Thai Airways A380 First ClassBack to Forum
Anonymous14 Dec 2013
I was connecting from Sydney to Paris. Met on arrival from Sydney at the plane doors by TG rep who escorted me to the buggy that’s available to F pax and drove all of 100m before escorting me on foot through security and into the first class lounge.
The lounge is large and airy. Not particularly flashy but comfortable with a main lounging area offset by a few smaller private rooms with TVs computers and comfy chairs. Slumber rooms are also available. Food is all off a menu, no buffet. There is a dining room but it’s certainly no Haven as at The Wing at HKG. Lovely toilets and shower rooms. Separate Royal Orchid spa across from the lounge with treatment rooms plus a large sauna and steam room in each changing room. F pax get free one hour oil massage. Biz pax get neck and shoulder massage.
Announcements are not made in the lounge. Staff seek out passengers to inform them of their flight departures. A buggy service is available but my gate was very close so was escorted on foot from the lounge to the gate which was packed as it was quite a full flight. We went straight to the front and I was escorted right up to the aircraft doors on the upper level of the Airbus A380 and handed over to the crew.
Pointed to my seat and met there by another crew member. Dom Perignon 2004 welcome drink offered. Rimowa amenity kit and noise-cancelling headphones in seat pockets. Sleep suits and menus handed out.Only 8/12 in F. Business class also on the upper deck was full. Economy class occupying the back end of the upper deck and the whole lower deck was almost full.
Push back a few minutes late. Slow but not overly long taxi. The A380 comes into its own on take-off. We had quite a long run till we gracefully soared in a steep incline. Hardly a sound from the landing gears though of course we’re one level higher than on a 747. Flight time almost 13hrs which is about an hour longer than normal due to headwinds. Our route would take us over Myanmar, The Bay of Bengal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Austria and Germany.
The F cabin is large and bright. Massive overhead bins only in the centre. Suites are partly enclosed . All pretty much private as rows misaligned and you can’t see your neighbour when sitting so have to lean forward to chat. The seat in dining mode does tip forward slightly to aid conversation though the ottoman in the suite can be used for a dining companion. Cream leather trim everywhere. Toffee coloured leather and fabric seats with a wardrobe on one side. Deep side bins and more nooks for bits and bobs. Control pad for seat (not touchscreen type). There’s a weird screen thing at arm level next to the window which I was determinedly jabbing at thinking it was some sort of control panel and eventually decided it was an ineffective fluorescent light given there was a button below that turned it on! I was still baffled later and asked a crew member who said this feature is incomplete at the moment and will eventually be some sort of advertising gimmick. That’s what I understood anyway. The table is not as large as the 747 but slides forward from the front of the suite which makes getting in and out easy. Unlike the 747 I couldn’t charge my phone in the in seat plug socket but could do so using the USB sockets. The whole cabin looks very pleasant.
The business class cabin is a disconcerting shade of mauve. The seats all have direct aisle access and look quite comfortable. Economy class is a riot of colour but actually quite pleasant. The small upper deck cabin is very nice and there’s a great exit row that extends across the whole cabin (no bulkhead wall just a large gap before the row in front). Downstairs economy stretches over four cabins with an exit row or bulkhead in each plus a seat with nothing in front at row 60.
At the front of the F cabin is one toilet which is absolutely huge and has a separate leather seat in a side area if one wishes to sit down to change. Just outside is a small lounge area with a two love seats and a magazine rack and small bar that’s stocked with drinks and snacks after take-off. There’s another toilet for F passengers at the back of the cabin.
IFE same as refurbished 747. Not many new releases but largish selection of movies, TV shows and music. I didn’t watch anything, just read and slept.
No appetiser on this flight. Sturgeon caviar offered with all the garnishes. Starter of tomato stuffed with lobster with tuna carpaccio on the side. Four choices of main course including chicken, fish and two vegetarian options. The choices appear light possibly because of the time of the flight, leaving after midnight.
Three reds and three white wines, all French. Additional special guest champagne Dom Ruinart 2002 for December. Wide selection of spirits, soft drinks and hot drinks.
Skipped chocolate cake dessert and cheese platter. Had some fruit then bedded down for a few hours. The mattress is quite thin but the seat as a bed is huge and comfortable. Window shades are not lowered unless you want them down.
There was quite a lot crashing and banging going on whilst breakfast was being prepared in the galley at the back of the cabin so that will wake some people up and also the smells were quite strong (but nice!)
Three options for breakfast including omelette, pancake or cold cuts as well as fruit, cereals, smoothies, bread rolls and an assortment of hot and cold drinks.
Three cabin crew looked after first class. They were a bit more attentive and meal service more measured than on my earlier flight from Sydney but again there’s something missing. You may have to do a bit of coaxing to get what you want. As an example they’d as if you’d like coffee and you’d say yes and off they went. I had to quickly call them back and gently prise the coffee or tea options from them in order to ensure I got a cappuccino or herbal tea. As always they were very warm, smiley and friendly. A crew member came round at the end of the flight and presented each F passenger with an orchid buttonhole, thanking us for flying on Thai Airways. Nice touch. Gentle Christmas tunes were streamed over the PA system as we made the final descent into Charles de Gaulle.
