Friday, September 27, 2013

Thai Airways Bangkok to Sapporo

Air China business class Sapporo to Beijing
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



Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok is the 6th busiest airport in Asia and the 14th busiest in the world.  By far the busiest airport in Thailand, BKK serves as the primary hub for the country's 4-star flag carrier, Thai Airways.  Thai Airways initiated nonstop service between BKK and CTS Sapporo in November 2012, and frequency has been upped from 4x week to daily.  This largely leisure route is operated by an Airbus A330 widebody aircraft.



Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge

The Royal Silk Lounge is Thai Airways' business class lounge, with access granted to all premium cabin passengers and Star Alliance Gold members.  Since the final segment of itinerary was in economy, I gained entry by using my Turkish Airlines Elite status.


As the only Star Alliance lounge in BKK, the Royal Silk Lounge was relatively full.  Finding an empty seat and a power outlet was near impossible.  The lounge had a linear configuration, making destinations a lengthy walk.  The only view of the lounge was the terminal escalator, which gave off an annoying automated voice after detecting a new pedestrian.


The food consisted of traditional Thai options and western deserts and fruits.  The alcohol selection, however, was nearly non-existent.  My biggest pet peeve was the lack of shower facilities, which even domestic United Clubs carry.


Thai Airways BKK-CTS

After eating dinner in the lounge, I headed to my gate for boarding, which consisted of secondary security screening.  Since the aircraft was an A330, I expected to be able to board directly from the jetbridge.  Instead, the jetbridge took us down to ground level, where we boarded buses to our plane.


The plane's economy seats were small, and all aisle seat legroom was restricted by an entertainment box.  I couldn't comfortably place both of my feet under the frontseat, so I immediately headed towards the rear of the plane and found a bulkhead aisle seat.  After leaning my seat back, I dozed off and was awaken for breakfast shortly before landing.

Doesn't look that much worse than biz class meal

Bottom line

Thai Airways leaves you with much more to be desired.  Self-hailed as "Smooth as Silk", Thai Airways should be stripped of their 4-star ranking.  Their hub lounge is mediocre, and their in-flight service is a notch below ANA and JAL's.  They're definitely ahead of North American carriers, but that's saying very little considering that they're headquartered in the highly competitive southeast Asian market.  From service to food and lounges, there is much room for improvement for this national carrier.

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