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Thailand Pass Failed on Launch, As Expected

There is now a workaround to fix the dreaded “API Error”

Thailand Pass, the linchpin to Thailand’s reopening to foreign tourists today failed on its first day. And no one is surprised.

Disappointed, yes. But not surprised. The government’s information-technology efforts have a putrid reputation for crashes, dysfunction, data leaks and hacks.

And Thailand Pass, which replaces the paper Certificate of Entry to allow fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country with minimal quarantine and lots of hassle and cost, has become yet another example of that.

Since its launch at 9 a.m. Nov. 1 Bangkok time, the site was plagued with the expected server timeouts – showing the Foreign Affairs and Digital ministries again failed to prepare the proper infrastructure and bandwidth – but design problems that locked out recipients of certain vaccines and forced all document uploads to be single images, instead of multipage files.

Most critically, an “advanced programming interface”, or API, server error foiled all attempts at submitting the application for the lucky few who made it through the multi-page process.

From the get-go, the system was plagued with timeout error messages from middleware provider Cloudflare. When it did come up, users were shocked and dumbfounded to find that the system – despite the many documents users are supposed to upload, many of them multi-page – didn’t accept Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) files, only JPG- or PNG-format image files.

Got multiple pages? Forget it, only one image per question.

Once users made it to the last page, the entire application died with an “Error in API Server” message.

Then, when users restarted from scratch, they were unable to advance beyond the first page, as the drop-down menu to select the country of origin was broken. The menu problem seemed to have been fixed after 90 minutes.

Users across Twitter were reporting similar errors, which have continued into the third hour of operation.

The most-significant problem impacts those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Thailand, which seems to think only two doses of a vaccine makes you fully vaccinated, still requires proof of a second vaccination, even when J&J was the first dose.

Other problems reported:

  • Images won’t upload, forcing a hard refresh and retart of entire application.
  • Missing select menu items for hotel province, country of origin, etc.
  • No email confirmation for the few lucky people who made it through the process.

Without Thailand Pass, there will be no reopening of Thailand. Those who have plane tickets booked in the next week are angry and hoping the gnomes in the government techworks sort out the problem sooner than later.