UK Ambassador says the UK Embassy is making contingency plans for helping UK travellers and also assisting them to get refunds or reticketing for flights home to Britain. Brian Davidson has urged all British people in Thailand to also observe not just the letter of the law but the spirit of it regarding restrictions such as curfews, social distancing and gatherings in Thailand at this time.
The UK embassy is working to assist stranded UK travellers in Thailand get refunds for cancelled flights as well as tickets for other flights back to the UK. It also revealed this week that it is surveying UK nationals in the kingdom as it prepares contingency plans. The ambassador predicts that the lifting of restrictions in Thailand will be a gradual and selective process.
In an update on Friday, the UK ambassador to Thailand, Brian Davidson revealed that the embassy is surveying UK nationals in the kingdom regarding contingency planning to offer further assistance to British people currently stranded in the kingdom or those who wish to return home.
He revealed that the UK embassy was providing information on an ongoing basis on flights that may be leaving Thailand to those interested in returning to the UK.
Embassy giving letters to UK nationals to get through checkpoints if heading for the airport to fly home
He also said that the embassy can issue letters to UK nationals who may have difficulties with road checkpoints as they try to reach airports to connect with flights back to the United Kingdom.
‘For example, one of the issues you have raised with us is the difficulty of getting through checkpoints to an airport to get a flight back to the UK.’
Ambassador Davidson said that the embassy can supply a letter if UK nationals make contact with the embassy on a specific email (see below) for those wishing to return to the United Kingdom who wish to register with the embassy for assistance.
Since the state of emergency was declared on March 26th last, such checkpoints have been operated nationwide to control the movements of people and ensure compliance with the instructions of the government’s Covid 19 centre as well as provincial restrictions imposed by governors and local officials as provided for by law.
Embassy following up with airlines to speed up a refund or reticketing for stranded passengers
The ambassador also disclosed that the embassy in Bangkok has been following up with airlines associated with stranded UK passengers where flights were cancelled leaving them high and dry in the kingdom during this worldwide health emergency.
He has urged UK nationals to contact their airlines to see first of all if reticketing is an option to arrange for another flight or a flight with another airline or alternatively, a cash refund.
‘We’re also speaking to the airlines about being quicker about refunding flights that have been cancelled and about redirecting to different airlines,’ he said.
UK nationals should prepare for conditions at home
He also told Britons to check on the embassy website pages for information on the situation back in the United Kingdom if returning home to be prepared for what they are flying into.
No renewal of UK passports in Bangkok right now until an interim ‘solution’ is found by authorities
The ambassador also raised the issue of the renewal of expired passports. He said that the normal service in Bangkok is not operating right now and discouraged any UK expats in Thailand from visiting the capital for this purpose.
He disclosed that the UK embassy was working with the passport office in the United Kingdom and Thai authorities to produce an interim solution which he hoped to be ‘able to give more detail on in due course’ when finalised.
Good news as visas for short term visitors were extended automatically from April 30th to July 31st
The ambassador welcomed the automatic extension of visas for UK nationals staying on a short term basis in Thailand due to the coronavirus emergency.
This was approved by the Thai cabinet this week and sees all tourist visas extended until July 31st from April 30th.
Ambassador Davidson told any UK national who has difficulty at any particular immigration office to contact the immigration bureau hotline on 1178 which will help clarify the new dispensation.
Warning to UK nationals in Thailand to keep to the spirit as well as the letter of Thai law at this time
The ambassador said his view was that any easing of the current lockdown measures in Thailand would be gradual and selective depending on the province or locality.
He urged UK nationals to be aware of all restrictions currently in force and to observe them not only to the letter of the law but to the spirit of it also.
‘Please, wherever you are, respect the local restrictions both in terms of the spirit as well as the letter of the law,’ he said.
The ambassador referred them to an email email@example.com for those who had queries or problems at this time regarding returning home to the UK. He also gave out another email which is firstname.lastname@example.org for those with general queries.