[Airline Review] – Thai Airways – Business Class, SIN-DEL, (10 Jun 11)

SIN-BKK

Airline Lounge

The airport lounge at Changi Airport for Thai Airways is located on a level above the immigration, located in a quiet part of the busy airport. The facade of the lounge is designed to give visitors a sense of class. I was greeted with a warm smile by the staff who was manning the counter and she did the usual procedure of checking the lounge invitation and welcomed me to the lounge.

Entrance to the lounge

The interior of the lounge was dim in colour, the central theme colour was brown to give it a sense of class and cosiness. However, the lounge felt a little underwhelmed, as it is rather small facilities are limited. There are very limited options for food and drinks. The main bulk of the area of the lounge is dedicated to seating patrons, while the food counter occupies a small portion of the lounge. There is also a very small corner where one can find business facilities such as computers and internet access. There are also some reading materials, with a collection of major business and travel magazines and newspapers.

Passenger seating area
Reading materials for passengers
Business Center in the lounge
Limited snack in the lounge
Drinks offered in the lounge

Overall the lounge felt basic and underwhelmed. Despite this, it is still a conducive enough for travellers to relax before their flight with Thai Airways

The Aircraft

The flight from Singapore to Bangkok is on 777-200. The seat I was assigned to was on the first few rows, window. The cabin looks spacious and clean. The egg-shaped seats gave the whole cabin a futuristic look. The cabin is well-lit and everything looked well maintained. The load on Business Class from Singapore to Bangkok is usually light, mainly due to the short flight time.

The bird that flew me on SIN-BKK leg

The Seat

The seat is very comfortable and is capable of reclining to almost flat. The seat features an adjustable personal reading light and comes with massage functions built into the seat itself. The seat pitch is wide enough to enable me to fully stretch my legs. The distance between the seat to the personal TV is wide enough for passengers seating at the window seat to access the aisle. The seat is generally comfortable in all positions. There are pre-programmed positions on the controls of the seat as well as options for passengers to adjust the angle as one deem comfortable. The table is stowed in the armrest of the seat, which does not feel intrusive.

View of the seat
Personal TV onboard

In-Flight Entertainment

Thai Airways offers a comprehensive list of entertainment onboard, ranging from latest movie to movies from Thailand. There are also sitcoms and travel programmes to prepare passenger for their trip to Thailand. Games are also available for those who prefer to keep their minds occupy with games.

Spaciousness

Meal Service

Food was rather standard and nothing fantastic. There is, however, a comprehensive list of drinks ranging from liquor to soft drinks to juices. One can also request for cappuccino instead of the standard coffee.

Appetiser
Main course

Service

The service onboard is pretty standard. Despite being in premium class, the services do not seem to shout of premium. It felt as though it is no different from that offered in economy class. The only difference is that pre-flight drinks are served when passengers got settled onto their seats. Orders for food service was taken shortly after drinks were served. Despite the short flight from Singapore to Bangkok, Thai Airways managed to serve the meal course by course.

Staffs onboard do not seem to be interested in providing good services. Their service, as previously mentioned, was pretty standard. Passengers were not ushered to their seats, nor does the staff bother to remember the first names of passengers. Newspapers were not offered, unlike some other airlines, where newspapers were offered even in economy class. Passengers were not given smiles even during food service runs.

Overall

Thai Airways offer decent hardware in their Business class in this leg. The equipment seemed well maintained without any hiccups, however, they can do more in terms of service.

BKK-DEL

Airline Lounge

Bangkok Airport, being the homeland of Thai Airways, offers passengers 4 lounges spreading across the vast airport to rest while waiting for their onward flight. I tried 2 of the 4 lounges, namely the smaller lounge at Concourse C East and the largest of the 4 lounges – Concourse D. Passengers are entitled to a 30 mins head and shoulder massage while transiting at the lounge. Upon entering the lounge, the friendly staffs greeted me with a warm smile and welcomed me into the lounge upon me showing them my boarding pass. The staffs enquired if I would like to have my massage and I gladly agreed. I was arranged to wait for the staff who would give me massage in the lounge, while the friendly staff asked if she could serve me some drinks, which I promptly declined. The lounge was brightly lighted and Thai Airways made full use of the natural light to illuminate the lounge, giving passengers an impression that the lounge was large. This lounge has mostly armchairs, arranged in 2s and 4s to cater to single traveller and travellers who came in groups. The lounge has some bites to keep passengers filled up and an assortment of drinks and liquors. There are also TVs showing international news channels as well as an assortment of magazines ranging from business magazines to travel magazines and of course, the onboard magazines. The masseuse appeared in 5 mins and I was escorted to the massage areas, comprising of smaller rooms to provide privacy for passengers enjoying their well-deserved massages. The massage that I was given was fantastic, no different from those that one would find in downtown Bangkok. The skilful masseuse got rid of the shoulder ache that I was having for weeks. After the massage, I loitered around the lounge a little more and decided to check out the largest lounge in Concourse D.

