Volcanic chaos in Bangkok Suvarnhabumi airport

Everybody read about the people stranded everywhere in the world because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland and the closure of the European airspace.

I had unfortunately the “privilege” of witnessing the chaos and misery it brought to stranded travellers, in Bangkok. And the challenge it brought to airlines companies that were obviously not prepared for it. Especially Thai Airways that my daughter was supposed to take on 16th of April to Paris.

The volcano erupted, nothing we could do, flights were canceled, we just had to wait in Bangkok.

My daughter was staying with me, I guess one of the lucky ones, if not, please choose one of the hotels you can go to, for a price.

No problem up to that time, nothing anybody could do, but well, on 20/04, the European airspace reopened and the chaos started in Bangkok airport and I guess in most airports in the world. Airspace is reopened, I was in the first flight that was canceled so I should go first. My boarding pass please. Well, sorry, it does not really work that way, your flight was canceled because of a volcanic eruption, not because of us (airlines), so you have to wait, flights are fully booked, you know. You mean I need to book a flight when seats are available? You indeed have to do that.  And when is it? We have seats on the 6th of May, confirmed. Can I go earlier? Sure, try standing by for every flight.

Fine, next day we are on the waiting list, queue for 2 hours, register at 10 a.m., waiting list canceled at 1 p.m., have to do it again, got it at 3 p.m. do not worry, you need to come at 9 p.m., counters K15 to K21,  sure win.

We go there at 6 p.m. with 2000 fellow stranded passengers and we wait patiently. At 9 p.m. the TG staff comes, stick some printed pages on top the counters, with the destination name, K18 Oslo, K19 Frankfurt,  K20 London, K21 Paris… (I do not remember the order but you get the picture). And you’re supposed to wait in front of the counter that has your destination stuck on.

We’ll start with Frankfurt, here is the winner (announced at the Paris counter…)

Sorry if you’re 100 m from the counter, or even 10m and can’t read, buy some  binoculars for tomorrow because you do not know it yet, but most of you will be back tomorrow…

And so it goes for a few people, very few. It is 11 p.m. and I’m starting to be a bit pessimistic. Paris turn, excitement builds up, my daughter goes to Paris, as do about 300 French people next to us, but for whatever reason, my daughter thinks she will get it. I’m not sure. The Thai staff comes and? Sorry, no seat available today, the flight is fully booked.

Well, mayhem followed,  security had to be called

Anyway, the next few days, Thai Airways put more flights to Europe and the situation was slowly solved.

It was sure an experience in inefficiency, but not everything is lost, it allowed me to take more pictures of the airport and of the people going there.

The airport at night

And a bit of Bangkok airport fashion