The airline with the best average rating is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 17 minutes.More information
Welcome friends to the first leg of a trip my wife and I took over the course of 4 weeks in May/June.
I won't spoil the surprise by listing all the legs in advance, instead I'll reveal them as we go along!
Our last flight was absolutely unforgettable. Singapore Airlines new First Class Suites on the A380. You can read that report by clicking on the link below. Next up after a night in Singapore was a chance to fly on the Airbus A350 after I was subjected to a very annoying swap last September by Cathay from an A350 to an A330. This time however, I would not be denied even though I was taking on an even bigger risk by flying Thai who are perhaps the most notorious airline for last minute swaps!
The journey so far………..
This flight was a redemption with Avianca Lifemiles. Quite remarkable value for what we ended up flying. In order not to spoil the next leg I'll wait for that report to detail the booking process and cost as it was all done on the same booking.
We spent the night at the Crowne Plaza Changi, one of my favourite hotel's in the World. Although its quite pricey its a quality hotel with great convenience and great spotting opportunities.
As we were arriving the previous night and had a 12pm departure today I didn't feel like travelling back and forth to the downtown core. So the Crowne Plaza was an obvious choice.
We had breakfast and I got in a couple of hours of picture taking before we checked out and headed into the airport.
There's little I can add to the already glowing tributes to Changi. It is in my opinion not only the best airport in the World it is the best by a considerable margin. I think I may have once had to wait for 1 minute somewhere in Changi for something but I'm not sure. Changi really is the poster child for everything and airport should be.
After leaving the Crowne Plaza we made the short walk to the inter terminal train to take us to Terminal 1 where Thai operate from.
From the train it was a short walk to the check in desks which were still closed. It was just before 9am and we only had a few minutes to wait until the desks were all opened.
We headed to the Business Class desk and were attended to quickly but we had a hold up over an immigration matter for our next destination. Unfortunately the check in clerk was not educated in the entry requirements for our final destination. My wife with her Canadian passport had an electronic tourist visa so she was checked in with no issue, but with my UK passport I didn't need a full or electronic visa. I had applied for and been approved for an electronic ETA.
Fortunately being the ever careful traveller I had a printout of my email approving my ETA which I provided to the check in staff. Frustratingly it took about 10 minutes for them to verify I was OK to travel and finally we were done and our bags checked to our final destination. Complete with gold tags ;)
You probably have a good idea of our next flight already with the clues, and another one will be upcoming with our lounge visit……….or almost lounge visit.
Part of the reason for getting to the airport so early was for the lounge experience. However we were to be denied to my great annoyance!
We were handed invitations to the Thai lounge in T1. However I knew that this was at best an average lounge and nothing to write home about so I had greater ambitions.
Given that this flight was the first of 2 that day and we were connecting to Thai's Royal First I dragged my poor better half all the way to Terminal 3 to access the Singapore First Class lounge.
I knew we couldn't get back into the Private Room but I thought that as we were flying same day First on Star Alliance we would be able to get into the regular SQ First lounge.
Not so however. The lounge guardian's refused us access, which I don't think is correct but I'll admit I am not an expert.
Feeling disappointed we trotted off to the SilverKris Business lounge and hung out there for a little while. Didn't take any photos as I was a bit annoyed and trying to reach out to Singapore Airlines to find out if this was indeed the right policy.
And frankly the SQ Business lounge in T3 is a pretty standard place. Its not bad but nothing to warrant a special trip for.
As we had a lovely breakfast at the hotel we had a few drinks and wasted some time on the wifi before heading out to do some shopping and to visit perhaps the most spectacular airport attraction in the World………….
It's difficult to describe how truly spectacular and breathtaking Jewel is.
It does not seem conceivable that it you can be at an airport. I would strongly urge anyone who has the time while at Changi to go and take a look at it.
The waterfall of course is truly remarkable. But there is more to Jewel than just that.
