Don Mueang Defends Food Prices as PM Orders Investigation

A tourist Wednesday outside the Punthai Coffee shop in Don Mueang International Airport.

BANGKOK — Don Mueang International Airport says food sold there is available at different budgets after the military government ordered an investigation into the issue Wednesday following a complaint by a Japanese traveler.

After junta spokesman Col. Athisit Chainuwat said Wednesday that Gen. Prayuth Chano-ocha had ordered related agencies to “maintain appropriate prices” at Don Mueang, the airport’s general manager said in an interview that both affordable and expensive options can be found available from airport vendors.

“You can find Minere water for 35 baht right next to Evian water priced 85 and 125 baht,” Suthirawat Suwannawat, general manager of Don Mueang International Airport said. “They’re right next to each other in the shop. It’s up to what he wanted to present,” he said, referring to the Japanese blogger whose complaint got the junta’s attention.

“If you came here, you would know. You can find 60 baht food at the welfare shops that Chinese tourists love to come eat at,” he added.

The original complaint from Bangkok-based businessman Akihiro Koki about excessive prices of bottled water was posted to a Japanese news portal, Col. Athisit said.

But Suthirawat conceded that once past immigration checkpoints, shops can charge whatever they want.

“S&P for example, might be 5 to 10 percent more expensive than shops in the city,” he said. However, royal project shops pay no rent and sell items relatively inexpensively, he said.

“Thai people might overlook those shops, but Chinese tourists don’t,” he said.

The manager welcomed people to come check out the airport’s food prices.

“If you know where to look, there’s really both cheap and expensive food. You can eat a 180 baht buffet with sushi and New Zealand mussels at the Amari Don Muang Airport Bangkok Hotel,” he said. “For the quality of the food, a buffet like that will cost you at least 600 in the city. That buffet is overflowing with farangs.”

In April 2016, similar complaints led to an inspection of Don Mueang’s food prices. Government ombudsman Gen. Wittawat Ratchatana said food court items – not chain restaurants – could not charge over 10 baht per bottle of water and 50 baht for meals.

Wednesday, Suthirawat maintained that bottles of water costing 7 baht to 10 baht could be found at DMK.

Related stories:

Food at DMK Cheaper in Time for Songkran