Hello from Bangkok! I’m here for a quick getaway after lots of senior year work. While I’m certainly not off the hook (my to-do list has its own to-do list), I always enjoy when I manage to be productive abroad, so I’ll work on that over the next few nights.
On the aviation front, we didn’t really have much of a choice of airline. Emirates was pricing over the roof, and I didn’t like the timings of all the other airlines that flew to Bangkok – so we were stuck with Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific again. Out of a split decision I decided to go with Thai Airways, as it didn’t cross my mind at the time that I haven’t flown Cathay Pacific’s regional business class product in a while. Oh well.
While I’ve flown Thai Airways countless times before, this itinerary left me with a new product – their 777. I’ve flown their angled flat seat more times than I can remember, though I’ve never tried their new staggered seat, until today. So I thought I’d share my first impressions, as I usually do when I fly new configurations (also, due to my workload, the review’s probably not coming out for a while).
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Hong Kong Airport
While the seat itself was an improvement over their angled flat seats, I left the flight quite underwhelmed by the product as a whole. Here’s why.
Thai Airways’ 777 Business Class Seat
Thai Airways’ longhaul aircraft feature a Solstys-style business class seat. This is one of the better business class hard products out there, in my opinion; though the major downside of these seats is that some are significantly more private than others. I’ve flown this exact seat configuration on Hong Kong Airlines (though since this is the 777, the seats are noticeably wider).
I secured myself a seat nearer to the window (I would’ve given it up for my parents due to the added privacy, though they wanted to afford me more seclusion so I wouldn’t be judged for talking to a GoPro and taking 17 photos of my meal during the flight). I find this seat manufacturer’s seats to be exceptionally well-padded, or at least the same was the case on Hong Kong Airlines’ version of the seat.
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Seat
The seat also transforms into a comfortable bed. It’s worth noting that this seat doesn’t have a legrest, which is atypical for a lie-flat business class seat; but the ottoman’s comfortably close to the seat, so the lack of the legrest isn’t that big of an issue.
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Bed
The seat was well-stocked with power, with a 110V power port and two USB power ports (though they charged particularly slowly, going up 1% every 5 minutes).
This is one of the better, though not the best business class seats out there.
Thai Airways’ 777 Business Class Amenities
I also found no issue with the amenities on Thai Airways’ 777. Now that I think about it, Thai Airways’ pillow and blanket are strikingly similar to Hong Kong Airlines’ as well. They’re high-quality, the pillow was sturdy, and the blanket was quilted.
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Pillow
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Blanket
I can’t say the same about the headphones, which were quite low-quality. However, there isn’t much to complain about Thai Airways’ shorthaul amenities either.
Thai Airways’ 777 Business Class Food
One of the nice things about Thai Airways’ website is that they let you pre-order from quite a large selection of meals. On my flight I decided to order a salmon dish with a white wine sauce and mixed vegetables, which I was pleasantly surprised by. The salmon itself was on the overcooked side, though I was impressed by how well-seasoned the vegetables were. It’s not often that an airline pays as much attention to the vegetables as they do to the protein, so I was pleasantly surprised there.
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Meal
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Meal
Unfortunately my parents both pre-ordered the beef tenderloin. I had a feeling that wouldn’t be any good, though made the mistake of letting them proceed with the pre-order. It was terrible – tough, dry, shrivelled up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they found that meat from the remnants of some animal from 2,000 years ago.
Apart from that, this seems like a pretty pleasant flight, right? Nah, here’s where it gets sour…
Thai Airways’ 777 Business Class Service
On the plus side, the crew were courteous, and smiled. And they didn’t mind my filming (it irritates the hell out of me when cabin crew make up rules against photography and filming, but luckily that didn’t happen on this flight).
However, there were numerous service mishaps that happened one after the other. Firstly, the crew were inattentive. By inattentive, they would literally take cups before takeoff and leave the cupholders, and they’d leave opened packaging lying around the seat without making any effort to pick it up. (I gave them a hard time on Instagram for giving me the menu upon asking, since I wanted to photograph it, and not taking it back before takeoff, though people messaged back saying it was intentional, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt).
Also, the crew were downright lazy. I don’t mean not-clearing-trays lazy (my tray actually got cleared within 5 minutes after I finished), I mean violating-safety-rules lazy. The safety video was never played on this flight. Also, the crew never bothered to do a pre-takeoff or pre-landing check – they’d just sit by the galley in their jumpseats, chatting. I believe that’s actually breaking a couple of aviation rules, though I wasn’t affected personally by that. The crew weren’t polished at all – they’d just leave water bottles and hot towels at my side table without saying anything, but once again these are small things. Take me to work on the second day of Chinese New Year (which Thailand celebrates), and I probably wouldn’t bring my A-game either.
One particular crewmember also gave me attitude when I asked for landing cards. I fill out the landing cards for my family, and my mother hadn’t received landing cards yet when I walked past. I asked a crewmember if I could have two more landing cards, and was handed one. I asked for the final one, and was informed, quite harshly, “I gave her already”.
Sure enough, my mother was passed a landing card somewhere in the middle of the interaction; though over the past few years where I’ve written about the aviation industry, I’ve learnt that there are standards to how passengers and crew interact with each other; they weren’t met here.
Also, have you ever seen a more half-assed pour than this one? If you have, I owe you a beer.
Thai Airways Boeing 777 Business Class Beer
Bottom Line: Thai Airways 777 Business Class
It’s hard to think about how great it is to have such a nice hard product on a short regional flight, when my mind’s plagued with the sadness from such a lazy and, frankly, incompetent crew. I wasn’t even offended on a personal level – as someone who writes about the industry and has done so for 5+ years, I was offended on a professional level. The least a crew can care to do is follow safety protocol, and that’s showing the safety video, and doing pre-takeoff and landing cabin checks.
I’m more forgiving of service flukes. I’ve had six great flights on Thai Airways, and experienced exceptional service on them before. I’ve flown a lot of flights, and know that there are slip-ups for a variety of reasons. However, the negligence of this one crew has knocked Thai Airways off my mother’s airline of choice when flying to Bangkok.
Despite not having a great impression (at all) of this Thai Airways flight, I’m hoping they redeem themselves soft-product wise on our return flight, and actually would love to try them longhaul someday.
Have you flown Thai Airways’ 777 business class before? How was your experience compared to mine?