Review of Thai Airways flight Bangkok Seoul in Business

Airline Thai Airways
Flight TG658
Class Business
Seat 14K
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 05:25
Take-off 10 Jul 17, 23:10
Arrival at 11 Jul 17, 06:35
TG   #9 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 364 reviews
DrAviation
By 3058
Published on 13th August 2017
Hi there! This is part two of my series of flights from Singapore to Seoul via Bangkok on Thai airways. If you would like to follow this series, please view the previous flight report on my flight from SIN-BKK.

TG 404 1225/1345 B772 FR found here!
TG 658 2310/0635 B744 [This Report]
TG 659 0935/1325 [Coming soon!]
TG 413 1155/1505 [No report]

Continued from part I:
Once I was done with my relaxing massage in Let's Relax Massage and Spa Phaya Thai, I hopped back onto the SRT City Line from Phaya Thai back to Suvarnabhumi. The journey tok a predictable 30 minutes, and I arrived at around 7.30pm, giving me more than enough time to explore all star alliance lounges in BKK.

Views of the airport departure floor
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I had checked in previous in Singapore, so I could head straight to immigration and security. I had read online that Thai Airways Royal Silk Class passengers had a dedicated immigration and security queue. I had assumed that it was a special line in the normal immigration, and so i proceeded through the normal immigration gates. I even asked the staff there where the priority queue for business class passengers were, and she said it is inside. HOWEVER, when I went it, there were no signs of any priority queue! In fact, there was just long long lines for immigration and security. Thankfully, the staff were efficient and the queue moved very fast. I was airside in about 20 minutes.

Later I learnt that Premium passengers on Thai Airways have a dedicated immigration area located behind rows C and D. This entrance will lead directly to the royal silk lounge in concourse C. It would be quite easy to spot if I had checked in at the business class counters at BKK, but since I skipped that step, I totally missed it.

Pre departure: Lounges
Before this trip, I had searched all the star alliance lounges which I could try out. However they were located all over the airport so I had to plan my route well. The three lounges I visited this time was the Eva Air Lounge near concourse F, the New Silverkris lounge at concourse D and the Thai Royal SIlk lounge and concourse C.

Since my gate was at Concourse A, i decided to head to the lounge at the other end first, then make my way towards concourse A, dropping by the other lounges. So I took a VERY long walk to concourse F to the Eva Air Lounge.

It was quite tricky to find as there were not many signages, but once I went down to the 3rd floor and turned back, I saw it immediately

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Entrance to the Eva Air Lounge. Looks very modern and classy. After verification, I entered the lounge and boy was I impressed
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Lounge was sufficiently big without many people since there were no eva flights departing any time soon. THe design was very modern and classy without overdoing it. There were plenty of options for seats- from dining tables to nice sofas facing the tarmac, to working tables.

Since I had not eaten anything since my afternoon flight, I headed straight for the buffet. Food selection was limited, but it was not unexpected as this was a small lounge with low traffic flow. However, the quality of the food was excellent.

My food selection: I had some spaghetti bolognaise, a lemon chicken rice, some dim sum and some pizza and a wonderful banana tart. Sandwiches were available too. All were of very good quality.
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There was a good range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well, and selection of ice-cream from Swensons. I had a sticky chewy chocolate. Utensils had the Eva Air Logo.
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There was a toilet in the lounge, and it was clean and well stocked. Classy in design as well.
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Seeing that the lounge was so amazing, I decided to take a shower and change into comfortable sleeping attire for my red eye. I approached the staff for the shower room keys and they took my boarding pass as a "safeguard" and would return it once I returned the keys.
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Individual bottles of soap, shampoo and moisturizer was available. Indoor slippers were also available, as well as shaving kits and other amenities. Shower area was clean and big.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Eva Air lounge. Food quality was good with a good range of refreshments, very thoughtful design with various seating options for various types of travellers, and the toilets were well-stocked. If this was the lounge available at BKK, I would expect the lounge at their main hub in Taipei to be much more impressive. Hopefully I will fly eva airways again after my last flight with them in 2001, and get access to the amazing lounge.

After the shower, I left the Eva Air lounge and headed to the next lounge along the way, the new silverkris lounge.

