This Bizarre New Travel Trend Involves Creepy Dolls

Photo: CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/ AFP/ Getty Images.
If horror movies have given you an irrational fear of creepy dolls, you might want to avoid air travel in Thailand.

The Telegraph reports that passengers on Thai Smile Airways are now permitted to book airplane seats for their lifelike dolls, known as Luk Thep. Luk Thep, or “child angels,” are supposed to contain the spirit of an actual child and are meant to bring good luck. Owners treat their angel dolls like real children, taking them shopping, to restaurants, and, increasingly, on flights when they travel.

Thai Smile’s new policy was announced in response to customers becoming offended when asked to store the dolls, which retail for as much as $400, in overhead bins. Now the airline will allow passengers to purchase separate seats for the dolls, where they will be treated just like normal customers — buckling up for takeoff and landing, and being served snacks and drinks by flight attendants mid-flight.

Luk Thep have become increasingly popular in Thailand over the past year, though The Telegraph notes that the trend is really just a modern iteration of the traditional practice among Thai customers of carrying amulets for good luck. Celebrities posting pictures of their dolls (and crediting them with their success) has helped fuel their popularity.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has even weighed in, advising people not to waste their money on the trend and warning them not to “get carried away,” according to Thai PBS.

Good luck may be but one of the reasons some people are trying to fly with their Luk Thep dolls. Earlier this week, a passenger attempted to smuggle 200 tablets of yaba, a Thai amphetamine, inside one of the dolls. So, there's also that.
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