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'Child angel' dolls are not human beings, says Thai authorities

Thailand’s air safety body warned passengers on Wednesday (Jan 27) that lucky "child angel" dolls cannot be considered real people and must be properly stowed before take-off and landing.

The unusual clarification from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) came in response to the latest superstitious craze sweeping the kingdom, where Thais are pampering lifelike dolls that are believed to contain the spirit of a real child in hopes that it will bring them good luck.

The dolls, which can cost up to US$600 (S$856), were first popularised by celebrities who claimed dressing up and feeding the dolls had brought them professional success.

Earlier this week, local media reported that a leaked internal memo from Thai Smile Airways said dolls would be sold tickets and served snacks and drinks on the plane.

The memo defined the "child angels" as "a doll that is alive", adding that the dolls must buckle up during take off and landing, according to reports.

But the CAAT said in its statement that child angel dolls were "non-human beings that cannot be considered passengers".

"Carry-on baggage must be stored inside overhead lockers or underneath the seat," it said.

The Bangkok Post quoted acting CAAT director Chula Sukmanop as saying that owners would be allowed to place their dolls in seats, but they would have to buy additional tickets.

Flyers who do not wish to sit beside these dolls can request for a change of seat, he added.

However, doll owners will have to allow their dolls to be subjected to screening and X-rays before boarding the plane. Those who refuse will not be allowed to bring the dolls on the plane.

Sources: AFP, Bangkok Post

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