The Last Aeroplan Hurrah: Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong

Filed Under: Airline Reviews, Awards

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Thai 606
Bangkok (BKK) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Wednesday, March 21
Depart: 4:00PM
Arrive: 7:45PM
Duration: 2hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 1A (First Class)

Once aboard we were welcomed by the senior but friendly crew and directed to our seats in the nose, 1A & 1K. Thai has a fairly spacious first class cabin with only 10 seats in the nose, so even though we were seated in the nose where the fuselage narrows, we really were pretty far apart.

Seat 1A

Seat and entertainment controls

Bulkhead from 1A

First class cabin

Within minutes of settling in we were offered hot towels and pre-departure beverages. I ordered a glass of champagne, which was poured at my seat. Shortly thereafter lunch menus along with the wine list were distributed.


Dinner menu

At around 4:10PM the captain came on the PA to advise us we were waiting on one last passenger, and jokingly said we should give him a hand when he gets aboard so we can get underway. Sure enough at around 4:15PM the last passenger showed up, and he was seated in first class as well.

Around this time the guy seated in 2K came up to us and asked if we were FlyerTalkers. I guess the fact that we were taking pictures at least narrowed it down quite a bit. Too funny, since he was also on an Aeroplan round the world with his wife and son.

After pushback we had a really quick taxi to the runway. Once there we had one of the quickest take off rolls I’ve ever experienced. I guess that’s what you get with an empty 747 on a two-hour flight.

El Al plane parked next to us

Terminal on taxi out

As soon as we were airborne I started playing around with the entertainment system, and decided on a couple of episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.”

View on climb out

Entertainment system

After we passed through 10,000 feet the seatbelt sign was turned off and service commenced. The dinner menu read as follows:

And the wine list read as follows:

At that point drink and dinner orders were taken. I ordered a Diet Coke with lemon, which was served with some nuts.

Diet Coke with lemon and nuts

That was quickly followed by the fish souffle starter, which wasn’t especially tasty, in my opinion.

Mini Thai Fish Souffle

At that point the table was set and next course was served, which was a chicken and coconut milk soup.

Table setup

Chicken and coconut milk soup

For the main course I ordered the seared prawns with seaweed pasta, while my friend had pre-ordered the lobster thermidor. I wasn’t especially hungry at this point so only nibbled at my dish, though my friend enjoyed his lobster thermidor.

Seared prawns with seaweed pasta

Lobster thermidor

After that a cheese plate was served.

Cheese plate

The dessert was an apple tart with vanilla anglaise, which was delicious.

Apple tart with vanilla anglaise

After dessert I took a quick walk around the plane, and it occurred to me just how empty the plane was. Business class on the lower deck was empty, while business class on the upper deck only had seven passengers. What makes this plane pretty unique is that the galley takes up the entire right side of the business class cabin, so if you’re seated in the center section of business class you’re actually facing a wall to your right, which is rather interesting.

First class cabin

Upper deck business class

The crew was great all around and even entertained the FlyerTalk member’s infant quite a bit (though he was especially well behaved). I talked to the FlyerTalker for a bit, and was sure to do so quietly. Unfortunately the guy that boarded late was a real jerk, since he loudly told the flight attendant to tell us to stop talking since he was trying to sleep. The guy was watching a movie and wasn’t even reclined, so it was obvious he just wanted to be sure no one else was having any fun. Oh, joy.

About 30 minutes out we began our descent as the sun began to set, and we touched down in Hong Kong right on-time with the roughest landing I’ve had all year. I think Thai’s “smooth as silk” slogan doesn’t apply to their landings.

Our gate

Upon arrival the crew bid us farewell, and waiting at the jet bridge were three golf carts for first class passengers. The German couple in first class sat down in the first cart, we sat down in the second cart, and the rude guy sat down in the third cart. Unfortunately that left the FlyerTalker traveling with the infant without a cart, so the agent asked the rude guy to get in our golf cart. He loudly exclaimed “I’m not getting in a cart with them,” but when he was forced to he managed to huff and puff the whole way to immigration.

Golf cart

Immigration queues took about 10 minutes, at which point we were in a cab to the Ritz Carlton.

Hong Kong arrivals hall

Another enjoyable flight on Thai Airways!

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  1. Lucky, did you take that lime from the soup and use it for the rest of your Diet Coke?? 😉

  2. @ Boilermaker — LOL! It’s a trend I’ve been noticing lately whereby they serve lime with the food and not with drinks, and it drives me nuts!

  3. I took that same flight this past summer, and we were also in 1A and 1K! Awesome food and champagne, as usual.

    Isn’t it crazy that BKK-HKG (on which TG runs a 3-class 747 with full meal service) is only 20 miles longer than CLE-DFW, on which CO used to run an E145??

  4. Dear Ben,

    The jerk you have met is the kind of people I just can’t stand. Too bad you did not respond to him, I would have told him to be focused on his movie and let us free.

    I have undergone the same situation. Back in 2008, I flew LAX-CDG in F with AF on award.

    We left LAX at 3;30 pm and service ended at 6 pm LA time. I was seated in 1A.

    As a funny guy I love laughing while I see a nice movie. Maybe It was a bit loud but could not hold back.

    The wife’s captain seated in 1E came to me and asked me to reduce my voice !!

    I stared her and told her to go back in her seat or she could move to the original seat 48B… Damn it was only 6;30 pm….

    I left my seat, took a coffea at the bar, and the captain came over me and told me not to be rude to her wife, since I fly with a “free ticket” I don’t have to complain…

    Wow, I love that part, free ticket… Sir maybe to fly F with miles I spend a lot with your carrier, I was platinum with AF at time.

