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Tag-Archive for "Thai Airways"

Thai Airways First class–tried & tested Aug 08

IMG_7533I have had the great privilege of trying Thai Airways first class a couple of times and it is no doubt that if you fly a lot, this is a real treat! It all depends on which routing you fly, which plane you get, which crew you have etc but this review is based on experience on first class on an older Boeing 747 and a newer Boeing 777-300ER (leased from Jet Airways). First of all – if you check in at Suvanabhumi airport in Bangkok when flying Thai Airways first class, life could not be any simpler. You just go to the Royal First class check in and they will take your suitcases, your passport and then seat you in HUGE chairs and while you are enjoying a cold drink and a cold cloth, P1000111they will check you in and make sure that you get your boarding pass. After this you get guided through airport priority security check and a separate immigration control and once you are through it leads you straight to the Royal Orchid lounge. But for first class passengers it is not enough with a business lounge – you get picked up by a small “car” and driven through the business lounge and into the first class lounge next door. As a relative young and healthy person I could easily have walked this but I guess this is a part of the special treatment Winking smile

P1000116The First class lounge has been voted the best first class lounge in the world but I’m sorry Thai Airways…I have to object and say that this is not correct. The best first class lounge is in Frankfurt (Lufthansa First Class Terminal) but that is a different story that you can read about here (XXX). But the first class lounge in Bangkok is great –you have lots of good chairs, separate rooms if you are traveling in a group, lots of good free drinks (but only Moet and Chandon champagne) and a good selection of food. You can also take showers, get a PC to get online, the wifi is free etc. But there is also a Royal Orchid Spa where you can get a massage complimentary! There is no better way of starting a long flight than having 1 hour full body massage! Smile

IMG_7534When traveling in June 2012 there was a bit of fuzz as we were supposed to travel through London but when we checked in we got another routing via Frankfurt. Luckily the two flights had take-off at approximately the same time and the advantage was that we got a Boeing 777 leased from Jet Airways instead of an old Boeing 747. Due to this we got a first class with separate compartments like you can find on Emirates first class and Singapore first class. There are only 8 first class seats on the 777 (in a 1+2+1 configuration) and we got first class treatment the moment we got in there. The headset was already in the seat together with the duvet, menus etc. It didn’t take long before we got offered some drinks to start with and it is hard to say no when they ask you if you want a glass of Dom Perignon champagne Winking smile

IMG_7554I was seated in 2A and I got a HUGE seat by the window. It resembles the seat that you find on Swiss airlines first class where you have a big seat and an ottoman in front and when reclining you form one bed. The difference between Swiss and this Thai flight was that the Thai flight included a small compartment where you can close the door to get more privacy around your seat.  Like on Swiss the table is HUGE and it is so large that you can actually invite a guest to come and sit with you so that you can dine together and face each other while you are eating –how great is that? The remote on the Boeing 777 were a bit confusing as there is one large remote just to cover the seat adjustments and then there is one regular remote to control the multimedia. The Thai AVOD system is quite good and it was displayed on a large 17” (or is it 20”?) screen so seeing movies etc was not a problem.

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IMG_7550It was a bit scary to look behind the seat of the first class seat btw – there was lots of trash there so I’m not sure there are routines in place to handle this – it could have needed a round of vacuuming! The toiletry bag that we got was OK and the TUMI bag included stuff that you normally need: lip balm, mouth freshener, brush, tooth brush etc.  When the service started we started getting hot and wet cloths and I can honestly say that I have never gotten that many in my life before! We got these lovely warm and scented clothes both before and after meals!

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IMG_7546When the table was set for two it was beautiful with the Thai logo stamped into the butter and fresh bread served. We got real caviar to start with (with garniture), followed but a salmon dish and topped up with a slow cooked beef cheek. One of the pieces of the beef cheeks was quite tough but the rest of the pieces were delicious. We also got an ENORMOUS cheese platter – me and my friend could have easily have shared this and not been able to eat it all but instead we got two large portions of cheese each! The dessert was a bit of a disappointment – I got a small chocolate cream and a pretty dry “muffin” with custard and berries on top.

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IMG_7541The great thing about having a small compartment is that it is easy to get some privacy to be able to slip into the pajama that was handed out. The seat with the huge table in front is also perfect for pulling out the PC and working a bit. The only problem in my seat was that someone had stuck something into the power socket so I wasn’t able to get power to my PC and they didn’t have a plug adapter either. The table was a bit hard to move back and forth – so hard in fact that my friend and I had to really put our muscles into moving it. In the process of moving the table I managed to get my finger sliced but the flight attendant was there to patch me up.

