100,000 stranded farangs

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izzix
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100,000 stranded farangs

Post by izzix » November 29, 2008, 5:14 pm

100,000 passengers miss flights in 3 days
By The Nation

Nearly 100,000 passengers have missed flights since protesters shut down Bangkok's two main airports on Tuesday and the total could hit 300,000 as the shutdown continues, Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said yesterday.



"The total number could hit 300,000. When Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports are cleared, it will take 24 to 48 hours to verify aviation standards. It will take time to send people home," he said after a meeting with 14 airlines yesterday, including Japan Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines and EVA Air.

The ministry will set up an emergency centre to help stranded travellers, whose number is estimated to be about 30,000 a day.

Four hotels will be chosen for airlines to operate check-in counters, where passengers can reschedule flights and pick up new tickets and be transferred by coach to U-tapao International Airport, 190km southeast of Bangkok. The centres are expected to start operating in the next 48 to 72 hours, the minister said.

TAT is to gather travellers' information. Those put in priority groups will be sent home first, while their baggage will be shipped on later flights.

Weerasak said the ministry would host a discussion with representatives of the Customs Department, the Immigration Department and related private and government agencies over additional assistance measures.

Thai AirAsia chief executive officer Tassapon Bijleveld expects no more than 10 aircraft - belonging to Thai Airways International, Nok Air and Bangkok Airways - to operate from U-tapao, as most aircraft and equipment are locked up at the two airports and can not be moved out. U-tapao will be useful for incoming flights, he said.

"We have no power to bargain for the aircraft as the government itself could not," he said. He also urged airlines with aircraft to extend help to other airlines' stranded passengers, to restore the tarnished image.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin expects the airport shutdown to be extended, which is not good for any airline. Nok Air, which normally handles 2,000 passengers a day, is still selling advance tickets.

"This will affect our business plan next year, but I don't know how yet in the middle of chaos like this," he said.

Among stranded travellers are a group of 20 arts teachers from France who are now in Ubon Ratchathani. Traveller Alain Muni said protests were frequent in France and major venues had been shut down, but an airport had never been closed. While his visa is not a problem, he is concerned about extra expenses if he has to stay here for a long time.

Anti-government protesters seized Suvarnabhumi on Tuesday evening and Don Mueang on Thursday morning. Some 7,000 travellers were stuck at Suvarnabhumi when it was raided, more than double the figure given by airport authorities at the time, Weerasak said.

Tourism Authority of Thailand overseas offices are instructed to slow down their activities promoting air trips even if the airports reopen soon. TAT is ordered to focus more on trips on other transportation and encouraging more Thais to travel to compensate for the lower income from foreign travellers.

Hotels in Nakhon Ratchasima witnessed a 90-per-cent cancellation of hotel bookings from foreign travellers, mainly those from Europe who could not reach Thailand after Suvarnabhumi Airport was shut down.

Sawat Mangkornwat, chairman of the tourism business council in Nakhon Ratchasima, said travellers have lost confidence in safety following the shutdown of the airport.

They have switched to neighbouring countries like Cambodia and Malaysia.

If the problem is prolonged, the country's tourism and economy will suffer greatly and it could affect employment if business operators could not cope with expenses and needed to lay off workers. Now they are turning to local travellers through special packages. From the council's survey, tourism business in the province - involving hotels, restaurants and resorts - has lost Bt200 million so far.

"Both sides must retreat for the national interest. They must step back to end the problem, before the country's economy is battered even more," Sawat said.

He urged the prime minister to dissolve Parliament and the PAD to stop its protest. Ending the conflicts would restore tourist and investor confidence.

Kamphol Tansajja, director of Nong Nooch Garden in Pattaya, is fretting that foreign travellers may not return to Thailand, following news that Thailand is bracing for civil war, which could affect their safety.

He noted that his property suffered greatly during the Sars epidemic and the Persian Gulf War but survived due to support by Thai tourists. He also urged Thais to do the same thing this time.
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/topstory/read.php?...




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lassebasse
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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by lassebasse » November 29, 2008, 5:53 pm

Do not forget all the people that are stranded outside Thailand trying to get back! I am sitting in Stockholm and my flight today to Bangkok is cancelled. I talked to the local Tahai Air office yesterday and they told me that they have at least 1.000 people on the waitinglist for the Sunday flight!!

Any bright ideas of how to get to Udon Thani without passing Bangkok?

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by BobHelm » November 29, 2008, 5:56 pm

Maybe Singapore then Vientiane ?????

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by RALPHCUSENS » November 29, 2008, 5:56 pm

Yes, they are still flying into Puket , that could be a possibility :D

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by arjay » November 29, 2008, 5:59 pm

There's KL to Vientiane also. I think that's Air Asia.

Maybe a good idea to pick a hub that you can easily get to in Asia, such as KL or Singapore and then see where you can get to in Thailand from there. Both the above have links to Phuket and Vientiane. Hong Kong has links to Phuket.

I believe there are also flights from Hanoi to Vientiane, but probably easier to get to KL or Singapore from Europe.

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by Prenders88 » November 29, 2008, 7:23 pm

Just heard on the BBC News, that the backlog of passengers trying in and out of Thailand will take a month to clear.
What a disaster for this to happen, on the cusp of the high season.

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by aznyron » November 29, 2008, 7:56 pm

this reminds me of the New York subway system when it went on strike only those people who used the subway complained because it affected them but what about the workers who were being under paid or seeking a better health plan and the bosses sit back and let them go on strike so they can be blamed
you know there two sides to every problem I make no distinction of either side but we all must be patient
and let them work out there difference Pad feels the government is a illegal Gov. and they claim they were elected now it time to see who left standing an individual Birthday is Dec 5 I am sure this will be resolved before His Royal Majesty Birthday

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by jingjai » November 29, 2008, 8:04 pm

lassebasse wrote:Do not forget all the people that are stranded outside Thailand trying to get back! I am sitting in Stockholm and my flight today to Bangkok is cancelled. I talked to the local Tahai Air office yesterday and they told me that they have at least 1.000 people on the waitinglist for the Sunday flight!!

Any bright ideas of how to get to Udon Thani without passing Bangkok?
I'm curious. Did the airline in Stockholm offer to give you a refund, given the circumstances?
Has anyone out there with confirmed reservations (on any airlines), whose flight/s were canceled, been offered an on the spot refund? Or, is one just stuck on some endless wait list?
I interested more in expats who have confirmed/paid departing reservations, but really don't have a pressing need to go on a short holiday.

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Shado
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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by Shado » November 29, 2008, 9:06 pm

Jingjai wrote: "Has anyone out there with confirmed reservations (on any airlines), whose flight/s were canceled, been offered an on the spot refund? Or, is one just stuck on some endless wait list?


I was booked on Nok Air to fly from BKK to UDT on the 28th. The airline called me to say it was cancelled. They offered me three options:

1. Re-book the flight for a later date. (pretty hard to do under the circumstances)

2. Hold the ticket for use within a 90 day period.

3. Refund the purchase price of the unused portion of the ticket. ( in my case it would be an adjustment to my credit card bill)

I opted for option 3 and took a taxi from Bkk to Udon. Bus and train travel is booked pretty solid and I decided to avoid all forms of public transportation. Not a bad trip, about 8 hours and could stop anytime we wanted.

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by jingjai » November 29, 2008, 10:19 pm

Thanks Shado. :D
I hope Air Asia follows suit.

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by Goldcoaster au » November 29, 2008, 11:51 pm

Vientiane to udon does anyone know how much it would cost?

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by Goldcoaster au » November 30, 2008, 12:27 am

jingjai wrote:Thanks Shado. :D
I hope Air Asia follows suit.
jingjai its the same price from kl to lao or bangkok.............l think going to Lao is better....what you think?

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by BobHelm » November 30, 2008, 9:06 am

Goldcoaster au wrote:Vientiane to udon does anyone know how much it would cost?
Not expensive. About 300-500 baht from Vientaine to the bridge by taxi. Bus (regular) Nong Khai/Udon about 80 baht, train cheaper, taxi more expensive...

oldfield

Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by oldfield » November 30, 2008, 9:17 am

jingjai wrote:
lassebasse wrote:Do not forget all the people that are stranded outside Thailand trying to get back! I am sitting in Stockholm and my flight today to Bangkok is cancelled. I talked to the local Tahai Air office yesterday and they told me that they have at least 1.000 people on the waitinglist for the Sunday flight!!

Any bright ideas of how to get to Udon Thani without passing Bangkok?
I'm curious. Did the airline in Stockholm offer to give you a refund, given the circumstances?
Has anyone out there with confirmed reservations (on any airlines), whose flight/s were canceled, been offered an on the spot refund? Or, is one just stuck on some endless wait list?
I interested more in expats who have confirmed/paid departing reservations, but really don't have a pressing need to go on a short holiday.
There's no way an airline would give a refund. The terms and conditions of buying a ticket are rock solid and cover anything and everything from natural disasters to terrorism, and especially political unrest. That's why they recommend insurance when you book your ticket - to cover you for events such as this. The airline/travel agents will give you nowt!!

The best anyone can hope for is a flight at a later date!!!

laphanphon

Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by laphanphon » November 30, 2008, 9:33 am

taxi from airport to morning market, catch the vientaine/udon bus, use to be 80 baht, too easy, too cheap

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by beer monkey » November 30, 2008, 7:12 pm

Chaos reigns at Thailand's tourist airlift

6 hours ago

U-TAPAO, Thailand (AFP) — Not even the dancing girls provided by a local hotel could cheer thousands of travellers as they tried to flee protest-hit Thailand through this Vietnam-era airbase.

