[Airline Review] – Thai Airways (TG670) / (TG671) – Business Class, BKK-CTS (13 Feb 17) / CTS-BKK-SIN (27 Feb 17)

Thai Airways uses the 777-300 for both BKK-CTS and CTS-BKK legs

On The Ground

BKK-CTS

Transiting in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

As this is a transit flight from Singapore, I did not perform any check-in for this leg of the flight. We were checked through from Singapore, hence when we reached Bangkok we referred to the flight information for the gate that our flight will be departing. Thai Airways seem to have the practice of putting the arrival and departure flights far apart. As Suvarnabhumi Airport is a big airport, we catered sufficient time to walk to our departure gate.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is a big airport. Do cater sufficient time to walk to the departure gate when transiting

Thai Airways Lounge

There are 4 Thai Airways Lounges for Business Class passengers and 1 Royal Orchid Spa Lounge in Suvarnabhumi Airport. Business Class passengers flying out or transiting Bangkok are treated to 30 mins head and shoulder or foot massage in Royal Orchid Spa. However due to the time constraint, we did not have go for the massage. We visited the Lounge in Concourse C, which has shower facilities and nearer to our departure gate. Both lounges at Concourse C (they are opposite each other) has shower facilities, however Concourse C East Lounge has lesser people waiting for shower at the time of our visit. The lounge is a fairly small lounge, decked in brown and purple colours. There are limited seatings in this lounge. On top of the shower facilities, this lounge as an internet area. There are some finger food and drinks for passengers to enjoy while waiting for their flight. As with the lounge in Changi Airport, there are some reading materials like local newspaper and magazines for passengers to read. One thing to note is that Thai Airways lounges does not announce which Thai Airways flight is departing, the onus is on passengers to note their departure timing and make their way to the departure gate in good time.

 

We used the Concourse C East Lounge as the queue for the shower is shorter and is the closest to our boarding gate
TG670 departed from Gate C6
Looks like a full flight tonight

CTS-BKK

Check-in

Thai Airways uses check-in counters B10 to B15 in New Chitose Airport is located on the right side of the International Terminal Building. There are 2 counters dedicated for Business Class Check-in and 4 counters for Economy Class passengers. The queue is short at the Business Class counters, we did not have to wait for too long to get ourselves checked in. Checking-in is fast and the ground staff were very courteous and friendly. They briefed us on the standard stuff like where the boarding gate is and what time we have to be at the boarding gate. We were also given directions on where the airlines lounge is located before the ground staff wished us a pleasant flight. There are no priority lanes for Business Class passengers in New Chitose Airport. There is a long queue forming at the security clearance, it is a good thing to arrive at the airport ahead of time so that one can enjoy the lounge.
Thai Airways uses the counters in section B in New Chitose Airport for check-in
Business Class queue is separated from Economy Class
2 counters dedicated to Business Class passengers
Do arrive at New Chitose Airport early as the queue to clear security was very long at the time of my checking-in

Airlines Lounge

There is only one lounge in the International Terminals in New Chitose Airport. All Business Class passengers departing New Chitose Airport uses the Royal Lounge, which is located on the 4th floor of the terminal building. It is right up the escalator on the right after immigration clearance. There are 2 sections to the lounge, one for Business Class passengers of all airlines departing New Chitose Airport and a smaller section (payable) for certain credit card holders. The lounge is decked out in comfortable and cosy earthy tones with 125 seats in the general area and 12 seats in the smoking room. There is a small counter serving limited food and drinks for guests to enjoy before their flight. There is also a snooze area at the far most end of the lounge. As this is a silent lounge, no flight announcements were made and passengers are to note their departure time and arrive at their boarding gate in good time.
Thai Airways uses Royal Lounge in New Chitose Airport. This is the only airlines lounge in the airport
Entrance to Royal Lounge in New Chitose Airport
Reception in Royal Lounge
Seatings in the airlines section of Royal Lounge
More seatings and a mini buffet with finger food
Rest area in Royal Lounge
Smoking room in Royal Lounge
Relax area in Royal lounge
Buffet area in Royal Lounge
I had some onigaris in Royal Lounge
There is limited shopping in the airside of New Chitose Airport
TG671 departs from Gate 67 in New Chitose Airport

In-Flight

Cabin

Thai Airways uses B777-300 for both BKK-CTS and CTS-BKK legs of the flight. The Business Class section mainly uses the signature Thai Airways purple colour theme in this cabin. There are 34 Business Class seats arranged in 2-3-2 configuration, less first row which has a configuration of 2-2-2. There are 330 seats in Economy Class section. I find the open concept in the Business Class section of the B777-300 to be spacious, despite lacking privacy. The colour theme of the Business Class section makes one feel comfortable. Amenity kits were already placed on each seat when I boarded the aircraft. Thai Airways uses Naraya pouch for the BKK-CTS leg and Furla pouch for the CTS-BKK leg. I noticed Thai Airways alternates the pouch for outbound and inbound flights. The contents inside the pouch remain the same with the standard slippers, dental kit, lip balm, moisturiser, ear plugs and eye mask.
Boarding the Thai Airways B777-300
Thai Airways B777-300 Business Class Cabin
The Business Class cabin is decked out in purple
Thai Airways Business Class cabin
Legroom is excellent on Thai Airways B777-300 Business Class cabin
Overhead light and seat belt signs
Amenities kit in Naraya pouch was given on BKK-CTS leg
Me holding Furla bag containing amenities kits distributed on the CTS-BKK leg

