Welcome, dear reader, to the fourth stage of a little adventure I’m calling “Around the World in 80 Hours.” This flight report is the fourth in a series that will take your humble flight-reporter around the world over the course of roughly 3.5 days.
Whatever one may feel about Thai Airways, its ground services at its Suvarnabhumi hub for premium passengers are world-class. While the First Class experience is second-to-none, ground services for Royal Silk passengers is also pretty good. Having been denied a (free) shower on my last stop, my first stop here is the C concourse Royal Silk Lounge, the only business class lounge operated by Thai here that has showers available. It seems odd that for all the focus on BKK ground services, TG only has two shower suites for business class passengers in only one of its three Royal Silk lounges.
The shower stall is large and pleasant, although the showerhead isn’t all that great. Still, it’s a much-needed shower, and helps refresh me for the final outbound leg ahead.
The next stop is the Royal Orchid Spa. Undoubtedly the “main event” of Thai’s ground service at BKK is the free hour-long oil massage for departing TG First Class pax, but the airline also has complimentary half-hour head and shoulder or foot massages available to departing business class passengers. I’m not big on massages, but the head and shoulders massage is very enjoyable and relaxing. She also does my arms and hands, including a knuckle cracker that made my hands sound like popcorn in a microwave. Afterwards, there’s a small lounge in the Spa where tea and a few snacks are offered.
I hang out for a minute to fill out the feedback card before I’m off to my next stop, the main Royal Silk lounge, located at the beginning of the D concourse, from which my flight will coincidentally depart.
This is a narrow, long lounge with lots of seating, and as I show up, it’s pretty empty, actually. It would fill in considerably before it’s time for my flight to board. The seating is comfortable, with lots of couches for those who are traveling together or just wanting to spread out.
Staff in Thai uniform are all over, greeting me with a wai every time, and very attentive, particularly at first when the lounge attendance is pretty thin. On the ground and in the air, TG is service is always genuine and warm, in my experience.
The buffet area is large, with a variety of offerings from fruit, to sandwiches to pastries and buns, with coffee, soft drinks, and juices also on hand. Since I missed the pre-arrival “snack” on the previous flight, I grab a snack here, with a couple of buns, a couple of savoury pastries, and some orange juice. All of them are quite good.
After breakfast, I catch up on e-mail, play a couple of games, and soon enough, it’s time to head down to gate D2, which is not very far from my location at all. I pack up my gear and go, and get as far as the entrance of the lounge before it occurs to me that my phone doesn’t appear to be in my pocket. In something of a panic, I turn around, only to find a Thai lounge attendant hustling towards me, holding my phone out. Glad someone was paying attention.
It’s just a short walk down the hall and then down an escalator into the gate area for the short flight down to Singapore, where my ride awaits — for the first time, I’ll get a ride on a TG 787, which just joined the fleet last year.
Priority boarding is called just a few minutes behind the time showing on my boarding pass, and as I’m sitting near the gate entry point, I’m quickly on my way down to the plane. Upon boarding, I’m greeted with a wai, and pointed across the plane and to the left, to 15K, the last row in business class on this plane, where I find…
… a familiar friend. It turns out TG had made the same choices as ET when it comes to seats for their 787 business class. That’s fine, since it’s a flat-bed seat, an improvement over the offering on my A330 over from Dubai.
Being the last row of business class, this seat is a “semi-window seat” as there’s a space ahead of doors 2L/R without a window on the 788. It’s the same thing in the last row of AC’s 788s.
The screen is a bit different than the Ethiopian screen… perhaps a bit smaller, and without the soft buttons for volume and brightness, overhead lights and flight attendant call. But it’s still a nice big screen, running the same user interface as my screen on the A330, but with much better resolution.
Other than that, the only substantive difference between the ET and TG 788 business class products is that TG went with a fancier remote control for the IFE, one with an on-board screen.
Oh, that and purple and fake wood. Lots of purple and fake wood. Because nothing says Royal Silk like purple and fake wood.
Service begins with a nice jasmine-scented oshibori, followed by pre-departure beverages. Offerings include champagne, water, and Thai iced tea. I’m not much for sweetened ice teas usually, but I love me some of this TG iced tea.
Menus are then distributed for the quick and simple meal service on this flight, and a flight attendant comes by shortly after to take my order. I go with the fish, although all three sound fairly interesting.
I throw on the movie Pixels, which isn’t great, but is a perfectly acceptable in-flight movie.
Boarding is complete in about 15 minutes, and again, I’m left wondering how Asian carriers can complete boarding on a widebody faster than AC can seem to fill an RJ. The safety video plays as we push back, this beautiful Vietnam Airlines A321 parked next to us.
A short taxi, and we’re up, up and away, and off to Singapore. It’s a beautiful afternoon for a flight.
Service quickly begins with drinks service and a… less than generous serving of (non-warmed) almonds. I have some more water, and another iced tea. So good.
Then there’s a second oshibori service before mealtime.
Lunch is brought around, a one-tray affair with starter, main, and dessert. The bread basket follows, and I grab a garlic bread and a very nice pretzel roll.
The starter is a tasty but eclectic collection of nibbles. The main is… ehhh. The fish is tasty enough, although I always prefer the consistency of fish like this when baked or grilled rather than steamed. All in all, if I could do it over again, I’d pick one of the two other dishes — probably the Thai pancake. But it’s an okay lunch. The tiramisu dessert is quite enjoyable, although it’s odd that it’s served with a plastic wrapper around it. Perhaps it won’t “stand up” without support. Or perhaps they forgot to remove it.
With lunch over, I put my seat back into a recline position, and watch the rest of the movie. The IFE screen is great, and the offered noise-cancelling earphones are plenty good enough, the same type as was offered on my flight from Dubai to Bangkok.
By the time the movie ends, we’re already beginning our descent into the light clouds over the Malaysian coast as we head south towards Singapore.
We follow the coast down, and soon enough, we make a right turn in towards Changi.
We settle onto the runway, and after a fairly short taxi — by Changi standards — we pull into our spot at T1.
The door is quickly opened, and after more wais and goodbyes from the TG crew, I’m released into Singapore, the turnaround point for this adventure.
We come into the terminal fairly close to the elevators down to customs and baggage, signed in Changi style with this floral wall.
From there, it’s about ten minutes of waiting to get to passport control. The lines are short, but as usual, I manage to find the slowest-moving one. Then I’m free and actually landside for the first time since Tuesday morning.
I grab a cab for the short ride to my hotel in Changi Village. As good as flat-bed seats are, at this point, I’m really looking forward to a for-real bed.
Thanks for joining me this far… I’ll start the trip back to Toronto soon!
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge At Concourse D
Bangkok - BKK
Singapore - SIN
A decent flight for the short hop down to Singapore, and I can check TG 788 off my to-do list.
Quite a surprise that it's basically the same product as the ET 788s that got me to Dubai, but that's mostly because I wasn't expecting ET to have that flat bed seat installed.
A much better hard product on this flight than on the aging 333 product, although the meal didn't blow me away. And the ground services in BKK certainly helped to make up for it. No quite the experience TG's first class pax get. But then, not much is.
Here we are at the halfway point of the trip -- actually, more than halfway in terms of number of flights. But less than halfway in terms of time.
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