Landed late at 7.20am into a dark and pretty cold Paris. I had yet anther tight connection to Brussels (there is a direct two-class TG 777-200 flight from Bangkok to Brussels but I wanted the A380). We disembarked by going down the front internal stairs to 1L due to problems with the airbridge to the upper deck. I had informed the crew of my connection. I was met at the doors by gate agents but I was simply given a piece of paper with my name and connecting gate and sent on my way! I had to go through immigration into the Schengen area and made it just as boarding commenced for Brussels but it still took another 30mins to complete boarding the very full flight so no need for my panic. It was pretty quiet in the airport at that time of the morning thankfully so my progress through the terminals was quick.
In all the A380 is a beautiful aircraft and airlines can show off their best products. The Thai service noticeably better on this aircraft but again that might just be down to luck. Good food and hard product, great ground service. Soft product could do with a little love.14 Dec 2013
Hi Alexpo1. Yes, Brussels Airlines operates two flights a day between the two cities which is great as my bag didn’t make my flight due to the tight connection. Thankfully I was on the first flight and I have one day here before flying on.
These flights are presumably for connecting passengers. On my flight the vast majority of people were connecting to Brussels Airlines flights to various points in Africa.
Ethiopian Airlines also flies the route.14 Dec 2013
There are still a couple of Brussels Airlines’ flights between CDG and Brussels. But their departure times from CDG at 0830 and 1215 suggest they’re aimed at connecting pax, especially those bound for Africa.
The train is better but unsure whether TG has a link with SNCF to offer this service.
Certainly AF offers its passengers a fly-rail package whereby they are seated in first class on the TGV.
We covered air-rail connections in the magazine earlier this year.14 Dec 2013
Just did a reverse TG A380 flight from Frankfurt into Bangkok. We flew over the new year but was only wished a happy new year as we came in to land at BKK as they go by the departure city time and FRA had just struck midnight.
Only new comments to add to the review above are:
FRA lounge: I arrived into Frankfurt from Freetown via Brussels. For some reason, even though I knew it wasn’t allowed, my feet carried me straight into the Lufthansa first class lounge (not FCT) and I got a small peek at the entrance before the lady glanced at my boarding pass (which was an LH bp) and said “oh you’re on Thai Airways and sadly shook her head and directed me to the Senator Lounge. I did the walk of shame and only one person saw me and he was also directed to the Senator Lounge! The Senator lounge is okay at best though there are some day beds in a quiet room (unless you get a snorer next to you) which were welcome. Food offering was pitiful…hot dogs and a salad. Smoothies and coffees were nice. It’s a biggish lounge with tarmac views. Not sure what the distinction between Senator Lounges and LH business lounges are in terms of access.
Inflight service: What a difference a fantastic crew makes. We had 11/12 pax in F with 3-4 dedicated F cabin crew. They were so much more attentive and one crew member in particular was outstanding! They were visible throughout and did frequent checks and as soon as the bathrooms were used they sprang in to clean them. At the end of the flight two of them came to each passenger and knelt whilst bidding us thanks and farewell (the kneeling was unnecessary but I suppose that’s how it’s done).
Ground service: I had a 12hr layover so went into the city to have lunch with some friends here on holiday (tried out Nahm at the Metropolitan Hotel – great food though gents must remember to wear trousers and shoes…no shorts or sandals allowed though one offending friend was allowed to proceed just this once). On my return to Suvarnabhumi Airport, even though I already had my boarding pass to Sydney I went to the Royal First check-in area just to check where I needed to pay the departure tax (seeing as I had left the airport whilst in transit). The check-in agent waived it for me this time and someone carried my carry-on bags all the way through security and passport control and handed me over to a buggy driver who drove me all the way into the Royal First lounge.
Lounge food: I had some food off the menu as no buffet is on display here. Had a curry and some fruit and a glass of wine. All okay.
Spa: I took advantage of the one hour free oil massage available to F pax. The spa rooms are lovely, each with a bath, separate shower and toilet and changing area. However, it was a good thing it was free as the masseuse left me feeling less than relaxed. I probably shouldn’t have asked for a firm massage.
BTW, the weird screen thing mentioned in the original review is mood lighting apparently!
Great experience. Well done Thai.
Just about to be picked up to board my flight to Sydney…1 Jan 2014
Fivestarfred, there actually is a small buffet area, with snacks, sandwiches etc just opposite the entrance to the dining room. You would not see this unless you went looking for it.
The “weird screen” on the A380 is actually the same screen that was on the leased B777-300ER that Thai leased from Jet Airways. It is a touch screen that controls lighting, seat position etc, with just a single touch. It is somewhat of an embarrassment to Thai that they have not yet implemented this feature….same with the on-board Wi-Fi and mobile phone capability (thanks goodness they haven’t implemented the mobile phone function…yet!).2 Jan 2014
The departure tax is now incorporated as part of the ticket. However, there is talk of an entry tax to be paid on arrival!!2 Jan 2014
Excellent review of Thai airways service.
I live in Bangkok and fly in and out frequently – commenting on donkeyasia’s statement – partly correct – there is a departure tax of 700 Baht in Bangkok, but it is always included in the ticket payment, not collected separately (same as in Singapore). Hence, if one is in transit for less than 24 hours, with the onward boarding pass in hand, no departure tax will be collected, since a boarding pass for the onward flight was already issued. The same applies in Singapore, where one may leave the airport for a few hours and return to immigration and departure area without the need for paying any airport departure tax.2 Jan 2014