There are 2 Business Class lavatories up front behind the cockpit onboard. As with most Business Class onboard Thai Airways, the lavatory is a tad small and offers very minimum amenities. Other than the hand soap, other additional amenities are a more upscale eau-de-cologne (as compared to Economy Class) and body lotion. These are also present in Economy Class lavatories. Perhaps the differentiating factor in the Business Class lavatory is the presence of orchid flowers and handkerchiefs on top of the tissues provided. Otherwise, I thought it is no difference (and perhaps even worse) than Economy Class lavatories.

The only amenities in the lavatory in Thai Airways Business Class lavatory
I like the sensor activated tap in the lavatory
Large mirrors in the lavatory in Business Class cabin
Toilet bowl
There is a hook for coats on the door of the lavatory
There is another full-length mirror in the lavatory
Airsick bag and sanitary napkins in the lavatory

Seats

The Business Class seats onboard the B777-300 has a pitch of 66″ and width of 20″. It is not true 180° flatbed, but a 163° angled flatbed. Passengers who are used to the 180° flatbed might find the seat when converted into bed mode to be a tad sloppy. The controls to the seat mode are found on the armrest of the chair. The Business Class cabin seats have 3 modes, the upright mode for takeoff and landings, lounge mode and bed mode. I find the lounge mode most comfortable when watching movies on the IFE. The legroom in the Business Class seats is excellent. I have plenty of space to stretch out, thanks to the open concept of the cabin. The seat even comes with a functioning massage function. The seat controls are located on the left armrest on the seat. There is a small “coffee” table between 2 seats, which creates space to put drinks or other nicknacks. The headphone jack and power outlet are located in a small space under the centre armrest. The seat even has a cup holder and generous space where in-flight reading materials are stow behind in front.

 

Seat in Business Class onboard Thai Airways B777-300 in take-off/landing mode
Seat in lounge mode onboard Thai Airways B777-300.  I find this mode to be most comfortable when watching movies on the IFE
Seat onboard Thai Airways Business Class cabin in bed mode. The maximum recline in this mode is 163°
The seat pocket in front can hold a lot of things and there are 2 cup holders
Seat control on the armrest of each seat onboard Thai Airways Business Class cabin
This small button does not do anything. Wonder why was it there in the first place
Additional in-seat reading light
The small ledge that can hold a camera. Headphone jacks and a power outlet is also found here
Thai Airways B777-300 aircraft safety card
Contents of the seat pocket

In-Flight Entertainment

Thai Airways B777-300 has a large IFE display screen on the back of the seat in front of my seat. Thai Airways has a 15″ TV screen with touchscreen functions in its Business Class cabin. Despite being an ageing aircraft, the IFE is not laggy and the touch screen function is still rather responsive. There are plenty of options for entertainment in the IFE, including the latest movies, selected TV shows and games. The controls for IFE is stow under the armrest of the seat.

The 15″ TV screen found onboard Thai Airways B777-300 Business Class cabin 
IFE controller stowed in the armrest
Noise cancelling headphones found only in Business Class cabin onboard Thai Airways B777-300

Meal Service

Thai Airways used to have the option to pre-order meals from a menu online for their Business Class passengers. They still had that last year when I flew with them to Seoul. However this year, this service seems to have ceased and is only available to their passengers flying on First Class.

BKK-CTS

Prior to taking off, Business Class passengers are served welcome drinks with hot towels. I always asked for the signature Thai Airways drink, Violet Bliss, which is not part of the drinks on the tray that the pursuers go around serving. Meal orders were taken after the welcome drinks are being served. As this is a night flight, no meals were being served after taking off, there are no snacks made available for passengers. However, passengers can request for Ramen Soup with Simmered Pork or Tuna Onigiri served with Miso Soup should one gets hungry in the night. Breakfast was served 2 hours before landing. I opted for the Western Set which comprises of French Toast with Capsicum served with assorted bread and Fresh Fruits as well as yoghurt. The food was served together instead of by courses, feels a little like Economy Class but in fanciful china. I find the French Toast to be blend and a little dry, there isn’t much flavouring to the food served. I thought the assorted bread tasted better. I did go for the fruits as I don’t eat strawberry and kiwi fruits. The meal wasn’t that satisfying.

