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No Relief In Sight For Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang Airport Immigration Staff


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A few years ago arrived behind a 747 load of Chinese tourist none spoke English or wrote it. They hadn't filled out their cards arriving at immigration backing up the line to over an hour.

They should have all been turned away until their cards were correctly filled in ! i.e. sent to the back of the qeue.

Not everyone is an experienced traveler such as you, a mighty globetrotting sailor! I took my Thai in laws on a trip to Malaysia which was the first time ever for them to travel abroad and yes they were quite puzzled by all the procedures and felt genuinely lost (they are 60 plus). According to your logic, the should be send back in the line!

And according to your logic every one should wait for them to have a immigration officer explain it to them rather than you do it before they get to the immigration officer.

So you are saying it is the countries duty to have enough staff on hand t explain every thing to all arriving passengers so that there will be no more than a 15 minute check in at immigration.

Real logical

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Anyone thinking it would take 30 minutes to pass from there is dreaming, likely more than 3hrs, never mind 2.

...so now it is up to 3 hours? Brilliant.

I would love to view the actual CCTV footage, from the time someone arrives at the back of the queue, until they reach the immigration counter - for these 2-3 hour waits... They must be a rare occurrence

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Why check people leaving?

Its all about the money machine - potential profits are outstanding for even the slightest hiccup - they hold out their hand for payment. I understand checking for overstay - this alone allows for revenues in the billions of baht per year - otherwise wave the person through without being concerned of other international issues (?) / warrants outside of Thailand - plllllleeeeaaassssse - anything that can potentially pad their pockets - they get BIG BIG payments for holding and surrendering international warrants - so you see we are right back to the money machine - its all about the baht. Do you really think the Thai government is concerned about crimes committed in other countries - its all about the baht.

What sort of BIG BIG payments would these be? Got any examples, pllllllleeeeeeaaaassssse?

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Why check people leaving?

Because they might have overstayed or because they have a warrant out for their arrest. These sorts of people have to be apprehended. You can't just let criminals travel wherever they want.

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Anyone thinking it would take 30 minutes to pass from there is dreaming, likely more than 3hrs, never mind 2.

...so now it is up to 3 hours? Brilliant.

I would love to view the actual CCTV footage, from the time someone arrives at the back of the queue, until they reach the immigration counter - for these 2-3 hour waits... They must be a rare occurrence

All the recent press coverage, forum reports, etc, etc is made up, don't let it worry you.

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If you want to avoid the delays fly business or first and you get in the fast track lanes both in and out. Or if you are still working and are a citizen of one of the APEC countries (basically those round the Pacific rim including SE and East Asia, Eastern Pacific (US, Canada, Central and South America, AUS and NZ ) you can get an APEC Business traveller card which includes a visa for those countries where you may need one (no need for a visa application every time) and also fast track at most airports even traveling economy class. The card costs $A200 (not sure about other countries) for 3 years but you can save by not having to pay visa fees.You get 90 days in Thailand on arrival. In the US and Canada you can get in fast tracks but still have to go through the on line and card process. The place I use the card most is my own country, Australia, where the queues can be as bad as anywhere and there are no "cute" immigration staff!

APEC cards are VERY VERY hard to get now (from Australia). You need to have a million dollar turnover (or something along those lines) and only a certain number per business (and top management staff). They realised people were abusing it, so cracked down on it. If you fall into those guidlines, great, but if you don't your renewal will be difficult (and new applications even more so).

So not an option for the everyday small business owner now.

Anyone thinking it would take 30 minutes to pass from there is dreaming, likely more than 3hrs, never mind 2.

...so now it is up to 3 hours? Brilliant.

I would love to view the actual CCTV footage, from the time someone arrives at the back of the queue, until they reach the immigration counter - for these 2-3 hour waits... They must be a rare occurrence

In all the times I've come between here and Australia over the last 3 years, I've never waited longer than about 30-40mins (and that was once). Average time is about 10-20mins. Oh little tip, most airlines arrive on one side of the airport, so all people go to the first immigration area they see. Last time, the line was huge, so I kept walking a few hundred meters to the second immigration area and wow, NO ONE there. Got through in about 5 mins. So make that walk, it will likely be less busy as tourists don't know there are two immigration areas.

