Things started to go slightly wrong once I reached the check-in counter for Thai Airways at Heathrow airport. As Thailand Pass was only just launched a couple of days ago, they have never seen the QR Code before. What was worse, they had no idea what to do with it as they didn’t have a QR code reader. In Thailand, everyone has them on their phones but apparently not so in the UK. So, she insisted that I showed print-outs of every single document as if I was using the COE system. She also wanted me to print out the QR Code which kind of defeated the purpose. To be clear here, they weren’t collecting the documents themselves. They were just following instructions for the old COE system where everyone must have print outs of all of their documents before boarding the flight. Luckily, I had them all apart from the QR Code of course. She wanted me to go and find somewhere to print it. Finally, I managed to persuade her that they have QR Code readers in Bangkok and there was no need to print it. Luckily I was also able to find one of the Thai Airways staff who had an iPhone and so I was able to show her how it worked.
But that wasn’t my only problem. A recent change to the rules allowed me to use my social security (SSO) instead of taking out a new insurance policy. She wanted me to print out the policy but of course, SSO doesn’t have one. She said I must have a policy that says I have Covid-19 coverage up to $50,000. Which also wasn’t accurate as they changed that for expats to any insurance policy. It didn’t have to be specific for covid. I tried to explain to her that social security was a bit like the NHS and I get free treatment in the hospital. I was only able to persuade her in the end by saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wouldn’t have issued the Thailand Pass to me if they weren’t happy with the insurance. Obviously these minor problems will go away once more people start using the Thailand Pass. I was obviously the first person using social security for insurance and one of the first to use the QR Code.
Just a quick note about Heathrow Airport. All of the shops and restaurants are open as normal unlike at Suvarnbhumi airport. On flight side in Bangkok there weren’t any restaurants open. Just one coffee shop and some shops selling sandwiches and snacks. Though hopefully the situation in Bangkok will start to change as more people begin to fly on international flights. But when it comes to airports, I much prefer Suvarnabhumi airport as they have more charging points for your electronic devices. Just a minor thing really.