Greetings Flight-Report #avgeeks. After a night to refresh in Bangkok it was off to Australia via Thai Airways Royal First 747 service along with a few hours respite in their Royal First Lounge and Spa.
Thai Airways B747 First Class BKK-SYD / BKK Thai Royal First Lounge and Spa
Air New Zealand B787 Business Class SYD-AKL / SYD Air New Zealand Lounge Air New Zealand A320 Economy Class AKL-WLG / AKL Air New Zealand Domestic Lounge JetStar A320 Economy Class WLG-AKL Emirates A380 Business Class AKL-BNE / AKL Emirates Lounge Qantas B737 Business Class BNE-SYD / BNE Priority Pass Lounge American Airlines B777 First Class SYD-LAX / SYD Qantas First Class Lounge Virgin America A320 First Class LAX-ORD
Having flown Thai's 747 last year on a business class ticket sitting in a first class seat, I was anxious to try the real first class experience along with the Thai Royal First Class Lounge and Spa. And the price was right. Only 40,000 points, an amazing deal for an 8 hour flight. Unfortunately that deal goes away 11/1/2017 when the UA price becomes 65,000 points.
I arrived by Uber from downtown Bangkok in plenty of time to enjoy a few hours in the lounge and receive the complimentary one hour massage treatment.
After being handed my boarding pass I turned around and a young man was waiting to escort me through security and over to the lounge.
Thai has a special reception area for premium class passengers down an escalator beyond the check-in area and security screening.
I cleared security and my Mercedes was waiting to whisk me off to the lounge.
In no time we motored up to the entrance blocking all traffic.
After my massage I'd returned to my assigned semi-private room in the lounge for about 20 minutes. Then about 30 minutes before boarding a Thai representative gathered myself and one other passenger who was traveling first class on the flight down to Sydney. The gate was a two minute walk so there was no Porsche golf cart to take us there.
Departures are a level down so we went down the ramp with the Thai representative pulling the carry-on bags for both first class passengers. We passed secondary screening, cutting in front of the line. General boarding had already commenced. The representative escorted us past everyone waiting to board inside the terminal and inside the jetway, which is somewhat embarrassing. Then this. The nose of a 747. Fantastic!
747 overhead bins are small. With no chance my carry-on would fit, the cabin crew collected my bag upon entry and stored it. Thai has two 747 cabin layouts. The new version has more private seats. The way you can tell is in row 2 there's only a single seat. This version is flown on the overnight flight to Sydney, whereas the morning daytime flight has the older seats. So the new version has 9 seats in first and old version has 10 seats left of door 1.
A view of seats 2A/3A and the lower deck business class cabin behind the door. A thick curtain closes off business from first during the flight.
Seat 1A as presented upon arrival.
Storage under the ottoman was big enough for my duffle bag as well as the packaged Thai bedding.
While this compartment is not fully enclosed, the seats have plenty of privacy, especially row one.
Plus you can't beat the view from row one!
The suite has a good size monitor (I'm guessing 22-24 inches), and it's touchscreen but you need to use the controller if sitting down. Unfortunately Thai's entertainment selection is limited.
The compartment has a convenient closet and usable mirror.
There is plenty of storage along the window with this compartment being the forward one which also holds all the reading material. Another compartment is adjacent the seat.
A touch screen panel adjusts the seat seating as well as lighting.
After dinner my flight attendant prepared the bed using the package under the ottoman. It included a mattress pad, plush duvet, blanket and larger pillow. The bed was comfortable and I slept well. As you can see, the armrests are lowered when in horizontal position.
A Thai Rimowa amenity kit and headphone were neatly placed on arrival.
Not Bose but not bad. The issue was IFE content, not equipment.
Two pillows along with the larger sleeping pillow were provided.
A bevy of reading material was offered at each seat. Although I'm not sure the appeal of Homes and Garden, at least for me.
My cabin attendant was a lovely woman named Chanidnart. She would prove to be one of my favorite attendants along with her partner who prepared the food and beverage for the two first class passengers. A cool towel was offered upon my arrival as was something to drink, which I declined until after take-off, as well as a chocolate which I saved for later.
Chanidnart soon came around with a package for me.
These are nice as they aren't too warm and are a quality garment.
And while in the stock 747 lavatory here is a photo of some refreshing sprays offered, but not used by me. The lavatory was stocked with cloth hand towels.
