Review of Thai Airways flight Tokyo Bangkok in First

Airline Thai Airways
Flight TG677
Class First
Seat 2K
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 06:30
Take-off 22 Aug 16, 17:25
Arrival at 22 Aug 16, 21:55
TG   #8 out of 113 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 267 reviews
Rewardflying
By 2111
Published on 17th September 2016
photo tg677 cover

Hello Flight-Report friends. Today it's first class on Thai Airways A380 from NRT to BKK. I call this report Typhoon Thai!

As it turns out, the weather was more exciting, and memorable, than the first class service on Thai's A380 to Bangkok.

photo tg 677 typhoon article

Before leaving the states I was aware of potential typhoon risk in Japan but hadn't given it much thought. The only mention of a typhoon on the flight to Tokyo was for possible turbulence when landing. It was smooth. And wasn't even raining in Tokyo on arrival, just typical Japan summer hot and humid.

The next morning having breakfast at the Hilton the rain began and it rained hard. But from my hotel window I could see planes arriving and departing. Today simply appeared to be just a foul weather day.

Around noon things got interesting. I knew my flight was going to be delayed because the inbound flight from Bangkok did not leave on time. Thai Airways mobile device for flight status is horrible. It only shows a few scheduled flights leaving and arriving from Bangkok. You can't search for a specific flight. In any case my A380 was still 5 hours south in sunny Bangkok when I left for the airport, having taken full advantage of the 3PM Hilton late check out I'd been given.

Arriving at Narita I found an airport that was packed. Little did I know that air traffic controllers had abandoned the tower due to 80MPH winds. A few photos.

photo tg677 narita 1
Difficult to try and get a photo of the wind blowing!
photo tg677 narita 5photo tg677 narita 6

I approached Thai's check-in counter and was given a generous coupon for any restaurant in the airport. The $30 lunch coupon made up for no information on when, or if, departure may occur.
photo tg677 narita food 1photo tg677 narita food 2

Unfortunately Ohara was to be my better meal of the day.

After lunch I made my way to ANA's First Class Lounge. Had I not seen first class on the door I would have thought I was in the business class lounge as the decor, and food, is very similar.

I was greeted by a nice Japanese woman who escorted me to the seat of my choice, offered an oshibori and asked what I'd like to drink.

photo tg677 lounge 7

Two hours after scheduled departure no information was offered, other than finding out on my own that the plane had left Bangkok. Another hour or so Flightradar24 had the plane landing and sure enough moments later I could see it taxing through the rain. But now Google reported Thai #677, my flight, had been cancelled. Yet the ANA departure information monitor showed it was delayed. I asked the customer service agent to call and she confirmed it was delayed, not cancelled.

I was hoping it would be cancelled as I had my eyes on a new plan, err plane. Since I was going to Singapore anyway why not get on this guy?

photo tg677 narita 3

My Singapore A380 first class suites day will have to wait as Thai finally decided to provide a departure time.

The original intent of this journey was to visit Singapore. Then when Thai opened ticketing back in April on their new A350 with reward space to Melbourne at no cost to my reward ticket, why not! Then with the Airbus delivery delays, that plane wasn't delivered, so instead of flying an old Thai 777 to Melbourne I found a Singapore Airlines flight, on an old Singapore 777.

Had the original plan held, with this delay I would have missed the Thai A350 flight anyway.

Back to the lounge.

One picture is of the ANA first class lounge and the other is the business class lounge next door. Pick.
photo tg677 lounge 4photo nh801 lounge 3

Neither can I.

However it's a nice lounge, especially for plane spotting, on non-typhoon days. (And I had so hoped for the observation deck.)
photo tg677 lounge 3

More food. Impressed?


Tucked away in a corner was a walk up counter called the noodle bar. It was small and out of the way. I saw someone eating a burger so they made a variety of dishes but after my Ohara sushi lunch I did't investigate. However Sherlock Holmes isn't needed to ascertain this was a far cry from first class dining experiences like the Lufthansa's First Class lounge, Singapore's Private Room, Cathay's Pier as well as many other non- ORD first class lounges.

Time to go.

For those of you familiar with Narita Terminal 1 South Wing, Gates 59 A-C are Bus Gates.