It's not just Thailand, many countries, including ultra-modern hi-tech Singapore, still have landing cards.

But in this day and age when all passports are scanned and information readily available, I do wonder why?

Though which other countries make their own citizens fill out these cards? Genuine question, I don't know.

In Australia everyone must still fill in a card because it has quarantine information on it, so yes as a Citizen I still fill it in.

Why do they need them, Thailand guess would be your initial point of stay but more likely an arrival card means all the information is ALWAYS in the same place (imagine how long it would take to examin different passports work out where the information is, find it, type it in etc etc.

Immigration cards are standard, so reduce the processing time (when people fill them in correctly).

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People should read the article it explains why the line up's can get so long.

Then ask themselves would I like a job to have to continually put up with those conditions.

Your answer might explain why they can not get enough people to fill the positions

A well written article.

All though it had nothing to do with departure's I noticed no one complaining about the length of time it took there as it is relatively a fast procedure. Also it makes sense. With out it what would stop people from over staying their visa.

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APEC cards are VERY VERY hard to get now (from Australia). You need to have a million dollar turnover (or something along those lines) and only a certain number per business (and top management staff). They realised people were abusing it, so cracked down on it. If you fall into those guidlines, great, but if you don't your renewal will be difficult (and new applications even more so).

Interesting Amras - we were just having that same discussion. Apparently there was pressure from other APEC countries for Australia to restrict the issue of cards to Australian citizens because they had a disproportionately high number of card holders compared to the total population....

My friend will be okay for renewal of his, but he is one of the lucky ones I think.

And it is a $5 million minimum in international trade as a prerequisite.

Still, handy to have if you can get one.

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Why check people leaving?

Ummmmm, Let's have a think..... OH ! maybe they have committed crimes here, and trying to escape, or Interpol has updated outstanding Warrants.

They should do what they do in Canada or the US, check those passports at the ticket counter. Simple, yes?

Not simply at at all, I check already in by internet and print my boarding pass, no luggage, so that's not the simple solution.

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"unaware of the struggle faced by the, perhaps cute, uniformed officer"

What is this sexist drivel?! Is this 2012 or 1962? jeezus H. christ...

A cute officer can be male or female. So, just who has the sexist view point?

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since don muang and survanabhumi have the same capacity Don Muang is clearly the winner.

making something "bigger and more shiny" does not make it more efficient.

And look back, one year, which airport is clearly the winner, then?

Bangkok without any airport would have been a bigger disaster, as having 2!

Or did suvanaphum had to stop the service?

Sure, no plan in this, pure luck. But building an airport with the 'Holland' people in charge, because it was planned in flood areas, was a handy decision, in this case.

The question for me:

10 years contracts for duty free shops, is the sky train on the way, in the next 2 years, too? Connecting the two, without shuttle buses or taxis, should be the goal, I think.

But back to immigration:

For sure, they have to check leaving passengers. It's nothing easier, as to get money from people, who wanna leave, but still have some outstanding account, or other relevant things, in Thailand.

And don't you want a 'leaving Thailand' stamp in your passport? What you think, if you are planning to go to(p.ex.) S-Pore, without this stamp?

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Wow, what a nice words... what is the reason? to put the immigration officer in a sunny daylight? I always believe that respect you need to deserve. It never comes by itself and to for me, immigration is a pain in the ass. They never laugh and are always busy with things I ask myself, is that their job? sitting behind the counter, talking with a colleague sitting 50 meters further on and in the meantime let you wait. So please don't clear the immigration officers by excuse them with words like "Hundreds arrive with expired visas, passports that are not actually their own or with other complications that mean they are not qualified to enter or leave the kingdom...". About the immigration (arrival-/departure) card. Old-fashioned! Look to Malaysia... they skipped it already after a long time use as well. Reason? Much too complicated and ... passenger-unfriendly! Words out of the Malaysian media. And see now how fast immigration is, but not in Thailand, they almost do everything to make it unfriendly for visitors accept to spend money! Well, lots of money is invested... hmmm, then invest also some in a computer system which can skip the immigration card. Other countries can do it, but Thailand can't? And last but not least... invest some in communication-skills of the immigration-officers. They like to act in a way of "I have the power to let you in or not"... sick attitude and when you give a smile... mean in sincere and not give a fake smile which I can see all around Thailand when money is involved.

