Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I am sharing an around the world (mostly) First Class series of trips in this series. I have a strong affection for Lufthansa First class so that was my motivation for the beginning of this trip. The product is well documented and, as a whole, one of the best First Class experiences obtainable on points. Also, I get an inordinate amount of enjoyment trying to secure the space. The windows for partner redemption in LH premium cabins opens approximately 2 weeks prior to departure so you have to operate in that window to secure seats. Additional flights/seats may open as departure nears. This is good fun! For the return I already has the second leg of a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club redemption on ANA so I would ideally use LH to get to Tokyo to complete the circle. It didn't end up that smooth but a lot of fun was had along the way.
Booking the LH legs is a little tricky because you may find a North America - FRA segment but then no FRA - Asia segment to pair with it. That was the case with me. While I initially saw BOS-FRA open there was nothing to pair with it. Then, a few days later FRA-SIN opened however I wasn't thrilled about a BOS departure so I waited, hoping for something further west as a departure point. About 3 days out JFK-FRA opened and I caved, booking JFK-FRA-SIN. At lease JFK would give me the opportunity to try the only LH F lounge in North America, so that was something. I departed not knowing how I would get from Singapore to Tokyo but I did wait list for SQ F SIN-HND. Those normally clear, right?
Courtesy of gcmap.com
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
When we last convened yours truly was whisked into a van from a remote stand at Suvarnabhumi Airport and off to the race to gate C7. After what felt like a long drive around several terminal wings and across active taxi ways we stopped at a nondescript door and the van door was opened. I followed the Thai Airways staff walking at a brisk clip.
She piloted my only piece of luggage. And we walked…
Then we boarded a buggy. And we drove…
Finally we arrived at a deserted transit security checkpoint where 5 people had to stand up to process me through and then resume looking at their phones.
Then, we walked…
Finally we arrived at the Thai Royal First Lounge. I really was expecting that we would go straight to the gate but apparently boarding hadn't started so we stopped here.
This was only going to be a short stay as the 90 minute delay in SIN evaporated my planned Royal First Lounge time. I had a look around the aged facility.
I was initially led to one of the private rooms where I placed my belongings. I was offer food and beverage from and tablet device. I declined the food due to the time constraints but requested a glass of still water with ice and a glass of Champagne.
I had a look around the aged facility.
This seating area just outside the toilets is funny. I can't imagine it gets much use.
Bathroom was on my list of priorities. Basic amenities of cloth hand towels, soap and lotion were present.
There is a small and perhaps superfluous buffet towards the back of the lounge.
I picked a couple of items to take a photo. Artfully prepared little sandwiches.
There is a dining room that was empty.
Finally some general seating.
As I was walking back to my "room" I noticed a glass of Champagne and water in the empty room next door. I arrived at my room to no such amenities. I surmised that my walking away must of thorn off the server and when she couldn't find me she placed the items in the incorrect spot. Before this was remedied I was told that the flight was boarding and we will be heading to the gate. C'est la vie. I'm confident there will be beverage opportunities on board.
I am escorted from the lounge. I was sort of expecting another buggy ride but not so. Perhaps only for arrivals. I wheeled my on roll aboard this time too.
Thankfully the Thai Queen is still with us.
My escort continued to the door of the aircraft.
The hand off at the door was completed and I was greeted by the stunning gold silk of one of the flight attendants working F. I was led to my seat, 2E. It is a middle solo F seat and certainly not my preferred seat. Booing day of departure left me with this as my sole choice.
As I got situated I was offered a beverage and I requested Champagne and still water with ice. It dawned on me that this was my first time in TG F on the 747. I had previously booked TG F on this aircraft from PEK-BKK but was TG'd on day of departure to J on the A330. Finally we meet.
Getting acquainted with the new-to-me suite.
2 pillows were provisioned.
Suite and IFE controls via tablet.
Good size screen.
The welcome drink was offered with a suspicious looking white ball. The stemware for the wine was very dramatic.
Menu and wine list were distributed on the ground in a portfolio and read as follows.
Headphones and slippers were also positioned in the suite.
