Australia's Qantas lets passengers delay flights to Thailand

SYDNEY, May 18, 2010 (AFP) - Australia's Qantas Airways on Tuesday let passengers delay trips to Thailand or bypass the country without penalty as deadly violence escalates in the capital Bangkok.

The airline made the offer "due to continued civil unrest/political tensions in Thailand", a statement on its website (www.qantas.com.au) said.

Armed soldiers stand behind barbed wire after they restricted access to an area on the fringes of the anti-government protest site in downtown Bangkok on May 18, 2010. AFP photo

Passengers who have already bought tickets can defer trips in and out of the country, bypass Thailand as a stopover port and even change destinations at no extra charge, Qantas said.

Thirty-eight people have been killed and 279 wounded over the past five days as political clashes turn parts of central Bangkok into a war zone.

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