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."