Valid points, especially as long term visa holders bring in a great deal more money than tourists. Eliminating the unnecessary paperwork, having the airlines do the checking and a new residence permit system would reduce congestion...

However, T.I.T.

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If you want to avoid the delays fly business or first and you get in the fast track lanes both in and out. Or if you are still working and are a citizen of one of the APEC countries (basically those round the Pacific rim including SE and East Asia, Eastern Pacific (US, Canada, Central and South America, AUS and NZ ) you can get an APEC Business traveller card which includes a visa for those countries where you may need one (no need for a visa application every time) and also fast track at most airports even traveling economy class. The card costs $A200 (not sure about other countries) for 3 years but you can save by not having to pay visa fees.You get 90 days in Thailand on arrival. In the US and Canada you can get in fast tracks but still have to go through the on line and card process. The place I use the card most is my own country, Australia, where the queues can be as bad as anywhere and there are no "cute" immigration staff!

When I have flown out of Bangkok on business class, I was automatically put through the fast track immigration counter outbound.

But when I flew in to Bangkok I have just queued with the economy-heads. Did I miss a trick there? How does one access the fast track inbound into Bangkok? Do you ask for some card at check-in at Heathrow or wherever your embarkation point is? Do you get something off the flight crew? Do you use a special desk showing your business class boarding pass at Suwannaphum? Or do you just barge to the front of the queue shouting, "Out of my ****ing way, plebs a la Andrew Mitchell (UK joke)?

Queueing is not fun. My record is 1 hour 15 minutes. Hopefully I won't beat it.

What is the undisclosed technique to access this benefit?

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The TM landing/departure cards are old hat it todays IT speed of light technology, why can not they introduce a fast track based on TM forms being completed on line in advance of ones journey?

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When I have flown out of Bangkok on business class, I was automatically put through the fast track immigration counter outbound.

But when I flew in to Bangkok I have just queued with the economy-heads. Did I miss a trick there? How does one access the fast track inbound into Bangkok? Do you ask for some card at check-in at Heathrow or wherever your embarkation point is? Do you get something off the flight crew? Do you use a special desk showing your business class boarding pass at Suwannaphum?

What is the undisclosed technique to access this benefit?

Depends on the airline - which airline did you/are you flying?

Either ask at check-in, or on board (for certain airlines, they will give you a Fast Track pass) - or for those airlines eligible, show your business class boarding pass.

Much better when you get the Fast Track pass though....easier to show them as you approach the queue.

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Depends on the airline - which airline did you/are you flying?

Either ask at check-in, or on board (for certain airlines, they will give you a Fast Track pass) - or for those airlines eligible, show your business class boarding pass.

Much better when you get the Fast Track pass though....easier to show them as you approach the queue.

Sri Lankan Airlines. Usually when I check-in at Heathrow, they are just Heathrow ground staff and know nothing but I can ask. I will ask again in Colombo. Then ask again on board if no joy so far.

Which airlines are eligible? Where can I find this info?

Thanks for your help.

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Immigration in every country is always a pain in the ass. I heard that the US immigration is among the worst....

ya, me too. I got told, they taking finger prints from foreigners! General suspicion, to be a terrorist!

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"unaware of the struggle faced by the, perhaps cute, uniformed officer"

What is this sexist drivel?! Is this 2012 or 1962? jeezus H. christ...

