Review: Thai Airways 747 Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong

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


I was excited to have the opportunity to fly the 747, but was wary that it may very well be my last time.

THAI Flight 606
Monday, October 2, 2017
Origin: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Gate: C10 Dep: 16:00 (16:10)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 64 Arr: 19:45
 (20:00)
Duration: 2 hr 45 min (2 hr 50 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 19K (Business Class)

I was glad to be one of the first few people onboard the Thai Airways 747. Looking left, I saw a first class cabin of nine seats in the nose of the 747.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 First Class

The seats looked fine, though I’ve seen better first class seats. My mother didn’t like the colour tones, though they were pretty fitting for a Thai airline, in my opinion. I’d avoid seat 4E, as all of business class walks past that seat during boarding, and there’s so little privacy (the seats aren’t fully enclosed, and the privacy partition doesn’t extend very far at all seats) – the seat basically faces the door.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 First Class

I then stepped into the business class cabin. Already seated were the family traveling with a disabled grandparent, so I couldn’t get great pictures there. They were comfortably settled in rows 24 and 25, and had access to windows as well as a wide aisle.

Straight up by the door were seats 22A and 22B, which I named the best business class seats on Thai Airways’ 747.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seats 22A and 22B

Thai Airways’ 747 is unique as the front end of the lower deck features the galley stretched along the right side of the aircraft. This means that instead of a small galley between cabins, the crew has more space to organise themselves. Unfortunately this means that those seated on the right of the lower deck cabin face a wall – while it’s ornamented with the Bangkok skyline, it can’t compare to real windows.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lower Deck

Behind the business class cabin was the economy class cabin, featuring 325 well-padded seats with 34-inch pitch in a 3-4-3 configuration.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Economy Class

While Thai Airways features a great economy class product (probably only enhanced by the 34″ pitch featured on the 747), that’s a lot of seats (still less than featured on Cebu Pacific’s A330, though…).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Economy Class

While I was intrigued by the setup of the lower deck, I couldn’t resist selecting a seat on the upper deck (not to mention that all the lower deck window pairs were taken anyway, so I’d prefer a window seat with extra storage on the upper deck to a pair of seats facing a wall). I climbed up the stairs to find an empty upper deck business class cabin.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Stairs to Upper Deck

The upper deck business class cabin featured 26 seats in a 2-2 configuration, split into two with an exit row in the middle.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Upper Deck

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Upper Deck

The bulkhead business class seats featured substantial extra legroom.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Upper Deck

However, this didn’t compare to the legroom offered in row 16, which was the exit row on the upper deck.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Exit Row

The seats were right across a crew jumpseat, so you’d be facing a crewmember upon takeoff and landing. However, if you don’t mind that (especially on a long flight where you’d be enjoying the extra space for a long time at cruising altitude) as well as the general lack of side storage bins at these seats, row 16 is a great pick.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Exit Row Seats 16J and 16K

After I saw the cabin crew on the upper deck, they offered to escort me to my seat (which wasn’t such a hard feat, as my seat was literally right next to the staircase).

I’d picked seat 19K for myself, and my parents and Hailey were seated on the right side of rows 18 and 19. While sitting on the back right window of the cabin is generally my preference, these were also the only seats on the upper deck left for selection.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seats 19J and 19K

The 747 windows are narrow, especially on the upper deck, though I had four windows to choose from so I wasn’t complaining.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seats 19J and 19K

Each seat was well-padded and reasonably wide for a two-hour flight in business class, though I wouldn’t be thrilled if I received one of these seats on the way to Sydney, for example, as Thai Airways still operates 10+ hour flights with these business class seats.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seat 19K

On the plus side, we had legroom for days.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Legroom

To the right of my seat I spotted the seat controls, which were intuitive and included a massage function and lumbar support control.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seat Controls

As found on the A330, the power port was nestled under the armrest.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Power Ports

However, the two USB ports adjacent to the power port were absent on the A330, and a very nice addition to the seat features (though you can see that the cabin could’ve been cleaned a little better).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class USB Port

Located between the seats in front was a cupholder for each seat, which fit an iPhone 6 rather snugly.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Cupholders

While the seats are some of the more well-appointed angled flat seats out there, I was most thrilled by the presence of the side storage bins on the upper deck of the 747 (something you wouldn’t get on the lower deck or row 16, which is another reason I was really happy with my seat choice).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Side Storage Bins

