I have some amends to make.
First of all, when packing to return home, I suddenly found the stand in my stuff. So it hadn't been confiscated. I don't know what the form was about, but the young man wasn't guilty of over-zealous confiscation. The stand was not on Suvarnabhumi's list of prohibited articles either, I checked.
Secondly, as I write this second report from a lounge in Suvarnabhumi on my way back, I am aware that the place isn't at all so bad as my previous impression. Perhaps because this time I am transferring from a domestic to an international flight rather than vice-versa, and the international pier is much more customer-friendly. I am travelling back using an "Economy Outward Business Homeward" arrangement and am now enjoying the hospitality of Thai Airways' Business-class and upward lounge (Royal Silk Lounge D) and am truly impressed by their hospitality. You can get WiFi, a light meal and drinks for free, all in a relaxed and quiet "Hotel Lobby" atmosphere. The Science Fiction architecture and subdued background sound from the vast tubes behind me that the airport is made of provide exactly the right atmosphere so that (for instance) the clicking of my laptop keys doesn't annoy my neighbours in the eatery.
Also I would like to make a special mention of the young lady from Thai Airways who, after we had failed to locate my flight on the board before I entered the terminal, made a special point of looking it up (departure after midnight so not yet on the departures screens) and deftly following me all the way through security just to give me the gate number. I hope she gets to be CEO of Thai Airways!
And then the security. This time the staff were quite impeccable. They accepted my offered carry-on items with a smile, and a "Happy New Year" would you believe, waved me through and congratulated me on my rudimentary attempts to speak Thai to them. They run away with my current top award to security checkers for treating passengers like human beings and not prisoners lining up for porridge. (Currently leading Koh Samui and Paris Charles de Gaulle in close equal second place with Amsterdam Schiphol a very poor third.)
So the moral of the story is of course, not to judge by first appearances. Suvarnabhumi is a huge place and I think each section also has its own atmosphere and culture. I have overall had a wonderful holiday in Thailand and I wish the country and its airports all the very best for the future.
The airport these days is a joyless place. In the name of security and control, more stringent baggage checks are conducted there now than even in Europe. Of course "stringent" is open to many interpretations. Anyway I hope I can warn anyone who hasn't been to Thailand for a few years.
Transferring from a great flight by Thai Airways A380 from Paris to Suvarnabhumi on November 30th 2014 to a domestic flight to the Thai island of Koh Samui, I went through such a "stringent" check. From my cabin bag a frowning young man extracted a metal stand I use to keep my slightly old-fashioned handheld device upright so I can type on it using a separate keyboard, such as on a plane. He demanded to know what it was, so I explained, after which he returned it to its box and gave me a slip to sign, only in Thai of course. I signed it with a scribble which is not my real signature. He did not give me a copy. I thought he put it back in my bag. However, unpacking on Koh Samui I discovered that it had gone. This was an accessory worth some 35 Euro.
No longer available however.
No doubt he "confiscated" this "dangerous weapon". It had survived all earlier security checks in both Amsterdam and Paris for the full 13000 km trip. But apparently for the 1-hour flight to Koh Samui it was a threat to national security.
This was around 7 o'clock on the morning of Sunday November 30th 2014. Good morning Thailand.
Overall the glitter and publicity with which Suvarnabhumi opened some 8 years ago has now completely worn off. Grim passenger antagonism such as I described above completely turn you off from even noticing the shopping malls and associated paraphernalia during your long walk through grey corridors to the departure pier. Likewise in spite of an attempt here and there to keep up appearances, the staff too seem generally disspirited. They understand what has happened. The recent change of authority with its introduction of surrealistically ridiculous restrictions and procedures has been the finishing touch for this place. The whole atmosphere is grey and depressed, in keeping with the smog outside. Many staff wear face masks. I don't know whether this is irrational fear of Ebola or just the smog.
The place is going downhill fast. You just want to get out of there.