And what is wrong with that - some of the younger unfromed boys are cute

giggle.gif

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i remember well the travel's via Don Muang Airport,

abit clumsy but everything worked out somehow, with the opening of the Swamp Airport, everything went worse.

overloaded airport ? well Survanabhumi has just 2 runways as Don muang has it, also the proceedures are more complicated.

personally i do not see any improovement with the new Airport, since don muang and survanabhumi have the same capacity Don Muang is clearly the winner.

making something "bigger and more shiny" does not make it more efficient.

I think you should review your capacity estimates.

Don Mueang - designed for 25m passengers per year - in 2005 handled 38m. (I remember how god-awful crowded it was).

Suvarnabhumi - designed for 45m passengers per year (1st Stage) - in 2011 handled 47m (getting crowded, but nowhere near as bad as 2005 Don.)

Without government interference, (original plan) by now Suvarnabhumi would be at 60m passenger capacity, 3 runways. (nicely ahead of expected growth).

Don't blame the airport, blame the respective Govt's who instructed AOT to delay development.

Cheers

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I would like to see any of you poster's sit and deal with hundreds if not thousands of people day in and day out. None of you would even consider doing this type of job and with the attitudes that are displayed from the supreme Tv know it all posers. I would hate to be in your cue. Why do travelers and especially from the west think that they deserve some sort of special treatment because they are spending money? Because why? Here let me hand fan you whilst you wait in line to come into our country? Let us trip over ourselves to be extra smiley and nice so that you ca feel good about yourselves. Give me a break! It is what it is. Whether I get a smile or a stink eye glance from them I don't give a sh*t. It is not the officers fault that the system is flawed. They are there to process you as quickly as possible end of story. You all think that the officers are intentionally stalling you and the line that is front of them? I doubt that completely. The system will improve that is what the dialog would suggest. Ever travel to India? US? Europe? South America? Do they all smile and trip over themselves to make a good impression for people? Thailand is awesome! Incredible? Fun! and I for one am extremely grateful to be able to live here.

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I recently visited Canada and the US and passport wasn't checked when leaving the country.

it's done by the airline when checking in.

Yep, to avoid fines.

It's been a while, but last time wife unit and I went out from Los Angeles, we got the normal review at check in where they are anal about presenting the same credit card used to purchase the tickets, rather than visa at origin. However I recall we (and 4 billion others in the queue) got passports scanned and actually got asked a couple questions at border check outbound. We cleared no problem, and then proceeded to partially undress for the security check by an 18 year old. whistling.gif

Always patiently amused with the young Thais at the Qatar Air biz check-in at SVA. Most are nice enough but it must be frightening to "approve" something when you have very little idea what you are doing.

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"unaware of the struggle faced by the, perhaps cute, uniformed officer"

What is this sexist drivel?! Is this 2012 or 1962? jeezus H. christ...

how is that sexist it could refer to both male and female and!!

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Every international hub airport has the same problems. You don't think other airports in Asia, South America and Europe have people arriving with expired passports and there paperwork not in order! I don't see these countries messing things up as bad as the Thai's do.

I came into Bangkok last month and the immigration officer was playing on his Blackberry as there was a long line.

Hopefully with the opening of Don Mueang it should free up a little at Swampi. I think all the low cost carriers should be required to move to Don Mueang and work like hell to build a connecting rapid transit line linking the two airports. The AOT could limit the number of flights out of Bangkok everyday but they run at overcapacity to make more MONEY! Its all about the money.

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Depends on the airline - which airline did you/are you flying?

Either ask at check-in, or on board (for certain airlines, they will give you a Fast Track pass) - or for those airlines eligible, show your business class boarding pass.

Much better when you get the Fast Track pass though....easier to show them as you approach the queue.

Sri Lankan Airlines. Usually when I check-in at Heathrow, they are just Heathrow ground staff and know nothing but I can ask. I will ask again in Colombo. Then ask again on board if no joy so far.

Which airlines are eligible? Where can I find this info?

Thanks for your help.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Thaivisa Connect App

They hand the passes out onboard prior to landing.

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