Review: Thai Airways A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok

Introduction: To Bangkok For The Weekend
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Thai Airways A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse D
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse E
EVA Air Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse C East
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Bangkok BKK Concourse C West
Thai Airways 747 Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong


THAI Flight 603
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 44 Dep: 07:45 (07:50)
Destination: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Gate: D4 Arr: 09:25
 (09:40)
Duration: 2 hr 40 min (2 hr 50 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 17K (Business Class)

I was excited to be back onboard the Thai Airways A330. Thai Airways’ A330 features six rows of angled lie-flat seats arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration, for a total of 30 seats.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class

I wasn’t too fond of the cabin’s colour tones back when Thai Airways used to have pillows the same colour as their headrests covers in business class. Thai Airways features pink headrest covers in business class on some of their aircraft, and light purple headrest covers on others. As much as I’m a fan of a splash of brighter colour, I far prefer the light purple headrest covers.

That said, Thai Airways invested in different pillow covers, which are now purple. With the new purple pillow covers, the business class cabin colours felt a lot more mature, as the splashes of colour were restrained. While pink and purple still isn’t my favourite colour combination, the cabin looked rather nice to me.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

Thai Airways’ angled lie-flat business class seat actually shares the same “bones” as a lot of other airlines’ older business class products. Asiana and Tunisair come to mind, though I’m sure there are others.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

I was escorted to my seat, and my boarding pass was placed on the seat console. The flight attendant originally thought I had missed my seat as I went to take a photo of the economy cabin, though I told her that I’d like to check it out, which she agreed to.

Thai Airways has a multitude of economy class configurations on the A330, and unfortunately, this aircraft features one of Thai Airways’ worst economy products, with low-quality PTV screens and no USB ports.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Economy Class

I do like the cabin colours Thai Airways uses in economy class though. They’re bright and refreshing, though some of Thai Airways’ newer A330s feature only red and purple seats (no yellow seats), which I’m equally as fine with. Ultimately Thai Airways’ new economy class product on their A350, 777 and 787 looks much better, so I look forward to testing it out someday.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Economy Class Cabin

The business class cabin was decked out in two colours – light and dark purple. The seats I assigned for my mother and Hailey were upholstered in a pretty nice dark purple. The seats I assigned for my father and myself were light purple.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seats 16J and 16K

I had assigned myself seat 17K, which is the right window seat in the last row of business class on Thai’s A330. That’s my preference, though it’s not like there were many other window seats available at our time of booking anyway.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seats 17J and 17K

The seats are amply wide and perfect for a quick two-hour hop.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seats

The seatbacks are interesting – while they’re rounded for the most part, there’s a recess at the top of each seatback. I’m not sure what the recess was there for (it certainly didn’t act as a handle), though I placed my phone on the ledge inflight whenever I wasn’t bothered to put it back in my pocket. That’s some wasted potential storage space, especially for a seat with so little storage to start with.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seats

Seats 17E and 17F are reserved for crew rest seats on longer flights, though in this case they were open for selection. The passengers sitting here didn’t seem to know each other, though I wonder if they’d be allowed to use the curtain if they did.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seats 17E and 17F

It was time to explore my seat. The seat had an ample amount of legroom, though it was made clear that nothing could be stowed under the seat in front.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Legroom

Located to my right were the seat controls, which were intuitive, and featured lumbar support controls.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seat Controls

Located in front was the TV screen, which was so retro – it couldn’t have been anywhere over 360p in quality, and the moving map was dated.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Seatback

Between the seats was a small storage area, though I didn’t end up having a need for it.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Storage Compartment

Also on the seatback in front was a cupholder for each seat.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Cup Holders

There was a 110V universal power port and a two-pronged headphone jack, though the absence of a USB port was soon evident.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Power Port

I didn’t have a need for the headphone jack anytime during the flight, though it’s worth mentioning that it was broken.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Headphone Jack

The tray tables could be pulled out from the console located between the two seats. I initially thought my tray table was stuck, though once I managed to pull it out it was big enough and sturdy as ever.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Side Table

The seat itself featured a pillow, though I can’t help but feel like I was handed a better pillow in economy on a Thai Airways flight last year. The blanket itself was great, though – it was quilted, felt fine on the skin and I wouldn’t have issues using the blanket on a longhaul flight.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Pillow

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Blanket

Thai Airways had also upgraded their headphones since the last time I flew them in business class. My dad said his headphones were good, though I didn’t get to try them out firsthand since my audio jack was broken.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Headphones

Overall, the seat was more than enough for two hours, though it was worn as ever. That’s a shame, as the aircraft had only been around for eight years, and featured the “new” Airbus passenger service units (which should signify that the aircraft is new, and therefore in good shape – apparently not).

