Review of Thai Airways flight Bangkok Sydney in First

Airline Thai Airways
Flight TG475
Class First
Seat 1K
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 10:00
Take-off 03 May 18, 19:20
Arrival at 04 May 18, 08:20
TG   #7 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 320 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 1759
Published on 16th May 2018
Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I plan to share a series of flights that came into focus with two objectives, figure out a way to ride in the new Singapore Airlines A380 Suites and take advantage of a soon to be devalued sweet spot in the United Airlines Mileageplus award chart. Let's talk about the Suites first. Singapore Airlines introduced "Suites" class ten years ago when the A380 entered service and it was quite revolutionary and remains a top First Class product. The airline is in the process of returning their initial A380 frames to the lessor and receiving new built frames from Airbus. They took this opportunity to remodel their Suites class and introduce a new product. In July 2017 the word on the internet was SQ would deploy these Suites initially on a SIN-SYD-SIN turn, namely SQ 231/SQ232. With this information I started searching for a saver award on either segment. I located a seat on SQ 232 for May 4th, 2018 and set out to build a trip around this segment. This was the SYD-SIN segment so I started building from SYD back home, ideally staying with Krisflyer as the currency and a single ticket to limit the cost. There was no space on SQ12 (SIN-NRT-LAX) or SQ8 (SIN-ICN-LAX) so I looked to Star Alliance partners for help. In the end I found SQ SIN-HND and NH NRT-LAX. I called Krisflyer and had the ticket booked quickly for 127,500 krisflyer miles and $183.90 SGD in fees. This was before the most recent SQ award chart devaluation. At his point the new A380 had not gone into service so the seating chart was showing the old product. I selected seat 1A as a place holder until more information was divulged about the new Suites configuration.

The second objective involved the excellent redemption value using United Airlines Mileageplus in Thai Airways First Class between HKG and SYD via BKK. Tickled that I finally had a reason to book one of these awesome deals to Sydney I checked the date I needed and the space was there. For 40,000 miles it was too good to be true and they "fixed" the award chart not long after I booked.

If you're keeping score I now have an itinerary that looks like this: HKG-BKK-SYD-SIN-HND; NRT-LAX all in Suites/First for a very reasonable sum of points. The final hole is LAX-HKG. If I have to be in Hong Kong I naturally think of Cathay Pacific as the preferred way of getting there and this case was no different. With low expectations I pulled up the BA Avios search page (a good way to search for Oneworld award availability) and searched LAX-HKG for the exact day I required to meet up this the rest of this trip and by some divine action the space was there. I had some of the Avios needed and transferred the remaining points from AMEX and even took advantage of one of those 40% bonuses that is offered from time to time. I would normally use Alaska Airlines to book CX but my orphan Avios balance, the transfer bonus, and lack of AS miles (or Starpoints to convert) I decided to use BA and pay the outlandish 150k redemption. Feeling quite smug, and with the entire trip booked, all I had to do was wait the excruciating 8+ months until it was time to travel.

Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:



Cathay Pacific - LAX-HKG - 777-300ER - First - Qantas First Lounge (The Wing/Deck/Pier arrival lounge bonus) - British Airways Avios
Thai Airways - HKG-BKK - 777-300ER - Business - Thai Airways Lounge - United Mileageplus
Thai Airways - BKK-SYD- 747-400 - First - Thai Airways Royal First Lounge/Spa- United Mileageplus (This Report)
Singapore Airlines - SYD-SIN - A380-800 - New Suites - Singapore Airlines Silverkris Lounge - Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
Singapore Airlines - SIN-HND- 777-300ER - First - Silverkris Lounge/Private Room - Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
ANA - NRT-LAX- 777-300ER - First - ANA Suite Lounge(s) - Singapore Airlines Krisflyer

BKK Arrival - Royal First Lounge - Royal First Spa



Remote stand is a treat. Not only to I get a good look at the aircraft but a nice tarmac ride too!

The private escort is waiting by the air stairs.

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A moment to snap a couple of pictures before getting into the van.



The driver dropped us at the terminal and after a short walk we boarded an electric cart. The whole process is rather exhilarating for me and is quite remarkable.

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After the wild cart ride and a trip through transit security we walked the last few meters to the Royal First Lounge.

