It's interesting how expectations often play out as assumptions without basis. After having high expectations for my Singapore Airlines 777 business class flights then being disappointed, and fresh memories of the debacle on Thai's A380 in first class, I was less than enthused about this Thai 747 trip from Singapore to Bangkok. As I said, baseless opinions.
First a few images from Singapore.
Singapore is another Asian city with an amazing transit system. (All these cities put the US to shame with their safe, reliable, extensive and affordable rail systems.) An easy 30 minute ride from downtown, only making a single transfer it's time to leave this beautiful city.
Time to go.
Carrier: Thai Airways
Date: August 2016
Flight #: TG404
Aircraft: B747-400 #HS-TGG
On Time: Y
Reward Flying Rating: 7.4 out of 10 ✈
A bit of luck
Thai has suburb availability on most of their flights, on most of the days, in most classes. If traveling around Asia on a reward ticket you can get Thai to take you there. They also fly to Europe.
Value for Reward per redemption point:
✔︎ Sky High: >.08
Flying on a United point reward ticket from SIN to BKK costs 30,000 points. A typical fare on Thai is around $425, making a point redemption not very attractive at less than 1.5 cents. However in my case this was leg 1 of a 4 segment trip back to the states for 80,000 points. My redemption value was 8 1/2 cents per point.
Easily constructed on United's website.
Stay at Gate
Today Thai flight 404 was departing from Terminal 1. And it is just as beautiful as Terminal 3.
Some kind of game for the kids.
Instead of the Krisflyer lounge I thought I'd check out Thai's lounge up the escalator and if you blink you will miss it.
A small, quaint and comfortable lounge.
Lunch items were on display, somewhat limited but certainly adequate. In fact there wasn't much more room to put anything else.
These Young Coconut Jelly things were incredible!
Off to the gate.
A brief, typical, thunderstorm was passing making me feel lucky my few days in Singapore were rain free and not oppressively humid.
Boarding commenced on time.
What were they thinking?
My original flight had been on a Singapore old 777-200. While some of these aircraft have the newer regional leather seats, the seat map on this aircraft was showing the old Ultimo seats.
I decided to try for better and sure enough, Thai had a flight at the same time, on a 747! So I changed. Then when going to grab a seat you could select a seat in the first class cabin. Ok, I'll take the chance of getting booted from first on my business class ticket. 1A is mine.
Upon further investigation I learned Thai was not selling first class seats on this flight, so my 1A seat selection was legit. Similar to the Asiana 747 regional flight earlier this year. Wow, I went from an ancient 777-200 6 across seating to sitting in the nose of a 747-400. Stars were aligning.
The view upon entering.
The 9 seat first class cabin is configured:
Row 1: 1x1
Row 2: 1x1x1 Staggered
Row 3: 1x2x1 Staggered
(Seatguru is wrong on row 2 as they show 1x2x1)
Best seat? Pick any one!
The middle 2 seats in row 3.
The view of 1K from 1A. Notice the 4 window allotment for Row 1.
Behind row 3 is an aisle where you access the lavatories. Curtains separate business from first as well as the galley on the far side. There are no hard walled partitions.
A view of the lower deck business class seats.
If you are sitting on the ride side end seat and think you have a window you're in for a surprise. The legroom in row 23 is enormous. I'd opt for upstairs, this looks a little claustrophobic to me.
Thai employs a unique galley arrangement. The flight attendants get a nice view while making your tea.
Lavatories are large and well stocked.
✔︎Just like home
Get me off this plane
On to 1A.
From the command center.
Why do lillies get a vase on the 747 and not the 380?
For those who like to sit on the right side, or are scoping out legroom.
Ottoman with ample room for storage underneath.
Not bad for a business class ticket, ehh?
Storage compartments are well conceived and thought out.
Opened reveals a magazine holder as well as an electronic port.
You can actually fit stuff in there.
My laptop posing as a magazine.
Next to the armrest is a compartment holding the IFE controller, 2 USB ports and a storage compartment for your phone with a lid that closes, brilliant.
Unlike the useless nite-light monitor on the A380 (at least that's all I could figure out it did), this touch screen monitor was your seat control as well as light control.
You can also use the buttons, but that's no fun.
My question, why isn't this first class suite in the A380?
For a 2 hour daytime flight I at least got a good bed photo even though I wouldn't try the bed out.
Long and wide enough, however the suspect is the crease. I don't know if a mattress pad is given out on overnight flights.
Cabin/Seat Rating: 8 out of 10 ✈
Full bar in cabin
Multiple coffee selections
Multiple tea selections
Well the A380 flight finally has a winner over the B747 flight. No Dom on this one :(
Not that 6,052THB a bottle Dom was expected.
✔︎Printed, multiple cuisines
Printed, single cuisine
Verbal by flight attendant
Mid flight snacks
So the iPad hasn't found its way to the B747.
Curiously, in a attempt to showcase Thai culture this page was in the menu. I fail to see the appetizing appeal to this history lesson.
A massive tray is revealed.
I went for the Fried Marinated Snapper with Spicy Lemongrass Sauce. They must consider "fried" something other than I do, which was fine with me.
✔︎Compliments to the Chef
Fine dining with a miss or two
No rave reviews
Get me a meal from economy
Now for the real test. Not enough time had passed for the last Thai meal to have been erased from memory.
A nice serving of almonds accompanied the wrong wine I had ordered. After I mentioned this to the flight attendant I think every time she came by my seat, which was often, she apologized.
The Crab and Avocado timbale was excellent, except their avocado is shaped like asparagus.
The snapper was outstanding, with just enough heat to make it flavorful and not like eating a pepper.
I wanted to eat this first, but I have discipline.
Food and Beverage Rating: 8 out of 10 ✈
IFE: Rating: 8 out of 10
✔︎Can I stay and watch some more?
Watched a favorite and went to sleep
400 cable channels and nothing to watch
Glad I brought my tablet
A huge monitor to watch what interests you.
And on this short flight it was the airshow.
One of the better airshows I've seen.
Yes and Free
Yes and Purchase
Flight Attendants: 8 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Made the flight special
Did their job
Did they board?
The flight attendants were awesome. From the boarding welcome, to taking pictures, apologized for making a mistake and constant attentiveness they made the flight even better.
An oshibori and lemon tea on boarding.
Aircraft: 6 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Didn’t realize was on a plane (Biased towards 747!)
Time for a trade-in
Who doesn't love the 747? I certainly do, especially sitting in front. This was Thai's last active 747 delivery, back in late 2003 . The aircraft was in immaculate condition. Granted they have some older 747's so maybe they aren't in as good of condition, but this one sure was.
Upon descent we did a loop over Pattaya allowing for some good photos.
Thai totally redeemed themselves on this flight. I now have a goal to fly this 747 in first sometime in the future. And it was the best regional flight I've had, by all measures. Good job Thai!
Plane watching on arrival.
Do you have any Thai Airways experiences you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a comment.