"This is my first time in Thailand and I probably won't come back," said Glen Squires, a 47-year-old tourist from England, casting a glum eye over the crowds.

"What they've done is shot themselves in the foot."

Since Friday, the U-Tapao naval base 190 kilometres (118 miles) southeast of Bangkok has been the only way in or out of the country for tourists stranded by an anti-government blockade of the capital's main airports.


Travellers who arrived here found crowds of tired and angry passengers, armed guards, piles of garbage, mountains of luggage -- and an increasingly tense and surreal atmosphere.

Built in the 1960s by the US air force and equipped with just one X-ray scanner for bags, the airbase can only handle around 40 flights a day, compared to the 700-flight capacity of Bangkok's gleaming Suvarnabhumi international airport.

But thanks to the demonstrations, it's all that Thailand has to offer.

"I think it's stupid," said Danny Mosaffi, 57, from New York City. "They have killed tourism in this country, the authorities should go do something. Nobody is going to come here."

Thai authorities say more than 100,000 travellers -- both Thai and foreign -- have had flights cancelled since the occupation of Suvarnabhumi on Tuesday in what the protesters are calling their "final battle" against the government.

Some travel agents bussed passengers down to U-Tapao, which is near the tourist resort of Pattaya, but with information proving difficult to come by in Bangkok, others came on their own more in hope than expectation.

Huge traffic jams built up outside the sprawling compound. Thai soldiers with M16 rifles guarded the entrance to the airport to prevent anti-government protesters from gaining access, as travellers lugged their bags under the sun.

Once inside the terminal, it was standing room only. Travellers were unsure where they should check in. Long queues wound around the lone luggage scanner, where soldiers tried to hold back the surging crowd.

"It's complete chaos and pandemonium," said Bonnie Chan, 29, from San Diego, California.

"We've been given incorrect information from the airlines. The US embassy says they can't help us. We're high and dry. The airlines keep giving us the run-around."


With no departures board available, airline employees held up signs that said "Final boarding call, Moscow," while other staff stood inside the security area and pressed signs against a glass window calling for passengers to board a flight to Hong Kong.

At one point, a group of unruly passengers pushed their way through a door to the security screening area after an airport employee announced the final boarding call for a flight to Taipei.

One woman, caught in the surge, began to scream, and the soldiers forced the doors shut.

"We've treated six patients today," said Nan Soontornnon, 24, of Bangkok Hospital in Pattaya, standing with a doctor and nurse in a makeshift clinic.

"Passengers have had headaches, exhaustion, and other problems, like fainting. But this place has protection from the soldiers -- Suvarnabhumi doesn't," she said.

U-Tapao's only other selling point was when female employees from one enterprising Pattaya hotel, taking advantage of the captive audience, put on a traditional Thai dance performance.

The women later donned red and silver dresses with feather boas, singing: "You'll fall in love in Pattaya. There's no better place to be."

The situation has caused international concerns.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Sunday that the situation was "frustrating", adding that some stranded Australians were "becoming increasingly distressed and we understand that."


But not everyone was unhappy.

Three Russian men started dancing and hugging each other outside the terminal building. Two were shirtless and one had no trousers, while all appeared to be intoxicated.

"Everything is okay," said one of the men, who refused to give his name as he collected donations in a straw hat. "Except nothing to drink. No sex. No food. No money," he smiled.

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by westerby » November 30, 2008, 10:12 pm

I'm hoping to become the one millionth stranded Farang by the end of next week. I was going to hang around outside the Utapao terminal until they clicked me into the building as number one million miffed Farang.

Then maybe I could get my fizzog on Thai TV and a celebration Christmas hamper from the Padders down at Swampy or a new Chevy Matiz with Chiangers number plates from the PPP. Lots of shaking of hands and pickies for the BKK Post.

I'm sure I saw Utapao play at Hammersmiff in 1987, what was her name, Carol Decker?

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by beer monkey » November 30, 2008, 10:16 pm

Last time i was at U-tapao it was full of Russians...thats their 'hub' for access to Patters, reminded me of the old Udon airport.
Will look out for you on the TV westers, i am sure to recognize you...do you think you could make a banner and put my name on it...Thanks a million. ;)

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by westerby » November 30, 2008, 10:21 pm

beer monkey wrote:Last time i was at U-tapao it was full of Russians...thats their 'hub' for access to Patters, reminded me of the old Udon airport.
Will look out for you on the TV westers, i am sure to recognize you...do you think you could make a banner and put my name on it...Thanks a million. ;)


What would you like it to say, 'HELLO SEAN' or 'BM, I CAN SEE YOUR HOUSE FROM HERE?'
Dragon Air used to fly into Utapao from Hong Kong in the 1980s so you could get to Patters relatively easily for a dirty weekend with chaps in dresses (if you so desired).

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Re: 100,000 stranded farangs

Post by wazza » December 1, 2008, 6:19 am

BM for PM would be better.

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