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Passenger Service Units

It’s also worth noting that after lots of flying on aircraft such as the A380, 777, A350 and 787, the A330 felt rather cramped in comparison. The windows felt small and the cabin ceilings felt rather low. Obviously the problem doesn’t lie with Thai Airways – it lies in the fact that I’m jaded. The A330 used to basically define travel for me (I remember back in 2014-15 when I flew and reviewed eleven A330 flights in a row), so it was interesting to see how it’s starting to lag behind the curve compared to some more modern aircraft that I’ve now been accustomed to.

The cabin filled up quickly, notably by a family of four which seemed to consist of two guys, their mother (who seemed to be holding a probing cane) and an elderly grandmother on a wheelchair.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

Around five minutes after boarding I was presented with a hot towel, as well as a welcome drink. I was presented a tray with water, orange juice, apple juice and champagne, where I picked apple juice.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Hot Towel

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Apple Juice

It was a rainy day outside, though my eyes were transfixed upon a beautiful Air India 787, which I hope to fly someday.

Air India Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

The cabin filled up within fifteen minutes, and by 7:40 AM the cabin was good to go.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

At around 7:45 AM the crew played the safety video, which was pretty cool.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

The captain then came on the PA to announce our flight time of 2 hours and 25 minutes. He repeated every single thing that he said twice sentence by sentence, which was slightly irritating.

In the meantime, the crew came around and took meal orders (menus were located in the seat pocket in front). The crew were indifferent, though smiled upon interaction.

We pushed back shortly after 7:50 AM, and started making our way towards the runway. I saw a beautiful Cathay Pacific A330 in the new livery during the process.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

However, it was a rainy day at Hong Kong Airport, so I couldn’t really get good photos of any sort.

Rainy Day Hong Kong Airport

I managed a decent photo of an Orient Thai 747, which seemed to be the Orient Thai aircraft featuring ex-Cathay Pacific interiors. That’s one of the only airplanes that still features Cathay Pacific’s herringbone business class product, since the airline didn’t bother updating the interiors after they acquired the aircraft from Cathay Pacific.

Orient Thai Boeing 747 Hong Kong Airport

We took off on runway 07R, which offered great views of Hong Kong upon our climbout.

Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

Ultimately the weather cleared up as we rose above the clouds, and up in the air it was a beautiful day as always.

Views upon Climbout Hong Kong Airport

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Business Class Cabin Upon Takeoff

Around 10 minutes after takeoff, the captain came on the PA to announce a few more details of our flight.

The seatbelt sign was switched off around 15 minutes after takeoff, where I took one more look at the economy class cabin. Unfortunately the seatbacks are thick and clunky, without a lot of features. Thai Airways has a few aircraft featuring a gorgeous economy class hard product, though this aircraft clearly wasn’t one of them.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Economy Class Cabin

Back at my seat, I checked out the entertainment selection. The selection of movies was okay, though the selection of music was disappointingly lacking (not that it mattered, since my headphone jack was broken anyway).

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Around 15 minutes after takeoff, the crew started preparing for meal service. The menu read as follows:

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Menu

The separate wine and beverage menu read as follows:

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Beverage List

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Beverage List

The appetiser was passed out around 25 minutes into the flight. Meal service was done by trolleys on this flight.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Appetiser Setup

I really liked the salt and pepper shakers, which were shaped like an onion.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Salt and Pepper Shakers

The appetiser itself was just fresh fruit cut up. The strawberries were okay, the mango was okay, and the kiwi was okay. I didn’t touch the papaya or the grapefruit – overall, an acceptable, though boring appetiser to begin the meal.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Appetiser – Fresh Fruits

We were offered a bread basket with two types of bread on offer. I selected a croissant, which was fine.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Croissant

A drinks trolley soon rolled around, and I decided to go for lychee juice, which the flight attendant said would be “very nice”. It was okay – it was poured out of a carton, so I wasn’t expecting much.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Lychee Juice

Around 15 minutes after the appetiser was presented, the crew came around with the main courses. This was how my assorted dim sum meal was presented:

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Main Course – Assorted Dim Sum

This is what the meal looked like without the piece of cabbage on top:

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Main Course – Assorted Dim Sum

It’s honestly such a shame, since the dish without the overcooked, disgusting, bland cabbage leaf looked so pretty in itself. It’s not like they’re trying to retain moisture or anything, but the cabbage leaf just felt like lipstick on a pig to me. All of the four dim sum items were really nice – they were flavour bombs, and I wouldn’t have problems receiving the dish at a restaurant. I was also handed a packet of chili sauce that enhanced the flavour of the dim sum.

My dad ordered the braised rice vermicelli, which happened to be the short end of the stick, as the noodles were mediocre at best. It’s funny since this dish was meticulously described on the menu, while my assorted dim sum dish didn’t get much of an explanation at all.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Main Course – Braised Rice Vermicelli with Shiitake, Bean Sprout, Yellow Chive, Carrot, Japanese Pork Potsticker, Shrimp Shao Mai, Choy Sum with Garlic Oil

The meal service was pretty efficient, and our plates were cleared 15 minutes after the main meal was served. Kudos to Thai Airways for serving a meal so quickly and efficiently.