The lounge in Concourse C East
Some of the food on offer in this lounge
Part of the lounge in Concourse C East
View of the tarmac from the lounge

The lounge at Concourse D is elongated in shape and as with the previous lounge, I was warmly greeted and welcomed to the lounge. I was told that there isn’t any calls for flights by the staff and was reminded to take note of the time of my onward flight. This lounge has a warmer and earthier feel as compared to the previous lounge. As it is located further away from windows, the lounge appeared dimmer and cosier.  After found a quiet corner, I checked out the food that was on offer by the lounge. They offered small bite-sized snacks such as Chinese dim sum and fried spring rolls and samosas. There are also sandwiches out for passengers to grab. The concept of food offering is more to provide snacks and not a filling meals that passengers will not be able to eat more onboard. There are also an assortment of drinks from fruit juice to soft drinks and coffee and tea to liquor at this lounge. As with the previous lounge, there are also TVs broadcasting international news channels and assortment of reading materials from local and major international newspapers to magazines. The food offered tasted alright, and not exactly fantastic. However, it does the job of keeping on filled up temporarily while waiting for full meal service onboard. The toilet was large and showering facilities was also made available.

Food on offer in Concourse D lounge
Cosy feel in this lounge
Showering facilities in the airport lounge
Cappuccino from the lounge
Around the lounge in Concourse D
Me in the lounge

The Aircraft 

The Seat

This leg of the journey was flown by a 747-400. I chose a seat on the upper deck, which provides more privacy and quieter as compared to those on the main deck. This aircraft looked like it needs a major makeover or it is nearing its lifespan with Thai Airways. The interior of the aircraft looked old and like those in the 90s. The condition of the interior of the aircraft gave me a feeling that things are going to fall apart. The seats are those old type, where it reclined to a maximum of 60° The seats are hardly comfortable, but luckily for a short flight time. Having said that the leg room is great, but feels slightly smaller than the 777-200 leg.

Seats on the upper deck of the 747-400

In-Flight Entertainment

The in-flight entertainment system is stowed beneath the seat and I had a hard time pulling out the TV screen. It seemed that the condition of the aircraft is so old that maintenance was not even done properly on it. As the screen is rather small, I did not enjoy the show too much. The controller for the entertainment system seems to be giving way and I had a hard time choosing between channels. The system seems to lag as well. I also had a hard time getting the table out from the armrest of the seat for meal service.

A very old entertainment system onboard

Meal Service

Food was rather standard as with the previous leg, but it does the job of keeping one from being hungry. As with the previous leg (and common across most of the airlines in the world), an assortment of drinks and wines are also available on this flight

Appetisers
I opted for the curry chicken

Service

As with the previous leg, service onboard was lacklustre. The staffs are more interested in getting their job over and done with rather than making passengers feel welcome. They certainly do not live up to the company’s tagline of smooth as silk as the services rendered feels pretty rough. The attendants also did the Thai culture a disservice as they are hardly seen to be smiling at the passengers. As with the previous leg, the service felt no different from that offered in economy class. Having said that, the mechanical staffs sprung into action the moment passengers step onboard and I was presented with pre-flight drinks and menu for the flight. The attendant came back shortly to take orders for food service. Meals were served course by course, which seemed pretty standard for the premium class.

Staffs onboard do not seem to be interested in providing good services as with the previous leg of my trip. Passengers were not ushered to their seats, nor does the staff bother to remember the first names of passengers. Passengers were also not given smiles even during food service runs. Most of the time, the attendants were not spotted throughout the flight, other than food service and time to retrieve the trays.

Overall

On this leg of the journey, Thai Airways disappoints further with aged hardware and lukewarm service. It feels as if the airlines is not interested in competing in the competitive premium service of this day and age. Perhaps their focus is not on premium service, there is no differentiation with other airlines and seem that they are doing the standard things that the other airlines are offering in their premium cabins. It is hardly worth flying on Thai Airways premium class as experienced on both legs of my journey.

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