Review: Thai Airways 777-300ER Economy Class Hong Kong to Bangkok

I recently took a school trip to Surat Thani in Thailand. I flew Thai Airways and Thai Smile Economy Class and documented the experience in this mini trip report series. I was especially interested to see how Thai Airways stacked up against Cathay Pacific’s regional Economy Class experience, given how loyal I am to my hometown carrier. 


Thai Airways check-in counters in Hong Kong are located in Terminal 2, which is shared with many most low-cost carriers. Check-in was efficient, and there was no line save for our school group. I was ushered by the station manager to the Royal Silk check-in counters. The ground staff were friendly and efficient and was sent on my way through security and onto the train between Terminal 2 and Terminal 1.

59763442_340602059932011_6468738390119415808_n-1Thai Airways Hong Kong Airport Check-In 

After grabbing some breakfast at Beef and Liberty (highly recommended, by the way), I made my way to our departure gate and watched our gorgeous aircraft pull into the gate area.

59924945_458173038321629_889899640135090176_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER at Hong Kong Airport 

Soon, boarding was called, starting with Royal Silk passengers and elite members, followed by Economy passengers. After having spent the past few years exclusively flying oneworld airlines as an elite member, it sure felt a little nostalgic joining the general boarding queue.

I was welcomed at the door by a friendly flight attendant and was directed to my seat in the Economy cabin.

Thai Airways International 601
March 3rd, 2019
Origin: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Dep: 12:45
Destination: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Arr: 14:25
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER 
Seat: 70J (Economy Class)

My first impressions of the cabin were fantastic. Contrary to Thai Airways’ older variation of the Boeing 777-300ER that Alvin flew on his earlier trip to Bangkok, this one was outfitted with brand new finishes, which I really liked.

Thai Airways’ have bucked the trend of squeezing more passenger seats into their Boeing 777 aircraft, and this particular aircraft had 9 seats per row, rather than 10 seats per row as found on most competitors such as Cathay Pacific. The cabin immediately felt so much more spacious, which combined with the bright and airy finishes made for a really inviting environment.

53048579_2074804589264470_8321391804767272960_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Cabin 

I was immediately impressed with the seat width after sitting down, especially given that my last flight was on a “densified” Cathay Pacific 777-300ER. I cannot stress how much the additional inch of space makes the seats a lot more bearable. Even though I had drawn the short straw and was assigned a middle seat for the flight, I still had quite a bit of wiggle room, and the journey wasn’t actively uncomfortable.

Each of the seats is outfitted with a headrest with wings, which made the seat comfortable for snoozing. However, I did find that the seat was a little bit “short”. While I’m not exactly tall (176cm), the top half of the back of my head wasn’t really well supported by the headrest even when it was moved to the uppermost setting.

53468099_244690053139599_5275774089368174592_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Cabin 

Each seat was equipped with a 9-inch last generation touchscreen.

60219775_2202341813362401_1162550327363239936_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class

There was also a USB port next to the television screen. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well and only charged an additional 10% during the 2-hour flight. In addition to the USB port, there was a universal power port underneath the seat,  which didn’t work much better.

59744899_481500202388817_7670594394159841280_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class USB Port 

I appreciated that Thai Airways decided to install footrests on their aircraft. While it’s a thoughtful touch, there wasn’t enough legroom to use the footrest and be in a comfortable position. Perhaps a foot-net like the one that Qantas has installed on its seats would have been a better option for an Economy seat?

60161865_2203878466358471_4538376033400782848_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Footrest

There was a seat pocket with the safety card, a duty-free magazine and the inflight magazine. I appreciated that there was an additional compartment sewn into the seat pocket to keep any handy items that might be needed during the flight.

60044903_296777271265553_3707547350525280256_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Seat Pocket 

The legroom in the seat is at an industry standard of 32 inches, which was definitely more than comfortable enough for the two-hour hop to Bangkok and I daresay even bearable for a long-haul flight.

