Don Mueang airport resumed its full-scale operations early this week, but it is the airport's state-of-the-art, multi-million-baht rest rooms that have stolen the show.
Don Mueangairport general manager Paranee Vatanotai shows a wellequipped Showcase RestRoomat the recently reopened airport in Bangkok. APICHIT JINAKUL
Unlike the plain and narrow rest rooms of Suvarnabhumi airport, the two "Showcase Rest Rooms" of Don Mueang airport cover 110 square metres at each location.
The rest rooms are equipped with sensor-controlled doors, sanitaryware and bin lids.
The modern touch to the toilets has taken some travellers _ used to less sophisticated amenities at the old airport before its reopening this week after an upgrade _ by surprise.
At its entrance is a "Wall Screen"_ large combined panels comprising 12 46-inch interactive displays where passengers can entertain themselves while waiting for their friends outside the rest room.
Don Mueang airport general manager Paranee Vatanotai said there were two Showcase Rest Rooms to serve departing passengers of domestic and international flights at Don Mueang airport.
Siam Cement Group (SCG) built the 15-million-baht rest rooms free of charge for Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) on the condition that the AOT can maintain them for three years.
SCG initially approached AOT to build the rest rooms at Suvarnabhumi airport about four months ago.
However, AOT told the conglomerate to do it at Don Mueang first because Suvarnabhumi is congested and Don Mueang was not being used to its capacity, making it convenient for renovation.
"Since the reopening of Don Mueang airport, the rest rooms are the most popular topic visitors have mentioned. There are only two locations with such rest rooms," Mrs Paranee said.
"Other rest rooms are normal, although their damaged sanitaryware has been replaced.
"It is impossible to make all rest rooms as Showcase Rest Rooms because that would be very costly."
Sunetra Chinkomolsuk, Cotto brand manager of SCG Building Materials Co, said the Showcase Rest Room project was aimed at improving airport services.
She said apart from the building cost of 15 million baht, the company would spend 6 million baht on maintaining the rest rooms over the next three years.
Mrs Sunetra said Don Mueang is the first airport in the world that features interactive displays, adding that her company will build another seven such rest rooms at the departure zone of Suvarnabhumi airport in February next year.
However, she said each rest room at Suvarnabhumi airport will cover only 50-70 square metres due to space limitations there.
Flight passenger Patiporn Thongsing, who was flying to Chiang Mai, said it was her first visit to Don Mueang airport after reopening and her children loved the Wall Screen interactive displays.
"The rest rooms at Don Mueang airport are very beautiful and modern, unlike the rest rooms at Suvarnabhumi airport, and sensor-controlled facilities are very convenient for passengers with lots of baggage and children," Mrs Patiporn said.
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- Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook