The tale of Fanny, a tourist trapped in Thailand

Fanny Laude had planned to come back from a holiday in Thailand last Wednesday. She hadn't taken into account, however, that protestors would have taken over the airport in Bangkok. For more information on the crisis in Thailand, read our previous post.

There are an estimated 240,000 tourists in the same situation as Fanny. Here's her account:

My friend and I were supposed to leave Bangkok at one in the morning on Wednesday 26 November. When we got to the airport, it was chaos. There was nobody at the Emirates kiosk, the airline we were supposed to be flying with, and the tourists waiting there didn't know what was going on. Finally, at about 2am, there was an announcement that there wouldn't be any flights taking off until the morning. We'd already checked in our suitcases (we still haven't got them back by the way!)... So we ended up camping down in our sleeping bags. The next day, the protestors took over the airport. They stormed the area where we were, but they were really nice to us. At around midday, we decided to give up and go back into town.

We spent the next few days calling the ambassador and the airline. At first, no-one knew anything; everything was a mess. So we paid for three nights in a hotel out of our own pockets, until the embassy told us about another hotel, where the bill was being paid by the Thai ministry of tourism. That must be costing a lot, which is a shame for the country, which really depends on tourism. It's also annoying for us, even if our employers have been sympathetic to our situation, in that there's nothing we can do.     

We have nevertheless tried to leave of our own accord, by buying plane tickets from Phuket, south Thailand, to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). But in the end, the plan didn't work. Last night Emirates proposed to us to take a bus to Chiang Mai, in the north of the country. It took 12 hours, under police escort. On the way, everything was calm. It seems like the troubles are concentrated in Bangkok. At the moment, we're waiting for our flight to Dubai, which is supposed to take off in 21 hours. After that, getting back to Paris, we have no idea. We console ourselves with the fact that we're not the worse off. At least our airline managed to offer us an alternative; we met some people who have no other option than to wait in Bangkok."



If there's one country I

If there's one country I wouldn't mind being trapped in, it's Thailand. Fortunately, the situation was almost completely concentrated to Bangkok and was not nearly as bad as what everyone has made it to be. I would love to call my employer and tell him I'm stuck in Thailand and can't return on time to work for my all time "favorite" boss. ;-)

Emirates bangkok

we were on the same flight from Chang mai to Dubai. I can tell the same story, we weren't helped in any case, emirates only told us , that it is not their fault. They wouldn't pay for any thing. On Friday we met some other guys from Germany, that' we are coming from, at the emirates office.
We rotted together in the office and asked for the head manager. He wasn't still not in there.So we talked to secretary. She was the only one, who took care of us. Writing a letter with all our questions and blamings of our situation to the manager. We only got the answer, "U-Tapao is a desaster"!
He was supposed to be back in the office in the afternoon.
Our group of ca. 15 people was waiting the whole day. He didn't came in, because of his bad back, because he had helped the passengers at U-Tapao airport taking their lagguage. The secretary tried to get us other flights back home with german companys. They were all booked.
So we went back to our hotel and coming back the next day.

In between we talked in germany to our tv and news stations, telling their our story. They talked to emirates in dubai and germany (Frankfurt). So we tried to put pressure on emirates. The head quarter said for all times, that they were taking care for all passengers. WE KNOW THAT IS LYING.

We found out there was a flight on saturday going from U-Tapao to Dubai taking 90 Crewmembers and 75 Passengers of Emirates.
So we asked the secretary what was going on? We still waited there till noon when she told us their would be a flight from chiang mai to dubai on monday.

We still didn't knew if we were on this flight. So we went out to lunch and came back to ask if there was something new for us.
We waited at the office till seven am. Helping all the other passenger to come in from the back of the closed main entrance. Then the manager asked why we were still waiting there. We told him, that we still waiting for our confirmation for this flight.
He went on the back office and shouted for our selflist and came back and signature all our names, so we were on the flight.
So we made the adventure trip to chiang mai, our bus wasn't running well, so only 13 people could go on the bus. Another one was taking fire and burning, all the passenger must change busses.

In chiang mai at the aiport there was just one more flight and the situation was very relaxed against the news report, which was that the airport overfilled and critical.