Right on time we pushed and were lined up in minutes. After two departures on an A380, this 747, which had a few more miles on it, didn't allow you to forget what was happening outside like the A380s do. Or it was just a bumpy runway in Bangkok. Today's flight was courtesy of a 16 year old 747-400, HS-TGA.
Time for dinner, and some champagne. While Thai may not be at the top echelon of international first class carriers, no one can complain about their champagne selection up front.
The menu was distributed.
Okay, maybe a little narrow, but…
Four dinner selections, not bad for two people in first. I wonder if they stocked all? I chose the veal chop which was on board.
While reading the menu Chanidnart offered a plate full of snacks, or canapes. Nuts, dried fruit, some kind of mousse on a cracker and something wrapped in a leaf which was hard. I passed on all.
Next, following in Singapore Airlines tradition of no tablecloth , Thai's version of satay was offered. Seems like they copied them on the plates as well, or vise versa.
Good, but a tad greasy.
Plentiful and delicious.
Next was the mystery course. No one knew what it was. Chanidnart said they sometimes catering loads a surprise dish like this without telling the crew. I'm not sure I believe that but I tried it and it was really good. I think it was made with large tapioca pearls.
I mean, when traveling abroad it's not like you know what everything is you eat, right? And I made it to Sydney so all is well.
Another step up by Thai is caviar in first class. I would not be declining today.
I had my choice of accompaniments for those wondering. I was offered chilled vodka as well. The only disappointment was crackers and not bilinis.
Next was a foie gras and roasted winter vegetable salad. It sounded good.
Woah, lots going on here. Lots! I passed.
Redemption was to follow. Cream of celeriac soup.
So this 29,591 mile venture consisting of 12 flights with 9 different carriers and many meals, I think this soup was the best individual course of any. It was incredibly good! Chanidnart had told me I'd enjoy it, she was right!
So with the caviar and soup along with the mystery item I was a happy camper. How would the veal chop turn out?
It was very good, outstanding, no but I'd get it again. I think they just tried to do too much with it, all the different mushrooms, hazelnuts and so forth. It was more like an Asian first class meal versus a Singapore Airlines first class meal.
As you can tell I ordered the Chateau Camensac blend to go with it.
I was prepared to skip dessert but Chanidnart insisted, suggesting the sticky rice with mango and coconut cream was excellent. So I caved.
And now we know why she insisted! What a nice thought. Chanidnart said it was prepared by her assistant in the galley. I don't recall his name but she said he was a few weeks from retiring, having been with Thai for over 30 years. I met him when we arrived in Sydney and thanked him for this special dessert. You have to love your job to still do something like this after 30 years.
Stuffed it was time to sleep.
I awoke a little over an hour out of Sydney with my channel was set to the preferred selection.
On of the beauties when flying overnight, sunrise. I wonder what planet that is out my window?
Time to eat, again. For breakfast four choices were available just like four choices for the main meal.
I thought I'd take it easy and just have some fruit, yogurt and soft boiled eggs.
I didn't expect the huge tray to be filled with food!
11 different fruits.
Soft boiled egg on an airplane. This is a first.
Sunrise turned into full sun with a glare that obscured beautiful Sydney on arrival.
It's an amazing view from the air, sun or no sun.
Touchdown was a few minutes ahead of schedule.
As we taxied to the gate I was wondering if this SQ A380 was my JFK A380. No, but my A380 had been in Sydney only to have departed a few hours earlier. However at least now I can say I've been on a Singapore A380 when I take a photo of one at some airport.
Upon departure I was handed a Gold Track express card for immigration.
Here is a photo of the Thai B747 getting refreshed for the trip back to Bangkok taken from the New Zealand lounge after arrival.
This was a great trip and for 40,000 points even better (I still had an Air New Zealand 787 flight on this ticket as well). While the Thai Royal First Lounge cosmetically may have seen better days, the Spa experience made up for that ten fold. Thai Airways treats their first class customers as well as any international carrier, from check-in to exit of the aircraft (when arriving in Bangkok they pick you up and take you to security in their version of a Mercedes). Personally I like the 747 over their A380 but maybe I just had a subpar experience on the later last year. They have above average amenities where IFE content is the main deficiency. Food and beverage while not 5 star, you could easily give it a 4-star rating. The crews I've had have always been pleasant and this crew was above board nice, That personalized dessert was a first for me. Now if only they would have made those A350 seats a little bigger..... Off to New Zealand.
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