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Unfortunately my stay at the Royal First Lounge was confined to one room (well two if you count the loo). I was sleep deprived at this point and wanted to have some energy to stay awake on the 747 and enjoy the F service so I traded any lounge indulgences for a nap. I did make time for the the one hour spa service.

Upon greeting by the lounge staff I was proactively offered to setup a spa appointment and after we did the math on boarding time (which we had a small (miscommunication) it was decided i could take the massage at 17:30 and be ready for boarding at 19:00. Next I asked for a nap room and was shown directly to "Slumber Room 4" where I was able to conk out for a good 90 minutes. I know it doesn't seem like much but it helped rejuvenate me.

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After the rest I dressed again and presented myself at the front desk for the Spa service. I was escorted across the hall and handed off to the Royal First Spa staff and after signing something or other I was led to this stunning room.



It's a truly beautifully appointed treatment room. Of course there is the massage table.



A toilet room with spiffy door pulls.

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A dressing room with silk robes, pajamas, and a vanity.

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The main room has a sink with the "menus" for the oil and beverages.



Finally there is a shower/sauna that could fit the entire first class cabin.

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I was quite stunned by the beauty of this facility and the treatment provider was very patient with me wanting to snap some photos before we started. I really enjoyed teh massage and surely dozed in and out in a state of heightened relaxation. Once complete I am left in the room to enjoy the shower sauna and dress for my flight. This is where the miscommunication on timing I mentioned earlier came into play. The lounge agent said boarding at 19:00 so I lingered thinking I would stroll out of the room and to the airplane at 19:00ish. Well, a stern knock on the door at 19:00 yielded the information that it was "final boarding call" for my flight and they are "waiting for you". Oops. I quickly finished dressing and shot out the door. Luckily the gate was a 3 minute walk and all was fine but I should have given more consideration to this 19:00 boarding time for a flight that departs at 19:20.

TG475 - BKK-SYD



There was no escort to the aircraft and none was needed as the gate was the closest in to the lounge/spa. I boarded through door L1 and it indeed looked like everyone was aboard. The door was closed shortly after my arrival. Not sure about L2.

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There would be 4 passengers in First for tonight's flight to SYD.

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I was shown to my seat and offered a drink, "perhaps Champagne?" is how it was phrased. Yes, please was the response.

The seat is comfortable with plenty of privacy despite the lack of closing door.There are several storage compartments and a coat closet embedded int he seat. There are also overhead bins starting with row 2.

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At my seat was the menu, a day blanket, pajamas, slippers, an orchid, and the rest of the bedding stored under the ottoman. The 2009 Dom was delivered with a cool towel and a box of chocolate.




Boarding somewhat tardy i decided not to push my luck and waited to change into the lounge wear until after departure. I failed to get a picture of the set out of the storage bag. They are very comfortable and soft with the words "Thai Royal First" embroidered on the lower right portion of the shirt.

With boarding complete the safety video was played and we pushed back from the gate on time. I know, strange. Of course I was pleased as it would make my connection in SYD far less stressful if this flight arrives on time.

During taxi I has a look at the menu and wine list sorry for a couple of blurry snaps.

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Once airborne I was offered somehting to drink and asked if/when I would like to enjoy dinner. I requested Champagne and still water and I opted to have dinner straight away.

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An amuse of dried/fried mushroom and avocado (guacamole really) was served with the Champagne. It's was odd looking but very tasty.

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I take a look at the tablet (albeit on a cable) that controls the lighting and seat functions. It's clear and easy to use. It's also reasonably responsive and accurate.



The massive table is deployed and set for dinner. The Thai take on garlic bread is served where a whole head of roasted garlic is presented with the butter.



The caviar service starts the show. It's a beautiful presentation. The abalone shell with ice and the custom condiment plate are quite impressive. A pour of Stoli is offered with the caviar.



The next dish is a bit of mash up: king crab green apple & avocado remoulade, salmon roe, Iberico ham, and beetroot sauce. It's lovely to look at but I had trouble identifying all of the flavors advertised.

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For the main dish I requested the Thai cuisine and specifically the grilled wagyu beef with chili fish sauce. The presentation and side dishes are stunning and almost overwhelming. Nothing really stands out as excellent in flavor or texture (aside from the chili fish sauce - I could put that on anything) but on the whole the presentation is an A+. I'm happy to not have to wash the dishes.



I am happy to accept the offer of a fruit and cheese, again, lovely presentation.

