On the Ground
Thai Airways has a dedicated check-in row for Passengers flying on Business Class in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. The check-in counters are located on the left most of the terminal building, in Row B. The Business Class check-in is a sit-down experience, where chairs are available at the counters for passengers to rest their feet while the ground staff perform their check-in. The staff processed the check-in with efficiency and handed our boarding pass to us in no time. She also reminded us of the boarding time and the gate where our flight would depart. The ground staff also extended an invitation to us to the Royal Silk Lounge. One thing I like about flying out of Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thai Airways is the dedicated immigration counter for Business Class passengers. There is no queue at the immigration counter, which allowed us to clear immigration in no time.
Royal Silk Lounge
Passing the immigration counter, an escalator leads us one floor down to the Royal Silk Lounge. The Royal Silk Lounge at the bottom of the escalator (Concourse D) is the largest among the five lounges spreading across Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Business Class passengers can access any of the five lounges at the airport. The staffs at the Royal Silk Lounge welcomed us with a warm smile and gave us a printed slip with log in details to the lounge wifi. The lounge at Concourse D, with a floor area of 1,400m², is decked in dark brown colour scheme. There are several food stations spread across the massive lounge and no lack of sitting area. The food on offer at the lounge is mainly Thai food with a small mix of sandwiches. Business Class passengers are also treated with a huge selection of beverages. The lounge is a great place to relax and unwind while waiting for our flight. There is also a selection of magazines and newspapers for passengers to read at the lounge. Business Class passengers are also treated to a 30 min foot massage or head & shoulder massage at the Royal Orchid Spa across from the Royal Silk Lounge at Concourse D. Due to the shortage of time, we did not get to enjoy the massage in Royal Orchid Spa.
TG409 departs from Gate C7, which is a relatively short walk from the Royal Silk Lounge at Concourse D. As Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is rather long, walking from gate to gate would require a substantial amount of time. My friends and I catered extra time to get to the boarding gate.
Thai Airways uses its B777-300ER which is refitted with the new Business Class seats on this Bangkok to Singapore route. The refitted Business Class cabin is decked in its iconic purple hue and an earthy brown tone. The earthy brown tone makes the cabin feel cosy, and the purple seems to suggest Thai Airways is paying homage to the colour that most passengers would identify the company with. There are a total of 42 seats in the business class cabin, split into two sections with 24 seats in the forward section and 18 seats in the rear section. The cabin feels very comfortable and the use of mood lighting at different periods of the flight time allows passengers to adjust their body clock to the time of the day in the destination. I am sitting in the rear Business Class cabin, which is separated with Economy Class by a thin bulkhead. This part of the cabin is behind the door where Economy Class passengers boards the aircraft, there seem to be a tad livelier during boarding.
Two of the three lavatories in the Business Class cabin is situated between the two sections of the cabin, with one more next to the cockpit. The lavatory does not seem any bigger than those in Economy Class cabin, however, the use of wood-like materials and the clever use of light combined with mirrors eliminates any feeling of claustrophobic feel that one might experience in this tight space. There is a difference in terms of amenities in the Business Class cabin lavatory compared to that in Economy Class cabin. Other than the hand soap and cologne found in Economy Class lavatory, hand lotion and handkerchiefs are available in the Business Class cabin lavatory. These amenities are presented in white cloths, together with the orchid flowers, gave the lavatory a premium feel. I always like the use of sensor tap onboard Thai Airways lavatories which is more hygienic for its passengers.
Business Class cabin onboard Thai Airways B777-300ER are refitted with the new generation staggered Solstys style seats that one will find onboard Thai Airways newer aircrafts such as Thai Airways A380 and A350. The staggered seats in Business Class cabin gave passengers direct aisle access. Business Class seats on Thai Airways B77-300ER has a pitch of 82″ and measures 20″ wide. It is capable of reclining 180º into a true flatbed. Other than the flatbed mode, the Business Class cabin seat has a lounge mode, which is somewhere between the upright take-off/landing mode and the flatbed mode. I find this mode to be the most comfortable when watching TV onboard. The Business Class cabin seats come with massage function, which is great for passengers sitting on them for an extended period of time. There is a button on the seat controls that allows passengers to move the Business Class seats forward and back. Business Class passengers will find a large size pillow and a quilt placed on their seat at the time of boarding.
The legroom onboard Thai Airways B777-300ER is excellent. There is plenty of room for me to stretch my legs out onto the ottoman that comes in every seat. There is a small area below the ottoman where passengers can put their shoes in.