Its a multi level shopping experience.
Its also an incredible garden.
But its the water that just stops you in your tracks to take it all in. Its impossible not to be awed by the whole experience.
A must visit and I can't wait to go back.
Entry is free but it is landside at Changi so if you are transiting you will have to clear immigration. Well worth it if you have a long layover.
Airline: Thai Airways
Flight Number: TG404
Departure: Singapore SIN
Scheduled Departure Time: 1225
Actual Departure Time: 1213
Arrival: Bangkok BKK
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1335
Actual Arrival Time: 1333
Flight Time: 2:20
Travel Date: Saturday June 1st 2019
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
After visiting the remarkable Jewel and taking the transfer train back to T1 we decided against visiting the Thai lounge and just headed to the gate. Being D49 it was the furthest gate away from everything so we got a good walk in.
I do so love how security is done at the gate at Changi. Then again at Changi everything is so fast, seamless and stress free. If there is any airport in the World that could make a central security area work it would be here.
Once through the security which was a matter of minutes I ventured over to get a glimpse of our ride to BKK.
A glorious A350. This would be my first A350 flight and the bitter disappointment of losing the Cathay equipment lottery last September was gone. She looked splendid sitting there in the Sun, complete with black cockpit window mask.
From then I was just counting down the minutes until boarding. I couldn't wait to set foot on the A350 finally!
Eventually, right on time boarding was called with Business Class passengers invited to board first.
I hot-footed it to the gate and down the jetway eager to get aboard the A350
Thai A350s feature 32 fully lie flat Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration.
These are the newest Thai J class seats and are extremely comfortable with a nice wide foot space.
Odd numbered window seats are nearest to the window, while even numbered seats are nearer the aisle. In the middle the centre pairs are arranged with odd numbered seats in the so-called honeymoon configuration right next to each other, and even numbered seats feature large storage areas between them.
The Thai cabin is beautiful. The Business Class cabin features a beautiful Thai orchid mural on the bulkhead in gorgeous purple and gold colours.
Thai features overhead bins above all seats, so the cabin is not as spacious feeling as some airlines A350s.
Also above us were lights and some modern LCD screens with the passenger signs. Gone are the days of pilots flipping the no-smoking switch now its all about personal electronics. Progress.
Having flown as a child back when smoking was allowed the whole term "smoking section" was a complete misnomer. The smoke and the stink of course got everywhere regardless of where you sat. Thank goodness those days are long gone (unless you fly in China of course!)
Lets take a look at the seat………
Window seat nearer to the aisle (You can see the meal table in the stored position)
Comfortable seat which reclines into a flat bed.
Comes with a shoulder harness, required for take off and landing.
Lots of room around the seat and as you can see here there is no tight foot coffin. There is space to store shoes under the foot stool.
The IFE screen is fixed in front of you and is available gate to gate. The resolution as one would hope from a new, state of the art aircraft the resolution and response is outstanding. There are also 2 USB ports under the screen.
The arm of the table can be seen, and its stored up against the back of the seat in front. It can be swung down into place when needed and is very moveable. You can easily swing the table in and out to create more space and can even move it out of the way to get out of the seat during meal time.
Imagine this in Europe or the US? A 2 hour regional flight and a lovely pillow and blanket are provided. Both were more than ample for such a short flight and made for a very comfortable experience.
Sadly this was the flight where I realised late that my phone had not been saving properly and that a number of pictures I had taken were not saved.
So I'm afraid you will have to trust me when I describe some of the other seat features!
There is a coat hook next to the table on the back of the seat infront.
There is a shoulder height reading light with various setting levels. Down near the footrest is a standard power port.
On the side of the seat is a handset for the IFE. This handset also features a large screen itself which you can view IFE or the flight map on.
Just above that are the seat and light controls.
These buttons are large and tactile. I didn't find any issues accidentally touching them and setting my seat off in surprise directions!
The seat positions are completely customisable, including presets for take off and landing, lounging and fully flat.
There is also a massage function and then finally controls for the lighting around the seat.
On boarding a menu and drinks list were waiting in the literature compartment at the seat.
Also on the storage area were a lovely Orchid (what a beautiful touch) and a pair of noise cancelling headphones.
While boarding was going on, I was welcomed aboard and offered a drink choice of juices or water.
Shortly after hot towels were handed out.
Our cabin crew were very friendly and polite and provided excellent service throughout the whole flight.
Time to take a look at the food and beverage offerings on this short, regional flight.
TG404 more drinks……….
Right on time we were pushing back and it was time to listen to the Rolls Royce Trent XWB's start up.
It was a beautiful sound and as we pushed back I saw an airline I had never heard of……
I since learned that Smartavia is the rebrand of Nordavia (previously Aeroflot Nord) and is a result of the cancelled merger of Nordavia and Red Wings. I was cursing that I didn't have my SLR to hand for a proper shot of this nice looking airplane.
Pushback was completed and it was a short taxi from the end of Terminal 1 to 20C. Infact we had to stop on the taxiway for a short time to allow the safety video and all the announcements to complete.
Thai safety video……..
One thing I love when flying are external cameras. Thank you Thai for having them on your A350s. The resolution was fantastic making for an exceptional viewing experience. Here you can see flight control checks in progress as we wind our way around the Changi taxiways.
Once we were ready to go we lined up on 20C and departed with no delay.
What a gorgeous sound the A350 makes when its spooling up, and how incredibly quiet is it in the cabin!
I've never been in such a quiet aircraft. No wonder these aircraft are becoming popular. I've yet to fly on an A220 but I hear they are similarly quiet and enjoyable for the pax perspective.
Our departure to the South meant of course doing a 180 to head back North and we were treated to some remarkable views of Singapore and Changi on the way.
Lots of ships!
In the Left turn
Stunning aerial views of Changi
The new Changi runway and site of Terminal 5 is clearly well under construction
Climbing away to the North West. The A350 wing is beautiful
This being a short regional flight I didn't take an in-depth look at the IFE.
The screen was large and responsive and frankly there was an extensive selection of choices. Enough to keep anyone occupied for a long haul flight for sure.
I honestly don't recall what I watched if anything on this flight. I may have played a movie but I think I just left the map display on all flight.
I was having lots of fun just being on the A350 and getting more and more excited for the next leg in a few hours…….
Cabin shot in flight.
This was our first time flying Thai and I wasn't absolutely sure what to expect.
They don't have the same fearsome reputation for service and quality that some of their regional rivals hold and to say the airline is struggling would be a massive understatement.
However the crew we had was excellent in every way. They were polished, friendly and very service oriented.
Shortly after departure drink orders were taken as well as meal choices.
Of course I would never turn down a glass of Veuve, although sadly this was one of the photos that my phone did not save. My champagne was handed out with a bag of almonds, which I'm not a fan of so they were left!
I went with the Chardonnay to accompany my meal choice of the chicken. I did want to try the Thai choice but with a long flight ahead of us in First I didn't want to tempt fate of it being a little too spicy and dangerous for my feeble Western digestive system!
Hot towels were again handed out on small silver trays which was a lovely touch.
Meals were delivered on a tray containing utensils and condiments along with starter, fruit, dessert, main and bread.
Given the short flight time this was entirely reasonable.
The starter was smoked salmon with mango salad and was very tasty.
The main of chicken and Lyonnaise potatoes and green beans was a real treat. The chicken was delightful. Moist and tender and not suffering the fate of many an airplane meat dish of being dry and tasteless. This was a superb meal, especially for a 2 hour flight.
The joys of flying in Asia!
I nibbled at the fruit then absolutely demolished the NY style cheesecake - quite possibly my favourite dessert. I mean who can turn down cheesecake?
