Singapore Airlines business class Beijing to Singapore
Singapore Airlines business class Singapore to Hong Kong
Thai Airways A380 business class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Thai Airways Bangkok to Sapporo
With so many carriers to choose from and an even greater selection of premium cabin products, the frequent flyer often finds him/herself at odds over who to fly with. After all, the conclusion of nearly every commercial flight on the planet ends with "we thank you for choosing to fly with us today". Whereas a showdown between United and Singapore Airlines is a no-brainer, how do you juggle the choice between evenly matched heavyweights like JAL and ANA, who have similar services and hard products? Sometimes, the plane type makes all the difference, which is the case with the mammoth Airbus A380, the largest commercial jet ever assembled.
I couldn't miss the opportunity to fly in business class on an A380, regardless of the carrier. The A380, which has been a thorn on Airbus' side with zero profits, has become the flagship plane for the 10 prestigious carriers currently operating the jumbojet. Singapore Airlines and Emirates' A380 house the best passenger cabins in the world, and I was expecting a similar experience with Thai Airways, Thailand's flag carrier and a 4-star airline.
Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge - The Wing
With a layover in HKG, I could not pass up the chance to visit The Wing, which is Cathay Pacific's newly remodeled first class lounge at their primary hub. Because I only had 1-hour, I scouted the lounge and grabbed a quick bite.
Upon entering the dining area, I was asked how many in my party, seated, and handed a menu. This was a welcome surprise as I expected to just grab a couple of buffet items. I chose the salmon fillet and champagne and complimented it with seafood fried rice, dim sum, and sushi from the buffet bar.
The dining area is catered and serviced by the Peninsula Hotel, so the service and food were spectacular. After finishing a nice meal at their full-service restaurant, I scouted the other areas, which included several bars and Cathay Pacific's signature Noodle Bar.
Although I didn't have time to reserve a private cabana, the lounge was already incredible with amazing decor, service, and food. It completely blows JAL's first class lounge out of the water, and puts to shame even Singapore Airlines' lounge. I will be posting a more detailed report on this lounge when I get experience the cabanas will my longer layover this coming December.
Thai Airways A380 business class
It's every frequent flyer's dream to fly in a premium cabin on the A380, even on just a 2 1/2 hour flight. Biz class cabin is exclusively on the upper deck as staggered suites, which is synonymous to what ANA uses on their 787s and newly-configured 777s.
The cabin looked completely full, which meant 60 biz passengers. As a 2 1/2 hour flight, the flight attendants appeared to be rushing the service and somewhat understaffed for such a large plane.
The suites were nice with plenty of storage space. The seat itself featured forward thrust and flatbed mode. However, the foot cubby wasn't big enough for my feet, and the bed could have been a few inches longer. The AVOD had plenty of channels and movies, and a convenient USB slot allowed for easy charging of your iPhone.
Thai Airways allows you to choose and even view your meal selection online before your flight, and I opted for the salmon meal. I can't say that I was impressed.
The salmon main entree item tasted fine, but the presentation needed some serious work as it was reminiscence of economy class servings. I was also expecting larger food offerings for a biz meal. After finishing lunch, I reclined my seat and slept for the rest of the flight, which featured excessive turbulence. I don't even want to know how it might have felt had I been flying on an Embraer.
Simply said, the Thai Airways A380 is overrated. The biz suite, while housing nice features, could have had a longer bed with more foot space. The food was also subpar for a biz meal, and the service was rushed. Thai Airways should use these planes for longhaul routes and not 2 1/2 hour flights, which pretty much defeats the purpose of flatbed suites. There was really nothing special about this plane, besides haveing a 500+ passenger capacity.
Next: Thai Airways Bangkok to Sapporo