Make A Phone Call – Make A Difference

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I’m tired of sitting around watching, waiting, being scared.  Help me get Michele and the 100,000 other foreigners get home from Bangkok.  Please.


Call Senators, Legislators, anyone you can think of.  The Chinese and Austrialians have gotten their people home.  Why aren’t we?


I can’t begin to describe what I am feeling. I called United airlines today and they will do NOTHING to help. Those bastards. We are completely on our own. Our super-hero tour guide is frantically helping us find a flight to Singapore on ANY airline, then United will fly us home from there, but since there are no flights out of Thailand, except passengers who already have Thai Airways tickets, we are flat-out stuck. No matter of money will help. My only consolation is that I’m with a great group of people and we are all trying to keep our spirits up together.
The Thai situation at the Bangkok airport is getting worse. Now they predict a military coup. The army and police will not carry out orders of the Thai prime minister, so the country is at a standstill. Yesterday, a grenade was thrown at some government offices. And, I heard rumors that the Thai prime minister left the country altogether. This could drag on for eons. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

More soon. Thanks for thinking of me.

Big giant hug,
Michele


What if this were you? Or your friend? Or family?  Please make a call. Send an email. Do it now.  Please.


THE WHITE HOUSE SENATORS US HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES

TWIT OBAMA GOVENORS STATE LEGISLATORS


American citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ or with the U.S. Embassy.

The Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok.
The Embassy website can be visited at http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/embassy/wwc/recent.htm.

The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by phone at 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov.

The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.


Email received from Thai Embassy 11/30/2008:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for contacting American Citizen Services Bangkok. We remain hopeful that the airports in Bangkok will reopen, however, we do not know when that will be. Should you or your friend/family member wish to pursue other options, here are a few:

There are some flights being arranged out of the Utapao military base, south of Bangkok, these are commercial flights arranged by the carriers themselves. Unfortunately, it is a very small airport and so is able to handle only a small fraction of the traffic that normally flies out of the Bangkok airports. Please work with your airline directly to arrange one of these flights.

There are international flights which leave out of Phuket and Chiang Mai airports in Thailand which do not transit in Bangkok. Phuket and Chiang Mai can both be reach by bus and/or train from Bangkok.

The Thai Foreign Ministry has arranged for credited compensation for stranded foreign travelers. This compensation consists of 2000 Thai baht credit per day for hotels and meals at those hotels. It is our understanding that this credit is available at any hotel in Bangkok (guest houses and serviced apartments are not included). Americans who have been unable to depart because their flight was cancelled due to the closure of the airports should show a copy of their passport and air ticket to the hotel front desk for the 2000 baht per day credit to be deducted from their bill.

Some people may cross the border to neighboring countries looking for international flights, i.e., Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. If you are interested in pursuing this option, please see the Country Specific Information sheet of each country at www.travel.state.gov prior to going to these countries.

If you are running out of prescription medication, we kindly suggest you go to a local pharmacy or hospital to refill your prescription.

Airports:
Chiang Mai: 053-270-222-33 / 053-203-300-19 Phuket : 076-327-230-7

Airlines:
Korean Air: 02-635-0465-72 / 02-267-0992 Air Asia: 02-515-9999 Silk Air: 053-904-985 / 7 (Chiangmai) 076-304-018-20 (Phuket) China Airlines: 02-250-9890-9 Orient Thai: 02-229-4260 Sky Star Airways: 02-937-5353 LTU International Air: 02-267-1202-4 / 076-327-432 (Phuket) Tiger Air: 02-351-8333 Jetstar Airways: 02-267-5125

Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit): 02-936-2852-66 Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai): 02-894-6122 Bangkok Railway Station (Hualumpong): 02-220-4444

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and health-information resources can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers in other areas by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

American citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov. The after hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.

We sincerely hope that this information is useful to you,
American Citizen Services

Received 9:54 pm 11/30/2008

Here’s the situation: Thai protesters, who oppose the Prime Minister and want to overthrow him, have taken over the Bangkok airport and they are in the 7th day of shutting down the airport. Over 100,000 of us are stuck in Thailand, with no easy way to leave the country. The army and police have refused to remove the protesters – showing a lack of government support. Yesterday, a grenade was thrown into some government offices. Even though pro-government supporters are now rallying to show support, the rumor is that the Thai prime minister has left the country and it looks as though a military coup is inevitable.

