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Passengers Scramble as Flights Canceled

Hundreds of passengers were left looking for alternate travel plans in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Wednesday, after protests in Bangkok closed an international airport.

Flights for Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and Asia Air were canceled Wednesday morning, and passengers were given the chance for refunds to purchase other tickets out or were allowed to change their flight dates.

The cancellations followed the closure of Thailand’s Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports Tuesday, after pro-opposition protesters stormed their terminals in a bid to unseat the ruling government.

“The flights to Bangkok were temporarily delayed indefinitely, because of the anti-Thai protesters occupying the airports of Don Muang and suvarnabhumi,” Leang Preng, a spokesman for Thai Airways, said.

Thai Airways typically has four flights a day to Bangkok, two from Phnom Penh and two from Siem Reap.

Each flight has up to 170 passengers, Leang Preng said.

“I not only missed my flight, but I’m missing my job,” Long Remy, a Cambodian-French citizen, said at Phnom Penh International Airport Wednesday. “I have to work on Friday, and I cannot leave my job.”

He was visiting his family in Cambodia and hoped to fly via Korean Air on Thursday.

Pen Samnang, a resident of Australia, said he would seek a refund and fly by Singapore’s Silk Air.

“I have a lot of jobs in Australia, and I have booked hotels for them,” he said.

“We are concerned that the delay of the flight to Bangkok will affect tourism to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap,”general director of Cambodian Civil Aviation. “The flights from Bangkok to Phnom Penh are four flights, and to Siem Reap are five flights. Some flights between 70 seats for a small plane and more than 100 seats for a big plane.”

Hopefully tourists will change their transit destination away from Thailand, through Vietnam, Singapore or Malaysia, for example, he said.