The illusion of hugs for Valentine


BANGKOK, 15 February  2018: Thai Vietjet celebrated Valentine’s Day by hugging its passengers on board flights soaring to destinations across Thailand.

The ‘Share Hugs’ campaign was built around a video shoot at its home base Suvarnabhumi Airport, 10 February, as passengers queued to check-in on the eve of the Chinese New Year holiday week.  I know because I was in the long queue. Not a hug or even a teddy bear for this grandpa, but the kids joining the flight enjoyed the surprise hug.

The online video showed a film of the airline’s cabin crews holding ‘Free Hug’ signs at the airport, followed by lively activities in the air such as inviting all passengers on-board to hug anyone seated nearby, a lucky draw game and performance by cabin crews singing love songs

Not to put a downer on the share hug campaign and Valentine Day antics, but the flight this editor took on Thai Vietjet,  Bangkok to Chiang Rai, 10 February, was a disappointing affair.

The outward journey three days earlier from Chiang Rai had been cheerful enough with crew conducting their duties with a smile, but the return flight was run by a surly crew who were actually having a domestic tiff as passengers boarded.

The plane’s air-conditioning failed to work properly, or the crew thought we needed to be warmed up after the chills of Suvarnabhumi. Whatever, it was a miserable clammy, hot journey with the crew passing by just twice during the one-hour 10-minute flight. For the rest of the flight they hid behind a curtain hugging the faint drift of cool air that filtered through to the cabin.  So Thai Vietjet is not consistent. A great flight enjoyed out of Chiang Rai and bummer on the way back. Rarely, would I say ‘never again’ when the fare is such a remarkable bargain, but this was one of them. Hugs or not, Thai Vietjet comes across as very gimmicky. The airline majors in song and dance routines, hugs and teddy bears and forgets it has a plane load of passengers who felt they had signed up for a steam sauna. Not a single explanation forthcoming, on the faulty air-conditioning. And nobody wanted to hug us either.