On 20 May 2011, the Thai Airways board announced plans to create a new lower-cost airline, at the time dubbed Thai Wings. The creation of the airline was announced by Ampon Kittiampon, the chairman of Thai's board of directors, on 19 August 2011. It is planned to begin operations in July 2012. According to Ampon, Thai Smile is intended to serve the market gap between low-cost carriers and full service airlines. The name Thai Smile was chosen from a pool of 2,229 entries in a contest to name the airline.
According to an official at Thai Airways International, Thai Smile is planned to begin showing an annual profit of about five million baht within two years of the start of operations.
THAI Smile's fleet will consist of 12 brand new Airbus A320-200 aircraft in an all Economy Class configuration of 174 seats. ‘Smile Plus’ in the first rows of the aircraft will feature 30 seats with additional space and enhanced inflight service. Four aircraft were delivered in 2012 with the first arrival in June. THAI Smile will expand its fleet to 11 Airbus A320s within three years and add services to neighboring countries and southern China.
THAI Smile services are different from low-cost carriers. The carrier offers a service which include seat selection and check in counter service with no additional charge, on-board snacks and drinks, and baggage allowance of 20 kg inline with Thai Airways, all included in a fare. Passenger who travel on THAI Smile will also enjoy the Royal Orchid Plus (ROP) mileage same as on Thai Airways flights.