A Russian man, identified only as Mr. Oleg, had found himself stranded at Phuket Airport’s International terminal for 14 days before finally being able to get a flight back home on September 21. His departure was only made public by the Phuket Tourist Assistance Centre after Mr. Oleg had left the country because of “undisclosed reasons”.
The Terminal is a 2004 American film starring Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stanley Tucci. The film is about an Eastern European man who is stuck in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport terminal after problems with his visa.
Mr. Oleg, originally a tourist visiting Phuket, missed his scheduled return flight to Russia. Airport staff then discovered him distressed and drunk, without the funds to purchase a new outward bound ticket, or able to support himself while figuring out how he was going to get home.
For two weeks, a joint effort by airport personnel, TAC officials, and Phuket Tourist Police officers, Mr. Oleg’s was kept fed as he tried to contact relatives and find a new way onto a Russian-bound plane. He required medical attention for an eye infection and was taken to Thalang Hospital at one stage, where he was examined and prescribed eye drops.
Both TAC officials and Tourist Police officers also purchased food for Mr. Oleg. No help was sought from Phuket’s large Russian community during his 2 week stay.
But after 2 weeks, and arrangements with relatives, he was able to board a plane and head back to Russia.
Yesterday Mr. Oleg thanked all the people that had looked after his welfare whilst stuck in a real-life ‘Terminal’ situation.
“Thank you all for your great support. It was really difficult without you.”
The TAC also expressed their thanks to everyone who was able to help Mr. Oleg during his unplanned, extended stay inside the international terminal.
The TAC Facebook page also noted that he had faced a similar situation at the end of 2022.
“We don’t have a budget to support tourists financially. Assistance in each case depends on the work conditions, behaviour and consent of the tourists to cooperate.”