The side storage bins on the 747 reach all the way down to the floor, so I had a great place to put both my backpack and my camera bag.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Side Storage Bins

In addition to that, the 747 features cool square overhead lights, though unfortunately no air nozzles.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Overhead Lights

In terms of the amenities given, we had a pillow and blanket. The pillow was good enough, but I would’ve been happy with the blanket on a longhaul flight.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Blanket and Pillow

The headphones offered were the same as on the outbound (which weren’t as good as my Bose headphones, but still really good).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Headphones

In addition, I was handed an orchid a few minutes after I arrived at my seat.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Orchid

The orchid was soon followed by a hot towel.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Hot Towel

This was when purser Ausanee first greeted us, and first asked for our pre-departure beverage choice. Shortly before pushback she also asked us for our preferred meal choices. I asked if she could make that decision, and she recommended I go for the Thai option, detailing how it would be like (it was almost definitely the best of the options – stay tuned).

I picked apple juice as my pre-departure beverage.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage

I also needed to use the lavatory. While the aircraft seemed particularly fresh for one that had been around for a couple of decades, the bathroom seemed tired. At least it was kept in rather good condition.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lavatory

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lavatory

In terms of premium amenities I spotted water and hand cream, but that was about it. It’s worth noting that Thai Airways has “real” towel dispensers (in place of paper towel dispensers) in business class lavatories, which are a really nice touch, but seem rather wasteful (since the towels go in the wastebasket with everything else – or do they?).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lavatory

Since we were parked at the corner of the terminal and I was seated on the right side, I had a great view of the taxiway adjacent to our gate, where we saw some beautiful aircraft taxi by.

Jetstar Pacific Airbus A320 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Spring Airlines Airbus A320 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

My mother had a massage to finish up at the Thai Airways lounge, so they came onboard last. Unfortunately, our Rimowa carry-on wouldn’t fit in the tiny overhead bins of the 747. While the crew initially advised us to bring it down to the lower deck, they quickly offered to keep the luggage in the crew rest for us (and let me take a few photos afterwards). What an honour to be able to visit the crew rest of the Queen of the Skies – and how nice of the crew to let us do that.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Crew Rest

On the flip side, I can’t imagine that the crew rest would be really comfortable for a longer flight (though again, the space is fully flat, whereas the business class seats aren’t).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Crew Rest

The cabin was then prepared for takeoff, where two flight attendants positioned themselves sitting across those in row 16.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Cabin

We had to taxi for quite a while towards our runway, which I didn’t mind, since it meant taxiing past some rather interesting traffic.

Taxiing Bangkok Airport

At this point the safety video played, which was the same as on the outbound (apart from the fact that the screen was much higher resolution).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Safety Video

We taxied past an aircraft hangar which afforded some nice views of a Qatar A340, Etihad 777, and Nepal Airlines 757.

Qatar Airways Airbus A340 Bangkok Airport

Etihad Boeing 777-300ER Bangkok Airport

Nepal Airlines Boeing 757 Bangkok Airport

According to FlightRadar24 we were third or fourth in line for takeoff, behind a China Eastern 737 and a Cathay Pacific A350 that we would’ve otherwise been on had we not selected to fly Thai Airways on this roundtrip.

China Eastern Boeing 737 Bangkok Airport

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Bangkok Airport

Prior to takeoff we had a nice view of a Thai Airways A350.

Thai Airways Airbus A350 Bangkok Airport

Our takeoff roll was lengthy, but soon we were airborne and had some beautiful views over nucleated Bangkok.

Takeoff Bangkok Airport

Takeoff Bangkok Airport

Takeoff Bangkok Airport

Takeoff Bangkok Airport

Takeoff Bangkok Airport

Takeoff Bangkok Airport

As soon as we hit our cruise altitude of 39,000 feet (as per the captain), I turned on the airshow, and decided to start exploring the entertainment system a little bit.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Airshow

The interface on the 747 is updated compared to the A330. While the A330 is obviously much newer, this aircraft was refurbished in July 2012 and refitted with new seats, which explains the much newer LCD screens, power ports, and all the extra details that rendered this business class seat superior to the airline’s A330 version which we tried on the outbound (that being said, we were on one of the airline’s older A330s on the outbound, so I imagine the newer A330s have a hard product more aligned with the 747s’).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Entertainment System

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Entertainment System

The entertainment system wasn’t extensive by any means (I didn’t explore it very thoroughly on the short flight but there didn’t seem to be many options), though at least I was able to see some good movies in the selection.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Entertainment Selection

