Thai Smile Airways recently created buzz when they announced that passengers could purchase tickets for their "luk thep" dolls to have their own personal seats, complete with snacks and drinks, reported BBC on Thursday.
The "luk thep" dolls, which translates as "child angels", is the latest fad in Thailand where people pamper and care for their lifelike dolls, believing that it could bring them luck. Local believers even bring their "luk theps" to Buddhist monks for an anointing ceremony which they call "plook sek" - a rite that is usually performed on amulets, which are also a craze in the country where beliefs in magic are still prevalent.
"Luk thep" owners even welcome wandering spirits to inhabit their dolls to give them souls.
According to Bangkok Post on Jan. 24, cabin crew members of Thai Smile Airways classify passengers carrying "luk thep" dolls into two categories.
Those who did not purchase flight tickets for their dolls, their "child angel" will be treated as a carry-on baggage that weighs seven kilograms or less.
Meanwhile, for those who bought flight seats for their dolls, the booking staff will note "Child Angel" on the passenger registration record, listing as well the name of the owner and the total number of dolls they carry in the plane.
Passengers with "luk thep" dolls are only permitted to sit in window seats, while their dolls are required to wear seatbelts to avoid being thrown into the air in cases of turbulence.
The Thai airline noted that the guidelines on "luk theps" was necessary for cabin crew members in order to handle the dolls as over 40 passengers have been noted to have brought their "child angels" on board.
Chief Executive Woranate Laprabang of Thai Smile noted that most passengers with "luk theps" put so much value on their dolls that they prefer to seat them on their laps or into the aircraft seat next to them, and are not pleased when asked to put away their dolls in overhead compartments or under their seats.