    I sent a complain letter… Af replied to my mail and said we are sorry.

    Glad to have left Skyteam.

    tks again for this report !

  5. What I do find amazing is that you’re traveling (with a friend, if I get it right) on an award ticket. You meet a group of three people also on an aeroplan ticket, meaning that you’re at least five booking on award tickets and non full fare tickets. Do airlines even manage to fill cabins (sometimes) with revenue tickets ( “direct paying fare”, not redemptions) and are these cabins, like Thai who releases lots of award space, still here because it benefits the brand in terms of “prestige” ?
    Going a bit further, and you are pretty knowlegeable, i know that some airlines heavily protect their first class cabins (like Air France with horrid redemptions rates and only full fare First class tickets available or SQ with the R class). Even when they don’t really allow redemptions, do they manage to turn profitable on these F class cabins ?

  6. @ Jill ,

    If you flew air france quite (dunno if its the case), you would understand the pain of the habit of discriminating employees / revenue customers . For this kind of carrier (even worse than UA, whose premium cabins, especially first , are mainly occupied by non rev), you don’t have any rights as a passenger compared to non revenue tickets holders.
    On air france, you may dream of an upgrade that will never happen (my father is a Club 2000, only flying F or C class full fare tickets) mainly because the people taking care of it will always make employees prevail. And this happens not at the gate but afters doors are closed, when it becomes a circus (employees waiting, standing up to be upgraded) while full fare passengers don’t even get a chance to think about an upgrade. In the end, the F class cabin at Air France is always populated by at maximum one full fare customer and usually (well always) the captain’s wife and the friends of the pursuer. At the rate you pay for the ticket (+ 10 000 euros or plus), or even use a redemption ( 250 000 miles at least, without the cost of the taxes and YQ), considering that you travel as a revenue passenger when booking miles (your loyalty program pays the airline), it feels like a rip off (and captains ‘wives tend to be really rude in the F cabin on Air France :D)
    So rude people, even more when not belonging in this cabin, should always be sanctionned for their bad behavior (and Thomas, Air France guiderules FORBID the practise of upgrading after doors are closed, so everything that happens is “not on the manifest”, and you could have responded to the captain (they have no shame about the practise but they are really afraid of the possible consequences , like being flaged by CDG operations …)

  7. @ vincent — You’re onto something. Thai has gone so far as to say they don’t make money on first class but rather only do it for royalty and for the prestige of having the product. So it’s a money loser, which I suspect is the case for many airlines. This is why many airlines are getting rid of first class cabins and replacing them with premium economy.

  8. @ Lucky & Vincent

    From the POV of somebody who doesn’t fly First or Business class, it seems to me First is nothing more than a reward you get from the airline and/or alliance group. Very few of the rich and elite fly First Class these days, most just charter their own private jets. You do still find many wealthy people in First, especially in the oil rich Middle East, and I’m sure BRIC countries as well. But, for the most part, First is just a thank-you for flying business and economy. That’s how I see it.

  9. Vincent,

    As a french (dunno if you are one as well) I know exactly what you meant.

    I flew a lot with F paid ticket on AF thanks to the mistake fare from JNB…

    AF rudeness does not stop at that point.

    On my way to MRS getting a ride from the F lounge, the escort left me at the entry, the steward told me, you in First….

    I’m not longer surprised, once a FA told me F at your age, at 50 you ll fly on private jet…

    France’s rules….

    I clearly don’t match AF F clients. Too young… and dressed trendy or casual.

    @andy : I do pay some F tickets, but it’s only when it’s a mistake fare or using the cheap ( when on sales ) F fares with TG and BA.

    But the issue is more harder, very few airlines make profit with F LX, LH and SQ do well I bet..

    For AF : The average pax in F is 80 a day…. Rev and non Rev included.

    And yes F is also a “gift” or a thank you for being loyal, faithful to us.

  10. I will be on the exact same flight on April 22nd. My maiden 1st class journey…this report has helped calm the butterflies in my stomach. I hope there is some FT company. Thanks lucky!

  11. Hey Lucky… your report says you got a Diet Coke with Lemon, but your photo caption shows Diet Coke with Lime. Not to make a big deal over a lime or lemon (though lime people like me know it is a VERY big deal) but you may want to correct.

  12. @ Todd — Whoops, you’re right. Fixed, thanks. Guess I’m so used to Diet Coke with lime…

  13. Is it me or are the screens attached to the business class seats bigger than the ones in first?

  14. @Thomas on April 7

    Jill is right, you do sound like a jerk. You admitted that you were making too much noise, even though you downplayed it. If I had politely asked you to keep it down and you responded in that manner, I would have made sure EVERYONE in first class knew that you didn’t belong there. It’s people like you that make air travel in any class less enjoyable than it already is.

  15. @Jason
    That’s impressive ! you are really acting like

    a) a man
    b) a cow boy
    c) a real jerk

    Enjoy your choice 😉

  16. Jason jason jason… See you don’t belong in first class either. True first class passengers like myself wouldn’t even acknowledfe the presence of an inferior being. If such a beast appeared at my seat I would just ignore it and continue doing whatever it was I was doing. Persistently annoying animals can be dealt with using the call the help (FA) button.

  17. @Real First Classy
    Really. How would you ignore my foot in your mouth? I would love to have you act like a buffoon in F.

  18. @ james — Hmmm, not really any great way right now. Maybe LifeMiles, or otherwise MileagePlus, would be the lesser of the evils.

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