[Bangkok Airways] demanding to see bank balance at check in??

Old Feb 2, 19, 10:24 am
  #1  
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[Bangkok Airways] demanding to see bank balance at check in??

Hi all,

I wasn't sure where best to post this, so Mods please move as appropriate!

TL;DR:
Flying on a British passport and checking in to a Bangkok Airways flight from Vientiane to Bangkok, I provided when requested proof of onward travel (the return portion of a CX LHR-HKG/BKK-HKG-LHR ticket departing after 10 days in Thailand), but the agent demanded to see proof of my bank balance 'in case of overstay'.

Are they allowed to do this?!

Longer version:
I was shocked by how insistent she was, and not having mobile banking I was pretty stuck until I remembered that I get weekly text statements for one of my accounts. Until then, she was insisting that we go to an ATM to print a statement. At first I resisted showing her as she had proof of onward travel and it's none of her business but she insisted and wouldn't check us in without it. Fortunately there was a decent amount in there, just shy of five figures and several multiples of the average annual salary in Laos, but I object to such nosiness on principle.

She called her supervisor over to show him the proof of onward travel and bank balance, and he clearly thought she was making a fuss over nothing - I know enough Thai to understand that he kept repeating 'It's fine, it doesn't matter' to each of her objections to completing the check in process.

Is this normal? I have been travelling to Thailand every couple of years for the last couple of decades and have never come across this before, but I did notice that there is now a question about annual income on the landing cards in Thailand.

Full disclosure - I did once overstay my visa, entirely unwittingly, but this was 20 years and three passports ago so I doubt it would have been flagged up at check in. Prior to travel, I got what I understood to be a six month visa, but which actually only allowed for stays of up to two months within a six month period, so I overstayed by about a week without realising it. It clearly happened a lot - when I paid my fine upon departure the officials processing said so - and I had no problem re-entering Thailand a couple of weeks later.

Any thoughts welcome!
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Old Feb 2, 19, 10:42 am
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I would have refused and asked to speak to the supervisor. Pretty outrageous and not something I've ever come across.
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Old Feb 2, 19, 12:54 pm
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Is it possible you made several Thai boarder crossings in a short time and there are some new restrictions being put in place to clamp down on visa runs that was the issue (even if you were not doing a visa run)? I know this was generally for land crossings, but I guess your flight could be had for pocket change, so maybe Thai is working that also?

I certainly agree that for a normal entry this is completely past the bounds of reasonable.
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Old Feb 2, 19, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Editor View Post
Hi all,

I wasn't sure where best to post this, so Mods please move as appropriate!

TL;DR:
Flying on a British passport and checking in to a Bangkok Airways flight from Vientiane to Bangkok, I provided when requested proof of onward travel (the return portion of a CX LHR-HKG/BKK-HKG-LHR ticket departing after 10 days in Thailand), but the agent demanded to see proof of my bank balance 'in case of overstay'.

Are they allowed to do this?!

Longer version:
I was shocked by how insistent she was, and not having mobile banking I was pretty stuck until I remembered that I get weekly text statements for one of my accounts. Until then, she was insisting that we go to an ATM to print a statement. At first I resisted showing her as she had proof of onward travel and it's none of her business but she insisted and wouldn't check us in without it. Fortunately there was a decent amount in there, just shy of five figures and several multiples of the average annual salary in Laos, but I object to such nosiness on principle.

She called her supervisor over to show him the proof of onward travel and bank balance, and he clearly thought she was making a fuss over nothing - I know enough Thai to understand that he kept repeating 'It's fine, it doesn't matter' to each of her objections to completing the check in process.

Is this normal? I have been travelling to Thailand every couple of years for the last couple of decades and have never come across this before, but I did notice that there is now a question about annual income on the landing cards in Thailand.

Full disclosure - I did once overstay my visa, entirely unwittingly, but this was 20 years and three passports ago so I doubt it would have been flagged up at check in. Prior to travel, I got what I understood to be a six month visa, but which actually only allowed for stays of up to two months within a six month period, so I overstayed by about a week without realising it. It clearly happened a lot - when I paid my fine upon departure the officials processing said so - and I had no problem re-entering Thailand a couple of weeks later.

Any thoughts welcome!
One of the requirements to receive the visa exemption at Thai immigration is to have 10,000.00 Baht in funds per Person.
I have never myself asked to proof that at actual immigration counter but have heard people being asked (especially when travelling on a passport from a not so well off country or looking like the poorest backpacker out there).
Maybe the check-in agent just wanted to make sure that you meet 100% of the requirements and won't be send back costing Bangkok Airways money.
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Old Feb 2, 19, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by endet View Post
One of the requirements to receive the visa exemption at Thai immigration is to have 10,000.00 Baht in funds per Person.
I have never myself asked to proof that at actual immigration counter but have heard people being asked (especially when travelling on a passport from a not so well off country or looking like the poorest backpacker out there).
Maybe the check-in agent just wanted to make sure that you meet 100% of the requirements and won't be send back costing Bangkok Airways money.
Never knew this. Since I always read carefully the regs, I suspect I read it and forgot it as I would always have far more than $300US cash when traveling.

OP, did they ask you if you had that much cash on you?

I have seen a report they are asking for 20K baht at some boarders frequented by visa runners.

EDIT: I strongly assume it is illegal workers from the neighboring countries that they are targeting this at. That is why the supervisor told the agent to forget about it for a Brit.

