Thai Airways is renown for its friendly cabin crew, service with a genuine smile in Economy, Business and First Class, and it’s certainly the best choice for flights to Thailand from Australian ports, especially if you’re going beyond Bangkok. The connections are fast, frequent and seamless.
While they don’t have the newest fleet on the block, Thai Airways still provide a premium service, with that signature Thai service. I recently sampled the Business Class service from Bangkok to Sydney, an eight-hour flight that takes you from late afternoon to early morning. A challenging flight as you do your best to adapt to a 4-hour time difference, and get to sleep early enough so you can wake up a few hours later ready to face a full day.
Check in. I checked in at Chiang Mai, and when we arrived at the airport we were greeted with a horrific sight: queues that zig-zagged from entrance to desk, filling up most space in between. But the queues were not for Thai Airways (phew), they were for a (presumably budget) China Eastern flight. Note to self – always fly Thai on domestic flights if possible! Our check-in was fast and efficient, with seats assigned and bags checked through to Sydney.
Lounge. I was able to pick up my Business Class ticket at the Transfers Desk in Bangkok (no queue) before making my way to the Royal Silk Business Lounge, which conveniently for me, is right next to my gate. There’s a reasonable selection of food and snacks available at the bar, as well as soft drink, beer and spirits.
Seating. While the seats are not the lie-flat capsules you find in brand new planes, they are large comfortable seats that recline to an almost-horizontal position. A few seconds after plonking myself in my private little space, I was offered a glass of something sparkling.
Entertainment. Seatback entertainment is on a 16” touch screen, but you’ll probably want to use the remote control because it’s so far away (read: masses of leg room). I couldn’t quite work out where the fold-out table was, but I needn’t have worried because a helpful attendant came to unfold it and lay a table cloth on it long before I needed it.
Food and Drink. If you like Thai food, I highly recommend the Samrab Thai menu, a set way of serving food unique to Thailand.
“A medley of flavours – from shockingly spicy to semi-salty, sweet to serene – creates delicious and complimentary combinations.”
On my flight, this fine selection included a spicy pork and turmeric salad, a clear chicken consommé-style soup with egg tofu and stir-fried spinach, served with your choice (on my flight) of beef in green curry or stir fry prawns with cashew nuts.
Thai’s Cellar in the Sky is a fine selection indeed, selected by well-known sommeliers through “Blind Wine Taste Testing”. The champagne selection includes Veuve Clicquot, and a selection of whites, reds and rose, all French. I settled on a Bordeax, the Chateaux Lamothe Bergeron Haut-Medoc 2012. A very fine wine indeed.
Inflight Entertainment. A reasonable selection of movies, current and classic, which is the same in all classes, but served up on a bigger screen with better headphones in Business Class.
Overall, the experience was good and the eight hours to Sydney went fairly quickly, too quickly in fact for me to fit in much sleep, but enough to enjoy a couple of good movies, fine food and a couple of glasses of the divine Medoc.
Above all, it is the first-class service with a smile I’ll remember the most. Or maybe the food.