This should be interesting.

photo tg677 narita 4

Thai first class A380 boarding experience:
photo tg677 boarding 1photo tg677 boarding 2

A view of one of two carry-ons I was lugging as well as a view of the second stair case once negotiated.

photo tg677 cabin 3photo tg677 cabin 6

Thai's upper deck first class cabin is attractive, but not elegant. The colors work well but the cabin lacks sophistication, especially for a first class wide body.
photo tg677 cabin 1

Twelve non-enclosed seats configured 3x4 makes for a fairly private cabin, but only when partially occupied such as this flight. The purser on the flight made a point to me in conversation about how travelers prefer this open-air seating arrangement. Maybe he is right. Lufthansa employs a similar openness but you can partition off your first class pod for privacy, this one you can't.
photo tg677 cabin 5

The seating area to the right of the staircase is a complete waste of space.
photo tg677 cabin 2

To the left of the staircase is a single lavatory that's spacious and clean, but wasn't particularly well stocked.


Instead of a 2nd lavatory, Thai has opted to add a make-up counter with a large seat for the ladies. Nice touch.
photo tg677 cabin lav 1photo tg677 cabin lav 5

Thai's first class seat is comfortable and if comparing simply for sitting comfort, more so than the ANA seat I'd just spent 12 hours in.



A380 fliers know that the window side luggage bins are not that very large. A nice carry on storage space is provided underneath the ottoman. (All though I can't figure out what those grills are for?)
photo tg677 seat 1_1024

A sliding tray is your dining table and remains an out of the way table for magazines or papers. Other safety card and printed airline information are smartly tucked away to the side in a vertical compartment.
photo tg677 seat 2

You have storage compartments on both sides of the seat in or below the armrests, with one holding the electronics. A dual USB is nice for someone carrying multiple devices.
photo tg677 seat 5photo tg677 seat 6

Simple seat controls as well as standard IFE controller.
photo tg677 seat 10photo tg677 seat 9

Window seats have an extra compartment for storage as well between the pod and aircraft wall.
photo tg677 seat 11

Sleeping:
Another bad bed photo which is a good description for the bed itself, bad. No mattress pad and very uncomfortable due to the hump where the seat folds. The blanket however was warm and the pillow generous in size and weight.

photo tg677 seat bed 2

Notice the mini monitor shining a white light. Mine didn't do anything other than stay lit. I thought it was a night-lite. All it did was screw up the focus on my blurry photo. Then on my Thai 747 flight, the same mini-monitor could be used to control the seat. So I don't know if mine was broken or I just didn't know how to work it.

Mood lighting before arrival.
photo tg677 cabin 4

Amenity Kit
photo tg677 amenity 5

A beautiful Rimowa amenity kit was provided featuring L'Occitane products.
photo tg677 amenity 6

Slippers, headphones, oshibori and a lily.


Here's Nahtee, the lead flight attendant pouring the beverage highlight for this trip, a 2006 Dom Pérignon. At $175 per bottle certainly the most generous during my 32,000 miles
photo tg677 champagne 1

A somewhat sparse beverage list begged to stick with the Dom.


Technology has replaced the printed menu! This time a very young Thai woman, Marguerite, who was the other flight attendant serving the 3 first class passengers offered the dinner selections via iPad. She held it, and showed the single page that didn't fit all the text. And she didn't want to give me the iPad so I could take a closer look.
photo tg677 menu food

I was tired, it was late, I ordered sea bass. Duck leg stew or Pork curry just didn't en'thai'ce me

To portray the full first class meal presentation I offer the Amuse as it was presented.
photo tg677 food amuse 1

For comparison purposes.
ANA
photo nh113 amuse 1
Lufthansa
photo lh amouse bouche

For a critique on the meal I'm torn between "No rave reviews" and "Get me a meal from economy", except this is first class. What would eco class be like?

The Amuse again, which I don't know what it is because I don't have a menu, but I can see some mango and the little taste I took had a peanut flavor. So it was probably some kind of Thai Po Pia Thot or egg rolls. The first taste convinced me not to explore more.
photo tg677 food amuse 2

Next up was a salad. There was enough dressing on the 2 pieces of lettuce for at least 30 more pieces. I'd be interested to see if they called it a prawn on the menu.
photo tg677 food app 2

Next up was soup. Apparently Thai has borrowed the recipe for this Flour Soup from Asiana Airlines. You can read about Asiana's Flour Soup here

photo tg677 food soup 1

After consuming nothing it's time for the main course.
photo tg677 food main 3

Dom is good. Dessert time, I'm famished.
photo tg677 food des 4

The winner! Albeit against unqualified competition.

