When last we saw each other, I was disembarking NH805 in Business class, having taken that flight replacing my scheduled (but running four hours late) Thai A380 First Class flight down to Bangkok.
As expected, once I reached the top of the jetway, there was a young Thai Airways agent with a sign with my name. While TG’s ground handling at Narita may have left a little bit to be desired, in general, things are pretty flawless at Suvarnabhumi. She motions me towards a cart, and we’re off to the races, on our way towards transit security.
Once we reach the end of this arm of the terminal, it’s up an escalator, through an empty transit security checkpoint, and a short walk to Thai’s great Royal First lounge at BKK.
“Ah, Mr. Hometoyyz, we’ve been expecting you,” says the young male agent running behind the front desk. He checks my NH-issued boarding pass, and motions for me to head inside. A young female agent escorts me into the lounge, and motions for me to take a seat anywhere I’d like in the main hall.
I ask her if it’s too late to book a massage at the Royal Orchid Spa, and she says that yes, unfortunately, the spa closes at 11:30 pm — about two minutes after my rescheduled flight from Narita landed. Had the original TG flight been on time, I would have been in time to get a massage. Ah well.
As soon as I sit down, a waiter approaches and asks if I’d like anything to drink. I order a Thai iced tea, which is delicious.
A tablet with a menu is offered, and made-to-order food items at in this lounge are really good, but I decline, being still fairly full from my inbound flight, and expecting a full dinner once we’re off the ground on this upcoming flight to Munich.
I’ve probably got less than half an hour in the lounge, so let’s take a quick look around.
The main hall is just a big room with a bunch of comfortable seating. There are lots of waiters and other attendants milling around the lounge, waiting to be of service and offering a friendly wai every time they pass.
There are also a few of these private living room arrangements, which offer a comfortable place to hang out and wait for a flight.
The lounge is pretty quiet at this late hour, since most TG First departures are either boarding or departed at this point.
A small private area with some reading material available, as well as proudly displaying the airline’s awards for this lounge.
There’s a small buffet area with a few options for folks to grab before their flight.
And there’s a dining room area, although it seems to be closed at this point.
And back at the other end of the main lounge room, there’s the bar area, and the short hallway towards the entrance way of the lounge.
Waiting in the lounge, I check in on the flight I was supposed to be on down to Bangkok. Looks like I would have misconnected had I stuck with it.
A little after midnight, the front desk agent approaches, asking me for my passport and boarding pass one more time, since he has to check me in again. He returns a few minutes later with my boarding pass for this flight, now properly printed on TG stock, as well as a boarding pass for my onwards flight out of Munich tomorrow… or, I guess, later this morning, depending on your perspective.
A few minutes later, the front desk agent approaches again, and says my flight is ready for boarding. I pack up and follow him out to the entrance of the lounge, where there’s a Thai agent awaiting with a pair of my fellow passengers for this flight up to Munich.
Our guide takes us on the short walk out to the wing of B gates at BKK, and then down the end of that arm of the terminal to gate B5. We head down the walkway, and into the crowded boarding area, where passengers are massing and beginning to board. Our guide expertly parts the crowd and escorts us through the masses and onto the jetway, and we’re on our way.
Those first few windows? My home for the next 11 or 12 hours. I’m looking forward to it.
Flight: TG924 From: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) To: Munich (MUC) Date: 3/30/2016 Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 Registration: HS-TGA Seat: 1A ATD (STD): 01:13 (00:50) ATA (STA): 07:18 (07:05)
At door 1L, which pretty much opens into First Class, I’m welcomed aboard by an older female flight attendant — it will be her and a very genial forty-something male FA working first class for this flight.
One of the two fellow passengers who had joined us from the Royal First Lounge heads back into business class, not sure if she was a guest of the other passenger or got access to the First Lounge in some other way. As the two of us remaining board, there are two other passengers in First — a younger Thai woman and her son, who I would guess between four and six years old.
Upon boarding, I’m very excited to see that it’s the newer Thai 747 cabin on the flight tonight. Thai has two 747 First Class cabins — an older 10-seat configuration that’s more open (and that I have flown before on HKG-BKK-HKG last year), and this more suite-like configuration of nine seats, with three windows rows on either side, and three seats in the middle, one in row two, and two in row three.