My poor waistline was going to take a real battering today. And given that only 24 hours previously I had been quite literally stuffed to the point of feeling like a Christmas Turkey I knew this trip wasn't going to end well in terms of lbs gained.
No point fighting a losing battle then, might as well enjoy it!
After the lunch service was promptly cleared away I indulged in a comforting cup of tea.
Given this was just a short flight, I didn't need to visit the washroom so no pictures from there.
After lunch I reclined my seat to a comfy position, tossed the pillow behind my head and popped the blanket over myself and just chilled for a bit.
It would not be too much longer until we would begin our descent into Bangkok, and sadly this hugely enjoyable flight would soon be ending.
I continued to be mesmerised by the wonderful A350 wing and pointy sharklet on the end, resplendent with the gorgeous Thai logo.
Over the Gulf of Thailand in descent, just passing over Ko Sichang, a little North of the infamous Pattaya.
Heading towards downwind for 19R at Suvarnabhumi flying over Thailand's lush green landscape
And there it is, VTBS/BKK………………
Framed by the massive RR Trent XWB and sleek wing, still in clean configuration. Modern heavy jets are a miracle of technology. In years past flying downwind in a heavy airliner doing 220kts clean would have been impossible. These wings today are so sleek and amazing at generating lift they can stay clean to unprecedented low speeds.
This was the perfect time to turn on the tail cam, so I could enjoy both the view ahead and to the side out of the large A350 windows.
If its not already clear its fair to say I am a big fan of the A350.
Turning base. BKK was quite busy at this time, we had a very long downwind before turning back towards the 19R loc
Thailand's green fields partially covered by some puffy Cumulus
Established on the 19R localiser
Moments from touchdown, a passing a huge industrial area on the BKK boundary
Landed and vacated
Always interesting traffic at BKK, although the airport seemed pretty quiet. An El Al 777-200 awaits its next flight
Vietjet, Thai of course and Philippines
Ohhhhhhhhh, JetAsia Airways 767-200……..nice!
Thai of course dominate, and right there is a gorgeous Queen
Turning to our gate. Surprisingly for BKK we would get a jetway gate! There always seems to be an inordinate amount of parking at remote stands here despite plenty of empty jetway gates
And an excellent 2:20 regional flight on a widebody state of the art aircraft comes to an end. Take note Europe and North America!
Following up Singapore Airlines A380 Suites was always going to be an impossible task.
However I was highly impressed with Thai. The service was very good indeed. The food was plentiful and very good quality.
If I didn't know better it would be impossible to know the airline was on the brink of collapse.
The little touches made it impossible to remember this was only a short 2 hour regional hop. The Orchid, the printed menus, the pre-departure service including hot towel, the pillow and blanket.
Getting a flat bed seat on a widebody for such a short flight is sadly common almost exclusively to Asia. Most flights like this in Europe and North America would be saddled with an A320 or 737-800 with a sad business class product. Either an economy seat with the middle seat blocked or a recliner seat with no IFE and lunch served from a basket consisting of a biscuit and bag of chips.
The avgeek in me was hugely delighted and relieved to finally fly on the A350. After my disappointment last year I was like a cat on a hot tin roof that morning hoping I was not going to be TG-ed with a last minute equipment swap. I was frantically checking FR24 all morning to see when the aircraft left BKK on its way to SIN and finally the Aircraft Gods smiled on me.
The A350 is a modern miracle. Its a pretty damn fabulous airplane.
Its comfortable and light. Big windows make looking outside a real joy.
It's so quiet that its almost unnerving. By far the quietest airplane I have so far been on.
The tail camera was a joy.
I can certainly recommend Thai on the BKK-SIN sector. It offers a quality product in all aspects. This was a hugely enjoyable flight and as a prelude to the main event to come my anticipation was off the charts.
Great job Thai, a really excellent flight!
Join me on my next report where we will reconvene on the jetway after we step off the A350..............