Service was rushed, which I get, since I value efficiency more than personability for a meal service on a two-hour flight. The flight attendants smiled when they handed us our meals, though that was about it.

Shortly after the meal service I visited the lavatory, which was standard for a newer A330. I do like the fact that Thai Airways offers “towel dispensers” on their A330s (in place of tissues, they have towels), though I doubt those towels are reused (since “used towels” are instructed to go in the trash), so they could potentially be a waste.

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Lavatory

Thai Airways Airbus A330 Business Class Lavatory

I reclined my seat and napped for around an hour before I was instructed to put my seat back into the upright position and open window shades. It’s impressive that I managed to get an hour of sleep on a two-hour flight, and I slept well due to the insanely early departure time. I like how Thai Airways’ business class bed doesn’t unfold into a flat surface, instead allowing a “platform” preventing your butt from sliding down. I didn’t get a picture of the flat bed position on this flight, though I got one on the return, so I’ll share the picture then.

We started our descent into Bangkok at 9:15 AM local time, where the views were beautiful.

Views upon Initial Descent Bangkok Airport

Views upon Initial Descent Bangkok Airport

Views upon Initial Descent Bangkok Airport

Views upon Descent Bangkok Airport

Our views were exciting when we entered final approach into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, as the airport was located on the right side of the plane.

Views upon Descent Bangkok Airport

Views upon Final Approach Bangkok Airport

Views upon Final Approach Bangkok Airport

Views upon Landing Bangkok Airport

Views upon Landing Bangkok Airport

I’m a sucker for a wide variety of traffic, which Bangkok Airport definitely provides. Upon our taxi I spotted a variety of Thai Airways aircraft.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-200 Bangkok Airport

Thai Airways Boeing 787 Bangkok Airport

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Bangkok Airport

I was also able to spot some other aircraft, including an ANA 787, an Etihad 787, and most excitingly, a Wamos Air Boeing 747 and a JetAsia 767.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Bangkok Airport

Etihad Boeing 787 Bangkok Airport

I’m dying to find out what the Wamos Air aircraft looks like from inside. This picture on JetPhotos.com was taken right inside the aircraft pictured below. Can someone explain Wamos Air’s 747 cabin layout to me please? Not mentioned is that Wamos Air doesn’t even fly to Bangkok – this aircraft was operating El Al flights between Tel Aviv and Bangkok. Fascinating!

Wamos Air Boeing 747 Bangkok Airport

I hadn’t heard of JetAsia before, but it seems to be an airline headquartered in Bangkok that operates mostly charter flights nowadays. This promotional video really makes the JetAsia experience seem reminiscient of how flying was like back in the “good old days”.

JetAsia Boeing 767-200 Bangkok Airport

In addition to that I also spotted a Lao Airlines ATR 72.

Lao Airlines ATR 72 Bangkok Airport

We finally parked next to an Aeroflot A330 at gate D4, where we alighted in no time and made our way past immigration quickly.

Aeroflot Airbus A330 Bangkok Airport

Bangkok Airport wasn’t opened too long ago, but it already feels like such a dated airport. The Cathay Pacific flight our friends were on arrived rather late, so we waited for them for a while, before waiting for the driver that would take us to the Park Hyatt Bangkok.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal

Bottom Line: Thai Airways’ A330 Business Class

Thai Airways’ A330 business class is exactly what the airline promises – a fully functional, largely no-frills product given at affordable prices. I didn’t expect much more of Thai Airways, and got exactly what I expected – I love an airline that commits fully to a solid brand, and Thai Airways did exactly that. I also liked the subtle improvements, including a better pillow, better headphones, etc.. I also really liked the food on this flight, though it seemed to be a one-off, since no one else in my family really enjoyed their meal options.

Ultimately Thai Airways’ fleet is aging faster than usual, which is my biggest complaint about Thai Airways’ A330 business class. Bangkok is a high-competition, low-yield route, and Thai Airways certainly doesn’t offer the best hard product between Hong Kong and Bangkok, as only one of their daily flights offer fully-flat beds on the route (every other airline operating between Hong Kong and Bangkok offers fully flat beds on at least a majority of the flights they operate on the route). However, a majority of these flights are fifth-freedom routes, so it would be unfair to stack them up against Thai Airways’ point-to-point product on the route.

Overall, under a similar price point, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Thai Airways again on the route, though I’d love to be able to try their A380 next time.

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One thought on “Review: Thai Airways A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok

  1. Great report. I am flying THAI from Oman to BKK and on to HKG. Unfortunately, they switched my plane from the 747, which I quite like, to this A330 series. I don’t think they are that great, but I always like THAI service. Flights are managed well and quiet. Also didn’t know THAI had any 787s, so it was cool to see that.
    I agree on BKK flight traffic. That airport and Singapore have a lot of variety and many different airlines.

    Like

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