Each Business Class seat on the refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER is fitted with a side table, which is perfect for passengers to stow their reading materials. This is also where the flight attendants placed drinks or snacks when served to the passengers. Above the side table is where one will find one of the two seat pockets holding in-flight magazines and the menu. A LED reading light is mounted in front of the seat pocket, which comes with a brightness adjustment function. I find the storage bin beneath the armrest very functional and is great for storing small items such as tablet PCs, passports and mobile phone. This storage bin is hidden out of sight, which makes it safe to store small items in. The headphone jack and a seat power socket are found on the side of the seat.
The Business Class seats come with a rather large table, clad in wooden furnishing that is coherent with the furnishing of the side table, giving the cabin a luxurious look. The table can be moved slightly forward to allow passengers to exit the seat without having to stow it back. When stowed away, the table is nicely flush with the bulkhead. There is also a coat hook next to the table. Beneath the stowed table is a small seat pocket where one can find the aircraft safety card and air sickness bag.
Passengers on all Thai Airways flights are treated to on-demand audio and video In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. Business Class passengers are equipped with a noise cancelling headphone, which is placed on the seat prior to boarding. The refurbished Thai Airways B777-300ER Business Class seats come equipped with a 15″ TV screen which has a touchscreen function, which feels very responsive. There are two USB ports underneath the TV screen where passengers can use to charge their mobile devices as well. The IFE system onboard Thai Airways is packed a wide array of entertainment options. With more than 100 movies, including latest Hollywood blockbusters and latest Thai movies, 150 TV programmes and 500 CD albums, passengers are assured that they will be well entertained flying on Thai Airways.
The IFE is well organised in intuitive menus that passengers can control from the touchscreen on the TV. The same IFE menu is replicated on the IFE controller which also comes with a touchscreen function.
Business Class passengers were served pre-departure drinks as soon as we got settled in our seats. I recommend one to try out the Thai Airways signature drink, Violet Bliss, which is only available in Business Class. Violet Bliss is made with butterfly pea and is very refreshing. I had this drink throughout my time onboard this flight. Despite being a short 2-hour flight, flight attendants went around serving drinks and peanuts as soon as the seat belt light is turned off, while the meal is being heated up.
As this is a short flight, meals are served all at once instead of course by course. The crab meat and avocado timbale appetiser are delicious. I can taste the freshness of the generous amount of crab meat, which opened up my appetite for the main course. Business Class passengers are given three options for the main course: salmon, chicken or pork dish. I opted for the stir-fried pork fillet with noodles. The pork is very tender and flavourful and the Sha Cha sauce is delicious. However, I did not quite like the noodle as it is cold and tasteless, which I find does not complement the pork well. After the main meal, I had Thai pudding for dessert which is light and tasty.
The service in Business Class on this Thai Airways flight is nothing short of impeccable. Business Class passengers were welcomed onboard with the traditional Thai hand gesture and the warmest smile when we stepped into the aircraft. We were served the pre-departure drink and a hot towel as soon as we settled into our seat. The flight attendant showed us where to find the menu and returned to take our orders for the meal. Flight attendants swiftly sprung into action to heat up and serve meals to passengers as soon as the seat belt light is turned off.
The flight attendant serving this section of the aircraft is nothing short of excellent and knew what customer service is all about. She took the time to go around introducing herself to all the passengers under her charge. During her introduction, I am surprised to find out that the flight attendant took the initiative to memorise each passenger’s name and addressed us by our surname. This is the first time I encountered such treatment onboard Thai Airways Business Class! When my friend was not sure about what to have for the meal, the flight attendant took the time to explain how each dish is prepared and the ingredients that go into the meal. The flight attendant recommended my friend the salmon dish, which my friend remarked the meal was the best in-flight meal she had tasted. I remarked to the flight attendant how much I like the Thai Airways signature drink, Violet Bliss, and would always request for the drink whenever I fly in Business Class. The flight attendant took note of my liking and topped up the drink whenever she saw the glass is empty. The attention to details and her taking the time to listen and remember my preference for the drink is what makes flying on Business Class on this Thai Airways flight awesome.
The Business Class seat on the refitted Thai Airways B777-300ER is very comfortable. I particularly like the seat in lounge mode, which I found most comfortable for resting and watching movies. The IFE system is packed with loads of entertainment options that removed the boredom of flying with Thai Airways. The food is tasty and flavourful and does not taste like your typical aircraft meal. The service I received on this flight is nothing but excellent. Just when I thought my last experience with Thai Airways on their A380 was the best, the service provided by the flight attendant on this flight tops it. Her attention to details and dedication to ensuring passengers have a great experience in Business Class is what makes this flight memorable for me.