The news, announced on Monday (Aug 9), came on the same day that THAI Smile announced a special flight to Bangkok on Aug 14 reserved for Phuket Sandbox tourists only.
Of note, THAI Smile is a subsidiary of THAI Airways International, which is no longer the national flag carrier since it went into receivership.
“As explained in the news, foreign tourists need to take a bus from Phuket to Suvarnabhumi Airport to take their booked flight back to their [home] countries because the CAAT ordered all airlines to not operate any passenger flights to or from ‘dark-red zone’ provinces [maximum controlled areas for risk of COVID-19],” the CAAT explained in its announcement.
The CAAT marked that the shutdown of all flights to or from the ‘dark-red zones’, including Bangkok, from July 21 “was to follow the disease control measure of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration [CCSA]”.
However, the shutdown exempted any flights serving “the Sandbox area”, the announcement said.
“Even though scheduled flights for passengers to travel between Phuket and Bangkok are allowed, the CAAT has opened for airlines to ask and operate charter flights from Phuket to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
“With the limited number of passengers, airline operators have not operated such flights to serve Sandbox tourists, as they consider the flights may not be cost-effective,” the CAAT explained.
“Right now, there are flights for passengers from Phuket to U-Tapao Airport in Rayong [located outside Pattaya, flights operated by Nok Air]. The CAAT has reminded the airline to help passengers by arranging a bus service to Suvarnabhumi Airport,” the CAAT said.
“The facilitation is to solve the problem of tourists traveling under the Sandbox scheme while no airline is operating a charter flight for such a route,” it added.
Thai Smile will operate a special charter flight from Phuket to Bangkok this Saturday (Aug 14). The flight is exclusively for Sandbox tourists.
Thai Smile flight WE8087 will depart Phuket at 2:30pm and land at Suvarnabhumi at 4pm. Ticket prices are B4,300 per person (all inclusive). Baggage allowance is 20kg and excess baggage will cost B70/kg.
Passengers must confirm their travel details by completing a special Google Form registration document (click here) by the end of office hours tomorrow (Aug 12).
Payment must be made to the “WE account” by 12pm tomorrow (Aug 12).
Bank payment details:
Bank: Kasikorn Bank
Account Name: Thai Smile Airways Co., Ltd
Account Number: 061-2-69469-9
People with enquiries about the flight were advised to email firstname.lastname@example.org
SANDBOX EXPRESS BUS
Phuket officials yesterday confirmed that ‘Sandbox Express Bus’ service from Phuket to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok will continue only until next Monday (Aug 16).
The Sandbox Express Bus operates every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Ticket prices cost B1,500 per person per trip.
The bus picks up passengers from Central Festival Phuket at 5am and from the PTT petrol station in Thalang at 5:30am. The bus is scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport at approximately 9pm.
To reserve a seat on bus, passengers need to submit additional documents to the SHA Plus Manager for the hotel or other accommodation venue where they are staying with the following details:
- Passenger’s email and phone number
- Destination (Suvarnabhumi International Airport or the destination province)
- Flight (if available)
- Date of flight (if applicable)
- RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test results no later than 72 hours before departure (if not a passenger from the Phuket Sandbox project); or a Release Form if the passenger is from the Phuket Sandbox project
- Copy of passport and immigration stamp
- Immigration entry document number
“After August 16, Phuket Sandbox passengers wishing to leave the province after a 14-night stay can contact the SHA Plus Manager of the hotel where they are staying to arrange a vehicle,” said an announcement by Phuket officials posted yesterday (Aug 10).
The SHA Plus Manager will reserve a seat on a certified vehicle so that the passenger can travel out of the province. The documents listed above will still need to be submitted to the SHA Plus Manager, the announcement noted.
All bookings for the bus for Phuket Sandbox tourists must be made via the SHA Plus Manager at the passenger’s SHA Plus hotel.
Bookings are open daily from 8:30am to 4pm.
“Please reserve your seat before 12:00 (noon) one day before departure,” the announcement said.
Passengers must register by completing a Google Form registration document (click here).
“If you wish to travel on a date other than the one listed above, please fill out the ’Other/Other’ field in the form and the Sandbox Express team will contact you directly,” the announcement noted.
People with enquiries about the Phuket Sandbox Bus service were advised to call Ms May at 093-5800889 or Khun Panya at 086-4927882.