Does Thailand have better airports than the USA?
At JFK airport, I walked toward an American lady in uniform sitting behind a counter who looked like the airport staff. The moment she saw me getting closer, she immediately put up a sign, read: “SORRY, I DON’T ANSWER ANY ENQUIRY.”
After check-in, I asked the counter airline lady: “Where shall I drop my luggage?”
The airline lady said, “Just put it there, we will collect it later.” That corner she pointed, was where many passengers were sitting. A corner with 10-20 luggage, there was an inch thick steel chain that simply served as a loose barricade.
The sight of it reminded me of what I did the same in the Istanbul airport in the 80s. My family and I, then, were talking among ourselves— that was so unsecured, and we recalled how 9-11 happened.
At immigration, we saw a real American. Every officer meant business with a fearsome look and appeared stern: “Move slowly, pal, your belts, shoes, wallets, cellphones—all in different trays, please.”
That was in my memory of the JFK Airport.
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is a different story. If I need to know anything about the airport, I would ask three people in uniform as I know I will get three different answers. My gut feeling will tell me which one is correct.
Seriously, I asked about the direction of the post office. A lady in uniform told me, “Walk straight to Gate 8 “Turn Left to the end –that is it.”
While walking straight, I asked another lady in uniform for a certainty, “Is this way to the post office?”
She said,” Yes. but it’s closed for a renovation.” then she walked away.
While I was left in the lurch, another officer approached me, “I heard, you mentioned, ‘Post Office’, there is a temporary post office on the 6th floor—over there, take the escalator up.”… I got to the post office eventually… I knew I was in Thailand.
Just a trivial matter, off the topic, about the history of Suvarnabhumi
Helmut Jahn, a German-American architect, who designed this airport, he was bombarded by the Thai architects and the ASA, (Association of Siamese Architects) they fiercely opposed ever since Jahn submitted a prelim design on the first stage.
The objections based on a few reasons:-
Lacking the Thai identity was among the many problems, including, high cost of maintenance, extremely high cost of the materials used, and questions on the efficiency with a very long walk, and sustainability (lacking of the use of local materials).
Jahn was confident that he loved and admired Thai culture and managed to convince the airport’s approving committee that Thai people will have the Thai culture and Thai architecture in every corner of the airport when completed.
- Here they are!. That was what Helmut Jahn mentioned about Thai culture and Thai architecture.
By the way, Helmut Jahn, was responsible for the design of Chicago O’Hare airport too.
Above: Chicago O’Hare airport.
Don’t you see the resemblance of both, Suvarnabhumi and Chicago O’Hare airport where several tons of steel have been used?