Koh Samui has one of the coolest airports that I’ve been to. It feels like a resort, with almost everything being outdoors. Of course, the flip side of this is that it can be extremely hot and humid if your flight is departing in the middle of the day, but hopefully you’re somewhat adjusted to the temperatures by the time you’re leaving Koh Samui.
One tip if you’re flying Bangkok Airways is to make sure that you check-in online prior to your flight. It doesn’t matter if you can’t print out your boarding passes or you need to check in bags, but if you check-in online prior to arrival at the airport, you can skip the normally lengthy economy class line and use the much shorter (i.e. non-existent) online checkin line.
Security is a breeze, and you can actually go through customs at Koh Samui even if you’re just on a domestic flight depending on your itinerary (make sure to keep the sticker they give you!). The gates are all open air and because Bangkok Airways is a “boutique” airline, there’s free snacks, drinks, and wifi for all passengers. This gives the whole thing a much more civilized feel, where even economy passengers get decent amenities. Again, one potential downside to the open-air concept is that there are mosquitos, so don’t think that you can abandon your bug spray even though you’re at an airport.
To get to the plane, you take a tram, which adds to the whole resort feel. I enjoy the trams because they allow for better close-ups of the planes.
On board, the flight was unremarkable, which is how I like my economy class travel. Of course, since this is a foreign airline, they serve a meal on a 50-minute flight, and they even cater special meals. Given how short the flight was, they served cold meals, and neither my VGML or my friend’s normal meal was appetizing. Both of us picked at the fruit and left the rest uneaten.
Bangkok Airways dominates flights to/from USM, but at least their product is decent and they try to provide amenities to all passengers, so you don’t feel completely gouged by their monopolistic prices. I’d happily fly them again, and in many cases, flying is much more practical than any other form of transport in Thailand.