Airline Review – Thai Airways

Airline Review – Thai Airways


One of Asia's leading carriers, Thai Airways has reinvented itself with modern technology and traditional Thai hospitality.


Like many leading carriers, Thai Airways allows passengers to check in via the web up to 24 hours in advance. This is becoming increasingly common and is a good way to secure a great spot in business if you have a favourite position. I checked in on the morning of my flight, securing my favourite spot: a window seat in the upper business class cabin. I checked my carry on luggage at Hong Kong Station, right through to Bergen, Norway, my final destination, making the whole process seamless.


Thai Airways' Royal Silk Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport is spacious and secluded. Located on a mezzanine level above gate 40, it's located close to duty free shops but far enough away from the crowds to be a peaceful hideaway. The lounge is split in two, with one half serving first class passengers, and the other serving business. There is a comprehensive buffet that's based around make-your-own-salads and pan-Asian hot snacks. There is also a basic bar set up with major spirits, juices, beer and soft drinks. Behind the bar is a small work area with eight modern workstations, and to one side is a television room with lounge chairs. The best thing about the lounge is you can take a seat directly above your boarding gate and watch the boarding process.


Thai Airways operate both A330 and 747-400 aircraft on the popular Hong Kong-Bangkok route. The Boeing 747-400 JETSETTER travelled on boasts 375 seats, including 40 in Royal Silk class and 10 in the airlines' Royal First Class. Business seats take up the section between First Class and Economy on the lower deck but my favourite spot is upstairs, and I was quickly shown to my seat, my baggage stowed, my jacket hung. The 747 features Thai Airways' newer business class product, which includes seats with built-in AC power sockets, lumber support, 60-inch pitch and the ability to convert into a 170-degree lie-flat bed. Many of the window seats upstairs also have extra luggage bins which mean you can access your carry on without having to stand up. The elegant crew went through hot towel service, drink service and meal orders with a trained efficiency, and the entertainment system was already operating before the plane even took off.


Thai Airways has made a name for itself in terms of in-flight dining and for good reason; the very best Thai hospitality shines through the business class cabin from the moment you sit down and menus are presented. The Hong Kong-Bangkok menu, which was heavily slanted towards Cantonese cuisine, started with a glass of chilled Pommery and a bag of utterly addictive roasted almonds, followed by herb salmon belly in Balik style. For mains, there was a choice of baked basa with millet and roasted carrots with black pepper and blanched edamame kernels; sautéed beef with mushrooms, broccoli and an oyster sauce; braised pork with mui choi, wood fungus and choy sum with ginger garlic sauce; and stir-fried chicken with hot basil and chilli, a Thai classic. I went with the Thai main which was simplistic and delicious, and was followed by cheese and crackers and a raspberry swirl cheese cake, and the offer of port or liqueurs.


The in-seat entertainment system is a breeze to operate and is viewed on a 10.5-inch personal monitor which folds out from the arm rest. Although noise reduction headphones are offered I chose to use my own noise cancelling pair. The line up of relatively new films is more than enough to keep passengers entertained on short to medium hall flights but might be a little limiting for long-haul routes.

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