How To Fast Track Past The Long Immigration Queues At Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport And Get Through In Minutes Rather Than Hours

Three Ways To Beat Those Frustrating Immigration Queues

My excitement at packing my bag for another trip to my retirement house we built in Pakchong (Pak Chong) is tempered by the thought of suffering the long delays and waiting to get through the immigration checks at the airport on arrival. (And on departure but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!)

I started writing this post assuming that I would be in for the long queues at the airport immigration that we all know and hate.

Thinking about these delays, I recalled something someone had written on the Thai Visa wesbsite about fast tracking through immigration because he had a business class air ticket. I started to investigate the possibility of this fast track service and almost by accident discovered that anyone could fast track through the immigration, either the FREE way or by paying for it, whatever kind of air ticket they had bought!

This is the story…

Just How Bad Are The Long Immigration Queues At Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport?

I have been following with disconcertion the debate on the Thai Visa forum (Massive Delays Through Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport Immigration) about the long delays to get through immigration at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and as I pack my bag for my next trip to Thailand I’m not looking forward to it at all.

Some Comments From Disgruntled Travelers On The Waiting Times At The Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

These are just a few of the many comments by travellers from the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Passenger Reviews and Customer opinions forum on the AirlineQuality.com website.

“All I can say is the immigration procedure is farcical.”

“I’d rank such disorganised airports as Sydney, Ho Chi Minh and Denpasar as better run than Bangkok”

” I travel all round the world and this airport ranks as one of the worst major airports I travel through.”

“Transiting through this airport is nightmare.”


Fast Track Method No. 1. Get A Business Class Air Ticket?

Last time I entered it took me about an hour to get through (entering Thailand) and I was pretty fed up I can say. One guy on the Thai Visa forum said that if you have a Business Class ticket than you can go through the business channel and short-cut the queues.

It so happens that when I went to buy my air ticket earlier this year there were only one or two spaces left on direct flights near Easter and they were on Business Class on Thai Airways. I really had no choice but to cough up the £2,555.83 * ($3,322.58 or 122,679.84 Thai Baht) fare if I wanted to travel at that time (I did). Ouch!

Even so I could not get the exact flight I wanted and had to leave at lunchtime instead of the evening. Hence I lost a day at work.

* By comparison, my standard class ticket with EVA Air last Christmas was £1,149.73 ($1494.65, 551087.40 Baht). So Business Class is about double the normal fare. You’d expect a few extra perks for that apart from a wider seat and decent food.

Anyway I read this on the AirlineQuality.com website and I perked up a bit:-

“My wife and I flew business class and we were given a premium pass to help us through security and immigration.”

Also I just found this statement on flyerwiki.net:-

“At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Royal Silk Class passengers have their own exclusive check-in lounge, with separate fast-track immigration channels, before they proceed to any of six Royal Silk lounges”

And this:-

Fast-Track Immigration at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport

Updated on July 14, 2010

“All Première guests traveling from Bangkok on all Jet Airways flights will be able to enjoy the new Fast-Track Immigration service at the Suvarnabhumi International airport at Bangkok. No need to wait in long immigration lines! This new privilege offers Première guests a special immigration channel which bypasses normal queuing.” on the jetairways.com website. (Admittedly not Thai Airways, but the principle is the same. i.e. it seems that a fast-track immigration service is available.)

So I concluded that Business Class travelers can short-cut the immigration queues on landing at Bangkok.

Can anybody comment on whether you can by-pass the immigration queues on entering Suvarnabhumi Airport if you are have a business class air ticket?


Fast Track Method No. 2. The Free Way To Beat The Queues – Cheat

How I Avoided Missing My Flight Due To Long Immigration Queues Leaving Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

If the immigration queues on arrival at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport are terrible, they are nowhere near the terrible queues to get through the Thai immigration when leaving Thailand through the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

I experienced this for the first time whan I left Bangkok in January, 2012 and I nearly missed my flight.

