Dolls with 'supernatural powers' allowed seating on Thai Smile airline

Like child passengers, the dolls are banned from being seated in exit rows, though their owners are required to fasten their seat belts during take off and landing.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Jan. 25, 2016 at 1:18 PM
1 of 10
Sign up for our weekly Korea Now newsletter
An exclusive report putting perspective on the week's most important developments.

BANGKOK, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Guys and now "supernatural" dolls are to be allowed seating on a Thai airline – provided their owners purchase a ticket on their behalf.

The dolls, considered lucky charms by Thai women, are known as Luk Thep, Child Angels, or "god dolls." They have been selling for hundreds of dollars after celebrities began promoting them on media, Bloomberg reported.

Photographer Alexander Hotz composed a photo essay featuring the haunting dolls and their creator, Mananya "Mama Ning" Boonmee, who says the dolls are "infused with a child's soul."

The dolls' owners prize them for possessing the spirits of child angels and indulge them with expensive clothes and accessories.

Better treatment of the doll is believed to bring good luck, which is perhaps why some women are willing to pay extra cash for the dolls to be seated like other passengers. Otherwise, the dolls are to be put away, like carry-on luggage, the Bangkok Post reported.

Even when brought on board as carry-on, the dolls get priority cabin space, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Thai Smile Airways, a member of national carrier Thai Airways International, recently issued a staff memorandum, advising flight attendants to treat the dolls like children.

The dolls have gone through a "spiritualization" process that invites a child's soul into the doll. They are reminiscent of an ancient Thai household divinity called Kuman Thong, represented by a decorative child figure that contained the remains of an unborn fetus.

But that's not all they are infused with, according to police. Thai police recently seized a Luk Thep doll being used as a drug mule to smuggle "yaba," an amphetamine pill, at Chang Mai airport.

Like child passengers, the dolls are banned from being seated in exit rows, though their owners are required to fasten their seat belts during take off and landing.

The new policy for the dolls comes more than two months after at least 40 passengers began boarding Thai Smile flights with their dolls.

Woranate Laprabang, the chief executive of the airline, said the changes were made after flight attendants noticed the majority of doll owners would place the large dolls on their lap, or place them on an adjacent empty seat.

During turbulence, the dolls' placement would pose risks to passengers' safety, Laprabang said.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from UPI.com
Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories