Welcome, dear reader, to the third stage of a little adventure I’m calling “Around the World in 80 Hours.” This flight report is the third in a series that will take your humble flight-reporter around the world over the course of roughly 3.5 days.
When last we saw each other, I had arrived into Dubai, and set out to find the transit desk for Thai, which I find in no time. Or at least, I find the desks where it says TG transit will be. But there’s nobody there right now. All the desks are empty. No problem. I take a seat nearby, and actually get around to posting my YYZ-ADD trip report. Soon enough, an agent shows up at one of the desks and turns it on. Singapore Airlines. Oh well. I approach her an ask when the Thai desk will open, and she replies about three hours before departure. Oh super. Perhaps I should have tried to go into Dubai. A little too late to bother now, though, so I sit back down and kill time. Eventually a crowd starts to gather, with a few fellow passengers waiting for the transit desk for BKK to open.
About 3.5 hours pre-departure, the sign over the desk next to SQ lights up with TG518 to BKK. A-ha, says I, and I approach. Yeah. Still no one there. And the booth still isn’t lit like the Singapore booth. Oh well. More waiting, some writing, and the crowd gets up to about eight people. At T-3 hours, I take a look up, but it’s still not lit up. About ten minutes after that, an older American couple are shown up to the transfer desk by an airport agent. They initially assume there’s no one at the desk, but the agent says “No, he’s there.” I’m not the only person to hear this, and I’m the fourth in line. The agent seems to take a fair bit of time with each person, but eventually my turn comes up. It takes the agent a little bit of time, and some consultation with another agent, to figure out how to get it to print out just my next couple of boarding passes, as it seems to know my last name, despite that being very clearly attached to the reservation. Correctly, no less. But he gets my next two boarding passes printed out, and hands them over along with an invitation to the TG contract lounge here in DXB, the Marhaba.
A quick walk over to transit security — which has the most friendly, helpful, and attentive security agents I’ve ever seen anywhere — and I’m downstairs and into the concourse at DXB.
I had initially planned to try to hunt down the Star Alliance lounge, operated by Lufthansa, assuming it’s in the same terminal, but with the Marhaba located right next to my departure gate for BKK, I decide to check it out. Interestingly, it's not listed here on flight-report, so I presume it's pretty new.
I inquire about a shower, but I’m told it’s only available at an extra cost. I’m cheap, so I’ll pass. I head into the lounge. It’s a fairly compact lounge, with an area at the end of the main hall cordoned off as a designate TG pax zone. But I decide to set up in the front room, which is at this point pretty much empty, and most importantly for me, has a seat with a plug available.
The buffet is pretty extensive, with some interesting options.
I grab a samosa, another savoury pastry, some fattoush, and some kafta, and grab a seat. Most of it is pretty good, and the kafta is really good, but I’m disappointed by the fattoush. I kinda expected more, being in the middle east and all. Oh well.
There’s a very friendly lounge attendant, who keeps bringing me refills of my water and tea, and eventually, the lounge starts to fill in. Just in time for me to head next door, to the gate area, where my ride across to Thailand awaits. Unfortunately, there’s not a really good picture of the plane, as it’s obscured by the jetway.
Priority boarding is called right on time, and after the gate agent fends off a few passengers who apparently shouldn’t be boarding quite yet, I’m off and on my way down to the A330-300 that will provide my ride. I’m the first person down the first jetway and into the business class cabin, so needless to say its wais all around from the always-friendly Thai crew.
I’m shown over to 15A, a window seat in the second-last aisle of the J cabin, which takes up just the space between doors 1 and 2. They manage to fit 30 J seats into the space, with 5 rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. Although this is my first time on a TG 333, I’ve flown on this product before on a BKK-SIN flight on a 777 a few years ago. It’s an angle flat seat, which is fine for the short run between BKK-SIN, but less than ideal for a six-hour overnight flight like this. The product is definitely looking a little dated.
Legroom is about what you expect, the entertainment system is fairly large and while a little bit old, is easy to use. A headphone is waiting for me in a cubby next to my seat. But there isn’t a second set for the aisle seat. Perhaps a sign I won’t have a seatmate? Basic seat controls, and a remote for the IFE system are located in the armrest, with a cover over the remote. The headset port and two USB ports are located under the centre arm rest, but unfortunately, no AC port.
The seat has a decent pillow, a thin blanket, and an amenity kit, a pleasant surprise. The kit isn’t anything special, but has the things one might need for this flight. By the time we’re boarding, I’m feeling pretty bagged, so I’m hoping for a decent sleep.
Service begins with a hot towel service, scented with jasmine. Then pre-departure beverages — champagne, orange juice or water — are all offered. I grab a champagne and an OJ.
Next up are menus, and dinner sounds pretty good.
Not feeling any of the new releases on offer, I put on Inception, which I’ve somehow never gotten around to seeing. Although I’m initially not sure that a movie about descending multiple levels into dreams is something I’m going to be able to follow in my pretty exhausted state, I’m able to follow along (I think) and enjoy it.
“Boarding is complete” is called about 15 minutes after I board. The seat next to me remains empty, and the J cabin has about 20 passengers. I have no idea what the load is in the back, but it never ceases to amaze me that it seems like many Asian carriers can board a widebody in less time than it takes AC to board an Embraer. We push back, and the surreal Thai Airways safety video, complete with a Thai emblem that transforms into a robot and ultimately into an economy seat, and very smily flight attendants, plays.
A short taxi and we’re up and on our way towards Bangkok.
Service starts with drinks and (non-warmed) almonds. I decide to just go with water.
Meal service starts quickly, and it looks like they’re trying to get dinner done in a hurry so passengers can get some sleep. The tray contains starter and salad, and the breadbasket follows. I grab a pretty boring white roll, and some slightly overdone garlic bread.
The starter is nothing particularly special, although the julienned vegetables are quite nice. And the salad is very uninspired, with hard tomatoes and far too much iceberg lettuce. But the sour cream and chives salad dressing is quite nice.
Dishes are cleared quickly, and my selected entree, the lamb, is brought around. Quite a tasty dish, and the meat is still a little pink in the middle, so it’s not too overdone.
A fruit service is up next, a nice little palate cleanser.
And then dessert, which doesn’t look great, but is actually quite tasty.
Another hot towel service finishes dinner.
I head off to the Royal Silk (Thai’s brand for business class) lav. It’s pretty standard, aside from this little burst of colour with the omni-present Thai orchid.
Back at my seat, I finish the movie, and check in on the moving map. We’re well underway, starting across India.
I turn the screen off, grab the eye mask from my amenity kit, and put the seat down as “flat” as it will go. It has quite an incline, but with my belt tightened to prevent any slide-down, I’m pretty quickly out for the night.
I get a solid few hours of sleep, awaking well into descent into Bangkok. Looking around the cabin, there’s some evidence that a pre-arrival snack was offered, but it’s clearly too late for me, as the moving map is saying we’re about 15 minutes out of BKK. The sun is already up as we descend into Thailand.
On final into BKK, we race our shadow onto the ground.
We taxi around the airport, getting a good look at a Qatar A380, and then our TG twin — which will be the only opportunity I get to get a descent picture of a Thai 333, because of the arrival system in Bangkok.
Finally, we pull into Gate C6, and we’re quickly on our way off, getting wais and thank-yous all the way out.
It’s a short walk through BKK to transit security, and since I’ve already got my next boarding pass, I’m soon released into airside at Bangkok, ready to enjoy a little of Thai’s signature premium-cabin ground services at the airport.
We’ll pick up the journey there.
Thanks for reading!
Dubai - DXB
Bangkok - BKK
A decent overnight flight with a fairly good night of sleep, even if it was an angle-flat seat, which is less than ideal. It's my first time on a TG A330, so check that one off the list.
In my few flights with them, I've always enjoyed Thai's on-board service, and very much enjoyed the ground services for BKK. This flight was about getting to those ground service, and getting to the next flight, which will introduce another experience I can check off the list.
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