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 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.
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)