Review of Thai Airways flight Chiang Mai Bangkok in Economy

Airline Thai Airways
Flight TG109
Class Economy
Seat 58K
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 01:01
Take-off 02 Jan 21, 14:33
Arrival at 02 Jan 21, 15:34
TG   #17 out of 74 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 366 reviews
MarkkiMarkk
Published on 5th September 2021

Introduction: TG109


Hey there, 'flight-reporters!'. It's been a while since I posted on here, so I may be a little bit rusty. Sorry in advance! Anyways, in this trip report, I'll be reviewing Thai Airways International's Economy Class on their Boeing 777-200ER from Chiang Mai to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. Whilst it's definitely not the most exciting or modern aircraft in THAI's fleet, their recent absence made this flight so much more exciting! Well, to me at least.

Here is my video review of this exact same flight on YouTube:



Why was this flight was special?

This flight was considered 'special' because Thai Airways International has stopped operating domestic flights completely (though their regional subsidiary, Thai Smile still does), since the beginning of mid-2020. However, due to the relatively low rates of Covid-19 infections within Thailand (throughout the year until December 2020), THAI decided to resume domestic service to Chiang Mai and Phuket with wide-bodied aircraft. The poster below was used to advertise their "return".

Funny enough, the first picture featured in the poster was taken on one of their A330-300s, and not 777-200ERs, but I don't think that many people would notice.

This decision was then reversed, as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in Samut Sakhon near the end of December 2020. Consequently, the Thai Government and CAAT (Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand) prohibited the consumption of all food and beverages on board domestic flights. Furthermore, THAI stopped domestic operations once again, after 2 roundtrip flights to Chiang Mai and 3 roundtrips to Phuket. Well, I guess we won't be getting our famous Thai Airways Chinese Doughnuts anymore..


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The Advertisement for THAI's return


CHIANG MAI international airport: Departure


My journey started at Chiang Mai International Airport's rather dated domestic terminal, where I had to go through baggage screening before being allowed into the landside. Whilst it may be a standard procedure in some countries, only a handful of Thai airports such as Hat Yai and Chiang Mai has this feature. Fortunately, there was no queue and we were in the landside in no time.

I headed over to Thai Airways' Check-in counters on the far left of the terminal and was pleased to see the screens project THAI's logo and staff wearing purple uniforms. It's a fairly rare sight these days, even in Thailand. Fortunately for THAI, many passengers (myself included) decided to splurge extra money just to experience THAI again.


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Thai Airways' Check-in counters at CNX

 The check-in process was quick and efficient. I appreciated the smiley and attentive staff members, especially in this trying time. 


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Signage at Thai Airways Check-in Counters CNX


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Display Monitors at Thai Airways' Check-in Counters CNX

 After the breezy check-in, I headed upstairs to the airside right away. Having travelled through CNX more than 10 times in the past year, I did not take any pictures on this trip. The interior was due for an upgrade anyway. Right before security screening, there were several shops such as McDonald's, Dairy Queen, and Burger King, the last of which were closed. Moreover, there were also several smaller shops which sells Northern Thai gifts and food.


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My Thai Airways Boarding Pass


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Display Monitor in CNX's airside, right after security screening

Chiang Mai Airport's Domestic Airside doesn't have much to offer in terms of entertainment, but there were several food outlets, as well as Thai Airways' New-ish Royal Orchid Lounge, which I won't be visiting today. I headed to gate number 5 right away. 


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Gate Number 5 in CNX's Domestic Airside


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Gate Number 5 in CNX's Domestic Airside


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Gate Number 5 in CNX's Domestic Airside

Finally, the gate agents called for passengers to board the aircraft. Given the recent spike in Covid-19 cases a few weeks prior, no ceremony took place at the gate. All passengers boarded just like on any other mundane flight. I can't blame them for being extra cautious, though.
 


Onboard


The aircraft taking me back to Bangkok is a Boeing 777-200ER (HS-TJS) royally bestowed "Phra Nakhon". It is currently 14.7 years old at the time of publishing this review. Weirdly enough, the seat and IFE looks like it was from 2 decades ago..

THAI's Boeing 777-200ERs  can carry a total of 292 passengers. 30 in Royal Silk Business Class, and 262 in Economy Class.

The Economy Class Cabin onboard THAI's Boeing 777s are in a comfortable 3-3-3 setup, which gives every passenger 18" inches of seat width. Compared to an extra row (3-4-3) on the likes of Cathay and Qatar. However, the Royal Silk Class cabin is in a 2-2-2 configuration, and still features THAI's outdated (and rather uncomfortable) "angled-flat" seats.

These 777s were mainly used on short-haul flights to places such as Singapore, Jakarta, and Kathmandu, as well as on longer routes such as to Seoul, Moscow, and Auckland. Originally, they planned on refurbishing these 777s a few years back, but much like TG being logical, it never happened. 


