Airport director Kittiphong Kittikhajorn said that after the requirement to show a negative RT-PCR test was scrapped on April 1, international arrivals had increased from 6,000-7,000 to 9,000-10,000 per day.
“The increased number of arrivals has resulted in congestion in the international terminal hall and hotel-agency rendezvous points at certain hours,” said Kittiphong.
He added that peak hours were 5am to 7am and noon to 3pm, when 1,500 to 2,000 passengers per hour move through the areas. However, this was still lower than airport’s capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour under disease control measures, he said.
Kittiphong was responding after Thai YouTuber Atichan Cherngchavano complained of chaos at the international arrivals hall as there were no signs directing tourists. He said most travellers just stood around looking completely lost, unable to find the hotel they had booked under the Test & Go scheme.
“This is how passengers under the Test & Go scheme are treated at Suvarnabhumi Airport,” said Atichan, also known as “Au Spin9”.
“Nobody could go anywhere, they just stood in long lines. Hotel staff shouted their hotels’ names until they lost their voices and were left shaking their heads in despair.
When passengers complained, hotel staff told them to direct complaints at airport authorities, he added.
“It became a game of hunting for the hotel’s logo. Everything is organised randomly instead of alphabetically. There is no directory guiding passengers. One counter handles as many hotel bookings as they want until the hotel logos are thrown down on the floor. When passengers find their counter, they have to join long queues because only one person is handling many hotels’ guests,” Atichan said.
The post was widely liked and shared by netizens, some of whom said they had suffered similar experiences at Suvarnabhumi.
Responding to the public outcry, Kittiphong said the airport would increase the number of service counters at the rendezvous point from 8 to 17. It would also open an extra baggage carousel for each flight to increase passenger flow.
“Furthermore, we will make hotel signs easier to find by arranging them alphabetically,” he said, adding that hotels had been asked to provide adequate staffing levels to meet the growing number of passengers.
Published : April 12, 2022
By : THE NATION