Thai Lion Air flagged over false promotion

Thai Lion Air flagged over false promotion

Thai Lion Air allegedly sold tickets on flights to Myanmar it wasn't even authorised to fly, then lied to passengers about why their prepaid flights were cancelled. (Photo by Boonsong Kositchotethana)
Thai Lion Air allegedly sold tickets on flights to Myanmar it wasn't even authorised to fly, then lied to passengers about why their prepaid flights were cancelled. (Photo by Boonsong Kositchotethana)

Executives at Thai Lion Air (TLA) will be called to explain why the airline sold tickets for flights to Myanmar, even though it had yet to receive approval to fly to the country, according to the Transport Ministry.

The move followed a complaint after the carrier launched a promotion for the flights on April 25 despite not having permission from Myanmar aviation authorities to fly to the country. The promotion was set for flights starting on May 20. Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said such practices cannot be condoned and he ordered agencies to address the issue. Passengers would also be alerted.

Permanent secretary for transport Chartchai Tipsunave said the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) also was probing the issue. TLA executives will initially be called in to provide an explanation.

Airlines can sell tickets only for flights which have been approved by the authorities in the departing and destination countries.

According to the complainant, the airline's call centre was contacted about the promotion, but staff said the flights had been cancelled. TLA cited an IT system failure in Myanmar for the cancellation, a passenger said. The passenger, who asked not to be named, quoted a senior executive at TLA, however, saying the airline is in the process of getting approval for flights from Myanmar authorities.

The executive said tickets were sold in advance due to the airline's marketing strategy, the passenger said.

According to the airline, tickets for flights scheduled between May 20 and June 15 can be redeemed, but not for those after this promotional period.

"This shows the airline was somehow allowed to sell tickets in advance despite not being permitted to operate the route," said the passenger.

Meanwhile, another complaint was made on a popular Thai website about an airline which overbooked a flight, resulting in a passenger on a flight from Don Mueang airport to Osaka, Japan ending up stranded.

The airline allegedly claimed no responsibility and asked the passenger to buy a ticket from another carrier instead.

Chief executive officer of NokScoot, Piya Yodmanee, said his airline had nothing to do with the complaint. It involved the Singapore-based carrier, Scoot.

NokScoot is a joint venture of Thailand's Nok Air and Scoot. Mr Piya said NokScoot only handles the check-in operations for Scoot in Thailand.

Talks were held with Scoot executives, who confirmed they will not let the problem occur again, he said.


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