The male FA shows me to seat 1A, port side window in the first row of the nose of the 747. It’s so exciting to be in the Queen’s nose again. Wait… that didn’t come out the way I hoped it would. Ummm… let’s just say that it’s a nice seat in a great location — four windows to myself, and a view that ranges to almost forward thanks to the curvature in the nose of the plane. The seat is equipped with two pillows, in Thai’s chosen purple and gold colours.
One downside — there’s not much of an overhead compartment here, so the FA suggests I put my gear in the “coat room” ahead of me.
An over-the-top look into my seat.
Here’s the cabin layout as boarding continues. The four of us in F when we arrived would remain the only four in this nine-seat cabin. Not only that, but the other three passengers were in 3A, 3D and 3G. I not only had row one all to myself, but a buffer row between me and the nearest passenger. It made for a very private feeling.
Legroom shot — the kit under the ottoman is the bedding for this seat.
The IFE is nice and large, with the visual touch of Thai’s signature (Royal) Orchid in a little vase next to it. The screen would remain on Airshow throughout boarding, and one would only be able to exit out of it and access the IFE system proper after we passed through 10,000 feet. Note the slippers and amenity kit in the little cubby to the left, and the small closet on the aisle-side forward wall of the suite.
A look across the cabin. Privacy is still decent, but it feels like I would have been able to see all that was going on in 1K, at least while any occupant of that seat is sitting upright.
Service begins with the male flight attendant bringing around the first of what I’m sure will be many hot towels.
Hmmmm…. somehow I don’t think this “Size S” comfort wear is going to cut it for me.
Further back, there’s are the noise cancelling headphones, as well USB ports, headphone port, and IFE remote, contained under this panel. But where’s the AC port?
Seat control buttons, and the touchscreen control for finer seat adjustments — the touchscreen unit can be detached and functions as a wired remote.
And the forward cubby, with slippers and a (hot pink) Rimowa amenity kit.
The female flight attendant comes around and notices the pajama situation, suggesting that those perhaps aren’t the best fit for me. She asks if I’d like L or XL. I prefer these kinds of things to run large, so go XL. They are quickly produced.
A look out the window as boarding continues. As I’m ahead of door 1L at this position, I presume the glass-walled jetway to the right is from the next plane over.
The male flight attendant asks if I’d like something to drink before takeoff. Perhaps some champagne? Boy, would I ever! A glass and a fresh bottle of Dom Perignon 2004 is produced. Magnificent. I’m not much of a champagne connoisseur, but I get the hype here. The flight attendant is very diligent about keeping my topped off, and I’m three glasses into the bottle before we push back. Perhaps I forgive too easily, and perhaps it was due to a bit of a delicious buzz going on, but at this point, my mood from the previous debacle was pretty much repaired.
Menus are then offered in this lovely silk binder. The female FA confirms that the lobster thermidor I have pre-ordered has, in fact, been boarded for the flight, but reminds me I’m free to order from the menu if I decide I’m not in a lobster kind of mood.
Here’s the menu for tonight’s flight.
And the drinks list.
We push back a few minutes late, although it still feels like it’s a pretty fast boarding to me. Something about time going faster when you’re drinking Dom, perhaps.
It’s a VERY short taxi — so short, in fact, that the safety video is still playing well into our roll down the runway — and we’re off and away into the night sky over Bangkok. It’s funny how loud it is in the nose of the 747 until the front gear comes up. Then it’s very quiet.
Once we’re in the air, the IFE is accessible. There are only a few films under New Releases I haven’t seen as yet, so I choose Victor Frankenstein.
Shortly afterwards, another middle-aged female staffer comes by and introduces herself as the chief purser on the flight. She apologizes for not coming by sooner, but says it was a chaotic boarding, with Business and Economy full, and lots of wheelchairs and mobility challenges. She apologizes for this causing a delay in takeoff, but says we’ll basically be into Munich on time in the morning. Interestingly, she’s the only female flight staff I’ve seen on Thai to date who doesn’t change into the traditional gown look once in flight, and I’ve been on a few TG flights with female service leads.
Time to check out my haul for this flight. Just a reminder — the table in Thai First Class is massive, and heavy. And a little bit hard to get out of its housing. Although I suppose it makes sense that it’s so large — I’m pretty sure two passengers could have dinner together in one suite, should they choose to do so. I believe I shall dine alone tonight, though.
The provided slippers are a little small for my feet, but very nicely padded and very comfortable. I’m surprised there’s no prominent Thai brand to them.
The amenity kit haul is about what one expects, with consumables from a variety of providers and no strong branded theme. Well, except for Rimowa, of course.
