Readers' Submissions

Why Don’t We Hear About Poor Baggage Handling At Thai Airports?

  • Written by Anonymous
  • December 2nd, 2013
  • 4 min read


Thai cooking class, Bangkok


Having read a great many stories on Stick’s site about the incompetence of the Thai people, I got to wondering if the people handling baggage at Thai airports were a different set of Thais altogether.

A little bit about me first; I am a 36 year old man from a small kingdom called Bhutan, about 4 hours flight from Thailand. I have been to Thailand a number of times, all work related. I have posted a submission titled “Breakfast at 8 pm” which Stick posted on 1st July, 2013. During my numerous visits, the taxi and tuk-tuk hassles have been constant, and I did overpay a few times. I have endured a few attempts of the gem scam. If I had come across Stickman way back, I am sure I would have escaped the few gem shop visits I partook, but I am nevertheless happy to report I haven’t parted with a single baht in these shops. For the most part, I have had few or very minor problems. Being Asian helped, I suppose. Many Thais have mistaken me for one of them. Till I opened my mouth, that is.

Now to my musings; I have read many stories on this site about the incompetence of the Thai people and the poor service that visiting folks receive from Thai service providers. However, one thing I have never read about is about lost or misplaced baggage by people who fly out of Thailand or within Thailand itself. Given the many accounts about Thais on this site who could not even get a simple meal order right, I would have assumed there would be numerous stories about baggage getting put on the wrong plane or getting lost altogether.

I am surprised therefore that I have not come across a single narration where a visitor writes to complain about poor service by the baggage handlers at the Thai airports which resulted in lost or misplaced baggage. Could it be that while such incidents have been aplenty, not a single Stickman reader or submission writer felt that the story was interesting or worthy enough to write about? Or do the Thai airport authorities provide special training to baggage handlers so that the competence level of this group of people gets greatly enhanced that they don’t make more than the normal average number of mistakes (how much ever that average may be) as compared to baggage handlers in airports across the globe? Or do Thai airport authorities employ only the best among / from the Thai labour force as baggage handlers? Or do other explanations exist? Perhaps airports have baggage handling systems where generally baggage loss or misplacement occurs at a very minimum level. However, given that we come across a vast spectrum of reports on Thai incompetence, I find it hard to believe that such incidents have not occurred or that such stories have not found their way to sites such as this. It doesn’t sound real that this is one area where the same Thai incompetence had not found its mark.

What about air traffic controllers? I take it that Thai people manned the air traffic controls in Thai airports. Again, given the general take on Thai incompetence as reported by numerous submissions, I am sure there would be many instances of foul-ups during take offs and landings. Surprisingly again, I have yet to come across stories to this effect.

I write this not to suggest that the reports on the incompetence of Thai people are exaggerated (I myself have experienced otherwise on a number of occasions), but simply as one person’s musing that perhaps this is one area where the famous Thai incompetence had not penetrated. At the very least, the level of incompetence had been kept under check. I would be interested to hear stories from readers on this.

As an aside, way back in 1997, when I was a student in India, a lot of Thai students used to come and study English at the same universality as I. Those days (and I believe today as well), my university was 4-5 hours from Mumbai. A group of three Thai students, a brother, a sister and a family friend, upon landing at Mumbai Airport hailed a taxi whose driver promised to take them to Pune (where the university is) for Indian Rs. 500 each. They got in the car whereby the driver asked that they pay him which they did. About 15 or 20 minutes later, the driver informed them that they have reached Pune, they got off the taxi, collected their luggage, and a few minutes later found out from another taxi driver they had been screwed. They have not even reached the outskirts of Mumbai. I am in no way offering any opinions on the mental state of either the Thai students or the Indian taxi driver, just writing it as narrated to me by one of the Thai student herself.

Another aside; I miss reading Dana’s Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes. Whatever one’s take on the man himself, the man can entertain, the man can write. While I respect his wishes not to continue with the series, I do hope he writes an occasional submission to the site.

Cheers, folks.





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