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Well, better take a look at the dessert. The coconut & passion fruit mousse with passion fruit ice cream sounded too good not to have a taste. The mousse was encased in a beautiful coconut cracker crust. Just immaculate presentation.

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On the whole the meal was a great experience. Each course was plated beautifully and the range of flavors was impressive. The service was very good in pacing but lacked the warmth I've come to expect from Thai hospitality.

Time to check out he lavs and change clothes. There are two lavs in the F cabin of the same dimensions and stocked with the same amenities.

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I requested a pour of the Otard Cognac to finish the night.

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I requested a bed to be setup in 2K.

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I turned in as we were leaving the shores of Borneo and heading over the Java Sea.

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The bedding was very comfortable and I slept quite well until we were about 90 minutes outside of SYD.

I was offered breakfast and I really didn't need any but I could not resist the "Soft boiled rice with nine accompaniments." Especially when the accompaniments include lobster, duck, and pork. Again a royal presentation and some very tasty bits to this congee. Look at that fruit!

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I spied the sunrise out of 1A's windows.

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Soon the cabin was prepared for landing and we were treated to some nice views of the coast as we made the turn for the upwind.

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We landed about 15 minutes early and as a result we did not have a gate to park. We held for a bit as teh space was being made available. It is a very busy time of day at Kingsford Smith for International arrivals. It seems many aircraft are towed off the the stand to a remote parking pad only to be towed back in a couple of hours.



We finally parked and were still off the airplane on time.
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Verdict

Thai Airways

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering8.5

Thai Airways Royal First Class Lounge

8.6/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment8.5
Services9.5

Bangkok - BKK

7.8/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

Sydney - SYD

8.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

The Ground Service: Exceptional ground service is one of the hallmarks of Thai Airways First Class service and this flight was no exception.

The Lounge: I know there is a wealth of Thai cuisine available in the lounge but it was not to be this visit. The nap room, although spartan, served me well to get some rest.

The Cabin: It's a good mix of comfort, privacy and quality bed.

The Crew: The lead steward and the service manager were very friendly and pleasant. The lead flight attendant was a bit aloof although she did everything required and requested it was not done with any sense of joy or graciousness. Minor quibble but it detracted from the overall enjoyment none the less.

The Food and Beverage: Samrab Thai. Extensive amount of flavor and gorgeous presentation made for two memorable dining experiences. The quality was perhaps a cut below what I would find on NH, JL or SQ but still an enjoyable experience.

Overall: The entire experience of traveling in F with Thai is a wonderful experience. The highlights for me are the ground service, spa, and Thai cuisine. It's very special and I feel very fortunate to have experienced this.

Thank you for reading and happy flying.

Informations on the route Bangkok (BKK) Sydney (SYD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 9 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Bangkok (BKK) → Sydney (SYD).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 9.0 hours and 12.0 minutes.

  More informations

16 Comments

  • Comment 445375 by
    nico83et13 SILVER 1565 Comments

    Thanks for the FR.

    TG is a fantastic legacy in First class. Catering very good.

  • Comment 445397 by
    Hermes 83 Comments

    Thanks so fuch for this great FR!

    TG used to offer an outstanding F Fare CDG-BKK-SYD just 3 years ago at 4500EUR. Which is a very good for value / money / miles.

    By chance, would you remember which Champagne is served in the BKK F Lounge ?

    • Comment 445400 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Greetings Hermes and thank you for the note.

      "Thanks so fuch for this great FR!

      "TG used to offer an outstanding F Fare CDG-BKK-SYD just 3 years ago at 4500EUR. Which is a very good for value / money / miles."
      -That's a lovely journey of ample length to enjoy the Thai F services.

      "By chance, would you remember which Champagne is served in the BKK F Lounge ?"
      -The last time I enjoyed Champagne in the F lounge it was Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut but this was perhaps 6 months or so.

      Happy flying Hermes.

  • Comment 445432 by
    sotto 29 Comments

    Why do you have to wait so long for such a sophisticated and informative flight report? It was a pleasure to experience the described flight experience.

    A lot of level flight reports can take this as an example.
    Especially on the rating of the individual service functions.

  • Comment 445659 by
    Rewardflying GOLD 401 Comments

    Hi Christian, Glad you enjoyed your ride on Thai. Agreed that spa is stunning. So they have saunas? My room didn't have one or at least I didn't see it. It would be nice if they remodeled their run down 1st class lounge to mirror the spa. Doubt that is in the cards given 1st class cutback.

