17 July 2009 Thai Airways TG 917 London Heathrow (LHR) - Bangkok (BKK) B747-400 HS-TGR Economy Class
After arriving from Dublin, we had a 3+hrs transit at the dump called Heathrow Terminal 3. Checked in at area D for my TG flight, while my friend checked in for his SQ flight at area A. If I am not wrong, TG has taken over the check-in counters vacated by SQ at area D when SQ moved to area A, which is much bigger and nicer.
TG Check-in counters at Area D
As I had checked in earlier online, I just need to have my bags tagged and collect my boarding pass. I had chosen the exact same seat that I had earlier flown on. According to the check-in agent, the flight is 100% full in economy and only 1 seat left in Business! No wonder, it was the start of the UK summer school holidays. After me and my friend had checked in for our respective flights, we proceeded through security into the mass humanity of the transit waiting lounge. After browsing through every single shop in Heathrow Terminal 3 Mall, we just grabbed a seat and watch all the passengers of different nationalities go by as we waited for our gates to be shown.
Terminal 3 Waiting Lounge
Exactly 1hr before departure, the boarding gate appeared onto the flight information screens. Had a long walk to the gate, which appeared to be newly renovated. Surprised, at the gate waiting was HS-TGR, the exact same plane that had brought me to London 10 days earlier. Exact same plane plus exact same seat onboard! Interestingly, my friend also had the exact same plane, 9V-SKA, that he had flown on to London back to Singapore! What coincidence!
The boarding gate was very crowded as expected due to the full flight. And the gate lounge is way too small for a full B744. Luckily boarding started shortly after I entered the gate lounge.
Boarding was done very orderly by seat rows. Newspapers and magazines were available on the aerobridge before boarding. Was greeted upon boarding and proceeded to my seat. Cabin crew were along the aisle welcoming passengers onboard and assisting with storage of cabin bags into overhead bins. This set of crew felt much better than my incoming flight and my hunch was correct. All the crew members were much friendlier and younger and also interacted more with passengers.
At the gate.
A British lady and her child occupied the 2 seats beside me. They were going on a long holiday in Krabi. With the generous seat pitch on Thai's B744s, it did not felt cramped at all even though I was at the window. After boarding was completed, we pushed back on time and had a long taxi for takeoff. Cabin crew also distributed menu cards and earphones. The safety demo was also played on the overhead monitors and front screen. Flight time was expected to be about 10hrs50min. As usual in Heathrow, we had quite a wait for takeoff due to the long queue of aircraft departing. Dusk had also fallen by the time we took off.
Taxi to the runway
No takeoff video as it was dark. Shortly after takeoff and seatbelt signs were off, the crew sprang into action and conducted a full bar cart service with peanuts. Me and my seatmate ordered beer and we got full cans! And yes, the can was opened and beer poured into the cup before serving, ala SQ style.
Heineken with peanuts
Lets have a look at the menu today.
After bar service was done, dinner service started. Today the stewardess serving my aisle was always all smiles and way better than the one into London. As usual, meal trays with main courses were distributed, followed by a full bar service again. Additional bread rolls were also offered and finally coffee/tea service and drinks top-ups.
I chose the curry chicken and it was very good! The starter was also great! Roll was warm but dessert lacked imagination. Would prefer an ice-cream, hehe. However a surprisingly good meal catered out of Heathrow.
White wine and Campari.
The very nice stewardess on my aisle.
Meal service in progress
After trays were collected and everything were cleaned up, it was lights off till breakfast. Everyone settled down to sleep and I actually slept about 5hrs, a record for me onboard a flight! Guess the alcohol earlier and good seat pitch and recline played a part.
Crew first distributed warm towels for pax to freshen up followed by trays of juices or water. Following that, breakfast was served.
Had the crepes. Just passable. But the croissant and fruits were good.
Thai branded Eu de cologne in the lavatory. The only amenity.
Very soon, we were descending into Bangkok.
Chao Phraya River, I guess?
Overflying Don Muang airport. Bangkok city can be seen in the distance.
Turning for short finals.
Landing video. We had a very smooth landing!
Parked at the gate. 2 TG star alliance planes can be seen.
London - LHR
Bangkok - BKK
Overall, this flight was pleasant with friendly crew and good food, even though the flight was full. Throw in decent IFE (only 1 movie was shown) and amenity kits for all pax and it would be comparable to SQ.
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