Lonely Planet Writer

Thai airline to treat life-like dolls like passengers

A Thai airline is raising eyebrows for reportedly allowing passengers to buy seats for life-like dolls that some people in Thailand are treating as though they are real children.

A Thai airline has begun to allow for large dolls to have seats on planes.
A Thai airline has begun to allow for large dolls to have seats on planes. Image by Bangkok Haunt Facebook

“Child’s angel” or “luk thep” dolls are supposedly inhabited with a spirit, and are believed to bring good fortune to their owners. They have become a phenomenon in Thailand, where celebrities have helped launched the craze of owning a doll companion. More people are bringing their dolls with them to shops and restaurants, and now there is a demand for people to bring them along on their travels.

According to media reports, airline Thai Smile has allowed passengers to purchase seats specifically for their dolls and, as a passenger, they will be served with food and drinks. Apparently, some people had refused to check their dolls, instead bringing them as hand luggage and seating them on their laps, reports the Telegraph, causing safety concerns. Now, if someone buys a seat for their doll, the airline staff members are supposed to put “Child’s Angel” in the passenger registration and note who the owner is, according to the Bangkok Post.

However, since reports of Thai Smile’s doll accommodations, Thailand’s civil aviation authority has said that the dolls cannot be considered passengers, reports RTE. The aviation authority and airlines will try to come to an agreement about how to address passengers travelling with dolls. As officials try to find a way to deal with passengers and their doll companions, this week also brought reports of a luk thep doll being seized in Thailand’s Chiang Mai airport after police discovered it was filled with drugs.