Skytrax, a UK-based consulting firm, recently published the results of their 2010 poll on on best international airports and, for the first time, Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is at number 10. The response from many travelers in the Bangkok Post’s comments section is “Who did the airport bribe to get this result?”
Despite what Skytrax says, many travelers think Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the world’s worst airports,. I can also attest to that, traveling through it several times a year. It’s too large, you walk for miles to get to your gate, immigration officials are surly and slow, restaurants are expensive, it’s hot as the air conditioning cannot cope with the size of the airport, the domestic terminal is abysmal, internet access is slim to none, not enough toilets and on and on.
The last time I came through Suvarnabhumi passport control, I was scowled at by the immigration official the whole time she keyed my information into her computer. Regardless that I was coming in on a valid visa, have lived in Thailand for years and never had one problem with immigration as I do everything legally. This, after a 30 minute wait in line just to be able to be processed by the immigration official. It’s the same leaving Thailand too. Long lines and unfriendly officials. Strange actually, as last year, there was a supposed campaign to get Thai immigration officials to smile. It obviously didn’t work as they’re the most unwelcoming bunch I’ve ever come across, bar none.
With Thailand’s recent terrible political violence and, now, several deaths, you’d think at least they’d want to be welcoming tourists who come to spend money in Thailand. Instead, you’re glowered at like you’re an escaped convict and highly suspect to the safety of the country.
Add onto this list of grievances the recent scandal where duty-free shops like King Power were charging customers with ‘stealing’, after they had stepped over an imaginary line while still holding a shop item. Several tourists were held by the police, threatened and eventually had to hand over several hundred or thousand dollars for a ‘fine’ before they were let go. Not so great for Thailand’s reputation as the Land of Smiles nor for Suvarnabhumi Airport’s image either.
In fact, having just come through KL International Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that’s not only beautiful but also a well-run airport with all the amenities, there’s an airport that shows up how poor Suvarnabhumi airport really is.
All I can say is, the Skytrax people obviously didn’t ask me for my opinion about Suvarnabhumi Airport or the many people commenting on the Bangkok Post here.