Monday, December 7, 2009

Thai 466 ( TG466 ) - Melbourne to Bangkok Boeing 777-300 Business Class

AIRLINE: Thai Airways International
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 777-300 HS-TKD
CLASS: Business Class
ROUTE: MEL-BKK
SEAT: 11A

I have a need to travel to Bangkok on a regular basis (every 6 weeks), so I won't review every single trip I take.  The majority of my travel is in economy class however this report is on Thai Airways Royal Silk (Business) Class. The journey is scheduled on a Boeing 777-300, one of two daily B777-300 services that Thai operate out of Melbourne, to Bangkok.

Most of the Thai Airways long haul fleet is now equipped with angled lie flat business class seats, with ALL of the B777 fleet equipped with them, so the dreaded and much discussed last minute equipment swap that Thai Airways is famous for is not really a problem on Australian east-coast routes. Previous to the B777-300 operating Melbourne flights, the Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled, and before that the A340-600.

Thai Airways Check-In Area

Check-in at the business class counter was a bit slow with the people ahead of the queue taking quite some time, probably would have been faster to use the Internet Check-In area. After check-in I proceeded to passport control and security.... utilising the Thai Fast-Track pass, always a good thing if the queues are long. Simply present the pass at the sliding doors and turn left to access the fast-track/crew lines. You can also get priority at the security line immediately after passport control.

I decided to have a quick walk around the gate area to see what aircraft were on the ground and check the progress of the terminal extension currently underway at Melbourne Airport.



Singapore A380 prepares for afternoon departure to Singapore


A380 cockpit windows


Cathay A330 and Qantas 'Wunala Dreaming' B747-400, Malaysia 777 tail behind


Here is my aircraft, HS-TKD preparing for departure


HS-TKD taking a rest before flying me to Bangkok. There is about a 3 to 4 hour turnaround from the inbound flight

After a bit of plane spotting I headed down to the ground floor to go to the Air New Zealand lounge, which Thai uses as it's contract lounge in Melbourne. As I have mentioned in other trip reports, the ANZ lounge is easily the nicest Star Alliance lounge in Melbourne.



Air New Zealand lounge

Lounge snacks and some New Zealand wine

Since the ANZ lounge is designated for Thai passengers there is a boarding call when the flight is ready. Todays flight was going out with just about 130 passengers out of approx 300 seats. Pretty poor loading, especially considering the Singapore A380 was fully booked, and it was December! I headed upstairs again when the lounge attendant made the call. The B777-300 is a 2 class aircraft and the aerobridge was connected to Door 2 so it was a lovely turn to the left as I was warmly welcomed on board by the Thai crew. 

'sa wat dee ka!'


leg room shot


Hot towel and welcome Champagne

Although the flights overall load was pretty low, Business Class was in fact quite full, with about 27 seats taken out of 34 available. Seats are in a 2x3x2 configuration, except the first row which is 2x2x2, there is 5 rows of seats. A welcome drink was immediately offered, I opted for a glass of the Pommery champagne. A hot towel was also provided.




'Sawat dee ka, Welcome to Royal Orchid Service' - safety video

Push Back was on schedule and  we were soon taxi'ing out for Runway 16 at Melbourne, with heavy grey clouds surrounding the airport. The next lot of pics are plane spotting on the taxi out, and the climb out:









passing Essendon airport soon after takeoff


grey skies during departure, although turbulence was only mild


i think i am wearing 2 different socks lol

Amenity kits were handed out after takeoff. These are very basic bags with simple things like toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, socks, eyeshades, lip balm etc. No brand name designer type items unfortunately. I entered into a cradle type position on my seat and retrieved the IFE screen from between the seats (found on the seatback in the rows behind the bulkhead).

Here is the menu for today's flight:






The crew came around with the crab cake first, before setting the table...





They also came around with a bag of nuts, then they came around with a fully laden drinks cart:


Service seemed good so far, and the crew were quite friendly and attentive. I continued to drink the 'Pommery' Champagne. The champagne can change from time to time, I believe in 2010 they have been serving a few different kinds. The crab cake was quite tasty! Soon after that was finished the crew came to set the table...





Smoked Duck, Salmon and Scallops first course

Thai serve the meals on a cloth covered tray on top of your cloth covered table... they come out with all of the above except the bread which is served from a basket and you can choose what you want. I enjoyed the duck and scallops but I am not that much into salmon so I couldn't tell you how good or bad it was. I decided to try the lamb rogan josh for the main, and my first course plate was taken away from the tray and replaced with the main...



lamb rogan josh

Presentation wasn't exactly fabulous but it was tasty! Thai serve the same size main meal in economy class as they do in business class, they don't have nicely arranged big plates for the mains in business. This is fine for me as when you add all the other food that comes with it, I get quite full.

