Cambodia Angkor Air may have a mixed reputation with tourists, but their performance has been steadily improving as they expand their network to many new international locations. If you’re considering flying Cambodia Angkor Air, there are a few things to consider.
The Cambodian government has a 51% share in Cambodia Angkor Air and Vietnam Airlines has the remaining 49%. Vietnam Airlines is responsible for maintaining their fleet, which are relatively new and clean. The flight attendants are professional and international tickets to places like Bangkok and Shanghai are very reasonably priced.
Cambodia Angkor Air has a small fleet of just six planes (A321s for international flights and smaller ATR72s for domestic routes). They’ll be adding another two planes this year, bringing the total to eight. And this is the cause of most of the complaints about Cambodia Angkor Air. Because they have so few planes, if there’s a problem with one they don’t have any spare planes to fly in its place, and flights are regularly cancelled or delayed.
However, this seems to have leveled off in recent months, and there are less complaints about unscheduled delays or cancellations. I’ve flown a half dozen times recently on Cambodia Angkor Air, both internationally and domestically. Earlier this year I had a flight to Bangkok that was delayed by four hours, but they let me know via email a full two days in advance. Despite the warning, had I been using this flight as a positioning flight for a connecting international flight, I would have been pretty stuck. So I wouldn’t recommend taking them if you have another connecting flight, or give yourself several hours of padding (in this case if I had needed to arrive by the same time, I could have traded my Phnom Penh to Bangkok ticket for a Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to Bangkok flight for extra hassle, but no charge).
Internationally, Cambodia Angkor Air flies to Shanghai and Guangzhou, China; Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Bangkok, Thailand. The international fares are quite competitive, and often are the lowest price available on these routes. Even better, if you’re looking to buy a ticket on short notice, Cambodia Angkor Air don’t raise their rates as the flight date draws closer, so they’ll often beat the competition by $100 or more a day or two before the flight. Another plus is that because they don’t raise their rates, you can change most flights for a $10 or $20 fee and no additional charges. Try that with Air Asia!
Domestically is another story. Because there’s no competition, fares between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and Siem Reap and Sihanoukville can be artificially high, and you’ll pay more to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap than you will from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, despite the fact that Siem Reap is a much shorter trip. Siem Reap to Sihanoukville on Cambodia Angkor Air costs between $230 and $300 return and Phnom Penh to Siem Reap traditionally costs between $200 to $300 return. Now that there is competition in the form of Bassaka Air and Cambodia Bayon Airlines, prices can go as low as $140 return.
Tickets for Cambodia Angkor Air’s flights between Cambodia and Vietnam can be purchased on the Vietnam Airlines site, which is easier to navigate than CAA’s own. For other routes, tickets can be purchased through any of the big hotels in Cambodia, at local travel agents or on their website cambodiaangkorair.com. Both have potential problems. Most travel agents in Cambodia won’t take credit cards over the phone, they need to run them through their machine in the office. This means that those who are not in the country need to purchase tickets online.
However, many report problems with purchasing tickets on the Cambodia Angkor Air website. There are a couple of common problems. When booking, the box asks for middle name, first name then surname. If you are having issues making with your booking, ignore these instructions and enter your name exactly as it is on your passport.
Another issue is that Verified by Visa or your credit card company many deny the charge, but Cambodia Angkor Air will just give you a generic message that says “We’re sorry, we are unable to verify your form of payment. Please select another form of payment and try again.” When I got this message I called my credit card company who said they weren’t blocking the charge. I tried again and again and only after noticing that the screen flashed onto the Verified by Visa logo did I realize that Verified by Visa was rejecting the charge. A couple of phone calls to them and I was able to make the booking.
Finally, if you do book with Cambodia Angkor Air check your flight status ahead of time and leave a lot of padding if you are bookending the flight with another flight. Also be aware that you may be asked to show the credit card used to book your ticket when you check in.
