When the chairman of Thai Airways arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport, he did so with his wife, and 30 pieces of luggage. His official luggage allowance is just 132 pounds, so the 840 pounds of stuff he was dragging along with him on his trip was about six times too heavy.
Based on the excess luggage rates for Thai Airways, Mr. Wallop would have been expected to pay about $12,000 for the right to bring his luggage on the plane – but apparently he felt he was too important to pay. And that is where a firestorm of criticism started.
Thai Airways hasn’t posted a profit in several years, and the chairman was already on shaky ground. This incident has finally forced the airline board to investigate the incident, and they placed Wallop on administrative leave.
The whole story gets even better, because apparently Wallop demanded that all his luggage be sent to the lost and found depot at Bankok airport, in order to prevent it passing through customs (and being subject to import taxes). As the storm grew, Wallop even claimed all 30 bags were filled with donations for a local Buddhist temple.
Even the Thai government managed to get involved – and with growing calls for his resignation, Mr. Wallop will probably really regret pushing the limits on luggage allowance, since it will end up costing him his job.