I recently enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in Thailand, including a stay at my favorite hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport
- Review: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class from Frankfurt to Bangkok
- Review: Soneva Kiri, my favorite hotel in the world
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
- Review: The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection resort & spa, Phuket
- Review: Park Hyatt Hotel Bangkok
- Review: Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok
- Review: Thai Airways Boeing B747 First Class from Bangkok to Munich (today)
Today (August 1, 2018): Review of a Thai Airways B747-400 First Class flight from Bangkok to Munich.
On February 19th 2018, I flew First Class in a Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), also known unofficially as Bangkok Airport, in Thailand to Munich Airport (MUC) in Germany. Thai Airways calls its First Class ‘ Royal First’, a reference to the country’s constitutional monarchy (founded in 1238). Originally, I was booked on a flight from Bangkok to Paris onboard one of Thai Airways’ six Airbus A380 planes, but things did not go as planned since a technical failure delayed the Paris bound flight for 8 hours (from midnight till 8 am). Oddly, the delay was announced last minute on a sheet of paper at the gate. I was offered the choice between waiting at the airport in a small bedroom (since the Thai Airways First Class lounge closes during the night) or being rebooked on a Thai Airways B747 to Munich that departed one hour later than the Paris bound flight, with a connecting flight to Paris operated by Lufthansa. I choose the latter since I was tired and just wanted to get back home as soon as possible. In the end, the Lufthansa flight to Paris was delayed as well, and I arrived at Paris with a 7 hour delay. I regret not having waited since I had especially booked this ticket to fly Thai Airways’ First Class cabin on the A380.
Have you ever flown Thai Airways’ First Class, and if so, what was your experience? Leave a comment below.
- Trip: Bangkok (BKK) to Munich (MUC)
- Airline: Thai Airways
- Aircraft type: Boeing 747-400
- Aircraft registration number: HS-TGG
- Flight Number: TG924
- Date: February 19th, 2018
- On time departure: yes (1 am)
- On time arrival: yes (7 am)
- Miles: 5450
- Flight time: 11 hours
- Seat: 1K
- Class: First
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- Thai Airways First Class Lounge at Bangkok
- Facts & figures about Thai Airways’ longhaul fleet
- First Class cabin
- First Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
The cost of my one-way First Class ticket from Bangkok to Paris was 280 euros + 105,000 Miles& More miles. Miles and More is the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa, a Star Alliance partner of Thai Airways. You can read my review of the Miles&More program here.
2. THAI AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS LOUNGE AT BANGKOK
One of the nicest things of traveling First Class with Thai Airways is the impeccable ground service from the moment you arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thai Airways has a separate entrance and check-in counter for its First Class passengers: you are invited to take a seat and are offered a cold towel and bottle of cold water while the ground staff checks you in, after which you are escorted through the border control and security check point to the entrance of the Business Class Lounge. Here, another ground staff member takes you on a buggy through the Business Class lounge to the First Class lounge’s reception (which is quite fun, albeit a little odd at the same time since you get a lot of attention from other passengers).
The First Class lounge, called Royal First lounge, is basically a large rectangular room, with plenty of plush seats and luxurious loungers, decked out in colorful pillows and arranged around coffee tables. The space features a refined decor, with a fusion of contemporary design and traditional Thai elements. Impressive flower displays add a subtle, colorful touch to the stylish interior. There are six private rooms on the side with loungers and computer stations, which are great if you need more privacy or want to work while waiting for your flight.
Food at the lounge is excellent, with al food and dining options displayed on a tablet. The menu includes Thai dishes such as shrimp wonton soup, shrimp pad thai, tom yum goong, and panaeng curry with beef and rice. Staff members walk around and take orders at your seat. There’s a small dining room in the back of the lounge, offering à la carte dining for 22 guests. In addition, there’s also a small buffet across the dining room, although the spread is a little underwhelming compared to the à la carte offerings.
The best perk of the lounge experience is that all First Class guests are entitled to a complimentary 60 minute full body massage. The treatment rooms are not located inside the lounge but just across the hall.
3. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT THAI AIRWAYS’ LONGHAUL FLEET
Thai Airways features a mixed longhaul fleet with almost all wide-body aircraft represented:
- 10 Boeing 747
- 32 Boeing 777 (both B777-200ER and B777-300ER)
- 8 Boeing 787
- 15 Airbus A330
- 12 Airbus A350
- 6 Airbus A380
The carrier is notorious for last-minute aircraft swaps, and that’s problematic if you’re flying Business or First Class, since all aircraft feature a different cabin layout and seat product, ranging from bad (Thai’s old First Class installed on some B747s) to excellent (Thai’s A350 Business Class product). Thai Airways plans to retrofit its 777-200ER fleet later this year as part of a push to offer lie-flat Business Class seats across its long haul fleet. Thai Airways is also introducing a new premium product for its regional fleet, which will debut later this year on a retrofitted A330-300s.
4. FIRST CLASS CABIN
First Class in Thai Airways’ Boeing 747s is located on the lower deck in the plane’s nose. The carrier operates two versions of First Class on its small B747 subfleet:
- The ‘old’ First Class cabin configuration features 10 seats, with 3 seats on each side and two pairs of seats in the center (row 2 & 3).
- The ‘new’ First Class cabin configuration features 9 seats, with 3 seats on each side as well as one single seat (row 2) and one pair of seats in the middle (row 3).
The new First Class cabin layout offers a much better experience compared to the old product, since the new seats are semi-enclosed suites with plenty of privacy, contrary to the old seats which don’t feature any privacy shelfs. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to know in advance which product you’ll get as last-minute airplane substitutions are a frequent occurence with Thai Airways, but I was lucky that the flight to Munich was operated by a Boeing 747 with the new First Class configuration.
The new First Class cabin features a lovely albeit slightly old-fashioned, almost tropical retro-look. The light grey suite walls are partly covered with wooden panels, with the ‘mahogany’ theme persisting in the dark, purple seat fabrics and the leather arm- and footrests. Bright yellow pillows, blankets and headrests make for a remarkable and colorful contrast (I am not a huge fan of bright colors on a plane as I prefer an understated, minimalist elegance). A small pink floral display besides each entertainment screen adds to the tropical ambience.
The cabin gets quite narrow towards the nose, with a small display of magazines and newspapers present in front of the second row in the center. Two rather small lavatories for exclusive use of First Class passengers are located in the back of the cabin. A narrow, long galley is located besides the lavatories,
Remarkably, no seat map of the new First Class cabin can be found online (Seatguru’s seat map of Thai Airways’ B747 is not correct).
5. FIRST CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
I was seated in suite 1K for the 11 hour flight from Bangkok to Munich.
All suites feature the same layout and are surrounded by high walls except for the entrance area on the aisle side. It’s a bit weird that Thai Airways did not install sliding doors in these suites (like is the case in Emirates‘ First Class), since they could have easily done so and it would have increased privacy (although all suites are still very private except for those in the front row since the cabin is quite narrow at this point). A closet with mirror is located inside the suite’s wall, large enough to hang a jacket and store your personal belongings.
The ergonomic seat, which has a width of 23 inch (58 cm) and a pitch of 203 cm (80 inch), is very comfortable, and the various seat positions as well as the suite’s lightings are controlled via a tablet that is located near the arm rest. The handset for the inflight entertainment system is hidden in a box behind this tablet. Several other storage cabinets are also located in the arm rest, with one of them holding the massive foldout tray table. Across the seat is a large 23 inch TV screen, a leather ottoman, and some additional storage space beneath the ottoman.
At the push of a button, the seat automatically reclines into a flat bed of 86 inches (218 cm) long, with fully retractable armrest. When you want to sleep, a member of the cabin crews installs a mattress pad, two fluffy pillows and thick blanket for impeccable sleep comfort.
What are the best First Class seats on Thai Airways’ B747?
- Solo travelers should go fo the window seats, while companions should choose the two middle seats in row 3.
What are the worst First Class seats on Thai Airways’ B747?
- There are no bad seats in Thai Airways’ A380 First Class cabin, although the two seats in the first row are not as private as the other seats because the cabin is quite narrow here.
Thai Airways First Class passengers get the following amenities:
- A Rimowa amenity kit which comes in the form of a mini-suitcase in various colors (I received a bright green one on this flight). The bag contains the essential items for longhaul travel (e.g. eye mask, ear plugs, a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash) in addition to two tubes of Monteil skin products (e.g. facial moisturizer and lip balm).
- Excellent bedding (cf above), including a mattress topper, blanket, and two thick pillows.
- Thai labeleled noise-cancelling headphones (you cannot keep these as the crew collects them before landing).
- A pair of slippers.
- A comfortable, Royal Thai labeled pajama, packed in a bag with exotic motif.
The dinner that was offered during this flight was exceptionally good, consisting of some of the best food I ever tasted in a First Class cabin. I selected the following items from the menu:
- First serving: white sturgeon caviar with garnitures
- Hors d’oeuvre: foie gras terrine with Monte Vibiano sesame dressing
- Soup: curried pumpkin soup with Alaska king crab meat and Isigny crème fraiche quenelle
- Main course: baked Chilean sea bass with creamy leek crust, fried leek and lobster bisque, and served with spinach ravioli and tomato concassé, roasted potato, buttered asparagus and tomato, and roasted resto pumkin
- Dessert: lemon pie with raspberry sauce
Breakfast service was less extensive and a bit disappointing. Fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals, fresh fruit juice and a fruit smoothie were offered as a starter, followed by a tomato dill omelet, with pork sausage, bacon with spring onion, roasted baby potato, and frilled asparagus.
Each First Class seat on Thai Airways’ B747 features a 23-inch entertainment screen. The entertainment system is controlled by a handset which is hidden near the arm rest and also doubles as a game controller. Noise-canceling headphones are available although they are not from Boose and not of the best quality. The entertainment selection on offer is decent, with over 1,000 hours of regularly updated movies, short films, games, music, news and information.
9. ONBOARD INTERNET
Thai Airways in-flight Wi-Fi internet service is available on the Airbus A380-800, A350-900, selected A330-330 and Boeing 787, but not the B747.
10. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: I’ve always enjoyed terrific service onboard Thai Airways’ flights – in line with Thailand’s warm and legendary hospitality – and it was no different on this flight. Two crew members took care of the fully booked First Class cabin and they did a wonderful job. I was a bit surprised though that they were not fluent in English.
# LAVATORY: Two rather small lavatories for exclusive use of First Class passengers were located in the back of the cabin.
11. MY VERDICT
- Thai AIrways First Class lounge: 9/10
- Cabin design: 7/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 9/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
- Food (quality): 9/10
- Food (quantity): 9/10
- Inflight entertainment : 7/10
- WiFi: not applicable
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,5/10