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For the first time in 10 years, there’s now a nonstop flight between North America and the capital of one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Thailand.
On December 1 at 11 p.m. local time, Air Canada flight AC65 took off from Vancouver International Airport to begin the 15-hour and 55-minute journey to Bangkok.
The inaugural flight arrived in the Thai capital on Saturday morning at 6:33 a.m. local time.
The seasonal Air Canada service will operate four times a week between now and March 26, 2023 with Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Travelers can choose from three cabins – lie-flat seats in Signature Class as well as Premium Economy and Economy Class.
Flight AC65, from Vancouver to Bangkok, will operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flight AC66 will depart the Thai capital at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving in Vancouver at 6:35 a.m. local time.
“We are thrilled to launch Air Canada’s first non-stop service to Southeast Asia and the only non-stop flights between North America and Thailand,” said Mark Galardo, Air Canada’s senior vice president of network planning and revenue management, in a statement.
“Bangkok is also one of the most visited destinations globally, and we have optimized connections to and from our trans-pacific hub at YVR to give customers convenient travel options to explore this exciting city renowned for its history, cuisine and culture, or to conduct international business trade.”
National flag carrier Thai Airways previously offered regularly scheduled nonstop flights from Bangkok to Los Angeles, but these were halted in 2012.
Thailand, which dropped the last of its Covid-related entry restrictions on October 1, is now working to rebuild its battered tourism industry as the pandemic fades from view.
In a media statement released on December 1, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Yuthasak Supasorn said the country is forecasting a return to 80% of overall pre-pandemic tourism revenue within 2023, with 10 million international visitor arrivals expected in 2022.
In 2019, the country welcomed 39.8 million international arrivals.
Long, but not the longest
The Vancouver-Bangkok flights, covering a distance of nearly 12,000 kilometers (7,456 miles) will last nearly 16 hours. Travelers heading the other way get a bit of relief, with those journeys expected to take around 13 hours.
But as long as those flights are, they aren’t breaking any records.
Currently, the longest scheduled flight in the world is operated by Singapore Airlines, traveling between Singapore and New York’s JFK, spending about 18 hours in the air to cover 15,323 kilometers.
Australia flag carrier Qantas hopes to smash that record with the launch of direct flights between Melbourne/Sydney and New York City/London, an aim it refers to collectively as “Project Sunrise.”
These flights, due to launch in 2025, will clock in over the 19-hour mark. Earlier this year the airline ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000s planes to use on the routes.
Top image: An Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Credit: Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images
This story has been updated with additional information following the inaugural flight’s arrival in Bangkok.