Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cambodia April 2012 - Thai Airways 600 First Class (BKK-HKG)

***This post is part 14 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

With a disappointing visit to the Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge behind me, I decided to move on and focus on the flight itself. While Thai Airways is known far more for its ground services at Suvarnabhumi Airport than the actual in-flight experience, first class is still first class, and I was looking forward to a comfortable and relaxing flight to Hong Kong.

Thai Airways 600
Boeing 747-400
Bangkok (BKK) - Hong Kong (HKG)
Saturday April 7, 2012
Departure: 8:00 AM (scheduled) / 8:01 AM (actual)
Arrival: 11:45 AM (scheduled) / 11:33 AM (actual)
Duration: 2h 45m (scheduled) / 2h 32m (actual)
Seat: 2K (First) 

Boarding was soon announced, and premium passengers were called to line up. I quickly noticed that there appeared to be a large number of first class guests. Once we entered the 747-400, it became clear that all ten first class seats were going to occupied. I guess that was part of the reason why the Royal First Class Lounge was so full earlier in the morning.

Despite this being the (very) old first class seat, it was still very comfortable. Thai Airways has long since introduced fully-enclosed first class suites on their 777-300 aircraft leased from Jet Airways, as well as standard first class suites on their brand new A380-800. But even without the added privacy of walls, the older first class seats were more than adequate for the short flight to Hong Kong.

Seat controls were intuitive and simple to use, and provided options for lounging all the way to a fully-flat bed. I didn't bother even trying out the bed mode for this daytime flight, although I assume there may be some bumps and kinks since the seat cushions were a bit on the hard side. I'm not aware if Thai Airways offers a padded mattress for their long-haul flights.

Pre-departure drinks (including Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002) were offered, but I opted for some water instead since I wasn't in the mood for alcohol. In addition, breakfast and drink menus were handed out. Perhaps it was due to the fact that entire flight seemed to be completely full in all classes, service was decent, but nothing to write home about. The flight attendants working the first class cabin were all business, engaging in very little chit-chat with passengers, and working hard to get all service requests completed.

Soon after takeoff, the seat belt lights were dimmed and meal service began. I had already pre-reserved the Lobster Thermidor via Thai Airways' website, and the flight attendant acknowledged my order and said it would be right out after the first course. There were plenty of options on the wine list, but being 8:30 in the morning, I really couldn't bring myself to drink anything else besides water and tea with milk (alcohol is seriously not my friend).

A nicely presented fruit plate was up first, along with fresh rolls and yogurt. Next the Lobster Thermidor with Duchess Potatoes was served as the main course. I've actually never tried Lobster Thermidor before, and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted quite good. However, I'm sure the freshly-cooked version from a real restaurant would probably be on another level. Obviously, the lobster was a heavy dish for breakfast, but since I had been up since about 4:00 am, I was glad to have a more substantial meal during the flight.

After the plates had been cleared, I decided to take a quick peek at the first class bathroom. Unfortunately, it was similar to any coach lavatory, and was definitely showing its age. A glance back at the business class cabin showed that it, too, was completely full. I returned to my seat and watched the airshow for a bit until we began our descent into Hong Kong. Landing was smooth, and immediately after the doors were opened, first class passengers were allowed to disembark prior to other classes.

Overall, this was a fairly innocuous first class flight. The seat was decent, food was good, and service was quick and attentive. I would not rate this experience above the Cathay Pacific first class flight on the same route I took last year, simply because both the hard and soft products didn't measure up. However, it wasn't bad by any means, and I would gladly recommend Thai Airways Royal First Class, especially if you are fortunate enough to try out their full ground services experience as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment