A+ A A-

Thai Airways subsidiary bans disabled people from flights

  • Written by George Sensalis

Thai Airways subsidiary Thai Smile stopped accepting bookings from disabled people “for their own safety”.


Apanee Mitthong could not believe her ears when last November a Thai Smile's check-in staff told her the airline stopped carrying disabled people.


Miss Mitthong, who is national project manager of Disabled People’s International Asia-Pacific Region, did not waste a minute to voice her frustration.


On November 11 she started a petition on, urging Thai Smile resume service for passengers with disabilities. Her petition raised 19.610 signatures so far.


"I was denied access because of my disability, I just want to protect my rights," she told the Bangkok Post. "I want my case to make Thai airlines and airports offer equal service to passengers with disabilities.”

Thai Smile was not immediately available for comments. Thai media confirmed the airline introduced the ban on passengers with Thai Smile Airbus A320 aircraft in flightdisabilities on November 6. 


Airline management was quoted saying the decision to suspend accepting bookings from disabled people was taken because "carrying a disabled up the steps to the plane can be risky."


Apanee Mitthong’s protest did not go unheard. In December, management from the Office of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities of the Thai Ministry of Transport met with representative of Thai Smile. During the meeting, government officials reminded the airline of their legal obligation to help disabled passengers.


On December 14 Thai Smile resumed accepting disabled people for travel. It is unclear if there is a cap on the number of wheelchair users per flight.


Thai Smile is a low cost subsidiary of Thai Airways. Formed in 2012, the airline operates a fleet of 14 Airbus A320 aircraft to domestic and international destinations.


Are you a wheelchair user? Have you recently travelled to Thailand? Post your comments on Reduced Mobility Rights Facebook page or tell us your story using the contact form.



We had an insulting and physically damaging experience on board an international flight. We approached Reduced Mobility Rights and received support to reach a resolution.

Michael and Sara Heymann

Company Info

Reduced Mobility Rights Limited
Registered in England and Wales.
Company No : 07748812
9 Dalton House, 60 Windsor Avenue, London
United Kingdom, SW19 2RR
Phone: +44.(0)7786.993741



Cookie Policy

We use cookies to create the best website experience for our readers. By continuing to use our site, you agree to the placement of cookies on your device. Please read our cookie policy to learn more about cookies and learn how to disable them.