    The food looked like, well Thai tries. They try hard on the presentation with some hits (fruit) and some misses (the app). Looks like they cut the soup course out. That was the best dish in my meal. And the flavor is a toss up often because there is too much going on.

    And their PJ's are some of my favorite. Wash up good too.

    Going to have to spend 65K to do this again some day. Thanks again!

    • Comment 446129 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Hi Mark and thank you for the note.

      "So they have saunas?"
      -That shower suite was a traditional shower on one end and the other side was a Sauna/steam room with a wood bench and rain wall/shower head that was 4 feet long. Crazy luxurious facility.

      "It would be nice if they remodeled their run down 1st class lounge to mirror the spa. Doubt that is in the cards given 1st class cutback."
      -I agree it seems like First is barely hanging on...

      "The food looked like, well Thai tries."
      -They put on a good show but the quality varies wildly.

      Thanks again Mark and happy flying.

  • Comment 445687 by
    K2World 1559 Comments

    Thank you for this report.
    I flew the same route with TG in F but in the opposite direction. My original seat had no functioning IFE so I switch to a second seat with a broken tray table. Hopefully the last seat available in the cabin was perfectly functioning but I was lucky the cabin was not full !
    The F treatment in BKK is excellent, and the electric cart experience is exciting^^
    Have a good day

    • Comment 446130 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Greetings K2World and thank you for leaving a note.

      "My original seat had no functioning IFE so I switch to a second seat with a broken tray table. Hopefully the last seat available in the cabin was perfectly functioning but I was lucky the cabin was not full ! "
      -Yikes that's quite a run of inop seats. It doesn't surprise me that they would defer some issues as they are financially precarious and don't seem all that committed to First any more. I'm glad it worked out an you game of musical chairs ended with a functioning seat.

      "The F treatment in BKK is excellent, and the electric cart experience is exciting^^"
      -Yes, it is. I'll never tire of that treatment.

      Thanks again and happy flying.

  • Comment 445762 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4475 Comments

    Hi Socalnow, thanks for sharing this next installment in a lovely series. The TG ground experience at BKK is really one of the best in the business, equaled only maybe by AF La Premiere in CDG.

    THAI certainly have an eye for aesthetics. The cabin is beautiful and looks airy and spacious despite the constricting shape the 747 nose--in contrast, BA shove way more F seats in the nose of their 744. The catering is also very visually appealing with very attractive presentation and colors.

    Overall looks great! Thanks for sharing.

    • Comment 446167 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Hi Kevin - Thanks a lot for leaving a note.

      "The TG ground experience at BKK is really one of the best in the business, equaled only maybe by AF La Premiere in CDG. "
      -I would love to find out alas Air France La Premiere is out of reach to me. If I had to bet I would think AF is second to none.

      Happy flying Kevin.

      • Comment 446215 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4475 Comments

        "I would love to find out alas Air France La Premiere is out of reach to me."
        - I hear you, redemptions for AF F are super high (400K o/w?) and only for Flying Blue members I believe. Being a oneworld loyalist, I'll probably never find out for myself either. I flew La Premiere when it was L'Espace 180 (op-up), like 15 years ago...that was my once in a lifetime and I cashed in when I was too young to truly appreciate it, LOL

        "If I had to bet I would think AF is second to none."
        - From the many reports I've seen on La Premiere, that does seem to be the case.

  • Comment 446430 by
    Rommelreich 32 Comments

    Thank you to share with us another amazing expérience at BKK and which we all want to live. I just wondered if you tasted the extremely rare and expensive beverages from Bourgogne, on the wine list. Where applicable, could you vive us your impressions ? Even here, in France, we can’t afford those « Grand Cru » that exceeds the Dom Perignon 2009 by several multiplicative factors !
    Photos of the bottle and the glass would also be very appreciated.
    In flight greetings

    • Comment 446552 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 737 Comments

      Greetings Rommelreich and thank you for the note.

      "I just wondered if you tasted the extremely rare and expensive beverages from Bourgogne, on the wine list."
      -I paired the Bordeaux (2012 Chateau Cantemerle) with the cheese course and found it very satisfying. I don't recall any specific tasting notes. I normally do capture a photo of the bottle and glass but failed to do so in this instance.

      Happy flying.

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