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Thailand’s two full service domestic airlines Bangkok Airways has the closure of lounge services as well as a travel waiver due to the the resurgence of Covid-19 in the country.


The lounges have now closed and later reopened three times, most recently in January while other facilities such as Priority Pass lounges stayed open during the same period.

It’s kind of like a deja vu every few months or so with this whole close-open-close-open situation.

Unfortunately the lounges are closed yet again effective today, April 13th:

 


Due to the recent spread of COVID-19 in many parts of the country, and in order to enhance the airline’s precautions and prevention measures as well as to be in accordance with the standards and guidance of The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) regarding practices in passenger service for domestic flight routes during the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) 2021 situation. Bangkok Airways needs to temporarily suspend its in-flight meals service and will also temporarily close all of its passenger lounge services. The airline recognizes that the health and safety of passengers and staffs are of the utmost priority.

The airline’s precaution and prevention plans are as follows;
The airline will intensify its social distancing procedures, especially at high–traffic points such as check-in counters, embark and disembark the aircraft to ensure safe distances between passengers.
Minimize the capacity of transfer buses to not more than 70% to maintain appropriate social distancing and disinfect high traffic areas before and after service.
Suspension of in-flight food and beverage service and consumption of personal food and drink is not allowed onboard. Unless there is an emergency, cabin crew may consider providing drinking water to necessary passengers, however, such activity will be done in a designated space
Bangkok Airways Passenger Lounges, Food and Beverages Kiosks, Courtesy Corners at available airports, snacks will be temporarily closed effective from 13 April 2021 until further notice

This is definitely annoying especially as in some airports such as Phuket the Priority Pass lounge is always open yet Bangkok Airways closes their own facility per company policy.

For passengers holding Bangkok Airways tickets issued prior to April 6th 2021 the airline has issued a travel waiver allowing to change the dates or refund the ticket for a travel voucher.


Due to the current outbreak of COVID-19, which has spread in many provinces in Thailand, together with recent announcements from government authorities regarding restrictions to enter each provinces. Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited realizes that inconveniences may cause for its passengers, therefore, the airline would like to facilitate its passengers by offering complimentary waiver of rebooking fees for those who hold Bangkok Airways tickets issued on or before April 6, 2021 with travel scheduled until April 30, 2021.

Passengers are allowed to rebook their tickets without rebooking fees, and, or, request a refund in the form of a travel voucher to be used for future ticketing. Passengers can make any necessary changes up to 24 hours prior to their flight; more information can be seen at www.bangkokair.com/travel-voucher (terms and conditions apply)

Passengers who purchased their tickets directly with Bangkok Airways, may contact the Call Center Tel 1771 or 02-270-6699 during 8am. - 8pm. to make any desired changes.  Passengers who booked their tickets through travel agencies are advised to directly contact their agents for further arrangements.

Passengers can either issue a travel voucher for a value of the ticket applicable to all routes of Bangkok Airways or decide for a date change. You can also leave the ticket open and decide for a new date at a later time. I have booked a flight to Samui for next weekend and haven’t decided yet if I’ll take it or not as the situation is rather fluid at the moment.

I would imagine this travel waiver to be expanded should the government put additional, more restrictive control measures in place. Right now inter-provincial travel is not prohibited, quite the opposite as half the country is traveling due to the Songkran (Thai New Year) holidays.

Since early April Thailand is now battling the resurgence of the virus in sudden and steep numbers, prompting the CAAT to also suspend inflight food and beverage services once again.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to inform all domestic flight passengers regarding the latest COVID-19 containment measures according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

The CAAT’s latest announcement maintains that airlines must continue to follow the health and safety regulations during the current resurgence of local transmission.

 

Effective from 13 April, 2021, the guidelines include:
Maintaining social distancing practices on passenger services in all levels of operations, from check-in and boarding and disembarking.

Passengers are required to wear masks at all times during the flight, while maintaining hand hygiene.

No food and drinks will be served or sold on board. Consumption of personal food and drink is not allowed on board either. If utmost necessary, crews may consider offering drinking water to passengers in predetermined social distancing areas in the aircraft.

Newspapers, magazines, or brochures provided on board are prohibited with an exception for safety cards or pamphlets. …

Nobody really needs to eat or drink during a 55 minute flight from Bangkok down to the islands but to say the planes do no require any social distancing while at the same time every restaurant, park bench and shopping mall has distanced seating is a bad joke.

Instead of blocking the middle seats they pack every single flight while at the same time saying people aren’t allowed to take their masks off, even for drinking. These contradicting policies make no sense.

Here is a picture of what Thai Smile served me last time:

Scrapping the F&B service on domestic flight is basically the same system that was temporarily put in place when the domestic airlines first took off again in May. It wasn’t the end of the world – again we’re talking about flights that take an hour at best.

Conclusion

The resurgence of Covid-19 in Thailand is starting to impact daily life again and f&b services on the domestic flights have been ended effective today until further notice as did the Bangkok Airways Lounge service. Passengers who were ticketed prior to April 6th can use the airlines travel waiver.

It’s expected that after the new year holidays there will be stricter measures implemented by the government that apply countrywide in all 77 provinces, each of which currently have their own set of rules and the governors issue different, conflicting orders often times twice a day. It’s possible that this will also see the temporary grounding of domestic flights like last time.

 

 

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