In the meantime we had just started our short trek towards Hong Kong.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Airshow

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Airshow

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Airshow

Once the seatbelt sign was turned off I decided to explore the seat a little bit, which I wasn’t able to do fully on the early morning A330 flight. The seat featured a lazy-Z relax position (it’s worth noting that the A330 didn’t have this seating option).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seat Relax Position

It also featured a lie-flat position, which, much like on the A330, featured a little “butt-rest” angle by the seat pan. I don’t mind the angle and actually prefer it to a completely angled-flat seat since you don’t end up sliding down, though I know side and front sleepers would think otherwise.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seat Angled Flat

Between each pair of seats was a sizeable privacy partition.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seat Partition

After takeoff, I had the opportunity to walk down the stairs and visit the lower deck business class cabin, where I marveled at how wide the aisle was.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lower Deck Cabin

I also had the chance to check out the economy class cabin. Once again, the seats seemed very well-padded, and the 747s feature industry-leading legroom (especially in the first row, pictured below – shame no one was sitting there. Look at that space!)

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Economy Class 

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Economy Class 

Back at my seat, I was offered nuts as well as a pre-meal service beverage by Ausanee. I chose tamarind tea, which was delicious.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal Pre-Meal Service Tamarind Iced Tea and Nuts

The menu read as follows:

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Menu

For the short flight everything was served on the same tray. Ausanee had recommended the Thai main course, which both my dad and I went for.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal

The rice was fine, and the pickled turnip was the worst part of my dish and I failed to finish it.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal – Steamed Thai Hom Mali, Stir-Fried Pickled Turnip with Egg

However, the main condiment (and the star of the dish) was tucked away to the side. The flavours packed into the beef fillet were incredible, despite the beef fillet being way overcooked. It was very spicy, mixed well with the rice, and the portion was just right.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal – Stir-Fried Beef Fillet with Sweet Basil, Onion, Red and Green Chili

The fresh fruit on the side was good as well (though admittedly fresh fruit is pretty hard to screw up).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal Fresh Fruits

I didn’t end up touching the cheese plate consisting of two types of cheese and dried fruit, but it looked good.

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal Boutique Cheese Selection with Dried Fruits

Ausanee soon collected our meal trays once we were done, and walked through the cabin with a tray of desserts. I decided to take a dessert, which turned out to be a decent longan in jelly (it wasn’t my favourite dessert by any means, but was a refreshing end to the meal).

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Meal Dessert – Longan in Jelly

Overall the meal service was fine. I really enjoyed the flavours in the beef fillet dish served as part of the Thai main course, though obviously the execution leaves a little bit to be desired. I felt like the beef and rice should have been served as one main dish, the appetiser was too simple, and the dessert had the potential to be presented more nicely. However, I appreciated how efficient it was.

Ausanee was a gem, and kept making sure we were happy with our dishes, they were collected basically right when we were done with them, etc., though other crew members seemed to be slightly more removed.

After dinner I decided to work for a while, and soon we were on our descent into Hong Kong. We initially had some great views over Macau, though after that we made our approach overwater, so I couldn’t get any great pictures.

Descent into Hong Kong

We touched down into Hong Kong Airport at around 7:45 PM, and made a roughly 15-minute taxi to gate 62. I bid farewell to Ausanee and the crew, and was soon on my way home.

Bottom Line: Thai Airways 747 Business Class

Thai Airways’ 747 business class isn’t anything special. However, it once again delivered Thai Airways’ promised service – cheap, simple, and efficient. I wouldn’t hesitate to take Thai Airways from Hong Kong all the way down to Sydney, as the price point sometimes beats premium economy on other airlines (while their angled flat product isn’t industry leading by any means, it’s definitely better than premium economy). That said, Thai Airways offers a similar price point for flights from Hong Kong to Melbourne, where Thai Airways operates their brand new A350 with staggered fully flat seats.

All in all, I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to fly Thai Airways business class – no aspect of their experience particularly shines, in my opinion, apart from the free massage offered at their hub lounge in Bangkok (which are otherwise mediocre to start with). However, I wouldn’t mind flying them longhaul if the price is right, and the great thing about Thai Airways is that it usually is.

I look forward to a chance to try their new A380, A350 or 787, where the hard product is significantly superior.

Would you go out of your way to fly/avoid Thai Airways?

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