The pajamas look comfy. I head to the lav — there are two located at the rear of First Class, meaning that half of us could be in the loo at any one time on this flight — and put them on. They’re cool and comfy, although the XL does run a little large on me. But nothing too bad.
The male FA offers drinks before dinner. I ask for some water, and sure, why not, I’ll have some more Dom while we’re at it. He keeps me topped up throughout dinner, although both he and the female FA are nearly constantly checking if I’d like something else to go with my dinner at various points.
After searching high and low, I finally ind the AC port in the cubby that had previously housed the slippers and amenity kit. Only it’s not working. Neither are the ones in 1K, 2A, or 2K when I check. Which is a bit of a bummer, because I’d really like to charge my laptop. I point this out to the female FA, and minutes later, the green light comes on — they just needed to be reset after takeoff.
Once we’re in the air, the previous newsstand ahead of 2D is reconfigured into a shared newsstand and bar for service purposes.
A look back down the cabin, with the two F washrooms, and the entrance to the long, narrow galley that runs up the starboard side of the plane aft of First. This is a pretty unique setup.
The provided headphones are large and do a good job — no need to swap them out for something better.
Next up — another hot towel.
And then the table is set by both flight attendants working together. A bread basket is offered, and the male FA comes by with garlic bread. How can I resist?
Dinner starts with caviar service — a pretty generous helping scooped out from the service trolley, with the usual garnishes. All very delicious.
As soon as it’s done, the appetizer is offered, a single plate with all the dishes described on the menu. Everything is pretty good, and surprisingly, it’s the fruit salad I enjoy most, with the delicious papaya dressing.
Once again, I’m not given much of a break between courses and my lobster is brought out almost as soon as I’m done the appetizers. It’s a generous serving, and quite delicious. It seems well-cooked, not being tough or rubbery. The rather simple preparation of the vegetables doesn’t do a lot for me, despite some pretty nice presentation with the tomato cup for the peas, but the accompanying potatoes are delicious.
No sooner am I done that than both flight attendants descend upon me with the fruit and cheese trolley. I take a selection of fruit, and a bit of all three type of cheese — Stilton, Brie, and Emental. All are excellent. Some water crackers are provided, and so is some port. Moments after this picture is shot, we hit some pretty good turbulence for about a ten-minute stretch, and soon the napkin below the port, and much of the tablecloth, looks like a bit of a murder scene.
Once I’m done that, the male FA offers dessert. I’m feeling pretty seriously full at this point, but I take hom up on his offer. The sour cherry roulade is delicious, but to my surprise, it’s the mango and Pandan sticky rice that I enjoy the most. It also has lovely presentation.
Finally, with dinner coming to an end, I’m offered a coffee or tea. Remembering that the cappuccino I had on my last Thai F flight was great, I request one here. And it’s great.
With that, dinner is over. And the movie — which I started mere minutes after we make it through 10,000 feet — isn’t yet over. And it wasn’t a long movie, either! That was a seriously amount of dinner in a very short time — with a 2:1 pax-to-FA ratio, I guess service can really move along quickly.
With service items clear, the male FA asks if I’d like my bed made up, and suggests he make it up in 1K. I happily agree to that strategy, but stay in my seat for the rest of my movie.
Once it ends, I head across the hall to 1K, which has been made up as a bed, and a bottle of Evian provided. There’s a nice blanket, and the spare pillows from my seat are brought over to help equip my bed. The mattress pad isn’t quite as nice as the one ANA provided in First, but it’s pretty comfortable. I put on a movie called 99 Houses, and figure I’ll “test out” the bed. Having slept for a pretty solid part of the six-hour flight down from Tokyo, I don’t anticipate I’ll be going to sleep for very long anytime soon.
You know where this is going, don’t you?
Yep, I catch about five minutes of the film, and am promptly asleep. I wake up at some point to find the screen still on, though the movie over. I turn the screen off with the remote, roll over, and go back to sleep.
Some time later, I wake up again, and check on my environs — holy crap, we’re only two hours out of Munich! I guess the bed was quite comfortably enough.
It’s worth noting that at some point in this flight, the moving map has ceased functioning both here in 1K and across the aisle in 1A, so this is as close to an info screen as I can get for the rest of the flight.
Nevertheless, I guess I haven’t had quite enough sleep on this flight yet, and I wake up again as the cabin lights are brought up to full in anticipation of breakfast.