At the airport in dubai the staff wasn't very friendly. Asking for take showers or get some special transport back to our country like buissenes class, they just told us, it wasn't their fauled it is only a political problem.

So now i'm back home and i will never fly EMIRATES again. In our group we want to take a penalty for emirates and get our international right of helping parts.

I'm so glad to be here because there wasn't a second flight from chiang mai.
Please tell all the other people about the story.
Good luck and well care for you,

Dorothea Loss

Before you do anything, I

Before you do anything, I suggest you read the terms and conditions of your ticket. As far as I am informed, for most airlines, there's a clause that exempts them from reimbursing passengers in case of "acts of nature". As far as I know, political unrest is considered an "act of nature". I'm afraid that the airline has done everything it was supposed to do, that is, organize a return flight to your destination a.s.a.p., and everything the Thai tourism authority has done for you falls under the category of "gesture of good will". Although I agree that the Emirates could and should have handled the situation better, from what I read in your story, I fear that the only thing you may be entitled to is a formal apology, nothing more.

Sorry you had a bad time

I'd recommend you to tell a major news station. Say how that airline doesn't take care of its passengers or even care that they are stuck somewhere's or bother to remove a lazy manager and that it is a lousy airline and they should have simply called the cops to remove the protesters and reestablish order since it was evident that they couldn't handle the situation at all. Then deal with the passengers or before that simply have them removed and put on the bus going to a different airport where flights were taking off and saying hey we're sorry about this sometimes things are a mess. Tell your stories to a major news thing and then a smaller one that is very bad and cannot sell ads almost and is likely to go under. So that the big ones will have to follow suit or look ridiculous. Call the little one you pick first and then tell the major news station that you have done this and that they will be running to catch up if they don't pay attention. Then call a few politicians and C-Span since they love a good story as well as NPR. Keep putting it up there tell them if they want a really good story which will boost their sales question the tourists and get an account of how bad the airline is and they will have to defend themselves or deny it and look bad. Then call the head of the airline and tell that person you leaked the story and will continue to cause trouble until they give you a refund on the ticket and if they don't you'll get the other tourists together and sue them for ripping you off and lying to you all. Journalists if you get the right ones will drool over this story. They love to make people like this look bad yet some of them are on a short leash so get ones who aren't. NPR is good those guys will love this story because they are nonprofit and the Emerites are smart enough to grease palms to prevent the story from getting out. NPR doesn't have that problem because their viewers and listeners support the station themselves. Once you get people talking about this then they'll never be able to hush it up no matter what they try. Have fun with them they are going to look stupid when this whole thing breaks. Once they find themselves having to justify their actions they are going to look very foolish and probably pin the blame on the guy who dropped the ball in the first place to wash their hands of the situation which will set an example for anyone tempted to treat the passengers that way again. If it happens again then they are toast. Or if not then their competitors will clean up gloating that they do not have this problem until that airline either goes out of business or decides to finally clean up their act.

It's not enough to say that you will never fly their airline again because if you do not show the powerful what happens when they do something like that to you then you can expect they will continue to do that. We need to speak up until we simply wreck their reputation and stand up for our rights without being violent, cruel or mean or the end result will be the same every time. If we do not expose falsehold for what it is then people will think it is acceptable to lie. If we crawl back into our hole like a bunch of beaten dogs then they will all know one thing that we are basically victims and we won't get anything then. They'll know it is acceptable to do this to people because they paid the newies off to keep it a secret as well as placated you and lied. So my question is what do you intend to do about it then? It's your decision and your story. You aren't a victim unless you believe you are and decide to take it rather than to stand up for what you believe in. If you don't then the tourists that are stuck there will continue to be trapped, the airline will continue to lie and never get caught most likely. So what do want to do about it?

If you write the story send it to everyone in the news business that has a way to submit that story then eventually one of them will run with it and the rest will take a hit or two for ignoring the story. Tell them which stations you contacted before you called them so they can accuse those stations of censorship and suggest maybe they dig into those stations to see if they are taking money from that airline that mistreated you and the others so it will give them an advantage over competing stations and they'll get more money by making the other guy look bad especially if they can prove that that station buried the truth because someone gave them some money to keep it a secret. The ones who are dirty will usually get exposed and fired if you hand the right person the shovel and tell them exactly where it would be productive to dig.