British tourists moved from Bangkok airport

Hundreds of stranded British tourists were taken by coach to out-of-town hotels tonight after anti-government protests closed Bangkok airport.

While the UK Government expressed "deep concern at the worsening unrest" in Thailand, UK holidaymakers spoke of the earlier "chaos and confusion" at Bangkok airport.

There was more anxiety for the stranded Britons even when they were able to board coaches to get them away from the airport, which was still occupied tonight by supporters of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy.

The Britons reported that they had little idea of where their coaches were going, with some ending up at the resort of Pattaya - 120 miles from the capital.

With all flights in and out Bangkok cancelled and the demonstrators refusing to back down, the Britons faced a wait before they could return home.

British Airways flight BA9 leaving Heathrow tonight, which should have stopped at Bangkok en route to Sydney, was landing at Singapore instead.

The return flight tomorrow from Sydney - BA10 - was also using Singapore rather than the Thai capital.

The Britons were among around 4,000 stranded passengers at Bangkok who had to spend Tuesday night sleeping where they could, with some settling for the floor of the airport.

Speaking as he headed by coach to Pattaya earlier today, stand-up comic Harry Bedford, 40, from Greenwich, south London, told of the hours of waiting at the airport.

He said: "I was supposed to fly back with Thai Airways but the flight was scrapped. We could hear protests going on and could glimpse yellow-shirted demonstrators.

"But it was very difficult to know exactly what was happening. First they shut down all the TVs, then there was no access to computers. There were no announcements and it was all very confusing and chaotic.

"Everything at the airport shut down, but we heard that there was food and drink in one of the first-class lounges, so everyone went there.

"We asked if they could bring pillows and blankets off the planes for us, but they refused, saying it was against the rules, which was ridiculous.

"Then we had to leave the airport and there were long waits. We were told there were explosions, but, bizarrely, when we got outside it was more like a festival with demonstrators in good spirits.

"Then we were told there were road blocks, but the one I saw amounted to just three guys standing around. The authorities seemed to have over-reacted."

Mr Bedford said that he and a number of Britons joined other tourists in boarding a convoy of coaches.

He added that everyone thought they would be taken to somewhere else in Bangkok but they then found out they were going to Pattaya.

On board the coach with Mr Bedford was electronic engineer Roy Manning, 53, from Cambridge, who had been due to fly home after a short holiday in Thailand.

Mr Manning said: "They must have known about the trouble at Bangkok before my connecting flight left from Phuket. I could have stayed on at my hotel until all this had died down.

"It was pandemonium at Bangkok Airport. There were no announcements and nobody seemed willing to tell us what was going on. There were elderly people left to camp out on the floor and there was no-one to deal with those with special needs."

Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said: "I am deeply concerned about the worsening unrest in Bangkok over the last 48 hours.

"We urge all sides to this political dispute to resolve their differences peacefully and legally, respecting Thailand's democratic institutions.

"Thailand is an important destination for British tourists and investors. I sympathise with those whose travel plans have been disrupted by the closure of Bangkok's international airport.

"The consular team at our embassy is offering assistance to British nationals affected, and liaising with the airlines. Travellers to Thailand should monitor the travel advice on our website and keep in touch with their airlines and tour operators."

Suggested Topics
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine