Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air is expanding its fleet Boeing 737-400s and its fleet of scantily-dressed “PDA girls”.

Nok Air Check In Girls W445

Earlier this year Nok began hiring girls to hold personal digital assistants (PDAs) that are used to help check-in passengers that only have carry-on bags.

Chief executive Patee Sarasin says 15-20% of its passengers now use the “PDA girls” to check in, particularly at Bangkok’s congested airport, where long queues are common.

“It’s been fantastically well received,” Patee says. “It is very efficient and costs you less than $4.00 a day to have these girls walking around in Thailand.”

Nok also has three self-service check-in kiosks at Bangkok but Patee points out that with a PDA “you don’t need start-up costs of $40,000”. As a result Nok will continue to invest in PDA girls as well as more kiosks.

Nok also has just agreed to lease two more Boeing 737-400s from October, giving it six of the type. The aircraft will be leased from General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and be used to launch services from Bangkok to Krabi and Sarat Thani, giving Nok 11 domestic destinations.

Nok will also take delivery next month of a second ATR 72, to be used mainly as a spare aircraft. The additional ATR 72 is being leased from Thai Airways International, which owns 39% of Nok and also leased it its first four 737-400s.

Read Airline Business deputy editor Brendan Sobie on how airlines need to be creative when looking for ancillary revenue sources

Chief executive interview:
For a profile of Nok Air and its chief executive, Patee Sarasin, read Airline Business’ web chief executive interview