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Economy Class Cabin onboard THAI's 777-200ER


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Economy Class Cabin onboard THAI's 777-200ER


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Economy Class Cabin onboard THAI's 777-200ER

 Whilst the cabin is outdated, I didn't mind too much since the flight would be less than an hour. Note that some seats in the rear economy class cabin has an enormous amount of legroom due to the curvature of the fuselage.  Here's me sitting in 58K, for instance.


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THAI 777-200ER Economy Class Legroom


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THAI 777-200ER Overhead Bin



THAI 777-200ER Economy Class Seats


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THAI 777-200ER Safety Card


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Thai Lion Air 737-800 at CNX

 
Soon enough, we pushed back from the terminal and headed for RWY36.


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THAI 777-200ER Wingview


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THAI 777-200ER Takeoff over Chiang Mai


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THAI 777-200ER Takeoff over Chiang Mai


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THAI 777-200ER Takeoff over Chiang Mai


The Flight


Not long after, we reached our cruising altitude. Originally, according to the ad (at the beginning of the report), each passengers will be served THAI's legendary Chinese Doughnuts (or Pa Tong Ko), which were a fad at that time. Sadly, due to the spike in covid-19 cases a few weeks earlier, airlines were banned from serving food and beverages to curb with the outbreak. Moreover, passengers are not allowed to bring their own food to consume onboard.

However, each passengers received a snack bag during the de-boarding process at BKK. Pictures at the end of the report.


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THAI 777-200ER Economy Class Cabin


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THAI 777-200ER Inflight Entertainment Screen

The IFE screens are very outdated, but remained on for the rest of the flight. However, they were not interactive and only the flight path map were shown. 


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THAI 777-200ER Economy Class Seat


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Wingview over the Northern Mountains


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Seat pocket


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Wingview over the Northern Mountains


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Wingview over the Northern Mountains
 
The flight was uneventful. It didn't take long for us to start our descent into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport  


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Over Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK)


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Over Downtown Bangkok on a smoggy day


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Over Bangkok's "Green Lung" or Bang Nam Phueng District


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Descending into BKK


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Descending into BKK


Bangkok suvarnabhumi airport: Arrival


We flew into the Gulf of Thailand, made a U-turn, then landed smoothly on RWY 01 L. It's so sad to see all these aircraft parked at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Hopefully, they'll get a chance to fly for TG again one day. Unfortunately, this one that I'm on isn't, as they plan on retiring all 777-300s, 777-200s, 777-200ERs, A330-300s, and A380s, in an effort to simplify their fleet.


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Taxiing in BKK - Aircrafts parked next to new Satellite Terminal 


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THAI 747-400 parked at BKK


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Pulling into the gate

Little did I know, TG had one last surprise for us: 

It's definitely a cute gesture. Love it when airlines do quirky things like this, even though it could go easily unnoticed by fellow passengers. 


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THAI's surprise waiting for us at the stand


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Economy Class Cabin during disembarking


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Economy Class Cabin during disembarking


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THAI's (very) old royal silk class cabin


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Snack bag given to passengers during disembarking


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Contents of the snack bag: Tuna Quiche (left) & Brownies (right)


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Arrival hall at BKK

Thank you very much for following this journey and reading 'til the end! :-) 

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Verdict

Thai Airways

8.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering8.0

Chiang Mai - CNX

7.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.0

Bangkok - BKK

8.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

The flight in itself was very pleasant, and I couldn't really fault them for anything. It was a pleasure to be able to fly with THAI again after more than a year (due to the pandemic). The seats are ancient by modern standards, but they will soon be completely gone from their fleet. I have racked up so many miles on THAI's 777-200ER. In fact, it's my most flown aircraft in terms of distance. I fondly remember flying long-haul to Moscow on these.

I suppose this flight serves as one last nostalgic goodbye to my love/hate relationship with their 777-200ER. Farewell!

Information on the route Chiang Mai (CNX) Bangkok (BKK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 19 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Chiang Mai (CNX) → Bangkok (BKK).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Thai Airways with 8.2/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 12 minutes.

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1 Comments

  • Comment 580513 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5500 Comments

    Hi MarkkiMarkk, thanks so much for sharing this beautiful report! It's nice to see a pandemic-era Flight-Report from Thailand as those have become so rare with the country all but closed to non-citizens/residents for a year and a half. I've been hearing mixed reports about the whole Phuket/Koh Samui "sandbox" experiment. Hopefully things go well in the longer run and Thailand can open up again.

    Yes, the 772 cabin is definitely getting to be old school, but the seats still looks so visually nice with those signature THAI colours and they look super comfortable with a generous pitch and the now-rare wide 3-3-3 config.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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