59843189_625798904554532_2743012693593030656_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Legroom

Shortly afterwards, the captain made an announcement welcoming us aboard the flight, which was followed by a welcome announcement from the purser in English and Thai. Then, the safety video – which was Thai culture themed – was played throughout the cabin.

59933644_306618126904813_5656543843764404224_n.jpgThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Safety Video 

The cabin crew then came through the cabin doing their safety checks before take-off.

53485396_418147128920788_6767034017834336256_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class 

Our takeoff was uneventful, and the captain switched off the seat-belt sign shortly afterwards. I went to check out the washroom, which was expectedly clean. I really appreciated that they included a nice-smelling eau de toilette spray in the bathroom.

59613247_393950941450031_4066340813829832704_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Toilet Amenities

Around thirty minutes after takeoff, the cabin crew started the meal service. I was seated in the third-to-last row which meant that I was served very early on. There was a choice between red curry chicken with rice or pork with noodles. I chose the red curry chicken, which came with fresh fruits, a banana chocolate cake, a bottle of water, chocolate and a warm roll with butter.

53285611_410584986412675_6587543774006607872_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class

The red curry chicken was phenomenal, probably one of the best things I’ve had on a plane. The curry was incredibly flavourful but not too spicy, and the chicken was tender and juicy. The rice was well cooked, and the vegetables weren’t overcooked. This was honestly better than many meals I’ve had in premium cabins. It was so tasty I wolfed it down despite eating a large breakfast.

The crew then came around with a drinks cart. I ordered an apple juice. My tray was collected with about an hour left until the end of the flight.

Unlike Alvin’s experience with the service on Thai Airways, the service was fantastic. The flight attendant serving my section was friendly and clearly loved her job. She was clearly very experienced and professional. For example, she took the time to describe the meals in detail (red curry chicken with rice or the stir-fried noodles with pork neck) instead of merely saying “chicken or pork”. While there did seem to be some variation of service throughout the cabin I have nothing but good things to say about the service on this flight.

I napped for the rest of the flight and then took some time to explore Thai Airways’ entertainment system. While the system was straightforward, it was a little outdated, and the system lagged a lot. The last-generation touchscreen meant that I had to press very hard to get the screen to respond, and I eventually gave up and used the controlled underneath the touchscreen.

60014697_662303577531226_1917233182860640256_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Entertainment System 

There was a good selection of Thai, Hong Kong and international entertainment options onboard, so I have nothing to complain about here.

59837218_1005560839654339_4268908565479030784_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Entertainment System 

Many of the functions of the system didn’t seem to be working very well. For example, the inflight menu wasn’t displayed on the system, which was disappointing.

59839351_2315202915202634_8525727386430341120_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Inflight Menu Missing 

While there was a decent selection of TV shows, movies and music, I was a little disappointed at how the system wasn’t functional in many instances. Either way, I didn’t get bored on the flight.

The cabin lights were dimmed shortly after the meal service had concluded.

53709969_380873489134586_2635074517562556416_n-1Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Cabin Lights Dimmed

A short arrival video from Thailand’s Airport Authority was showed shortly before we commenced our descent into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

I switched on the airshow for the last few minutes of our flight and watched as we neared Bangkok. At the same time, the cabin crew went through the cabin with their last-minute safety checks.

59759273_408679373300514_2151126643555434496_nThai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Airshow 

Our arrival in Bangkok was uneventful. We arrived at our stand right on-time. The purser thanked us one last time for flying Thai Airways, and we were sent on our merry way to clear Thai immigration and catch our connecting flight into Surat Thani.

Bottom Line:

Wow! Having heard many mixed opinions on Thai Airways, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this short regional hop. The seat was comfortable, spacious and well designed, the food was fantastic, and the service was friendly. Going forward, I’d absolutely fly Thai Airways regionally without any hesitation.

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