Another 20 minute walk back to concourse D. I definitely worked out and was ready for a second dinner.

Entrance to the SIlverKris lounge. Quite similar to that in other cities.

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First impressions: The new lounge has similar vibes to that in Heathrow, with my favourite "suite" seats available. I really like the atmosphere of the lounge, but I think the eva air lounge beats it in this aspect. THere is a bar in the centre of the lounge with huge selection of drinks, cocktails included. Again, many seat options available too, but I will stick to my favourite "suite" seats

Buffet
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Part of the bar area
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My favourite "suite" seats
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Food selection was good. There was a mix of thai food such as Pad Thai, some Singapore style food like soups, chinese style and western food like roast chicken were available. Finger food like yakitori and samosas were available. Haagen Daaz ice cream was also available. Since I was still kind of full, I just had a small selection of food like Pad Thai and Yakitori. Decent quality
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The lounge was pretty crowded at that time, as there was an SQ flight departing soon, but I am sure many other Star Alliance premium passengers would gladly use this lounge instead of other lounges since it was right across immigration.

Overall, impressive lounge again from SQ. The atmosphere and design may not match Eva's, but the food quality and quantity beats Eva Air's hands down. I hope that SQ will upgrade the Home base lounges soon, as their upgraded outstation lounges in Bangkok and Heathrow have been much more impressive than that in Changi. Another thing I noticed, is that the food selection is exactly the same when I came 1 week later on my way back to Singapore in the morning. It was EXACTLY the same. Even the positioning of the food was exactly the same. I hope that there will be more variation in food next time. If not frequent fliers to BKK would be bored of it really fast.

Another 30 minutes or so in the SKL, and I am off to the final Star Alliance lounge, the Thai Royal Silk lounge.

Another long walk in the dark corridors of Suvarnabhumi. As mentioned previously, I find Suvarnabhumi to be rather dark and gloomy and does not have as nice an atmosphere as Changi, ICN or even PEK.
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At the counter, there was a long queue at the registration counter. A few people were having problems registering for the lounge. I attempted to just bypass the registration and head straight into the lounge, but the staff at the counter stopped me in a rather rude tone. It sounded like a security guard telling a trespasser to not enter a restricted area. Not acceptable. Eventually after about 5 minutes, I finally got registered.

The Royal SIlk lounge was very long but not very wide, with different sections along the entire corridor. First impressions: it looked weary and gloomy. Furniture looked aged as well. Toilets just looked messy and old. Nothing compared to the other star alliance lounges
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I read that the Royal orchid spa was located somewhere in the concourse C lounges, but there was absolutely no signs to say where it was. I had to enquire from a staff where it was, apparently I had to walk all the way to the end, exit the lounge and it would be there. Poor signage.
Entrance to the Royal Orchid Spa.
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Royal Silk Passengers are entitled to free 30 minutes foot reflexology or head and shoulder massage, while Royal first are entitled to 1 hour free full body massage. The spa interior had a relaxing atmosphere. Staff were polite and the massage would go. Interestingly it was not crowded and I did not have to wait at all for my turn. Reminder to all thai premium passengers: Remember to claim your free massage!

After being stretched and pressed, I was all ready to snooze on my red eye. But first, a quick check at the supper offerings at the Royal Silk Lounge. It was poor. Finger food liek samosas, sandwiches, and a thai style soup noodle. The selection was even less than that of the SilverKris Lounge. The food was also quite substandard, and unexpected considering that Thai Airways inflight catering has such high standard. Furthermore, this is the home base lounge. Thai Airways seriously needs to improve to compete. Initially i thought that the selection was limited because it was late at night, but when I came to this lounge again a week later, on my way back from BKK to SIN, the breakfast selection was just as pathetic and uninspiring. The most exciting selection then was an automated pancake machine, and I do not recall anything else being spectacular.
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I did not spend much time in the Thai lounge, and headed to my boarding gate soon after.

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Gateway to the queen of the skies.
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Survarnabhumi is extremely spotter unfriendly. I was unable to get a good shot of the Queen.
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Holding area was extremely crowded and noisy. There was a group of korean students heading home after what seems to be an international student's conference. Thankfully they will be stuck at the lower level, and not disturb the peace in the hump of the B747.