I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to check in and there was no check-in queue. Then when I went through to the immigration desks my jaw dropped when I saw the huge queue. I had been used to long queues at Heathrow airport in the UK after the liquid bomb scare, but Heathrow seems like a fast-track process compared to what I witnessed in Bangkok.

The queue was ‘controlled’ by those portable posts with black webbing tape strung between them. The posts were arranged in zig-zag back and forth across the immigration hall and about twenty lines deep to the front of the queue.

As I slowly (very slowly) moved along the queue I became quite alarmed at how slowly it was moving. As an engineer (engineers always count or calculate everyhting) I started to count how far the que moved in a minute. Then a quick calculation showed me that is would take two hours to get to the front of the queue. Then I would still have the long walk out to the terminal whch as you know can be half an hour.

In danger of missing my flight, this was unacceptable.

Always naughty, I slipped under the webbing tape and was in the next line. Nobody complained so I did it again. And again until I was at the front of the queue and ready for the first hurdle of the immigration process – no not the immigration desks – but security. Shoes off, belt off, lap top out, jacket off and through. Then it was straight on to the immigration desks where the queues’s were quite short.

I’m not looking forward to doing that again.

Fast Track Method No. 3. Fast Track Airport Services

Fast Track Services To Avoid The Immigration Queues At Suvarnabhumi Airport

As I became engrossed in this issue of the long delays at the airport and the possibility of being able to fast track through immigration I started to do a bit of investigation on the Internet.

First I found this on teakdoor.com:-

Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce : Fast Track Immigration in Suvarnabhumi Airport

03 February 2011

Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce offers Corporate Members to buy “fast track” tickets that will make it possible for the members to skip the long waiting lines at the immigration in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Hours of waiting in the ordinary line for tourists can be cut down to 10 minutes at the Fast Track counter for only 200 baht per ticket that are sold by the Chamber’s office.

“If you travel from and to Suvarnabhumi Airport on a regular basis you will spend much time in the immigration process. The fast track service will save a lot of valuable time for our members and at a very competitive price,” says Stig Vagt-Andersen, Member of the Board at DanCham, who has arranged the special offer.

DanCham offers 10 fast track tickets at 2,000 Baht while pricing found on various internet sites shows prices more than ten times higher than the offer from DanCham. Usually, the fast track service will be provided if you got a Premium Class flight ticket or you can buy the service from several companies in the airport.

That sparked my imagination and very quickly I found that there are several companies in Bangkok offering a fast track service at the airport to circumvent the immigration queues. Of course there is a fee for this service. Here are some of the fast track services I came across, with examples of their services:-

http://fasttrack.in.th/products.php

Service: Meet and Assist and escort through formalities on arrival and departure First Class lounge access at airport on departure.

Price: One person 3,700 Baht

http://www.thaifasttrack.com

Service: As soon as you step foot off the aircraft, we will have staff waiting for you at the gate to escort you to the VIP fast track immigration line for your convenience. After immigration, our staff will escort you to the baggage carousel and assist you retrieve your baggage. After retrieval of your baggage, we will escort you to the fast track customs line to avoid long customs check saving you time. If you have relatives/friends picking you up, we will make sure you meet up with them.

Price: 1,400 Baht. (it doesn’t clearly say if this is just arrival only or arrival and departure. I assume arrival only)

http://www.limousine.in.th/fast-track-immigration.html

Service: Our friendly Airport Hostess or host will meet & greet with you at the arrival gate, holding a sign with your name or a more discrete expression like a company name, logo, initials, etc.

She or he will help with carry-on luggage and lead you to the exclusive fast track immigration counters, where he or she will assist with immigration documents details to ensure that your official entry into Thailand occurs without any delays.

After collecting your luggage from the Bagage claim area, she or he will then guide you through customs and deliver your bags to one of our limousines that just then pulls up in front of the arrival hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

If you are traveling by other means of transportation, you will be taken to it instead. If the pick up vehicle does not hold green or yellow license plates, please ask the driver to park in the parking building and meet at outerdoor number 3.

Price: 1,100 Baht. (Arrival only, limousine not included)
Price: 2,100 Baht. (Arrival and departure, limousine not included)

Other Services Offered

These companies also offer other services, typically limousine transport to/from your hotel.

