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Few customers for new service

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Business was slow at the Airport Rail Link's new check-in service counters at Makkasan, with staff handling only 11 air passengers and four bags. 

Bangkok Airways and 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. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

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Few customers for new service

Check-in services began yesterday at the Makkasan station of the Airport Rail Link. Air passengers can now check in for their flights out of Suvarnabhumi Airport and hand over their heavy luggage at the same time, avoiding the hassle of the busy airport.

Yesterday, the situation at the remote check-in counters at Makasan was anything but busy. As of last evening, the staff had served 11 air passengers and handled four bags.

The Airport Rail Link, operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), runs from 6am to midnight.

The situation should improve as more passengers become aware of the new service, but Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum also promised to increase the convenience of checking in at the 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.

Mr Sohpon, who inspected the remote check-in counters yesterday, said the facilities were safe and air passengers need not worry about their luggage.

The Airport Rail Link, operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), runs from 6am to midnight. Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways International will operate the check-in counters at the 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.

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.

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.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Amornrat Mahitthirook

check-in – the place where you go first when you arrive at an airport, to show your ticket, etc เช็คอิน
luggage – baggage; all the cases and bags that you take with you when you travel กระเป๋าเดินทาง
avoid – to try to prevent something from happening หลีกเลี่ยง
hassle – a situation causing difficulty or trouble ความยุ่งยาก
situation – all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place  สถานการณ์
remote - far away in distance (in this case, from the airport) ห่างไกล
counter – a long flat surface over which goods are sold or business is done in a shop/store, bank, etc  เคาน์เตอร์, โต๊ะขนาดยาว
anything but busy – the opposite of busy, i.e., not busy at all
staff – all the workers employed in an organization considered as a group คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
handle – to deal with a situation, a person, an area of work  ดูแล, จัดการ
improve – to get better  ดีขึ้น
aware – knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
increase – to become or to make something greater in amount, number, value, etc  เพิ่ม
convenience – the quality of being suitable for your purposes and needs and causing the least difficulty ความสะดวกสบาย
note – to notice or pay careful attention to something สังเกต
schedule – a list showing the times at which particular events will happen  ตารางเวลา
match – to equal something; to be the same number or amount as something else เท่ากันกับ
flow – supply of something that continues without stopping การไหล
inspect – to look at something carefully ตรวจสอบ
facilities - the buildings, equipment and services provided for a particular purpose สิ่งอำนวยความสะดวก
operate – to carry out a planned activity involving a lot of people to work in a particular way or from a particular place ปฏิบัติ, ปฏิบัติงาน
link – to connect เชื่อม
fare – the money that you pay for a journey ค่าโดยสาร
en route – on the way; while travelling from/to a particular place ระหว่างทางไปถึงจุดหมายปลายทาง
flat rate – a price that is the same for everyone and in all situations
progressive – gradually increasing ค่อยๆ เพิ่มขึ้น

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