Do you need to show your credit card at check in?

As an anti-fraud measure, many airlines have adopted a policy of asking to see the credit card your tickets were purchased with at check in. This concerned me after buying tickets with my dad’s credit card for my family (wife and kids) to visit home later this year. We are flying Korean Air, so this information is pertinent only to them.

The Korean Air website clearly states that the credit card used to buy the tickets online needs to be shown at check in:

Documents Required

  • Passport
  • Visa (if required by country visiting)
  • e-Ticket itinerary/Receipt
  • Credit card used for online transaction (if booked online)

Reading online flying forums for confirmation only served to confuse the situation, as it appears that some airlines (even Korean Air in some situations) actually ask for the owner of the credit card to also be present at time of check in.

To clarify, we called Korean Air on both continents we would be flying from and they gave us the same reply: Although their website seems to say otherwise, the only time you need to show a credit card at check in is if both of the following two items are true:

  1. You bought the ticket on the Korean Air website
  2. You did not encounter a Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode screen at time of purchase


In Thai, we were told “not to worry about it,” which is just about the most worrying thing you can be told in Thai when you want a straight answer, so I called KAL customer service in the states and was told the exact same thing. Since we bought the tickets from a 3rd party (discount travel site), it seems we will not be asked to produce the card at check in.

A night outside

Last night, we planned to go camping in our front yard. Max came down with a cold and Mina does nothing without him, so the kids ended up staying in the house. Nam worried about the kids waking up in the middle of the night and not finding her, so she also slept in the house. I had already put tents up, so I decided to sleep on the lawn alone.

Woke up with a sore back and lit some charcoal because camping is not camping without fire. Grilled some yakitori and khao chi rice balls in a wonderful fusion of classic Japanese and Isan flavor profiles. Then I went to my Sunday masters class and thought about when I would have time to write my thesis. I seriously need a day to chill every week, but that’s not going to happen for a while.




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Into the Muk

The start of the new school term means that I am juggling full-time teaching, weekend studying, steady part-time work, and intermittent lecturing gigs all at the same time while parenting, so for the past couple months, I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.

Today I’m off to Mukdahan, where I will teach a seminar at the Mukdahan Grand Hotel tomorrow morning. It’s about a three hour drive, and I’ve been trying to pin down a gearbox problem with Nam’s car on long drives, so we’ll see what happens.

English camp at Lampao Dam


Taro came to visit, so I brought him along on an overnight English camp to the reservoir at Lampao Dam in Kalasin. Usually this point is so crowded with people going to the “beach,” I can’t wait to leave, but because off the cold weather it’s just our group here today. At sundown, even the souvenir vendors had already left… and getting here this morning in my Crown was one of the best drives I’ve had in a long time. She is queen of the road.

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Citroen AX and BX

This is what the view from the front of T's house looked like before the town ruined it.
This is what the view from the front of T’s house looked like before the town blocked it with a senior center/foot bath.

I’ve been meaning to write about these cars for a long time. I came across this photo, from around 1999, when going through old albums. I put it aside and it’s been collecting dust on my PC desk since then.

Anyway, about the cars: Yuko-sensei gave T the red Citroen AX and replaced it with a Renault Twingo (She probably still has a thing for French cars – being a doctor, she’s one of the few in Japan able to keep up with repair bills for them.). This was a good small car with manual transmission, and didn’t break down as often as the BX. I used to see a few of these around Mahasarakham, but not for the past couple years.

A teacher who T knew gave me the black Citroen BX with the strange condition that I service it at his friend’s garage. I honored that promise for a while, but got sick of the guy overcharging me for LHM used in the hydropneumatic suspension system. This car was used on several legendary road trips to Tsukuba, Tokyo, and all around Kansai.

Mosaic used to protect the mosaiced.
Mosaic used to protect the mosaiced.
View from the sunroof.
View from the sunroof.

I also traded it for one day with T’s cousin for a Mitsubishi Delica when we needed a party bus. Owning this car was a love/hate kind of thing.

There aren’t many people who get to own cars designed by Marcello Gandini (the designer of the Lamborghini Countach, the Lancer Stratos and the original BMW 5-series) with oléopneumatique suspension to adjust the ride of their car. This system served a couple purposes: It could be used to slam the car to the ground so it couldn’t be towed away when parked illegally on the street, and it was a fucking spectacle to behold the car slowly rising and falling in any given parking lot at any given drunken time.

Alas, the car was a sensitive and fragile little crybaby, and not suited to my violent driving style (although it was spared handbrake turns because the parking brake was attached to the front brakes!!). Indeed, I broke the gears when screwing around on the racing overpass in Tenri one hot evening, and barely made it back to our garage in Horyuji to get it looked at… Kataoka-san, our mechanic, mentor, and adviser for all things auto-related, checked it out and pronounced it dead on the spot.

I have to admit, thanks to the otherworldly suspension characteristics, the Citroen BX had the smoothest ride of any car I’ve ever known, especially in the back seats. And the home cabinet speakers I carried around in the trunk coupled with mad interior cabin acoustics made for awesome tunes. But due to something breaking or temporarily ceasing to function almost every week, along with assurances from Parisian friends that this was quite normal when owning Citroens, I would never feel the desire to own a French car ever again.

Morning Market, Vientiane

The morning market in Laos has been replaced by a multi-story shopping mall… Vientiane has been hugely developed in the seven years I’ve been travelling there. The best way to describe it is as a medium-size Thai city with more third-world bright color gaudiness and even more garbage on the streets.


We stopped by a coffee shop where the waitresses wore silk skirts and platform shoes.


We sat at a really cool coffee bean-filled table.

Then we got photobombed by an angry old man.

20130820tongs-canon-LAO076 - zoom

Thai Jaeger – The Golden Buddha Mech

Somewhere between the Chiang Yuen and Sam Sung districts on a two-lane highway lined with rice paddies and stands of vines and overgrowth, there is a secret Jaeger base under construction.




When completed, this powerful addition to the Pacific Rim forces will boast three powerful weapons to fight the scourge of Kaijus: Tree Falling in Forest Kick, Cosmic Bodhisattva Blast, and Spinning Lotus Beam.