IMG_7577The flight time from Bangkok to Frankfurt is about 10-11 hours so there was time for another food serving before landing. This time I started with breasola served with a mix of mozzarella and tomato and it was delicious. After this we got a tom kha gai (a typical Thai chicken soup which is creamy, a bit spicy and a bit sour) and the main dish was a chicken breast served with garlic mashed potatoes. Having chicken breast on flights is normally not a good idea as it normally becomes quite dry but this chicken was actually quite good. Once again the dessert was nothing special and I was a bit disappointed by that. But you can enjoy some very good cognac if you are into that – they served Otard Extra 1795.

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The service onboard was great and we were mainly served by two flight attendants and towards the end of the flight they came to say goodbye with a traditional wai. I tried to talk a bit with the one flight attendant to hear what her work schedule was like etc. but she seemed to be very professional and didn’t seem to be interested in getting into personal details which is fine.

IMG_7587All in all this was a great experience. The spa treatment at Bangkok airport is great before going on a long flight and the small suites on board the flight is perfect if you want a bit of privacy for working or for sleeping. As they provide a pajama you can slip into a comfortable outfit while enjoying the great food and drinks served. Thai Airways might not have the same modern layout as you can find on Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa these days but this will change soon when they introduce the new A380 (see presentation here ). I had a great flight from Bangkok to Frankfurt on Royal First Class and I look forward to flying with them again. If you want to read about a previous experience on Thai Airway first class (on a Boeing 747) you can read this blog entry:

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Thai Airways with a makeover Dec 09

Bangkok Post reports that Thai Airways are planning on spending “billions of dollars” on a makeover of their planes starting in 2012. The article in Bangkok Post will give you all the details but in general it seems like they are going to upgrade first class to be a light version of what you can find on Emirates A380 and the business class will also be upgraded to have a 180 degree full flat bed. I have had the pleasure of flying Thai first class (as you can see from the range of blog post here) and it was not bad at all but the problem is that the product varies from plane to plane and from route to route. Another confusing issue for me is that the photo of the new business class in the Bangkok Post article is identical to the Pearl Business Class on Etihad Airways. So is Bangkok Post just speculating or will they have identical products? Another thing that is worth noticing is that they will actually reduce the seat pitch on economy class. They have had about 34″ pitch before and now it will be 31-32″. Well, it will be exciting to see what the final products will be like when they are introduced.

THAI airways seeking a younger image Jan 10

It seems like the average age of female flight attendants has gone up to over 35 in Thai airways and they are now planning to offer voluntary retirement  to flight attendants that are over 45. They will of course offer a generous compensation to the ones that retire but in the end it is all about saving money as senior flight attendants make more money than the junior staff.  You can read the entire article in Bangkok Post.  I did have an older female flight attendant on my First Class flight with Thai airways and the service was great. I wonder what the average age for flight attendants in SAS is like ;-)

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Experience with Thai First Class – Bangkok to Frankfurt Oct 04

The flight from Bangkok was supposed to leave at 11.55 am but it was a bit delayed. In the beginning I was informed that it was delayed by one hour so when we got to that stage I started asking the staff in the lounge when boarding would start. They just told me to relax and they would let me know :-). So all of a sudden I was told that my flight was ready and one of the lounge staff took me over to C6 and I went on board. I think I must have been the last person on board as as soon as I sat down it seemed like we were closing the door and were pushed back.

I had seat 2A on this TG922 flight and the seat was located in the very nose of this 747 and on my flight and of the 10 first class seats I think 7 were taken. The configuration here is not bad at all as the seats are big and with an ottoman. But there are only 4 seats that are connected so make sure you get one of these if you are traveling as a couple. The headset and toiletry bag was already handed out to the seat and the toiletry bag includes stuff as mouth freshener (good idea), Evian face spray??, lip balm, tooth brush, eye shades, socks etc but no ear plugs. Slippers were also handed out already to start with. A pajama was handed out and it was in a pretty funky purple Thai color…I think I prefer the dark blue Lufthansa one.

When I first sat down I was of course offered champagne and it was Dom Perignon vintage 2000 and it was not bad at all. Takeoff from Bangkok was pretty uneventful even if it was raining pretty badly and soon after we got more champagne and some large nuts. What was a bit strange was after a while in the air it felt like drops of water were dripping from the ceiling. But when closer it seemed like it was small pieces of ice – I guess it was condense water which got frozen but it was weird seeing this fall into the cabin.

