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  • The Storyteller

The Confusion for Airport Pick-up: Domestic vs International Terminal

At Chiangmai Airport, the various hotel representatives await for their guests at the different gates, depending on the information featured on the arrival screen. Here, like in all other airports worldwide, there is a domestic and international terminal. In this case, these two terminals are at different ends of the same complex.

When guests arrive on Thai Airways (or Thai Smile - a subsidiary of Thai Airways) via Bangkok - or maybe other airlines as well but the writer's first-hand experience was with the Thai airline, some passengers in the same carrier may have their luggage coming out from the belt at domestic terminal while others will exit from the international terminal, depending on the original boarding point.

So when the hotel guests indicate "TG 123", the property will simply check for the gate number on screen and arrange for its airport representative to await right outside, even well knowing that some of the guests may exit from the other end of the terminal.

This means there is always a likelihood that some poor fella will be waiting at one exit while the airport representative is still standing at the opposite far end of the building. And this is not helped when the employee finally meets the guests and mutters, "I thought it was the (international/domestic) terminal." Naturally, one could imagine the unhappy guests before they even reach the property.

To be fair, the representative had dutifully checked the screen and indeed it was featured that the said flight was receiving its luggage at certain belt of the (international/domestic) terminal. He was not wrong in waiting until the last passenger has left and there was no longer any more pieces of luggage left on the belt before moving to the other terminal in search of his missing guests.

This is when the management and team should have taken an upstream approach in finding out the root causes and working on preventive solutions; rather than taking an uncalculated risk each time that all the guests would arrive in the same terminal.

Why make both the employees and guests go through all the unnecessary stress and potential discontentment that may lead to further complaints?

Reflective thoughts: What actions can you think of to resolve this situation?

(Points of note: 1) There can only be one airport representative waiting; 2) Furthermore, even if the hotel had known the guest first boarded the flight from a foreign country, it does not necessarily mean that he/she will exit from international gate at Chiangmai Airport.)

Are you able to list at least one key issue or complaint in your business, whereby the attempt in tackling the subject matter had not been particularly upstream in approach?

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