A pre-boarding announcement was made to announce the boarding procedures. Almost immediately, a queue started forming infront of the boarding area. Another chaotic boarding process was coming. Thankfully, the staff manage to have separate queues for economy class passengers and premium passengers. So there was no need to fight to the front of the queue.

Pictures of the boarding area and the architecture of BKK
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Boarding started at 2245. Priorities were respected.

Flight Information

Flight: TG 658
Plane Type: Boeing 747-400
Plane Registration: HS-TGG
Plane Age: 13 years old


The neighbouring Dreamliner being prepared for its flight to Perth. Still hoping to get TG-ed onto that plane for my flight from BKK to SIN.
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Onboard
Two cabin crew welcomed us onboard with the Sawadeeka. Nice to be onboard a B747-400 again. The last 747-400 I was onboard was in 2006 on Singapore Airlines to Sydney
Business class on the lower deck. Not for me today. Im heading upstairs
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Economy class in a 3-4-3 configuration. Does look much more cramped than an A380, as the width is less than the A380.
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Stairway to heaven
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Another set of crew welcomed me onboard at the upper deck. One was a korean who was very friendly and chatty. He directed me to the seat and gave me a little tour of the seats. He also asked if I would like any drinks, which I requested for water. He informed us that today's flight was 4h45min.
I had another passenger seated beside me, but the crew informed us that business class was quite empty today and proceeded to move my seat mate so that everyone had one "row of to two seats to themselves. Very thoughtful and proactive crew.

Overview of the seat:
This screen seemed wider and had a better resolution than that of the B772.
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A little depression at the top of the seats. Possibly to put items??
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Another view of the screen, and the compartment to store inflight magazines
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View of the seat itself in non-recline position. A little old, but still comfortable

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View of the seats later in the flight in reclined position and upright position. The recline was up to about 170 degrees. Again, good enough for a short nap , but if I were flying to london, this will not do.
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Side compartments were available on the upper deck for storage.
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A beautiful amenity kit was pre-placed on the seat, as was a blanket and pillow
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I really like the design and size of this amenity kit. An amenity kit not only provides essentials for a comfortable flight, it also acts as a souvenir to remind me of my experience with Thai business class. SIngapore airlines really needs to consider providing an amenity kit for business class permanently
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Contents of the bag
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If you recall, i mentioned that Thai airways cabin crew will usually make the first announcement. However, it was on this flight and the next flight where I learnt that if you hear the captain make the first announcement, it is likely that he has bad news to deliver. The captain came on the PA to welcome us onboard and announce a flight time of 4h45min. He went on to inform us that there was some minor faults (I do not recall what) in the aircraft and the engineers were settling it, so it would take another 15 minutes or so before we could move out. The crew immediately came around offering us more drinks.

A while later, a crew member introduced herself to me and informed me of the meals for today. Drinks and nuts will be served after take off if I wanted, and I requested for a champagne. She also told me what was available for breakfast and asked me for my choice. I found it hard to follow what she was describing and asked for a physical copy of the menu, but she told me that it was not available on this flight, despite her clearly holding on to one. I asked if I could just look at the menu she was holding, she told me this menu was not the right menu for this flight. clearly someone in thai catering loaded the wrong menus on this flight.

The options for breakfast were
1. Thai Option
- Duck Porridge
- Pickled vegetables
- Thai Omellete
2. Korean Option
- Bibimbap
- kimchi
- soup
3. Western Option
- I do not exactly remember what it is but I think it was an egg dish, a standard western option

I went for the Thai choice as she highly recommended it.
Views of the outside while waiting for pushback
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About 20-30 minutes after STD, we finally pushed back and began our taxi to the runway
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Take off was uneventful, but it just felt great to be in a 747 again once before it becomes history. Cabin lights were dimmed for take off and remained dimmed until breakfast. The cabin crew did not request us to close our window shades after take off, unlike SQ where it is a standard protocol when flying into daylight.

