My transport to the airport was by the airport shuttle bus, it was just a 5 minute walk to the nearest pickup point on the main street in Auckland. The cost is NZD16. Quite reasonable really and a lot cheaper than a taxi!
After dropping off a few passengers at the domestic terminal we arrived at International departures and I made my way to the Thai Airways check-in desks. There was no queue in the business class line and I was quickly issued my boarding pass by the Air New Zealand staff member manning the desk. I had been assigned an aisle but asked for a window seat and I was offered 16K, the last remaining window. I accepted it despite knowing there is one window missing from this row and you have to lean forward to see out.
Parked at Gate 9 was HS-TJT, a 4 year old Boeing 777-200ER, one of six of this model in the Thai Airways fleet. This particular aircraft has been named 'Patham Wan'.
The great thing about the -200 series B777's with Thai is the 2x2x2 configuration in business class compared to 2x3x2 on the Boeing 777-300. In economy class these 6 aircraft all have personal televisions with Audio Video on Demand in every seat.
Boarding was called for Business passengers only and the gate agents strictly enforced this with many economy passengers who had surged forward being turned back and told to wait. I made my way through the hoards of economy passengers and soon settled in 16K. I was immediately offered a choice of newspapers and decided to catch up on Thai news with a copy of 'The Nation'. Pillows, blankets and amenity kits were placed on each seat.
Within a few minutes of being seated a welcome drink was on offer, I took the champagne as usual. Whilst the rest of the passengers boarded I did some plane spotting and noticed an Air Tahiti Nui A340-300 beside us, bound for Papeete.
The doors were soon closed and I was pleased the seat beside me was vacant, allowing me a little more room. It also gives me 2 inflight entertainment screens so I can watch the flight progress on one screen, with a movie on the other.
It was a very cloudy day in Auckland and it took a few minutes of climbing to get through the solid cloud layer, but we soon emerged above into the bright blue sky.
The amenity kit on offer is basic but contains everything you need, the contents can be seen below:
The menu below shows that there is three servings on this flight. The first meal is the most significant of them. The order of service varied from the menu provided with the 'Second Serving' sandwich being served last, before landing in Bangkok. The second main meal was served about 8 hours into the flight.
Did anybody proof read this menu - what is a 'Freeting Season'?
The lavatory amenities on offer are 'Salvatore Ferragamo' branded. The Thanh and Bulgari amenities they had previously are no longer featured.
With the first meal over it was time to close the blinds and allow people to sleep or enjoy movies. I settled back and had a nap. At some point the crew offered me a drink and some peanuts:
We still had a few hours to go and I spent my time relaxing watching movies. I wasn't hungry but had wanted to try out some instant noodles which are available as a snack any time during the flight. I pressed the call bell and ordered them, 5 minutes later a tray was delivered with my hot noodles in a cup. Basic but very tasty!
Bed in reclined mode
Instant Noodles snack
The crew performed really well on this flight. They were polite and courteous at all times. The food was of a good standard and I certainly did not ever go hungry! We landed on schedule but unfortunately we parked at a domestic gate which meant a bus ride to the international arrivals area. I am never a fan of this, but being in business class meant I was in the first bus to leave which was a slight consolation. Overall though, a great experience on TG492!
Parking at the domestic concourse