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We got a collector with 7,000 dolls to weigh in on the news.

January 28, 2016

Add this to the list of unorthodox airline amenities: Thai Smile Airlines has just announced that they will sell seats to the cult Thai dolls called Luk Thep. These life-like homunculi are considered “child angels” and if you lavish them with designer clothes and accessories they will supposedly guarantee good luck. (But really, if you buy me this stuff, I will act nice, too.)

Onboard, the dolls will be served snacks and drinks, but be barred from sitting in exit rows. If you don’t get them their own ticket, they will be shoved unceremoniously in the overhead bin—so much for your good fortune.

I feel that I am uniquely qualified to comment on this: I once flew home from London with a giant 1920s elf doll on my lap—no picnic after the first few hours—which garnered stares from fellow passengers ranging from bemusement to disgust to horror. As an antique toy and doll collector, I should be sympathetic to this Thai Smile business (shouldn’t I at least be smiling?). But my toys, although they have their charms, hardly bring me good luck—they just sit around the house, all 7,000 of them, wearing their original outfits and gathering dust.

Still, when you think about it, you can already buy a seat for your cello. Is this really so different? Of course, your cello doesn’t eat anything. But neither, thankfully, do my dolls—at least not yet. And all their pleading looks—which now seem to say “Lynnie, take me for an airplane ride!”—are at this point, in vain. “You won’t like the food,” I tell them, and anyway, there's no word on whether Thai Smile will sell a seat to Beccassine, Minnie Mouse, or Raggedy Anne. 

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