Boarding complete and time for push back. Sitting in a middle seat I miss the beautiful departure on the quad jet. After the seat belt sign is turned off I take a trip tot he lav. There are 2 behind F that I assume are intended for First Class. It's an odd configuration to me with business class right there by door L1 bu there is a large curtain apparatus separating F form the small J cabin between L1 and L2. The image below, courtesy of seatguru.com is actually incorrect in that there is no 2F and actually only 9 F seats, but gives an idea of the Odd galley running down the right side of the airplane and the small J cabin. It's quite striking how much empty space there is around door L1 and behind the F cabin. It's quite nice from a passenger standpoint but probably not from a revenue perspective.
A peak out the L1 door window.
Looking back towards the nose from the great open plains behind the F seats. All 9 seats are occupied on this segment.
The odd long galley.
Service started fairly promptly with Champagne for me. The 2006 Dom Perignon is served.
Served with the Champagne are 3 small canapes. The Miang Kam was flavorful.
The 2006 is a fine vintage.
T he tale was set for service. I opted to enjoy the Thai set menu.
Very interesting "make your own garlic bread" condiments.
I can't imagine using salt and pepper with Thai cuisine…
The fried salmon course was first and perhpas the best of the lot. The portion of Salmon was unnecessarily large but the compliment of lemongass, kaffir lime leaf, onion, ginger and chili sauce made for an extremely flavorful experience with each bite tailored to your liking.
The next five items were served together. The beef curry was tender and the pork was solid int he sour tamarind paste. The crab was not to my liking. The plating and garnish were all top notch considering that it's more simple cuisine.
Rice and Hong Kong broccoli.
Minced pork. Sort of like larb in flavor.
Beef in green curry.
The dry and fishy crab.
Some fruit and cheese was offered next. Nothing special here.
Finally I opted for the "lighter" dessert and it was not very good. The coconut ice cream was OK. I probably could have tried the other, better reading, dessert but I was maxed out after sampling all those other plates.
Service throughout the meal was attentive and the Dom flowed the entire time, no provisioning problems here.
I was suprised and excited to see the Old Pulteney on board. I have family in the small town of Wick and have visited there myself. This was my first time enjoying their 21 year and I was quite pleased with it.
It was nap time now and I put the seat flat. I didn't bother asking for it to be made up. I was out cold until approach.
Ramen In Ueno
I used my Suica card to jump on the Monorail to Hamamatsucho and switched to the Keihin-Tōhoku Line to Okachimachi.
Platform at Haneda International Building.
On board the Keihin-Tōhoku Line.
Ueno is a great place to stay for a night when heading over to Nartia in the morning. The Keisei Skyliner station is easily accessible and there is an abundance of night life after a late arrival. I checked into the Hotel Sardonyx Ueno wich is a fantastic, cheap, clean, and small room hotel. Next I went out for a bowl of porky goodness.
Ichiran is open 24 hours. What a wonderful world we live in.
Make your selection and insert Yen to purchase a ticket.
A seat finding system. It's not terribly busy in the wee hours of the morning.
Each row has individual booths whose partitions can be folded back if with another person or in a group.
I am greeted and present my ticket and shortly thereafter a beautiful bowl of porky soup and noodle is presented. I also opt to order a beer which is done at the seat.
Instructions for the uninitiated.
A short walk back tot he hotel through the colorful alleys.
Off to sleep with dreams of Narita and ANA First Class…
Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge
Bangkok - BKK
Tokyo - HND
The Ground Service: I made a connection that I didn't think was possible so high marks there. The door to door service is some of the best in the industry, in my experience.
The Lounge: I didn't really get much of a visit. The lounge itself looks tired but the service is still abundant and then there's the spa...
The Cabin: It's a good, albeit a bit dates, F cabin. There is ample privacy and low foot traffic. The extra space behind the seats is nice and adds to overall feeling of spaciousness. The nose of the 747 really is the ultimate space for a First Class cabin.
The Crew: Well intentioned and gracious. I felt very well cared for. There is a lack of polish and style that I can't quite put my finger on.
The Food and Beverage: The Champagne was from a prestigious label and adequately catered. The meal had a few interesting elements as a fan of Thai cuisine. My experience on similar regional F routes is that SQ, ANA, JL, and CX all show better.
Overall: Thai Airways is a notch below the other world class airlines that they compete with. Perhaps it's merely the greatness of the the competition that casts this shadow on their efforts. I have another trip in May on the 747 in F so i will have a point of comparison. See you soon for ANA F and Narita Lounge hopping. Happy flying.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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