Stickman Readers' Submissions August 27th, 2010

Swampy Airport Improvements

How about a little diversion from the good Thai girl and bad Thai girl rant that has been so thoroughly over discussed lately. I am so happy with my Thai wife that I don’t care what ridiculous point someone is trying to make about farang / Thai
relationships. I am very happy and that is all that counts to me.

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With all that is going on downtown and with tourism down and the red shirts doing their bit to keep it down, the airport is still here and I have flown in and out of it three times since late December. The airport “experience”
has improved substantially and here are some observations and comments on my past three flights.

Yes, I know after all that has been criticized about the airports dysfunctional operation, it really has changed. I hesitated to say anything about it until I had experienced it over a period of time. We all know too well how changes
can be made here only to disappear soon after their implementation.

1. No more taxi or hotel touts on exit from baggage control. YES, it has really happened! The exit area has extended barriers to keep people away from blocking the exit area. Even a policeman near exit to area to keep things in order.

2. Taxi pick-up is on the 1st floor not very well marked as to how to get there from the baggage exit area. Moving ramp to 1st floor is only a short distance away from the exit of the area though on your right hand side. I asked the policeman
this time before wandering around to try to figure it out as I have done in the past.

3. Taxi pick-up area is GREAT! Multiple stations to go to where you can tell where your going and they assign a taxi. Driver's queue up nearby and are immediately given the ticket and escorts you to his car. Drivers all appear to
be wearing a uniform of some kind. No "altered" meters experienced and I live clear across town close to the old airport.

4. Inbound immigration has been rearranged. They put Thai Passports to the left side of the area moving it from the right of the ramp where a lot of foreigners got confused. Now when going up the ramp you only see stations for foreigners.
Congestion all depends on the number of planes arriving at any given time. Now if they could only get rid of the Thai agent who went into a rather loud rant at me (on my second trip) for writing one number of my multiple entry visa incorrectly
on my entry card – I would be happy. Can't complain about lines as I went to Beijing, China (all three trips) and was surprised at the long lines and limited stations at immigration there on this past trip. Never spent more than 0-3 minutes
there in past trips but this time was different.

5. Outbound immigration – no change. On my last trip I had an agent recognize my birthday (Halloween Day) and commented that it was also his birthday. Both he and I enjoyed a good laugh – a surprise for those stone faced agents.

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6. Carry on luggage and scanning area: This has all been moved from the various outer reaches of the terminal halls to the ramp directly behind outbound immigration. Fantastic improvement to have it there as it is now very quick to get
through and once you're through you're done. On this trip I noticed they brought the dragon back to where it was before but have put a visual barrier up between the check area and the terminal so you don't get lots of people
stopping on the ramp and blocking things up, taking pictures and looking at it. You don’t see it until you exit the area on the left side of the ramp.

The whole airport experience has improved greatly and anyone who complains now has got to be living in the past.

Thai Airways Experience: On my most recent trip I flew Thai Airways and was really interested in experiencing their much maligned service. It was good which was certainly a surprise after all the complaints I have read about them. Their
website was easy to book a flight on. The prices they quoted were complete and did not include any add on fees and charges. The cost of the flight was a bit less than others flying the same route at the time I booked the flight (you know how
that goes – two weeks later everyone goes down in price to fill seats). Service on the flight was good. But, oh my, that Thai beauty that checked me in had my knees buckling. She was gorgeous. After reading all the complaints about Thai Airways
I have to say that my experience was very positive.

Stickman's thoughts:

It's good to read something positive. Agreed, the airport, while soulless, is fairly efficient these days.

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