Soon after completing the main course the crew comes and removes the tray and leaves you with your drink and just the table cloth covered table. They then bring around the cheese and fruit trolley. I decided to sample everything, I asked for a little of all and I got this:



Cheese and fruits, not bad

This was followed shortly thereafter by coffee and dessert... both of which were quite good:


Being a later afternoon flight I had no real intention of sleeping, so after the dishes were cleared away it was time to get comfy and watch some inflight movies. It's already a couple of months since I took this flight so I can't remember what I watched sorry!

I find the seat quite comfortable for reclining and watching movies as well as sleeping, here is a shot of the seat:




Thanh and Bulgari amenities in the lav's

After the meal service the crew asked everyone to place their window shades down, although it was only about 6pm in Melbourne! This is the usual routine I have noticed on this flight, they like to dim the cabin as soon as possible. I guess it's good for watching movies, or if you want to sleep. I took a walk down the back and found nearly every economy passenger with a set of 3 seats to themselves sprawled out over the cabin. I love this kind of flight when in economy, so much room to stretch out! Made the business class cabin look kind of crowded!







economy cabin

I snapped this shot of the sun setting from my seat, beautiful!



flight path over Brunei

We encountered a period of moderate turbulence as we approached Brunei so the seat belt sign was engaged for a period of time.

Time was flying as I watched movies from the sleeping position and sipped on wine throughout the flight, with the occasional nap as required :) At about the 90 minutes before arrival point the crew turned on the lights and offered a light meal, by this time it is approaching midnight back home in Melbourne.



light meal - hokkien noodles with chicken

The snack before landing was presented on a single tray and a coffee and tea service was offered also. I asked for a glass of champagne... unfortunately when the glass arrived from the male cabin crew member, I found it to be totally flat, no bubbles at all, must be the last drop out of a bottle opened at the beginning of the flight. I told the crew to open me a new bottle and sent this one back, he was EXTREMELY apologetic and brought me a new glass, which he refilled constantly until just before landing. Good recovery!

I went for a walk around the aircraft to stretch my legs before arrival...


business class cabin


30% full economy class


from the very back looking forward - i normally sit on the twosome seats at the back here

Well, the flight was rapidly drawing to a close, duty free shopping was closing and it was almost time to descend into Bangkok as we flew over Cambodia. This would be about my 25th time flying into Bangkok from Australia in the past 3 years, it was all becoming very routine, but I still love it. Gazing out at the small villages and towns in the darkness over Cambodia is just magic. I often wonder what the people are doing down there, what a different world most of them live in compared to the business class seat I was occupying right now... amazing isnt it?

The descent commenced and we made a routine approach into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport...



arriving at gate C8, a bit of a walk ahead of us! At least we got a gate and not a bus!

Overall I was pretty impressed with the crew on this service, although they were not THE most attentive and friendly, the service was decent and the food and product were both quite good. There isn't a more comfortable way of getting from Melbourne to Bangkok anyway! I highly recommend the late afternoon flight into Bangkok, it gets you in about 10pm, just in time to go to bed and wake up totally fresh in the morning.

10 comments:

  1. Oh wow! It is very beautiful seat
    and season foods

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  2. I am looking at SAS to Europe, and they use Mel to BK on Thai. I think that this just may put me over the line.

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  3. pleased it helped you dalescott

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  4. Looks Great.Must Try Thai next time I go to Europe.Flew Singapore Airlines first time AROUND which were great and was lucky being from Adelaide I didn't have to go through the immigration officer from hell on arrival home that time around but Thai fly from Melbourne even better

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  5. Thank you for reviewing.

    I am trying to read all of your rewievs at the moment as I really enjoy them!

    I went to Thailand in September 2012 and before I went I didn't really want
    to fly onThai. So I was reading reviews and I stumbled on your blog.

    I really liked Thai I flew them MEL-BKk-HKT-BKK-MEL

    What a great expreance?

    I was reluctant to fly them as I am a very high FF with QF!

    I read all the 466 reviews and was happy to fly them!

    Once again thank you for posting!!!!!!

    I look forward to reading more reviews!

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    Replies
    1. thank you very much for your comments. Glad you enjoy flying with Thai. They have their strengths and weaknesses but overall they are generally good for the prices they charge.

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  6. I always used them MEL to BKK butthink they are now too pricey and prefer to travel Y with Royal Brunei.( AUD 200 to 300 difference)
    Also their TG aircraft are looking tired although their staff do a wondeful job. Flew Y to BRU and CDG with Qatar and TG, Qatar is better and often cheaper from MEL.

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  7. More often than not the TG day flight from Melbourne does not get a gate and pax are sent by bus to the terminal. also, unlike QF, J/C pax do not get express lane ticket through immigration. For a minimal price difference ( B5,000), QF, via Sydney, is a much better choice ( at least when booking ex BKK). The Thai 777 is becoming a very ordinary experience., seats are inadequate and do not compare well with other airlines in the same price range

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    Replies
    1. Thai J class passengers can use the diplomatic/express lane by showing the boarding pass. no need fro a separate express pass. Also, going via Sydney adds at least 3 to 4 hours to the journey and is a waste of time considering the Qantas A330 on the syd-bkk route is a more cramped cabin than the Thai 777 in business.

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