Welcome drink and hot towels were distributed prior to taking off. This purple drink is Thai Airways signature drink Violet Bliss 
Menu for this leg of the flight
Menu for this leg of the flight
Western Breakfast served onboard Thai Airways. It all came together instead of course by course

CTS-BKK

As with the outbound leg, passengers were served welcome drinks and hot towels prior to taking off. However, when I asked for their signature Violet Bliss, we were told it is not available as the drinks had been stored overnight, hence they are not serving that. This was not the case when I flew with Thai Airways the year before, we were served Violet Bliss when we flew out of Seoul. Since the pursuers claim they are not serving overnight Violet Bliss, I asked for a glass of Apple Juice. A bowl of nuts was served shortly after taking off when the pursuers went around serving drinks.

The menu was distributed at the same time when the welcome drink was served prior to take off
Welcome drinks
Snacks and drinks were served shortly after taking off

I ordered the Japanese Bento Set for lunch. The Bento Set comprises of Teriyaki Salmon served with vegetables and mushroom with Japanese Rice. Part of the Bento Set also includes sashimi, and grilled pork belly and fresh fruits. Miso Soup and cold soba also form part of the Bento Set. While the bento set is rather sumptuous, the miso soup tasted like a lot of MSG has been put into it and the salmon tasted blend. The Sashimi did not last fresh, but edible. The best tasting of all was the soba noodles. Mango pudding was served as dessert which I find it tasty and not too sour.

I opted for the Japanese Bento Set
Japanese Bento Set that I have ordered
Dessert was served later. This mango pudding was delicious

Prior to landing, as we were still a little hungry, we ordered the all day meal of Tomato Rice with Scrambled Eggs. The Tomato Rice tasted blend and the scrambled eggs could do with a little pepper.

Midflight Snack

Service

BKK-CTS

The service onboard Thai Airways Business Class was disappointing and mediocre at best. It is not a service standard that one would expect in Business Class section. We requested for additional pillows from one of the pursuers, but she did not come back with any, despite walking past us a few times. The seat my friend was occupying did not recline, not even an inch. We brought up the issue to one of the pursuers, whom literally stripped the whole chair in an attempt to fix it. After failing to do so for 10 mins, the pursuer gave up and consulted another pursuer (whom we believe should be the in-flight manager). The other pursuer came and also tried to fix the seat, but gave up and declared the seat defective after another 10 mins of trying. She later told us to wait and see if she can swap seats for us. After another 5 mins passed, she came back and told us to move to another seat occupied by a cabin crew. No help was offered to shift our carry-on luggage and the pillows and quilt. The said pursuer stood by watching as we were shifting our stuff in the middle of the night. When I brought up the issue of our request for extra pillows and no one gives a damn about it, the pursuer turned defensive and claimed that they need time to look for pillows. She finally gave us the extra pillows we asked for reluctantly. Unsatisfied with her attitude, I spoke to another pursuer about her who was passing by. The pursuer in question walked by and overheard our conversation and told me if there are any problems just speak to her directly and don’t need to talk to anyone else. That got to be the rudest and most defensive response I have heard, especially in Business Class where I thought passengers will be treated better. Most of the time pursuers were seen crowding in the pantry talking amongst themselves rather than going around to see if any passengers needed anything. To make matters worse, I found my luggage damaged with a 30cm crack despite the fragile tag being tagged onto my luggage. Makes me wonder if these fragile tags are for show.

Pursuers serving welcome drinks after passengers were settled into their seat. This is the only time when service was good
There is a 30cm crack on my Samsonite luggage when I collected it at the belt

CTS-BKK

The service on the CTS-BKK leg was slightly better than the BKK-CTS leg. Upon boarding, one of the pursuers noted that my friend cannot take beef and notified us of the diet restriction. When the meal was served (despite all 3 options not having any beef), my friend was served the vegetarian meal. My friend asked if he can choose the bento option (there is no beef in that option), the pursuer who brought him the meal told my friend that his meal is a special order, hence he cannot order anything else from the menu. When questioned that all 3 options do not contain beef, the pursuer than offered to bring my friend something else if there are any leftovers. I was rather puzzled by this remark. She later came back with more food for my friend, which looked like something she pulled together from Economy Class Section in a sloppy presentation. While it is a nice gesture that the pursuers took note of my friend’s diet restriction, however, it is rather disheartening to learn that my friend cannot order anything from the menu when all 3 options had no beef. I am not too sure why the inflexibility attitude displayed by the pursuer in a Business Class cabin.

The only time friendly service was rendered is during boarding

Afterthought

Although Thai Airways B777-300 is an ageing aircraft,  I find the seats to be spacious and most comfortable in the lounge mode. The angled flat bed may turn some off but still provided good rest especially for a night flight. The lavatory is cramp and has not much amenities than the Economy Class lavatory less some orchids and handkerchiefs and more upscale Eau-de-cologne. What shocked me the most is the service in the Premium Business Class cabin. Pursuers were defensive and did not render help whatsoever. I find Thai Airways Business Class not worthy to spend that extra penny over with such lousy service attitude. This is the last time I will be flying Thai Airways, especially in their Business Class.
Day breaking on the BKK-CTS leg
Arriving into Hokkaido
New Chitose Airport viewed from above
Japan coastline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s