Don Mueang Airport x AirAsia Review = Nope.

I honestly wish I could say that my Thailand trip was great for cheering up and relaxing, BUT... my experiences at Don Mueang Airport mostly destroyed any inclination I may have had to return. Like, I'd LIKE to go back to Bangkok, but next time, I hope I land AND depart at Suvarnabhumi Airport instead.

The last time I transited at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I had a mostly pleasant experience. It could be the staff connected with the airline I was taking (Japan Airlines, which in my opinion has been one of the most pleasant flights I have ever taken), but at Suvarnabhumi, I felt that the Thai staff at the airport was more courteous and willing to help.

This time, having taken an AirAsia budget flight to Bangkok, I had to land at Don Mueang, their low-cost airport.



At this moment in the plane before I landed in Bangkok, I still had yet to know the terror that would be unleash on me in the airport...

I didn't realise low-cost meant being treated like you're a member of some archaic low-class caste system, but there it was.

My first attempt in my 20s to step on Thailand soil, and what do I get? An Immigration woman who didn't smile at me, but I'm used to this. People in Immigration/ Customs/ Security in airports everywhere all seem to have adopted that same old high-and-mighty vibe, so whatever, just let me, A PERSON WHO JUST WANTS TO VISIT THE COUNTRY, through.

However.

TO THROW MY PASSPORT BACK AT ME ON THE COUNTER, THOUGH? 

In a word: wow.

Fine, fine.

I get out of the airport, and go to the city. I brave Bangkok traffic, go to a dog café, get a 2-hour massage, eat lots of tom yum, buy too many clothes (should I do a haul post?), and so on.

THEN I HAD TO RETURN TO HELL DON MUEANG.

Both M's flight and mine were at 5PM, so we called for a car via the Grab app at 2PM. We thought we'd get to the airport at 3PM, get through the entire airport process, and be sitting at our gate at around 4:00PM.

Simple, right?

For M, this was true. She was flying Scoot to Singapore, and the time length from arriving at the airport to being near her gate was around 45 minutes.

For me, who was taking AirAsia?

Well.

Let's just say that while EVERYONE CAN FLY, Don Mueang Airport cannot handle EVERYONE THAT FLIES IN OR OUT.

It was clear that AirAsia had a lot of passengers. Good for them!

THEN WHY DID YOU ONLY OPEN TWO ROWS, with A MAXIMUM OF TEN COUNTERS OPEN TO ACCOMODATE EVERYONE?

I stood in this line at 3PM. At 3:45PM, I finally reached the counter, AND GUESS WHAT GUYS?

"Please take your luggage and go to row 2 to deposit it."

???

???

???

My dear, what is the luggage conveyer belt next to your counter for? Decorative purposes? Just to weigh my 7KG luggage bag?

I regret not putting everything in my cabin bag, to be honest. I was told that I'd shop a lot in Bangkok and would need to check-in my luggage, and after forking out RM120 for a 20kg spot in AirAsia, MY LUGGAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY WAS STILL JUST 7KG.

The exact right weight to bring up the plane by myself, thank you very much.

I went over to row 2 to find the luggage scanning machine and conveyer belt... and of course, it's not working. I'm standing around for 5 minutes, it's getting hotter and hotter because all the tourists milling around me are also waiting for the machine to start scanning and moving, and OF COURSE, a staple in trips these days - mainland Chinese tourists who have never been taught the concept of queuing pushing past others to stand in front.

I thought to myself, well, my bag is just 7KG, I might as well lug it inside via Immigration... only Security booted me out after seeing the luggage tag on my EXTREMELY FOLDABLE BAG.

Like they just would not let me in Immigration, and just told me "two, two, two" in broken Mandarin.

I couldn't even tell them my bag was just 7KG and foldable, because they wouldn't understand it in any of the languages I spoke (not Thai, obviously).

SIGH.

After all was said and done, I finally sat at my gate at 4:30PM after speed-walking all the way there.

SIGH x 2.

Luckily for me, Immigration was much faster than the AirAsia rows outside.

I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO DON MUEANG AGAIN. 

My ordeal wasn't over. I got back to Kuala Lumpur and my luggage wasn't there. After looking for the ground staff, I learned that Don Mueang kept my luggage because I had mistakenly thrown my powerbank in there. So, okay, this part of the ordeal was brought on by myself, so good job, self.

To give kudos where they are deserved, the AirAsia staff in KLIA2 was so much more pleasant than the experience I had in Don Mueang.

They wrote down my name, took my luggage key (I had attached a lock to the IKEA-like bag), and assured me my luggage would be delivered to me within the week. Two days later, my bag came to me, sans powerbank. This was certainly a dramatic way to tell me to get rid of my powerbank, which was already two years old and pretty much falling apart.

Personally, I was truly impressed with how AirAsia Malaysia handled the issue of my lost luggage. They were polite and courteous, for example saying:

"Miss, Bangkok kept your luggage because there was a powerbank in it. You need to give permission for them to open up your luggage, is that okay?"

instead of,

"Miss, why you put powerbank in your luggage lah. Never check ah? You don't know cannot put powerbank meh?"

I've literally had client-facing staff talk to me like that before (and of course, Asian relatives), so this was a pleasant surprise in an otherwise unpleasant day. Thank you, AirAsia Malaysia ground staff.

The lesson of this rant? 

Well, there are several, but off the top of my head for myself:

a) Don't buy luggage if you're taking AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and back again, it will just slow you down even more,

b) Depart for the airport from the city 4-5 hours before your flight if you HAVE to use Don Mueang (cutting short your 3D2N vacation even more but hey, what can you do),

c) don't put a powerbank in your luggage 😂,  or

d) just don't go to Don Mueang Airport (via AirAsia), unless you want to ruin your entire Bangkok trip in two hours or less in one place.

The end.

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