A Drug Smuggler’s Dream Come True: Thai Airline Will Now Sell Seats To Dolls

Thai Airways has a low cost airline called Thai Smile, which operates many of their regional services. And that airline will now sell seats to dolls. Those seats come with food and drinks for your doll, though the dolls can’t sit in the exit row, regardless of how old the spirit inside them is.

Thai-Smile

Via BloombergBusiness:

Thai Smile Airways, which is a part of national carrier Thai Airways International Pcl, said in an internal memo that dolls with tickets will be served snacks and drinks, though they will be barred from sitting in exit rows. Owners who take dolls on the plane without tickets will have them treated as carry-on luggage.

The dolls known as Luk Thep, or Child Angels, have become increasingly popular in Thailand after several celebrities extolled their benefits. The dolls, which can sell for hundreds of dollars, are thought to possess the spirits of child angels and their owners pamper them with brand-name clothes and accessories due to the belief that a well-cared-for doll will bring good fortune.

The memo from Thai Smile explains to staff that the Luk Thep dolls can be treated like children because they have undergone a “spiritualization” process that breathes life into them. In addition to being barred from exit rows, the dolls must also buckle up during take off and landing.

But it appears there might be another use of traveling with these dolls which isn’t quite as “spiritual.” Just a day after that Thai Smile policy was made public, a drug smuggler was caught at Chiang Mai Airport with a Luk Thep doll filled with 200 yaba tablets. Via Khaosod:

On Monday, police chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda said he was concerned about theLuk Thep trend, especially after Thai Smile Airways announced that passengers wanting to travel with their haunted doll companions were welcome to buy them a ticket. Chakthip said this could be abused by drug smugglers because police have caught dolls with drugs before.

Bottom line

This is even more ridiculous than the “emotional support animal” craze we have in the US. Assuming the Luk Thep dolls are treated like children, does that also mean they don’t go through the x-ray at airports? If so, something tells me that drug smugglers will cause that policy to change pretty quickly.

(Tip of the hat to Dennis)

Comments

  1. Depending on the type of drug being smuggled and it’s natural sent, all this would really change would be the “storage” area for the drugs. Any attempt to avoid drug-sniffing dogs – presuming Thailand employs them at all – means resorting to a drug mule utilizing their…”prison wallet” or having them implanted via surgical procedure which masks or at least prevents odors from escaping. I’d think using the dolls actually offers increased chance that drug detection apparatuses will find whatever they’re smuggling.

  2. If one of my little cousins tried to buy a ticket for her American Girl doll, I think the parents in question would have to have a serious talk about real vs. make believe. And I’m talking about kids.

  3. I love it!!! The perfect co passenger on any flight, and much much better than any smelly, annoying support animal….

  4. I perhaps should not confess this as a regular reader and commenter here BUT….as the President of a company that is a major global leader in the doll industry I find this to be exceptional! And believe me that this is far from being a precedent as adults and children have been buying seats for dolls (clients who have purchased large and very expensive French dolls in Paris as an example) for years. I know one who even bought a business class seat for it. Of course, this was all pre-9/11. It would be interesting to test the policy today.

    And@FE…. you are quite correct!

  5. Man if it means I am seated next to and behind someone that is not going to overtake my seat, talk or recline their seat at annoying times I’d be happy to book a whole doll family on my flight… Given my dolls will be aged under 2 they get a discount right?

  6. I don’t think anyone has ever suggested that dolls are exempt from x-raying or any other drug detection methods. This is a non-story, and Audrey Hepburn of “Wait Until Dark” is long dead (although Alan Arkin is still alive).

  7. It’s purely business decision. Luk Thep is extremely popular right now in Thailand (much to bewilderment of many people, including me). So if they can sell extra seat, why not? It’s not like they pay a discount or anything. A lot of business here actually go out specifically for Luk Thep to be threat like real children, and such have to pay children cost. And it works…

  8. Well, you tell people that they have to pay extra so that something that is sacred to them is not treated as “carry-on baggage”… That’s an easy way to make money! I wonder why can’t they be treated as a lap infant.

  9. there’s nothing wrong with emotional support of animals!!! my dog saved my life and got me thur much more then a human ever has. what are you some kind of animal hater? and if something makes you feel better who are you to call it ridiculous. get your ass out of the clouds shame on you….

  10. @Denis, because people refuse to belt over the doll. You can treat it as lap infant if you agree to belt over it.

  11. and to comment to FE I have yet to smell of a support animal stink but I have sat next to stinky, drunk, men that wont stop hitting on me the whole flight a lot of annoying humans and children kicking the back of my seat you must of grew hating animals what your life must be like

  12. Sorry to disappoint you, frankie, I actually like animals , certainly more than stinky, drunk men. And, on top if it, my life is great! Just imagine!!

  13. Well that about covers the support animal and doll owner readers. I do wonder if these rules carry over to the full sized lifelike sex dolls. Some of those cost thousands.

  14. Hear we go again – another massively click-baity article title, that mocks another culture’s beliefs, and infers an ancient and long established mythology is really just a cover for the very modern drug trade. There is so many offensive elements here it’s hard to know where to start!

    Firstly, the dolls aren’t exempt from standard security screening (that any item or anyone experiences transiting through a sterile zone of an airport). Just as security can detect people smuggling drugs on their person, they can detect them in hand luggage or these dolls.

    It appears, for shock/outrage reasons, Lucky has drawn a very big long bow to inflate a rather ridiculous beat-up, that just has the added side effect to mock and ridicule another culture. Lucky, what in hell are you thinking?

    As others have mentioned, I’d happily have a inanimate small doll take a seat (and it’s a paid seat!) over a screaming child not ready for airline travel, a turkey “emotional support animal”, or an obnoxious adult (including cultural disparaging media hyping travel bloggers).

    You need to have a good long hard think about how nasty this trashy article of yours is (you’d never see Tiffany post something like this…)

  15. @Frankie I don’t think anyone argues the love of an animal and the support they can offer. However, the testing of this practice has truly reached the absurd as seen with the recent boarding of a live Turkey on a Delta flight that was deemed a “support animal.” People are clearly abusing the rules for either humor, attention, or the ability to bring on pets that would otherwise not be allowed. As you might be offended by a “smelly drunk man hitting on you” (really?), for which I (or my wife who travels a great deal alone) have never witnessed on a flight, I can tell you that I am also not amused by having pooping rabbits (or whatever) included as seat mates.

    Mental health is a debilitating and destructive disease that deserves empathy and support. However, one must ask the question that if a person is not able to fly or function in enclosed areas without an animal at their feet that they are truly someone that should be, at this point, flying and exposed to otherwise very stressful processes of airports and travel. I would imagine that in the case of emergency, or the absolute need to travel during these times of emotional difficulties or mental hurdles that a support HUMAN going along with you would make much more sense. As well, this human would affectively block the seat of the guy “hitting on you” or, perhaps, the guy who simply strikes up a conversation to pass the time and who you decide is “hitting on you.”

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