Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quiet start for remote check-ins on bANGKOK'S NEW Airport Rail Link

  • Published: 5/01/2011 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: News
Remote airline check-in services have entered operation at Makkasan station on the Airport Rail Link line.
Bangkok Airwaysand Thai Airways International staff open their remote check-in counters at Makkasan station on the Airport Rail Link service that connects inner Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi airport.Ahandful of passengers used the service onits first day yesterday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
While only a handful of travellers took advantage of the service on the first day yesterday, Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum promised to increase the convenience of checking in at the station.
The check-in counters served 11 air passengers and handled four bags as of yesterday evening.
Yesterday also saw an increase in the fares for the Airport Rail Link. The Express Line fare has risen from 100 baht to 150 baht, while fares on the City Line, with stops en route, are no longer offered at the flat 15-baht rate, but at a new progressive rate of 15-45 baht.
Mr Sohpon, who inspected the remote check-in counters yesterday, said the facilities were safe and air passengers need not worry about their luggage.
Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways International will operate the check-in counters at the Makkasan station.
The minister said he would increase the number of passenger buses and taxis at Makkasan station, while officials would be expected to note flight schedules so the number of public transport vehicles could match the expected flow of passengers to and from the airport. The Airport Rail Link, operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), runs from 6am to midnight.
Mr Sohpon said ministry officials would study the service hours to decide whether they should be increased.
The minister has ordered the SRT to improve facilities and the decor of the stations on the Airport Rail Link and to publicise the remote check-in services at Makkasan station.
Lek Klinvibul, ground customer service director of Thai Airways International, said THAI's check-in services operated from 8am to 9pm. Passengers could check in and have their baggage loaded between three and 12 hours before their flights.
The service is expected to appeal more to foreign backpackers.Transport officials said a footbridge would be built to link Makkasan station and Phetchaburi station, which is part of Bangkok's subway system, by April or May.
Ratchaprarop, Hua Mak and Phaya Thai stations on the Airport Rail Link will be equipped with escalators by the middle of the year.

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