In a rather disturbing move Thai Smile Airways has announced that passengers are now permitted to buy plane tickets for their uber realistic/super strange Luk Thep, or “child angel” dolls so owners can travel right next to them when they fly.
The adults who own a Luk Thep believe the figures contain the spirit of an actual child and treat them like real children, pampering them with designer clothes, taking them to dinner and now even on holidays, all in a bid to bring good luck.
If owners aren’t willing to shell out the extra cash for the Luk Thep doll to have its own seat, it’ll be stored as carry on – something that has upset human Luk Thep owners in the past. Thai Smile Airlines airlines says it promises to treat the dolls who have their own seat like other passengers, serving them with refreshments like normal passengers.
But Chula Sukmanop, director of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has expressed concerns about the dolls not being stowed away.
"Without a standard, if passengers carry on 'Look Thep' dolls aboard airplanes and cause a problem or unexpected incident in the way that affects air safety, that may affect efforts to solve the red flag and significant security concern of the International Civil Aviation Organisation," Chula told the Bangkok Post.
The dolls – which can retail for as much as $400 – have become popular in Thailand over the past few years with owners often posting photos of themselves with their “children” and the good fortune they have brought them, like lottery tickets. Some Thai celebrities have also cashed in on the fad and the Bangkok Post recently ran a story about a monk who blesses hundreds of dollies every day, sometimes six per person.
But it’s not just strange adults using the doll for a mental comfort, criminals have seen some opportunity in using the Luk Thep’s to smuggle drugs. Earlier this week one Luk Thep was found inside a black suitcase, filled with 200 tablets of a methamphetamine-based drug named yaba.