Which Method Will You Choose To Get Through Thai Immigration At The Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport?

Grin And Bear It?

There are those who hate being ripped off and see these fast-track services as being a rip-off. These people may take the view that the airport shouldn’t need fast-track services to get what is taken for granted in most other airports around the world.

Having spent many thousands of Baht on air tickets and other transport costs the last thing they want is to fork out for ‘services’ that fill in for the Thai immigration and airport planning and execution failures.

They may take a cynical view and see the immigration department deliberately creating long queues so that they can take a rake-off from the fast-track services. I personally don’t think this is true, but some people may think so and consequently get angry.

Pay For The Fast-Track Service?

I have no experience of the services, having only just discovered them.

If anyone has used them every reader would love to hear their comments, so please post your experiences below.

Get A Business Class Ticket?

Again, I have not flown Business Class to Bangkok (until this time coming), so I have no experience, but watch this space for a report in a couple of weeks time.

At around twice the normal fair, business class tickets are extremely expensive and most people would find the additional cost difficult to justify. I’m travelling alone but if you are travelling with your wife two trips (to the U.K.) would cost around £10,000. That’s $15,000 or 480,000 Baht! Half a million Baht!

That’s nearly as much as we paid for the brand new Toyota Hilux Vigo pickup we bought in Bangkok.


Whatever your views and experience please leave a comment below. Your email address will not be divulged to any third party and you have the choice if you want to be kept posted of further comment.


Click to join the Announcement List and get a notification when the website is updated


Be Sociable, Share!

14 Responses to “Fast Track Past The Long Immigration Queues At Suvarnabhumi Airport”

  • Papamarty56:

    thanks Alan, I’ll be trying the fast track service, in life you get what you pay for and when I go for a holiday, anything to make the trip more comfortable is worth paying a small fee for.

    [Reply]

  • retiringinthailand:

    Rich, many thanks for the comment.

    I guess between now and your next trip I will have tried the Business Class fast track short cut past the immigration queues and can report on the experience.

    I’ll time the whole experience (the engineer in me again – yes engineers also time everything – and I intend to make a video of it all. Should be fun!

    I traveled Quantas to Thailand last year. So Butch. And kangaroo pie. Bloody Aweful mate. Sorry you Aussies but I have been spoilt by the petite and dainty stuardesses on Thai Airways.

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • Geohill54:

    Hi Alan

    Hope you get to Thailand safe and well. The queues at the airport are just as long as ever. I have just left there after my four week leave from working in Baku. It took over one hour to get through the immigration process and as I completed it I looked back and the queue was twice as long. Be warned.

    As I fly on a regular basis I used my air mile to up grade on the airbus 800 and with that comes the bar at the back of the plane, Very good food but most of all a pass for the fast track at the airport. As I passed by it the ones at the back were level with the duty free shop.

    I will be back in Thailand in three weeks time and hopefully will be able to spend some time on the steam engines I am making.

    I thought I was the only model engineer in Thailand.

    If you ever get to Pattaya look me up just drop me an e-mail.

    I will send a photo of my workshop when I am home next

    Regards George

    [Reply]

    retiringinthailand Reply:

    Hi George and thanks for posting your comment.

    So you used the fast track channel that you were entitled to by virtue of your business class ticket. Have I go that right?

    And it was really fast through the airport, missing all the people queuing for immigration. is that right?

    Sorry for the questions but you mentioned the queue being at the Duty Free shop. My memory of the geography of the Suvarnabhumi Airport isn’t that good!

    The bit about the queue being twice as long in an hour I do get.

    Another Model Engineer in Thailand? That makes two of us. there must me more. I’m just dying to learn about the steam engines you are making. We must get together.

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • retiringinthailand:

    Alan

    i enjoyed reading your article and we can relate on the ques as well,   we are flying business class to usa and we have never noticed a business terminal on our return visit to thailand,  where would that be located at?

    we will follow your advice and let you know how it worked if we can find it,  best regards lisa

    [Reply]

  • Lisa:

    Alan

    I enjoyed reading your article and we can relate on the queues as well,   we are flying business class to USA and we have never noticed a business terminal on our return visit to Thailand,  where would that be located at? 

