Thai Airways will be updating the interiors of its narrow body jets, which should give the airline a lot more flexibility with fleet planning.
In this post:
Thai Airways updating former Thai Smile Airbus A320s
As I’ve already written about, Thai Airways has eliminated its low cost subsidiary, Thai Smile, as of early 2024. Specifically, Thai Smile has been merged into Thai Airways’ mainline operations, as clearly the cost savings of running an ultra low cost carrier didn’t outweigh the downsides.
While Thai Airways might not always offer the same low fares that Thai Smile offered, this is otherwise great news, as it creates a more seamless experience.
The catch is that the passenger experience on the former Thai Smile planes doesn’t really match what you’ll find in the mainline Thai Airways fleet. These aircraft are equipped with 168-174 seats, and just feature premium economy and economy, with premium economy consisting of economy seats with blocked middles.
Thai Airways has now revealed plans to change this. As of Q4 2024, Thai Airways intends to reconfigure all of its A320s with new, standardized cabins:
- Thai Airways A320s will be reconfigured to feature 156 seats, including 12 business class seats and 144 economy class seats
- Business class seats will be in a 2-2 configuration, featuring extra seat width and pitch, comparable to what you might find in domestic first class within the United States
- Thai Airways will also install Wi-Fi on its A320s
At this link you can see pictures of what the new cabins will look like.
This will give Thai Airways a lot more flexibility
Not only is it great to see plans to update these planes from a passenger experience standpoint, but this will also allow Thai Airways to better optimize its fleet planning. Thai Airways now has a fleet of 20 Airbus A320s, all from Thai Smile.
When Thai Smile was still in operation, Thai Airways only had wide body aircraft in its mainline fleet. Once these planes have more premium interiors, Thai Airways will be able to fly these aircraft to all kinds of destinations, including premium ones, where it’s important for the airline to have high frequencies.
So fleet planning decisions will no longer be made based on whether a market is premium or not, but rather will be based on flying an aircraft that matches the demand for a market. I’d say that’s a win-win for both the airline and consumers.
As of late 2024, Thai Airways will reconfigure its fleet of Airbus A320s. The airline will add all new interiors, including a proper business class cabin, plus Wi-Fi. These are all planes that previously flew for low cost subsidiary Thai Smile. Now that they’re in the mainline fleet, it makes sense for Thai Airways to update them, so the airline can offer an experience more in line with what people would expect.
With new interiors, I expect we’ll also see an expansion to the types of routes these planes fly.
What’s your take on Thai Airways’ plans to update A320s?