Dolls spark air safety concerns

Dolls spark air safety concerns

The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is discussing the correct course of action to handle passengers carrying "Angel Child Dolls" on aircarft, amid security concerns.

The infant-like dolls, known as luk thep (angel child) dolls, have gained popularity among Thais, particularly celebrities, who believe the dolls hold an angel's spirit and can bring good fortune.

DCA director-general Chula Sukmanop said representatives from airlines, airports and other related agencies will be invited to meet tomorrow and Thursday to find measures to ensure that passengers bringing the dolls on board comply with security regulations.

The move came after reports that Thai Smile Airways issued instructions to crew members saying the dolls would need a booked seat, or must otherwise be treated as a piece of carry-on baggage. 

Instructions were issued as over 40 passengers have brought dolls on board.

"According to security standards, a passenger can take a belonging with a weight not over 7 kilogrammes on board and we have yet to find sufficient reason to ban Luk Thep dolls on board," Mr Chula said.

Aviation operators must have consistent regulations regarding the dolls. The dolls must be compliant with security measures from the moment they are brought into the airport to the moment they are brought on board a plane.

The dolls also must pass security checks and x-ray scanners, he said.

The meeting will also discuss if airlines should offer booking options that take the dolls into account.

Police chief Chakthip Chaijinda yesterday voiced his concern about allowing the dolls aboard planes as they might be used to smuggle drugs.

He ordered immigration police at airports and border checkpoints to carefully examine the dolls.

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