    We will follow your advice and let you know how it worked if we can find it,  best regards Lisa

    [Reply]

    retiringinthailand Reply:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the email. Glad you liked the article. Good to get some feedback on whether I am giving people what they want to read or not.

    From what I have read on arrival to BKK you should be given a VIP Pass on the plane before you land and then you go through the Fast Track
    Channel to immigration.

    As to Business Class lounges at Suvarnabhumi Thai Airways reports having 8 of them:-

    http://www.thaiairways.com/thai-services/on-the-ground/en/suvarnabhumi.htm

    Let me know which Airline will you be using and I’ll look up your lounges too.

    Best Regards

    Alan Brown

    [Reply]

  • Len:

    Waiting to hear how your fast track works out. I read that the government
    has currently closed the fast track lines during “peak hours” so I don’t know
    how that will affect you. I’m visiting the US in June so hoping to discover
    an easier way out – mainly an easier way back in

    [Reply]

    retiringinthailand Reply:

    Len, your comment is interesting for three reasons.

    Firstly in it’s own right – that the Thai government intend to close the fast track lines.

    Secondly if the Thai government has said that (presumably it’s in writing since you read it) then that means that these fast track paths through immigration are “Official”. I had always been under the impression that they were unofficial – just a local arrangement with various parties agreeing and benefiting.

    I’m now interested to find out any official reference to these fast track services. Can anyone help?

    And finally please let us have the results of your experience when you go through the airport in June.

    Thanks for your interesting comment.

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • Geohill54:

    Hi Alan
     As you say I used the fast track channel as I had up graded the ticket with some of my air miles with Emirates.
    You have to walk past the normal immigration hall to get to the fast track ones. Like I said the queue was huge and came out of the hall down the long ramp and past the first duty free shops.
    As for the steam engines I have a three and a half inch Rob Roy and a Stuart mill engine under construction. But they take time as the wife thinks the family takes priority.
     
    Hope you enjoy your next trip to Thailand
     
    George

    [Reply]

    retiringinthailand Reply:

    Hi George,

    Now you mention it, I do remember seeing the signs to the fast-track channels to bypass the immigration at the aiport.Never took much attention though. Next weekend I will, though because I’ll be going through there.

    Excited to learn about your model engineering projects in Thailand. You mentioned the 3 1/2″ gauge Rob Roy steam engine – do you have a track to run it on?

    Love to hear more about your workshop and particularly do you know where to buy small tools and model engineering metals in small sections in Thailand?

    Hope to meet up with you at Pattayah.

    Best Regards

    Alan Brown

    [Reply]

  • o2eZy:

    hi Alan
    I have not had a problem going through immigration at BKK
    I use the thai immigration with my wife and go straight through 
    but!!! on landing in Brisbane it is like BKK but they have taken away the Aussie immigration check through which means that we have to stand in line with the tourists …now that is krap…there were only 2 immigration officers working and there were 2 planes that had landed after mine which meant there were hundreds waiting to get through
    took nearly 2 hours to get out of the airport

    [Reply]

    retiringinthailand Reply:

    Ah! i heard that they had taken away the fast-track immigration at Bangkok airport, bu now they have done it at Brisbane too.

    So the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is not the only in the world with long immigration queues lasting hours?

    When I arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport next Saturday I’ll be on my own, Kanyah (my Thai wife) is already in Thailand. So I’ll definitely be needing the fast track that people say you get with a business class air ticket.

    We’ll soon see.

    Many thanks for the comment.

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • Alan:

    Yes, it works.

    Tried it both ways travelling Buiness Class on Thai Airways and definately Fast Track through immigration (and check-inon the way out)  works.

    Through in minutes.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Recommended
make Money in Thailand Logo
Post Categories
Keep Updated
Join the Announcement List and receive an email when something interesting is added to the blog or website.

 

Ads by Google