My Experience With Thai Airways
Hello once again! First of all, I'd like to apologize for the late posts, and I will try my best to post more on schedule. This post is late because I went to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Bangkok. I left for Laos on 21 December and only came back from Bangkok on 6th Jan, so I did miss the deadline for posting. As a bit of a compensation, I decided to talk about my experiences on the flights I flew in my trip, starting with Thai Airways.
21/12/18 - Thai Airways Economy Class TG318 (BOM-BKK) [Boeing 777-300]
This was the first flight of the trip, and much to my disappointment I found out that there had been a last-minute equipment swap. In English, that meant that the aircraft had been changed. This was a real bummer, considering that I was to fly on the Boeing 747-400 and I got downgraded to a 777. Now don't get me wrong, the 777 is a great aircraft but this would have been my first flight on the 747. I was also looking forward to the flight because of it's generous legroom, which I have covered in my Study: The best airlines post. That would have been great, considering that this was also a redeye, scheduled to leave at 23:35 and arrive at Bangkok the next day at 05:05.
As I stepped in the ageing B777, my first impression of the cabin was: unique. The seats were in a rare 3-3-3 configuration and they were all so colorful. They went from pink to purple to yellow and back again, which was definitely stressful on the eyes because of all the colors! The seats had a decent amount of legroom, combined with an adjustable headrest and a foot rest, which made for some good seat comfort.
The flight pushed back at 23:33, right on time, and after a long 20 minute taxi, the flight took off at 23:53. Immediately after takeoff, I put on my eye mask and went to sleep. Unfortunately, I could not check out the inflight entertainment, nor did I have a meal. I woke up from a gentle bump of the wheels touching down at Bangkok at exactly 05:00, followed by a quick 5 minute taxi to the gate, and that was it.
22/12/18 Thai Smile Economy Class WE576 (BKK-LPQ) [Airbus A320 Sharklets]
After a 3 hour layover, it was time to board the next flight, this time to Laos. Thai Smile did the honors of transportation between Bangkok and Luang Prabang. It was a short flight of around an hour, but it was a good one.
The flight departed at 09:24, 39 minutes behind the scheduled time of 08:45 and we were up in the air in no time. Similar to their higher-cost counterpart, Thai Smile has seats in a 3-3 configuration, with good legroom and fully adjustable headrests, although it does not have a footrest. Thai Smile has an all economy cabin, though the first few rows provide extra legroom, dubbed as as "Smile Plus Class", though the legroom in regular economy is still good.
Just like on the previous flight, I slept through this one as well, which meant I missed the meal service. (yes, they served meals on such a short flight! That too complimentary!)
This time, I was awake to see the approach into Luang Prabang, and the views were amazing. We touched down at 10:43, 43 minutes behind schedule. The taxi to the gate was short, and that was the first leg on Thai Airways completed.
05/01/19 Thai Smile Economy Class WE589 (REP-BKK) [Airbus A320]
It was great visiting Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, but it was time to go back to Bangkok for the final night of the trip. Thai Smile did the honors, again. Since Siem Reap Airport does not have jet bridges, you would either take a bus to the plane or walk to the plane. Since the plane was right in front of the gate, I did the latter option.
Unfortunately, my seat was in the last row of the plane, so that meant that I had less recline. That was not a problem for me, because I was not going to be doing any sleeping on this flight!
We departed from Siem Reap at 09:25, 10 minutes behind schedule. Even though this was a 50 minute flight, a snack box was served with yogurt and fruits as well as a pumpkin cream roll. It was amazing to see how even in a 50 minute flight a full meal could be served. The box came in this cool bag too.
Before I knew it, we were coming to land in Bangkok. We touched down at 10:17, 17 minutes behind schedule. After a minute's taxi to the gate, I was out of the plane and in Suvrnabhumi Airport. If I were to sum up THAI Smile in one sentence, it would be: Great value for money, good service and overall a nice lower-cost airline.
06/01/19 Thai Airways Economy Class TG317 (BKK-BOM) [Boeing 747-400]
Out of all the the flights I took in the Thai Airways franchise, no, all the flights I took in my whole trip, this was the one I was the most excited about. After all, I'm flying on the Queen of the Skies! That too, it was my first time flying it which is why the hype was even bigger.
My seat was in the back of the cabin, thankfully not in the last row like the Thai Smile flight had been, but a few rows ahead. Economy was in a 3-4-3 configuration on the 747, unlike the 3-3-3 on the 777. But if you sit in the last few rows, the seats there are in a 2-4-2 configuration. The legroom was very generous and the seat was comfortable, plus it had all the features of the 777. That is, except the strange absence of air nozzles.
We pushed back at 19:15, 20 minutes behind schedule to which the captain apologized due to waiting for takeoff slots by the ATC. Nevertheless, we were up in the air by 19:33. As soon as we climbed out of Bangkok, the seatbelt sign turned off.
The entertainment on this flight was decent. It had some recent releases which kept me entertained for the duration of the flight. Around midway into the flight, the meal service started. There was some fruits along with a Thai-style chicken curry with rice, and water chestnuts in milk (at least that's what I thought) for desert. All in all, the entertainment and meal were both great and perfectly suitable for this flight. Unfortunately, I could not get pictures of either aspects of the flight to share with you guys.
After the meal service was over, it was time to descend into Mumbai. The 747 flew so smoothly on the way that no sleeping passenger would have woken up. Unfortunately, that was not the case on my other flights, which is why I brought up the point. Anyways, the plane landed really smoothly. Or in the aviation world, it "buttered the bread." Unfortunately we landed 22 minutes later than the scheduled arrival time of 22:00, and after an 8 minute taxi to the gate, the trip was all over. (Actually, it would have been over after I stepped out of the airport, but whatever).
To sum it up, Thai Airways is a great and trusted airline, hence why I flew with them 4 times, including the Thai Smile flights since it is a subsidiary of Thai Airways. All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience with comfortable seats, good food and reasonable in flight entertainment. I wouldn't hesitate to fly them again, unless I'm in a hurry, since 3 out of the 4 flights were delayed. Still, well done Thai!