Much has been said about the new airport for Bangkok, Thailand.
I flew in on September 30, 2006 and was concerned as to the reports I was seeing regarding the new airport. I had this vision of lumpy, bumpy runways and a four hour wait for my luggage. I was pleased that my flight from China arrived on time at 9:30 PM and enjoyed a smooth and quick touchdown.
After the four hour flight, it was a long walk to the Immigration counters but it felt good to get my legs stretched out and moving. It took longer for me to walk to the Immigration counters then it did to get stamped into Thailand.
Next down to the luggage claim and another pleasant surprise was the ten minute wait for my one small suitcase that came out first!
Customs, a non-event and out to the arrival hall. Actually more of an arrival broom closet, a bit small and very congested but there was an English speaking airport employee that directed me to a nearby elevator and out to the zero queue taxi. By 10 PM we were driving down Sukhumvit.
Last Monday, I wanted to see the airport as it was a total blur from when I passed thru it on the 30th, so I took the #552 air-con bus from 95 Sukhumvit at a cost of 35 Baht. 35 ~ 40 minutes I was standing in the airport’s Bus Terminal.
The airport’s Bus Terminal is about five minutes away from the main terminal. (normal traffic and weather).
There were ample airport personnel available to assist you as needed.
The buses were standing by very short waiting times, most likely under five minutes.
Express buses to the main terminal, either floor 2 or 4. (arrivals, floor 2 or departures, floor 4)
Lots of info on the sign, if you read Thai.
Walking into the airport on the ground floor. HUGE! Impressive!!!
There are signs but if you are used to the signs that are overhead, you will have to look for these.
Lots of moving sidewalks, but be careful as they are not on a progressive incline but have “bumps” in them. Very different from what I usually see.
One of the electronic boards listing the departures. A bit small and if the area is crowded with people trying to see the listing, it would be difficult.
HUGE check in area but little seating. If you arrive too early and your counter is not open, you will be walking around or trying hard to get a seat.
The arrival hall…and all these people are just waiting for the arriving passengers and it is already crowded. Not shown (to the right in this picture), but there is a row of currency exchangers / banks, that further take space away from this area.
Taxi stand on the ground floor. 2 PM, zero in the queue.
100’s of waiting taxi…but this was 2 PM and the few flights arriving.
These are the parking lots for the limos and taxis, next to the Bus Terminal. There were several hundred taxis waiting to get called to the main terminal. If they keep things like this, the taxi situation will be much better then we would find at the old airport.
The Bus Terminal, still under construction but the banks and ATMs are there and in full operation. There are a few shops to get a cup of coffee or a sandwich if needed. The 7-11 is still under construction.
Just a quick photo out of #552 bus window of the airport.
In summary, the new airport is HUGE! The infrastructure surrounding the airport is HUGE! The Thai Air building is HUGE! The construction continues. Riding the bus in and out of the airport, I could really see what it took some years to complete, not an easy project.
Like any new airport, it is not 100% perfect. Upon hiking around the terminal, I would encounter some serious “hot spots” where there was no air-con present and it was most uncomfortable. Since I flew in and was slightly aware of the layout and had also seen the pdf file from the AoT (Airport of Thailand), I was able to make my way. For the newly arrived tourist, it may be daunting, however on my Thai Air flight in, I was provided a small pamphlet that explained some of the airport’s layout so if all the airlines are doing this, it may be OK.
Next, when I fly out on a 7 AM international flight, that will be my next “test” of the airport, as I do not want to think about a three hour preflight arrival at the airport and thirty waits at the Immigration counters!
The long walks, let’s hope that additional moving sidewalks are installed but I was seeing that people were easily walking faster then the moving sidewalks were going, so saves some wear and tear on your legs if you are not up to long walks but time wise, may be faster to walk.
I would grade the new airport with a C+, better then the average newly opened airport, but still some work to be done.