The male FA bids me a friendly good morning, and presents me with a hot towel to start the service. I retreat back to 1A, get comfy, and give 99 Rooms a second try, although it appears it will be about 10 minutes too long for the remaining flight time.
The table is set for breakfast, including a bread basket, water, another cappuccino, and a berry smoothie. Somehow, it goes unnoticed by the crew that while trying to move the table towards me along its track, I managed to spill my glass of water all over the table, my leg, and my seat. Yep. I’m pure class.
The fruit appetizer doesn’t appeal to me much, as I’m not much for apples or oranges. But the pineapple and… whatever that other fruit is… are quite good.
This bread basket isn’t quite as good as the one I had on my BKK-HKG breakfast flight last year, but that chocolate danish is still fantastic.
Drinks are good. I have a couple of smoothies before switching to a glass of orange juice, and I’m on my third cappuccino before the male FA brings me a much larger one in the full-size coffee mug?
Yogurt with mixed fruits. Pretty good. At some point, cold cereals are offered, but politely declined.
The main for breakfast is a cheese omelet. It’s nothing terribly special, but it’s pretty good, especially with the offered Thai sweet and hot chili sauce. The sausage and mushrooms are also tasty, although I found the spinach too bitter for my taste at this hour.
The aforementioned super-sized cappuccino — both for my convenience, and his, because now the poor FA wasn’t wearing out a path back and forth from my seat quite as frequently.
With breakfast over, I open my window and get a good first look at the dawning morning over Europe, somewhere. Stupid broken Airshow.
Soon enough, it’s both obvious where we are, and that we’re into our descent into Munich. Some lovely views of the Bavarian alps out my windows as we continue to make our way into Munich.
I take this time to change back into my street clothes and put my laptop, amenity kit, pajamas and everything else I don’t want to leave on the plane in my bags in preparation for landing. The three flight attendants — the two working First, and the chief purser — come by to thank me for flying Thai, hoping I enjoyed my lobster, soliciting feedback, wishing my safe onwards travels, etc. While the in-charge had never put on traditional Thai garb, the other female flight attendant is now in her purple-and-pink “regular” uniform, ready for landing.
As he leaves, the male FA teases me, asking if I’d like another cappuccino, or perhaps some more champagne? At least I think he’s teasing me. Perhaps he’s serious. Either way, I decline with a laugh — I’m stuffed as it is.
Soon, the mountains give way to the countryside around Munich, and we’re getting close to this flight being over.
We touch down about 15 minutes behind schedule, but that’s not too bad for a flight of this length, I don’t think.
We taxi around the airport, eventually taking our place down at the end of this pier.
Once we’re released from our seats, I gather my stuff and the First Class passengers have a little chat amongst ourselves. The lone female traveler is also headed to Toronto, as pointed out by the female flight attendant, although it turns out she is taking a different routing than me, flying from Munich to Copenhagen and then onwards. And the young Thai boy is very excited to be going skiing. Yeah, not so much a big activity in Thailand, I suppose. The crew is very good with him, and makes a super-big deal of him, making a big show of him being the first passenger to disembark through door 1L.
From the jetway, we have to escalator up three floors to get to the sterile walkway that will take us back to the main terminal. From there, I get one last look at HS-TGA.
It’s a loooooong walk back to the center of the airport, but there’s no lineup at all for the transit security post for the H gates, from which my onwards flight will depart. I’m through it in no time, although I’m briefly chased by a security guard, as my wallet had dumped out several cards — including my health card(!) when I was stowing my things after the security check. I thank her thoroughly for getting them back to me.
But then I’m airside at Munich, and that’s where we’ll pick up this adventure next time.
Thanks for reading!
Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge
Bangkok - BKK
Munich - MUC
This flight repaired my mood substantially, after quite a disappointment on my inbound flight into Bangkok. Fantastic service, a very nice seat, decent catering, and a great crew with an unbeatable FA-to-passenger ratio made this a very good flight, indeed. The fact that it was in the very front of the nose of a 747, with amazing privacy, made it all the more special. Thai is, as pervious reports in this series will suggest, not a perfect airline at all. But where it shines — ground services at BKK, in-flight service in First — it is truly world-class. Although TG vacillates on its plans to retire the 747, any time one flies on Thai’s aging Queen of the Skies could well be the last time (unless, of course, one flies TG on a very regular basis.) That makes it, perhaps, all the more special.
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