The menus were handed out in a big folder and included both the food menu and the drink list. There were two servings on this 11 hour flight and I’ll get back to that later on. The drink list included wines such as Chablis Premier Cru, Fourchaume 2006, Rully 1er Cru 2000, Chateau Haut-Sarpe Grand Cru Classé St. Emilion 2004 and Pommard 2002. I didn’t mind that the serving didn’t start right away as I had to check out my seat and take pictures of the details there. As I mentioned, the seats come with an ottoman which can be used to keep your feet on. But it also acts as a chair if you want to dine with someone – quite clever. The table was huge so it was not a problem serving two people on it. The TV came up from a hatch in the side panel and was a medium size TV…I would still like to see something like the Emirates TV. But the selection of TV and movies were quite good and I enjoyed several movies during the flight.

A bit less than an hour after takeoff the food services started. The FA came over to me and took my order and it started with a mixed chicken with Chinese sausage as an appetizer. From there we moved over to caviar with garniture – the garlic bread that was served on the side was way too hard. And the small butter that was handed out had the Thai Airways logo on it but it was brick hard. On the Lufthansa flight the butter had been left out a bit so it was easier to spread on the bread – details, details.

Next dish was something called Lobster bellvue and it was cold lobster served with mozzarella and tomatoes on the side and some balsamic mayonnaise– I have to admit that I’m not that crazy about lobster….this lobster was too tough in my opinion.
For the main dish there were various options . lamb chops, stuffed chicken breast,  beef in green curry, tiger prawns in chili sauce etc. I went for the lamb chops served with vegetable and mashed potatoes on the side and it was a great dish – I enjoyed it with some red wine of course.

When I had finished the main course the FA came around with the cheese trolley and asked if I wanted some cheese. I’m a sucker for cheese so I accepted this of course…but I think that I got the world’s largest portions as I got big pieces of brie, blue cheese etc. Served with port wine it was excellent but there was no way I was able to finish all of it.
The meal was rounded off with a simple dessert…some candy and a choice of coffee and drinks. I have to admit that I like to round of a meal with coffee and Baileys but they did not have any Baileys on this flight so I went for some Otard 1795 instead. Back home this bottle will cost you close to 400 USD – too bad that I don’t have a clue about cognac so that I could really appreciate it.

After the meal the lights were turned off and I was watching the rest of Monsters vs. Aliens before I slipped into the pajamas and had some sleep. There seemed to be two toilets for the first class passengers and they were always clean. But when I went back to the toilet I had to “squeeze” past one of the seats and a curtain that was separating the First and Business class section I guess. The seat was not bad for sleeping in but I think I would have to say that the Lufthansa seat was a bit more comfortable but maybe it is not fair to compare as the Lufthansa flight was a night flight and the Thai flight was a day flight.

After about 5 hours after the last meal the lights came on partially in the cabin again and it was time for second serving. I guess I should have been full after the previous meal but strangely enough I was ready for more food. After a couple of canapés we got the first dish which was marinated beef served on vermicelli (glass noodles thai style) and served with smoked salmon with a shrimp mascarpone and apple filling. This dish didn’t really work for me. Then I got a large portion of lobster soup which was very good but once again the portion was a bit too generous. There were several options for main meal: sliced veal Zurich style, cider braised pork chops, chicken curry Pa-naeng and wok fried stuffed prawn mousse. I went for the boring option…sliced veal. The veal was served with a great thick sauce and it was excellent. The meal was rounded off with a Lemon almond tart which was not that good.

After this meal the lights were turned off again and I’m not sure why this was done – were we expected to sleep again? I guess that is the challenge of long day flights. But after close to 12 hours and 9000 km it was time for landing in Frankfurt
It was not a problem having such a long flight when seated on First class of course. I had lots of great food and drinks and the entertainment options were not bad at all. So the big question is…which was better: Lufthansa First Class (see ) or Thai First Class? I’m not sure I’m able to pick a winner here. Even if Thai has newer seats, the Lufthansa seats did feel very comfortable. And the food serving on both flights were very nice. But if I also include the lounges in advance I would have to say that Lufthansa is the winner.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

Greetings from Royal First Class lounge Bangkok Oct 01

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 and . 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.

Business trip to Kuala Lumpur in SAS business class Jul 12

This is a trip report from when I went from Stavanger in Norway to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I used SAS and I went via Copenhagen and Bangkok on my way to KL. I used my Eurobonus frequent flyer points to upgrade to business class and that it always a treat ;-) Normally I travel with a colleague but this time I traveled alone.

My very first trip on SAS long haul in Economy class Jul 09

In February 2009 I went to Kuala Lumpur for work and I used SAS to get there. On the way to Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it is also known)  I was able to upgrade to business by using my SAS Eurobonus points but on the way home the flight was completely full and I had to stick to economy class. Even if I am a SAS Eurobonus gold card member this was actually my very first trip with SAS in economy class on a long haul trip. Here are some of my thoughts as I was going home…