After the stay in Hong Kong and a short stop in Bangkok it is now time to go home. So this morning (October 1st) I took a taxi from Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi airport (pronounced something like su-waan-na-poom if you wonder) and it was a slow process as the remains of the typhoon Ketsena made it pour down. But I got to the airport eventually and walked over to the Royal First sign outside of the airport and a guy in Thai airways uniform helped me with my suitcase and escorted me to the First class check in area located at the one end of the terminal. Check in was fast as I was the only one there but it was a bit of a surprise when I had to pay a 700 Baht (21 USD) airport tax – I have not done that in a while at Bangkok airport – I guess it has been included in my tickets before.
From check in I was escorted to the immigration control where I got my passport stamped and through the first class security control where there were no other passengers. And right behind security was the escalator down to the lounge. I thought I was there already but this turned out to be the regular business class lounge. But as soon as I came down the escalator a small buggy car turned up from nowhere and I was asked to get on to be transported to the First Class lounge. I know the business lounge is kinda long but I still feel silly being transported in a small car when I’m still capable of walking
I was pretty much alone in the Thai First class lounge and it was of course with some anticipation that I entered the lounge – after all this lounge has been voted the best First Class lounge in the world in 2009 by Skytrax . So how would it compare to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal experience? (see previous entries on http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=457 and http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=466 . As in the business class lounge I was met by lots of staff greeting me with the traditional wai and I was led by one girl to the seating area. In this lounge you can choose to have a separate room with a few recliners and a TV or you can sit in recliners in the main seating area. The lounge looks pretty exclusive with the large chairs, the soft carpet and this use of dark wood on pillars and walls. I did ask if I could take some pictures and a guy escorted me around and proudly showed me the Skytrax award that is on display in the lounge itself. There is of course a business center where you can use a PC, a separate dining area, a smokers lounge with great ventilation etc.
The food selection was not really that impressive – all the hot food was to order and not buffet style and I had the option of spaghetti Bolognese, spaghetti cabonara, wonton soup, chicken in green curry Thai style, pork in teriyaki and I think that was about it. So all in all the food selection is not spectacular if you compare it with the Emirates lounge in London or the Lufthansa First Class terminal. The drink menu is also a lot shorter in the Royal First lounge but I think that most people will find something they like as they can offer cocktails, beer, port, a couple of red wines and Moet & Chandon champagne.
Another difference from First Class Terminal in Frankfurt compared to the lounge in Bangkok is that the lounge in Bangkok is located above one of the main areas of the airport and you get the constant buzz from the rest of the airport. I think I prefer the serenity of the First Class Terminal
There are also 4-5 shower rooms at the First class lounge that seemed to be very nice and also 4-5 slumber rooms were you can catch some sleep.
One great thing about the lounge in Bangkok is that fact that you have a Royal Orchid Spa. If you have been to Thailand you know that getting a message is quite common so even at the airport they have a spa. When I first arrived I was asked if I wanted a message and I said sure of course. Initially I asked for “just” the neck and shoulder message but everyone I talked to asked me I wanted the 1 hour full body massage….so in the end I caved in and agreed on that. The spa is located just a minute walk away from the lounge and I walked over there and got a lemongrass drink and a cold cloth while I was waiting, But soon I was led into a spa room and told to get undressed and take a shower and get ready for the message. I would of course post some pictures of myself in disposable underwear but in fear of scaring away new readers I think I will avoid that Anyway, it was really, really nice to get a one hour massage at the airport while waiting for the flight.
After the massage I went back to the lounge, had some teriyaki pork lunch and enjoyed a few glasses of champagne before I was told that my flight was ready for boarding. My flight was due to leave from C6 and a lady walked with me to make sure that I went the right way (not that I had been drinking THAT much) and once I got to the gate it looked like I was the last one there….perfect timing in other words. But more about the flight in the next chapter
So what is the conclusion? Which lounge is better…the First class lounge in Bangkok or the Lufthansa First Class terminal? Well, I have to say that I think Skytrax is wrong. The Lufthansa First Class terminal is far better than the First class lounge in Bangkok. First of all the First class terminal in Frankfurt feels more exclusive as it is separate from the main terminal and you don’t get the noise from the airport as you do at the lounge in Bangkok. The food and drink selection at the Lufthansa first class terminal is far better than in the lounge in Bangkok. But I have to say that having a one hour full body massage as a part of the service at the lounge in Bangkok was very, very nice. But in the end…the Lufthansa First class terminal wins in my opinion.