Thai First Class – Sydney to Bangkok TG472

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This flight was the beginning of a two week jaunt to Europe – we decided to start with a bang on Thai’s new first class…

Date: August 2015
Depart: 21:30
Arrive: 03:50
Aircraft: 747-400

Check-in

The economy queue was full of passengers but we managed to walk straight up to the check-in counter and go through the formalities. As we were connecting in Bangkok to Etihad for our onward journey to Europe, there was some discussion among the check-in staff whether we could check our luggage right through to London. Thankfully this was possible and one headache avoided!

The check-in staff were local contractors so there wasn’t any pizzazz or fuss about us flying in the pointy end – it was a rather ordinary run of the mill experience.

Lounge

Air New Zealand's Sydney lounge [Pic thanks to Air New Zealand]

Air New Zealand’s Sydney lounge [Pic thanks to Air New Zealand]

Due to the late departure of this flight (in fact this is one of the last flights out of Sydney) we missed out on gaining access to the recently renovated Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge – it shuts at 7pm. The back-up lounge was the Air New Zealand Koru lounge and while it has also been renovated, it was a little ho-hum given that we were first class passengers stuck in a business class lounge (maybe I need to come down a notch as the Air New Zealand lounge is more than acceptable)

We enjoyed a cosmo from the cocktail bar and had a snack from the buffet area while we waited for our flight to be called.

Boarding

The lounge agent came over the loud speaker to advise that the flight was boarding so we jumped up in excitement and made our way to the gate. However upon arriving at the gate it was clear that no-one was going anywhere and there we lingered for 15 minutes.

The first call for families with small children went awry because, well – there weren’t any families despite the gate agents desperate and constant attempts to find a family. It was rather frustrating to watch her anguished search for the family that did not exist.

Finally, the flight was called and the subsequent boarding chaos (in typical Thai Airways fashion) began.

We made our way to the aircraft and were met at the door by a polite yet welcoming crew that showed us to our seats. We managed to score the only pair of two seats in the first cabin, which is located in row 3 – right next to the only boarding door.

tg472 syd bkk first class 1.1

First impressions

We were lucky to get the new refurbished first class cabin – it can be a bit of a lottery with Thai as sometimes you can draw the short straw and get the old cabin due to aircraft swaps and changes. The new first class seats enjoy a suite-like surrounding (however there are no doors a-la Emirates or Etihad). As this is the middle pair of seats, there is an adjustable divider to separate the space between the seats.

The suite was spacious and the television screen was a good size to enjoy the inflight entertainment. There wasn’t enough storage space in my opinion, though there is a small slot for hanging a suit jacket and a panel next to the seat that has a limited amount of space for a wallet, phone etc.

Amenities 

tg472 syd bkk first class 10 rimowa amenity kit

Thai have a Rimowa amenity pack – a hard-shelled pack that is a miniature of the high end Rimowa luggage range. Unfortunately the products inside the amenity pack were L’Occitane – I’ve never really been a fan of these products and there is definitely scope to improve. The pack had a few essentials but did not include deodorant and shaving equipment (stuff that I actually needed for this flight after a long day at work).

You can read more about the Thai Rimowa amenity packs here.

The flight attendant offered a pair of pajamas which we accepted for use later in the flight.

Pre-takeoff Service

 We were served a glass of 2005 Dom Pérignon which was delicious. The head purser came around and introduced himself telling us about the upcoming service on the flight. There happened to be four passengers and three staff looking after the cabin – a great ratio!

After-takeoff Service

Once we took to the air the cabin crew sprung to life and we were presented with more champagne – yes please! Thai could really spruce up the crystal ware – they use small glasses that require constant filling, surely a normal sized crystal glass would be more efficient?

We also received a plate of hor d’oeuvres but these didn’t blow us away – they were bland and unappealing.

tg472 syd bkk first class 3

Meal

First off came the caviar cart – as I am new to the delicacy of caviar I thought I’d give it a crack. With the caviar came the condiments of egg white, egg yolk, red onion, sour cream, and crackers. There was also Stolichnaya vodka on offer for those wanting a traditional caviar experience.

tg472 syd bkk first class caviar service

Following the caviar service was the seafood salad with a delicious lobster medallion, scallop, a dry prawn and seared Tuna that looked like rare roast beef. The salad dressing was served in a plastic container which looked a little out of place.

tg472 syd bkk first class 5

I played with a salad momentarily while waiting in anticipation of the pièce de résistance – the lobster thermidor I had pre-booked a few days before. It was quite delicious – some pieces of the lobster were tough, unavoidable I guess when meals are reheated – but overall a very rich and creamy main course. The lobster came with mashed potato and a stuffed tomato.

tg472 syd bkk first class 6 lobster thermidore tg472 syd bkk first class 7 lobster thermidore

At this point I was extremely full and couldn’t fit anything else in however the ambitious crew forced a dessert tart upon me – how could I refuse?

tg472 syd bkk first class 8 dessert

Inflight Entertainment

Thai hasn’t got the greatest inflight entertainment in the sky but I managed to check out the ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ while I was eating my meal. While the IFE is much improved since our previous flights with Thai, this is another area that needs improvement as I had seen most of the titles.

tg472 syd bkk first class 2

Sleep

As I changed into my PJ’s, the crew kindly made the bed for me. A mattress sheet was placed over the seat in bed mode. While the bed was generally comfortable I could still feel the kinks of the seat underneath. The width of the seat was fine but – being Mr greedy – a few extra cm’s wouldn’t go astray (I’m a side sleeper so the more space the better).

tg472 syd bkk first class 9 bed in flat mode

Unfortunately my partner and I both had light sleeps because of the cabin temperature – it was far too hot. We didn’t address this with the crew because we were so exhausted from the previous days work, but wow – it was hot!

Landing

Shortly before decent there was an offer of a second meal service but we declined as we were still full from dinner – we did opt for a green tea however to freshen us up.

The crew went through their paces but there wasn’t a huge amount of prep work for our cabin given the low numbers of passengers. All three crew came past each of us pax and kindly thanked us for flying with them.

We landed in Bangkok about 30 mins ahead of schedule and on arrival at the gate, a Thai representative met us on the gangway and escorted us through the labyrinth that is BKK. We were escorted through transit security and showed to the transit desk where we would be obtaining our boarding passes for our Etihad flights some 5 hours later.

Summary

A solid effort from Thai. Some room to improve on the boarding experience and cabin temperature but the quality of service was respectful and quaint – something that is consistent with Thai over the years. Thai is one of the few carriers to continue caviar and lobster old school traditions so it was a real treat to experience this. I would definitely recommend this flight, especially if you can score the new cabin (beware – this can be a bit of a lottery!)

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