With the Bangkok airport shut down, there is mild chaos. Explore, the group that I am traveling with, have consolidated all of their groups from around the country and sent us to Patalang – a town south of Bangkok – for us to be safe. We are close to a military airport in which some flights are leaving (ie Thai airways), but they will only take the ticked passengers – they will not sell new tickets – and the airport is complete madness – screaming people, long ques, etc. Surreal.

Yesterday, I was finally able to get a hold of United Airlines who Adam and I flew with, only to be told that United will do NOTHING to get us out. They will not book us on other partnered airlines. They will not book us on any airlines from Kuala Lempur (we will have to make a 3-day train journey to KL). Per United, we have to “make our way to Singapore”.

I tell you, the despair that I felt yesterday when United dropped us flat was the blackest I’ve felt in awhile. Even Quantus is getting out the Aussies via Phuket (bless Australia!). But since no one will sell a ticket right now, we can’t even whip out the old credit card and buy our way out of the country. The other airports north of the country are in the same situation too. One gal from our group already had a Thai airways ticket and she traveled to the chaotic military airport and was only turned away. Another person bought at $7500 ticket on Thai airways ticket counter, but was turned away from the military airport because it was a “new purchased ticket”. Phuket is the same….if you are lucky and already have a ticket, you can check in at a make-shift check-in counter in a hotel in Bangkok (not kidding), then take a 9 hour busride to Phuket, and then you MAY get on a flight, or you sit in Phuket indefinitely.

Received 9:36 pm 12/2/2008

Message to the Americans in Thailand

The Department of State is evaluating whether to charter aircraft to facilitate the onward travel of American citizens seeking to depart Thailand.  Americans who would like to take a U.S. government chartered flight from Bangkok to another airport in the region, such as Singapore, where they would then make their own arrangements to connect to onward flights, are requested to read through this message and respond as noted below.

Under U.S. law, an American citizen receiving U.S. government transportation assistance is required to pay for the cost of travel at the rate of the most recently available full fare economy ticket.   Therefore, American citizens who choose to fly on this charter must either pay prior to departure with a personal check or sign a promissory note (an Emergency Loan Application and Evacuation document) for the amount stated and reimburse the U.S. government for the flight within sixty days.  Cash and credit payments can not be handled.

American citizens who depart Thailand on a U.S. government charter will be individually responsible for booking and paying for their onward travel from the transit point to their final destination.   Americans will also be individually responsible to pay for their own accommodation at the transit point should an overnight stay be required before connecting to the onward flight.   However, U.S. Embassy officials at the transit point will be available to provide information about local hotels and may be able to facilitate onward travel arrangements if assistance is needed.

Commercial flights continue to depart Thailand through airports outside of Bangkok, although space has been limited.  While more commercial flights will become available as the Bangkok airports reopen, the backlog of demand may continue to make departure travel arrangements difficult for the near future.

American citizens may choose to wait until regular commercial flights are available using their already purchased tickets.  We anticipate that the charter flight will cost approximately $550 (though this may change depending upon the transit point destination).

American citizens in Thailand who would like to depart Thailand by charter should contact the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok immediately to alert us of your interest.  Your response will help us evaluate whether charters are a viable option and how many charters would be needed.    Please note that at this time no final decision has been made on the use of charters.

The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by phone at 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov.  If that number is busy, please call 66-2-205-4000.

Received 8 am 12/3/2008

Here’s the latest:  The courts ruled yesterday that the Thai prime minister must leave office, so the protesters “won”.  So, they agreed to evacuate the Bangkok airport last night.  They must have completed the security checks in record time, because flights are departing from Bangkok this evening.
United airlines could not book us seats until 9 Dec, due to backlog (ugh.  I still hate them), however, they did book us on a Thai Airways flight on 6 December and I have to call United back in one hour to confirm that the 6 Dec flight is a go.  I feel optimistic, but cautious at the same time, as there have been so many disappointments along the way, I hate to get my hopes up.  However, keep your fingers and toes crossed and I’ll be home to the good ole USA soon.

Comments

  1. We just got back from our honeymoon to Phuket and really wish that we didn’t have to leave so soon as we absolutely loved it and will definitely come once more! We stayed at The Bungalow Mountain Resort which I can for sure recommend. We rented a motorbike at $70 for 10 days, it was by far the cheapest and a convienent way to go and it was alot of fun too! The National Park is definitely worth while taking a tour. Also restaurants in Phuket to visit are The Sweet n Spicy-romantic, delish and trendy. Book a table with your feet in the ocean!

  2. admin says:

    It sounds like they’ve come back from a terrible disaster – an amazing feat. So glad it was a great experience and congratulations too!

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