent in order to provide an easier booking process. TEAN partners with Flight Centre to build itineraries for our students studying abroad across all of our locations.
Important: Do not book your flights until you have received instructions to do so by email from TEAN and you have completed all steps in the TEAN application portal.
Steps for Booking Your Flight
Step 1: Do not book your flights until you receive instructions from TEAN by email.
Step 2: Read all the information on this page carefully and be sure to contact us with any questions, so as to ensure you understand the airfare booking procedures.
Step 3: Review the arrival date and end of program date. Students should book flights departing on or after the program end date. Note that if you depart after the program end date you may not be able to stay in TEAN housing beyond the end date.
Thailand Summer Study Abroad
There are three date options. Make sure you read over the dates information carefully. TEAN staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation if you arrive in Chiang Mai between 10AM-12PM and 5-6PM on the official arrival day. These times correspond to arrival times of most flights students have taken previously.
TEAN staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation if you arrive in Chiang Mai between 10AM-12PM and 1:30-3:30PM on the official arrival day. These times correspond to arrival times of most flights students have taken previously.
Thailand & Vietnam Semester
TEAN staff will meet you at Chiang Mai airport and transfer you to your accommodation if you arrive in Chiang Mai between 10AM-12PM and 1:30-3:30PM on the official arrival day. These times correspond to arrival times of most flights students have taken previously.
Note that the departing city at the end of the program is Ho Chi Minh City. However it may work out most cost effective to return to Chiang Mai or Bangkok for your flight home. You do not need to book your flight from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City. This flight is included in the program fees, and will purchased for you.
Step 4: Decide if you are intending to travel independently prior to or after the program dates as this will impact your travel dates to/from the US.
Step 5: Research travel itineraries and costs. To assist with your search, ensure you read the below “Important Booking Notes”.
Before students purchase tickets, please feel free to contact us or send us your tentative itinerary so that we may ensure it is correct and/or the best routing for your situation.
Step 6: Book your international travel and submit your entire travel itinerary to your TEAN Program Manager.
Important Flight Booking Notes
- TEAN recommends shopping around to find the best routing and airfare from your departing location.
- Students must arrive in Chiang Mai on or prior to the recommended arrival date. Please ensure that you have the correct arrival date when researching airfare options. Most flights arriving on the arrival date will have departed on the day before, however this is not always the case, as sometimes a departure of two days prior will be required!
- Provided you arrive on the official arrival date during the arrival window of 10AM-12PM, and 5-6PM (Summer students) and 10AM-12PM, and 1:30-3:30PM (Fall students), TEAN will coordinate your airport pick up and transfer to your accommodation. These times correspond to arrival times of most flights students have taken previously. Further details regarding your airport transfer will be sent to you prior to your departure.
- We strongly suggest checking out our partner travel agency Flight Centre. They have a list of suggested flights for our Thailand programs that correspond with the arrival window. The key benefit to using a travel agent like Flight Centre is the personalized service, particularly useful if flights are delayed or connections are missed, and you need further assistance with your bookings. You can email a representative at Flight Centre. Always check with Flight Centre on what the terms and conditions are for the airline and the ticket you are booking. You’ll want to ask about things like fees for date changes, cancellation policies and baggage allowance.
- Accommodation will be provided for students arriving on the arrival date, but accommodation will not be available prior to this date.
- Be careful when looking at arrival dates/times. For example, a flight may arrive at 12:05 AM on the arrival date, however, technically, this is the evening of the previous night. If you book a flight like this, you are going to need an extra night of accommodation.
- Keep in mind that you need to allow at least a 3 hour window of time in between domestic and international connections.
- If you need to re-check your bags in any domestic U.S. airport you should allow 4 to 6 hours between flights. This may seem like a very long time but with any potential flight delays it is better to be waiting at the airport for your international flight versus missing your flight overseas.
- Airfare costs can vary greatly from one departure city to another. In the event that you live relatively close to more than one potential departure city, we encourage you to research flight options through each applicable departure location. Students may find that by driving to a slightly farther departure city/airport, they may save several hundred dollars in airfare costs.
- While we recommend booking flights that fly to Chiang Mai from an international hub, and not via Bangkok, if you are flying through Bangkok, please note that are there two airports. One is, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), where most international flights go in and out of and the second is, Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), used for mostly budget airlines. There is a free bus shuttle in-between the airports, but the transfer can take a few hours if traffic is heavy.
- In order to complete your application for your Thai visa, you must provide a copy of your air ticket or an air itinerary with proof that it has been paid in full. Instructions for applying for your student visa will be sent separately.
- Pay attention to the taxes & fuel surcharges that will be added to the total fare. Sometimes these can be very high and surprisingly they can vary considerably between the different airlines.
- Pay attention to any cancellation policies and ticketing fees. Many great deals are non-refundable and have quite a few rules and regulations for use.
- We recommend booking any domestic flights from your home city on the same ticket as your international flight in order to get international baggage allowances as well as to ensure that you will be booked on the next available flight in the event that a connection is missed.
- We strongly encourage you to do your research on various websites before finalizing your flight booking to ensure you’re getting the best value. Keep in mind that sometimes sites like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, etc. do not provide the best customer service in times of need (missed flights, getting rebooked, changing your itinerary, and so on.) We recommend booking with Flight Centre or with the airline directly.
How much should I expect the airfare to be?
The estimated cost for all international flights varies from approximately $1,200 – $2,000. This is due in large part to the departure locations from within the US (for example: New York, NY versus Omaha, NE), as well as the return travel dates.
I have found a cheap flight to Bangkok. Can I then book a separate ticket to Chiang Mai?
Yes. However if you book two separate tickets, please be aware that there will be different luggage allowances and you will need to be aware of any “excess baggage” charges. Make sure to allow ample time to clear customs in Bangkok as you will need to check-in again with your new carrier and re-check your bags. Also note as mentioned above that there are two airports in Bangkok.
What airlines have students used previously?
It depends where you are flying from. Past students have used the following airtlines:
Boston – Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific
Chicago – Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Singapore Air, Turkish Air, China Eastern, Thai Airways, Qatar Airlines
Denver – Korean Air
Detroit – China Southern
Los Angeles – Qatar Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air China, Delta, Singapore Air, China Southern, Eva Airways, China Eastern
New York – Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Korean Air, China Southern, Qatar Airlines
Philadelphia – Qatar Airlines
San Francisco – China Southern, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific
Seattle – China Southern
These are just good places to start. You may find something better in your research. Shop around!
Why doesn’t TEAN offer a group flight for Southeast Asia programs?
Airfares for individual flights to this region are cheaper than group flights, and for this reason we provide advise on booking your flights individually.
What if I want to arrive prior to the recommended arrival date?
That’s fine. You will need to book your own accommodation until the official program arrival date. Your TEAN Program Manager will be able to provide you with details of the TEAN accommodation and a time of when to meet up with the group on the arrival day. Note that airport pick up is only available if you arrive on the official program arrival date.