Some night views of bangkok


Shortly after take off, I put the flight path channel on my neighbouring screen and watched a movie on my own screen. Champagne and nuts with dried fruits were served. I think I was the only passenger awake in the upper deck at that time.
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After the bubbles and nuts. I slowly drifted off to sleep. I managed to get comfortable in the 170 recline seats, and thankfully did not slide off (HAHA).

I woke up about 2.5 hours out of Incheon, and there was a nice sunrise outside my window
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Cabin lights started being turned out. Seeing that I was awake, a crew wished me good morning, and asked if I would like breakfast to be served now. I requested for breakfast, and a cuppacino for some morning caffeine
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Breakfast is served as a one tray affair.
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A comforting bowl of duck porridge, accompanied with a thai omellete and pickled vegetables. The pickles complemented the porridge very well, and the egg was simple and appropriate side dish to the porridge.
The fruits were of decent quality, and the yogurt had a berry compote and some oats in it. It was nice, but a little too sweet and heavy for me, so I only took a few spoons of it.
Overall, catering was once again exceptional. Definitely one of Thai's strong points.

After breakfast, I requested for another cup of coffee and continued watching some short TV shows on my IFE

Cabin view after breakfast. Some pax skipped breakfast completely and slept all the way till landing.
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About 35 minutes out of Seoul, the captain came to announce that we had begun our descend into incheon. Incheon's weather was fair and a cool ground temperature of mid twenty degrees Celsius. Sounds enjoyable enough.

Pictures on descend . Trying to get a picture of the mighty 747 wing and its beautiful engines


Approaching Incheon

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Bridge linking mainland to the island of incheon airport.
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Moments from touchdown
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Korean air welcoming us to Seoul
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Landing was smooth and uneventful. Then we began our long taxi to the gate. Hope for nice planes to spot along the way

Welcome to KE/OZ Land.
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Younger brother of this B744. Unfortunately not many airlines have chosen to buy it.
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What's that cool looking dark blue thing there?
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Its a Vietnam A350-900. This livery does look nice on the A350
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After quite a while of taxiing, we finally pulled up next to this China Eastern Airbus 321
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As per the previous flight, passengers in business and first class were allowed to disembark first. The crew bade goodbye and thanked us for flying Thai

View of the Queen's Wing
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Side view
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Iconic hump of the B747. Thankful for this opportunity to fly it again
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Our plane was parked at the concourse, so we had to take the shuttle train back to the main terminal. Train was packed, with a few flights arriving at a similar time
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Immigration was crowded, but moved fast. Priority baggage came out fast. Incheon is very impressive, not just in service efficiency but also in architecture.

After all was done, I headed to the city on the bus. That is all for my flight report. Stay tuned for my next flight back to Bangkok on the queen again!

Feel free to comment! Cheers!
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Verdict

Thai Airways

8.3/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering10.0

Eva Air Lounge

10.0/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services10.0

Bangkok - BKK

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Seoul - ICN

9.1/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

BKK Lounges: Star alliance pax with lounge access should just stick to the Eva lounge and SKL. The Thai lounge is not impressive at all. Thai airways needs to revamp their entire lounge to keep pace with competition

Thai Cabin: As per previous flight, cabin products are dated and not good enough against competitors. The only way Thai is attractive is the price and service. This cabin products are acceptable for shorter flights, but competitors out there are offering much more than this.

Thai Catering: Consistently good. One of Thai's stronger suits

Thai Cabin Crew: This set of crew were proactive, warm and friendly, providing service that was smooth as silk. Well done!

Incheon airport: Nice architecture and efficient service, definitely strong competitor of Changi

Information on the route Bangkok (BKK) Seoul (ICN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Bangkok (BKK) → Seoul (ICN).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Thai Airways with 8.2/10.

The average flight time is 5 hours and 31 minutes.

  More information

1 Comments

  • Comment 408650 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5252 Comments

    Very nice report! This kind of seat is fine for a short redeye, as you mention, but you're right that it would be rough on a true long-haul. Thai Airways really need to have more consistent Business class products--there are so many different models of seats, from outdated to super modern throughout their fleet. It's unfortunate that in their own hub, the other *A carriers have better Business class lounges than Thai! Thanks for sharing!

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