Time to round things out with a coffee.
photo tg677 food des 2

IFE System
The IFE system is fine. Monitor is large and clear. Content happened to be the same movies as ANA so I wasn't interested. But the tail camera on an A380 is cool, even though it was night. One annoying thing about Thai, on the descent they play a Thailand promo clip which lasts forever, and in my case kept looping. Meaning the airshow or tail camera was not available. They turned it off a minute or two before landing.

photo tg677 ife 5

Wi-Fi
Due to the delay they passed out a free 20MB wi-fi card that was thoughtful.
photo tg677 wifi 1photo tg677 wifi 2

Cabin crew:
Both attendants were very nice. Water was provided and I was never left for wanting.

Aircraft
My 2nd time on the upper deck of an A380 and I'm not sure I like it. Certainly the windows are small and its difficult to see much out of them. This was a night flight so I wasn't missing much but overall I prefer larger windows. Maybe it was the fact that I had to climb at least 2 flights of stairs with 2 carry-ons to get to my seat.
photo tg677 arrival 1photo tg677 flight path

On arrival first class was allowed to exit first. At the end of the jet-way was a woman holding a sign with 3 names, the 3 first class passengers. We climbed aboard a golf cart, with my two pieces of luggage on my lap, and were whisked to immigration. She then escorted us to the priority lane and asked if we needed any directions or information for transit into Bangkok.

photo tg677 arrival 2

The Thai personnel from Narita check-in, to the gate boarding agents, to the aircraft flight attendants, to the woman who escorted first class passengers on to immigration, all were exceptionally nice. Also the $30 lunch coupon and free onboard wi-fi was certainly generous. It was the things out of their control that made this flight a disappointment.

Weather happens. The delay was not a big deal. But the lack of information from Thai was inexcusable. While the hard product on the A380 was nice, it wasn't up to international first class standards. The food would be a disappointing business class meal.

But one must look at the positives and that points to this:

photo tg677 champagne 2

full report on rewardflying.com
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Verdict

Thai Airways

6.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment7.0
Meal/catering3.0

All Nippon Airways First Class Lounge

6.5/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment5.0
Services7.0

Tokyo - NRT

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Bangkok - BKK

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

As mentioned all Thai personnel were outstanding. I'd fly Thai again but I'm not sure the first class experience is worth the cost. Other than a larger seat the food along with the presentation was far below standards. But then there's that Dom....

Informations on the route Tokyo (NRT) Bangkok (BKK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Tokyo (NRT) → Bangkok (BKK).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is Thai Airways with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 6 hours and 17 minutes.

  More informations

4 Comments

  • Comment 367402 by
    eminere™ 251 Comments

    Great report and completely agree with your analysis. I'd be sorely disappointed if I had paid cash for this so-called first class experience.

  • Comment 367403 by
    JW19 69 Comments

    By the looks of it should have just dumped TG and gone straight for the SQ suites to Singapore. *A miles after all.

  • Comment 367488 by
    Razza_Pr 177 Comments

    Thank you, rewardflying for this (rather comical) FR :).

    The ANA First and Business Class lounges should probably merge and be just that.. First and Business lounge, considering the lack of differences (but I'm willing to bet one is more crowded than the other). The food on offer isn't what I'd call exciting for a First class lounge, but at least it's offered I guess?

    2 flights of stairs to get on to your seat, and in foul weather. Rather unfortunate considering that would take 400-500 passengers in one go, if fully loaded. Wonder what happened to the other A380-specified gates? Were they in use because Singapore was still there, and perhaps one of their A380 flights were delayed? Shouldn't be too much of an issue in the future I think, as they'll switch it with the 77W later this year.

    So no printed food menu, and was caviar on offer?

    With TG cutting corners, I think it's fairly reasonable that the food quality has unfortunately plummeted. At least the airline staff from end to end made up for it?

    With a First Class hard product like that on a flagship aircraft, I imagine it'd be challenging for them to compete against ANA and JAL.

    Thanks again for the FR, and happy flying!

  • Comment 367493 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 293 Comments

    Thanks for the reading and commenting Razza_Pr. The lounges were busy obviously. Having been in business lounge before I was just expecting something better, and there wasn't much distinction between the two. But I give credit to the airport for getting operations back to normal as anytime weather shuts the airport down typically havoc for days. There didn't seem to be very many cancellations. But you could be right about no A380 gate, but SQ left on time as I watched tongue hanging.

    No menu, No caviar. No competition to JP airlines for sure. TG is one of those airlines that should dump first class and go all business. That cabin was full. I have a photo but it's too blurred to post. They have the stock stella business class seats that are private and well liked. I also hear that they have a new business class soft product rolling out with the A350 which looks nice. My report on the Thai 747 coming in a few weeks was a GREAT flight.

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