In summary, I think Cambodia Angkor Air offers excellent value on international flights, and many will be surprised by the level of service they receive on both domestic and international routes. However, customers who have tight schedules should be warned that while most flights run on time, not all do.
Cambodia Angkor Air
206A Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh
T: 023 6666 786; 023 6666 788
17D Omkhun Street (same street as Angkor Mart), Siem Reap
T: 063 969 268; 063 636 3666
Firstly Great blog!
I booked a Flight with Cambodia Angkor Air from PP to Vientiane which went south as soon as my payment was accepted.
A message pop up claimed the flight had been cancelled.
Strange how I was able to allocate seats not yet taken by other passengers before my payment was accepted.
The advice given was to call.
I tried for many hours from Melb Aust to get through to no avail. I ripped off an email that might ‘might’ be replied to within 24hours.
I hope it works out given pre paid accomodations in Vientiane.
I hope this might help others avoid the anguish I’m feeling.
Once again great blog thankyou very much for all the useful info.
I’m currently posting this comment from Sihanoukville airport. We arrived at 2 PM for our 4 PM flight to Siem Reap. We found out that it is delayed until 7 PM. They never emailed us to let us know. It’s 4:30 PM and we still have a few more hours to wait. It’s unfortunate that this took up our whole day.
That is really annoying! Sihanoukville Airport has got to be one of the least exciting airports in the world. Sorry you’re stuck there.
We’re a group of 13 adults coming to Siem Reap and PP. Please give me the names and e-mail addresses of bus charters having between 17 to 25 seats.
Thank you so much for this comprehensive review – researching PP / SR links and this info (esp up to date info) is so valuable.
Thanks for the tip on the Visa card – the card I tried to use doesn’t have Verified by Visa and was rejected with the message you mentioned. So I tried a card with Verified by Visa, and all worked fine. Thanks for the tip!
Booked a CAA flight from Siem Reap to PP 8 months ago and got bumped off the flight within one working day of travel. Their T&Cs said eligible for compensation but nobody will answer email requests
You’ll need to call or visit an office. They’ve probably changed schedules since then (so the flight you were on may not exist), but would be able to move you onto a different flight. If not, try calling Bassaka Air, they have cheap flights (less than CAA) between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap: https://www.facebook.com/bassakaair
Just got the information that our direct flight from PP to BKK was cancelled (21.11.2014) and all other direct flights close to that date too. Big hassel and still no information whether we can get a refund for the flight.
Have they contacted you at all? Usually they will offer to route you through Siem Reap to BKK. They had cancelled all of the PP-BKK flights in the low season and said they were starting up again in high season, but I guess they decided not to. How annoying!
I have heen unable to find any angkor air flights from bkk to pp. This has happened hefore a few months ago. Iwent to the office in pp and they told ke they have geavy bookings into pp, but availability out. I don’t believe them. I think they have duvedted planes onto the more profitable bkk to siem reap route. Luckily bangkok air have not used this to hump their prices an theg are now cheapest available bkk to pp
They aren’t running flights right now during the low season from PP-BKK, but they will be back once high season starts in a month or so.
Iv just booked my flight from SEP to BKK, didnt see your blog until i booked up and i did as it asked putting middle name first then given name, so all the etickets say my middle name first, will this be a problem?
Nope, it won’t be a problem. The only reason to do it the other way around is if it won’t accept your credit card.
Made a purchase with a one day advance, $186, to Bangkok. Then I did not get on the plane and they gave me 30 days to still use the ticket for a fee of $20. Solid.
Another great point, their change fees are very reasonable. Much better than Air Asia where a change usually means canceling the whole ticket!
I used CAA last year and had no issues. Here’s another tip: if you want to use them from Cambodia to VN, you may book their flights on the Vietnam Airlines web site.
Thanks, JW, I will add that to the post. I didn’t realize that was still possible. One used to be able to book domestic Cambodia flights on the Vietnam Airlines site, but they removed that option once the CAA site became (semi) functional.