Last edited by exwannabe; Feb 2, 19 at 4:36 pm
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Old Feb 2, 19, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by South London Bon Viveur View Post
I would have refused and asked to speak to the supervisor. Pretty outrageous and not something I've ever come across.
It's not that uncommon. I've been asked that many times when flying to the US. They ask you if you have enough money and also sometimes create a fuss if its more than 10k$ cash.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 6:36 am
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Originally Posted by wariobahn View Post
It's not that uncommon. I've been asked that many times when flying to the US. They ask you if you have enough money and also sometimes create a fuss if its more than 10k$ cash.
Really? Which airline's check in staff and which airports were you flying from? I am intrigued. I fly to the US a fair bit and have never been asked this by check in staff (immigration officials is obviously an entirely different matter). In any event, asking is one thing, demanding to see a bank statement is an altogether more onerous request.
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Old Feb 3, 19, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by South London Bon Viveur View Post


Really? Which airline's check in staff and which airports were you flying from? I am intrigued. I fly to the US a fair bit and have never been asked this by check in staff (immigration officials is obviously an entirely different matter). In any event, asking is one thing, demanding to see a bank statement is an altogether more onerous request.
Oh my bad - I was referring to immigration officials. Yeah the airline staff don't really ask anything. The only time when I've been asked by airline is staff was with FlyDubai when the country in question demanded $1000 in cash or 1 credit card per person.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 5:26 am
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i had PG flip tf out about the same thing about 7 years ago. i had no overstay history, so that's not it. in my case, the supervisor backed her up and i ended up missing my flight. and, yeah, whereas TG has never asked me for proof of return ticket, PG always does (learned that lesson the hard way too). when i was 1K i'd just book a dummy TG return (i rarely know how long i'll be somewhere).

used to love PG, but not so much these days. looking at a flight today (which is why i ended up searching FT for them)- found a good fare- well, not really.... once flights selected, it went up 170% above the advertised fare due to 'taxes' (mostly YQ). at that point, makes more sense to fly MH to help get back to low level OW status.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 12:06 pm
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Hi all,

Thanks for responses - glad it's not just me clutching pearls over nothing!

To answer questions, IIRC I've only ever entered Thailand by air and I think the shortest time between departure and re-entry was around five days - so couldn't really be mistaken for a visa run.

Do you think I have grounds for complaint? I appreciate it's a visa requirement, but is this something that should/needs to be checked by airline/airport staff rather than customs/immigration officials - particularly given the proof of onward travel?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 6, 19, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Editor View Post
Hi all,

Thanks for responses - glad it's not just me clutching pearls over nothing!

To answer questions, IIRC I've only ever entered Thailand by air and I think the shortest time between departure and re-entry was around five days - so couldn't really be mistaken for a visa run.

Do you think I have grounds for complaint? I appreciate it's a visa requirement, but is this something that should/needs to be checked by airline/airport staff rather than customs/immigration officials - particularly given the proof of onward travel?

Thanks!
When arriving you are most likely not given a visa. But a stamp that proofs your exemption from visa requirement. For such certain conditions must be met. And AFAIK the airline is required to check these requirements before they allow you to travel. Same thing if you need an actual visa.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 11:37 pm
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I read an article that Thailand is clamping down due to "begpackers" that made the news, just Google it.
​To avoid foreigners begging on the streets of Thailand to pay for their teavels, they are now occasionally checking on having the required funds available on entry. I have never been asked personally, Given the millions of visitors to Thailand, Id venture a guess that they ask less than 1% of cases...
Having cash, bank statement or proof of credit limit all should be sufficient in case they do ask for proof of 10k THB...
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Old Feb 11, 19, 9:25 am
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You said you have a British passport, flying from Vietnam to Thailand. And you said your bank statement show balance several times of average salaries in Laos, so are you ethnic Loas?
By any chance, are you a dark skin individual?
If so, I believe what she did was racial profiling, although unethical, racial profiling against dark skin customers is quite common and not illegal in many Asian countries. You see all the time that TG ground staff and FAs give preference treatment to "white/light skin" customers. Hotel staff, tour operators, street vendors all do the same, they clearly show preference for light skin color customers. It's the culture there.

Last edited by Mama; Feb 11, 19 at 9:33 am
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Old Feb 11, 19, 5:34 pm
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Mama, I think anybody who travels the world understands that what you describe exists.

I have no clue about OP, but in this case it does not smell to me that this was the issue. Smells much more like a newbie agent being strict about a rule rule when everybody else knows that it is not needed for somebody who is clearly not trying to cross the boarder to get a job paying 100 baht a day as a maid..
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Old Feb 12, 19, 6:52 pm
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[QUOTE=exwannabe;30766694 Smells much more like a newbie agent being strict about a rule rule when everybody else knows that it is not needed for somebody who is clearly not trying to cross the boarder to get a job paying 100 baht a day as a maid..[/QUOTE]

Profiling exists, no doubt.
This is also a good point though - I have noticed that frontline staff in Asia often is not empowered to make decisions, combined with severe penalties for making mistakes. In the Philippines, for example, staff can have the cost of mistakes taken out of their pay - which can leave them working without pay for months! Thus, they will follow the rules to the letter to make sure they don't get in trouble. It'll take a more senior person/supervisor, like in this case, to use common sense and make a decision.
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