THAI says Suvarnabhumi Airport passengers should arrive 4 hours early, AOT says ‘not true’

Photo via Takeshi Hiramoto

Thai Airways (THAI) and Airports of Thailand (AOT) can’t agree on waiting times at Suvarnabhumi Airport. THAI recommends that passengers on international flights should arrive four hours ahead of departure due to delays at the airport.

AOT says this is “not true” and asks passengers to arrive three hours ahead of schedule.

In a Facebook post, THAI asks for passengers’ cooperation in arriving four hours before their flight, citing that Suvarnabhumi Airport’s international checkpoint Zone 3 is closed due to the installation of Automatic Return Tray Systems (ARTS) taking place from March 1-29, 2023.

Yesterday, AOT released a statement calling THAI’s post “inaccurate.” AOT says that two ARTS have been installed at international checkpoint Zone 3 and the checkpoint reopened on March 10, meaning that a three-hour wait is enough.

So should international passengers arrive three or four hours before departure?

On Sunday, one passenger said…

“Three hours before departure time is really required at BKK Airport now. All procedures (check-in, baggage inspection, immigration) have a long queue.

“Check-in, baggage inspection, and immigration take at least one and a half hours. Thai people pass through immigration with automatic machines, which might be faster.

“Will foreigners miss their flights? Everyone looks worried. Should I be happy or disappointed with Thailand?

“If it didn’t take so long foreigners would spend more money in the airport on souvenirs and food.

“The news attributes the long queues to the improvement of the baggage inspection area which will reduce waiting times (but cause delays during the installation process).

“If there were more Chinese tourists than this, the airport would be overwhelmed.”

Kapook reported that many international passengers missed their flights this weekend, especially nighttime flights, due to the long queues at Suvarnabhumi Airport and some panicked passengers asked to jump the queue to try and make their flight.

One Thai passenger said…

“On my last two international trips, I arrived three hours ahead of departure. I didn’t have time to eat or chill before flying. If I didn’t have a Thai passport, I would have definitely missed the flight. I feel sorry for foreigners.

“I’m #TeamThaiAirways. Arriving four hours ahead of schedule is better.”

Both AOT and Thai Airways released statements in the Thai language only. One Twitter user complained…

“It’s an international airport. Why don’t they issue press releases in dual Thai/English languages (as a minimum) so the majority of passengers can understand?”

Thaiger deals


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.