Thai Airways is the designated flag carrier of the Kingdom of Thailand, connecting Thailand with the rest of the world. Currently, the airline has a fleet size of 90 aircraft with 1,066 average round-trip flights each week on all routes. Whilst the success of the airline in the 56 years of operation has received numerous international awards and recognition, recently, I had my first flight with Thai Airways. Let’s find out if Thai Airways is actually as smooth as silk? Here is my experience and review:
Date: 02 Feb 2017
Flight Path: Bangkok (BKK) – Chiang Mai (CNX)
Length: 1 hour 11 minutes
Fare: USD 36.00 (one-way)
Frequent-flyer program: Royal Orchid Plus
Alliance: Star Alliance
CHECK IN: I checked-in for the Bangkok – Chiang Mai flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Zone C, the main hub for all Thai Airways flight routes. This was shortly after I arrived Bangkok from Malé via Colombo with SriLankan Airlines. I was very fortunate in so many ways, especially since I did not have any checked-in luggage, so I made it swiftly through the immigration and didn’t have to proceed to the luggage collection area. The check-in area looked empty at 5.15am in the morning, there was one check-in staff at one of the counters, I approached her and she quickly inspected my passport and flight ticket and issued me the boarding pass. The entitled checked baggage allowance for economy class passengers was 30 kilograms and the carry-on baggage was restricted to one bag (up to 115 cm in length) with a maximum weight of seven kilograms. I had almost 3 hours to kill, so I grabbed some breakfast at the airport and sat at a bench near a mobile phone charging station until my phone reached full power.
PLANE: The aircraft equipment was a Boeing 777-300 (twin-jet), it offered two classes of service, the Royal Silk Business and Economy. Royal Silk Business consisted of 34 seats from rows 11 to 16 and Economy Class with 330 seats from rows 31 to 72.
All passengers were boarded to the aircraft as per the scheduled boarding time via the jet bridge, however it departed with a delay of thirteen minutes. I found the seats rather bright, but wonderful with pink, purple and a kitschy yellow color scheme. The economy cabin looked spacious and comfortable, it had a small pillow for each economy seat, but I didn’t see any blankets. The Royal Silk Business class cabin inspired the rich Thai culture and heritage.
ENTERTAINMENT: Each Economy class seat had a 110-volt AC power port and a 9-inch seat back LCD screen that provided over 30 movies and programs with touchscreen control and the classic remote stored below the LCD screen. The Royal Silk Business Class featured a 15-inch seat back LCD screen.
FOOD: As soon as our flight reached the cruising altitude, the beverage and on-board meal service followed. Thai Airways allows passengers to choose special meal preferences (e.g., vegetarian, etc.) and must be specified at the time of issuance of the ticket whether it is through an agent or online; if not, you will only receive the standard hot meal. There was nothing special about the prepacked (heated) scrambled egg wrapped in cheese that I had for breakfast, but it was filling rather than of any taste.
SERVICE: The uniform of the cabin crew are often commended as one of the best in the airline industry with their unique purple, living up to the airlines motto ‘Smooth as silk’. The females wear the corporate purple outfit, if not on-board and change to a Thai traditional dress with long skirts, sophisticated jackets and rich fabrics. They also wear a fresh purple flower in their lapel which ties the outfit and the airlines’ branding. Men also wear a separate jacket during the flight.
I was greeted by very delightful and genuine crew when I boarded this flight. They were very courteous, warm and friendly, they regularly came through the cabin to see if any passengers needed any help during the short domestic flight. Shortly after we landed at Chiang Mai and soon after all passengers deplaned, I was trying to take some photos of the vacant economy class cabin, until one of the cabin crews came over, I thought she was about to tell me that I was not allowed to take photos inside the aircraft. But, she smiled and asked me if I wanted to take a photo of myself with the seats in the background, I agreed and she helped me with that shot. I felt good and relieved to know that Thai Airways’ do not have issues with passengers taking photos on their aircraft before and during the flight.
CONCLUSION: I was pleasantly surprised by the service, smiles, comfort of seats and the price. Nonetheless for a short flight to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, I would still choose Thai Airways provided the price is right. Please note that the other aircraft equipment may differ from this, hence should you book your flight with Thai Airways, and you get an older product, don’t be disappointed.
I flew at my own expense.