3rd May 2014 at 23:33 #585975
Anonymous3rd May 2014 at 23:33 #585976
CHECK-IN: I checked in online 24 hours before the flight and was able to confirm seats 1A and 2A which I had already allocated beforehand. Because we were transiting through Bangkok from Koh Samui we had to get our boarding passes at BKK. We arrived at the Royal First class area and were greeted by two eager porters who took our bags from us, and another eager lady member of staff who took our passports and enquired where we were flying to. We were ushered to the seating area whilst the formalities of check in was completed and after about 5 minutes, one of the staff came over and handed us our passports, complete with luggage receipts and boarding passes. During the process we were asked if we wished to book a massage at the Royal Orchid Spa, which we did and a booking was made for us from the check in desk. We were then ushered off, with a porter leading the way carrying my hand luggage, through the fast track security (we were the only passengers going through so it was swift), and then onto fast track immigration, which again was swift. After immigration you descend an escalator which takes you straight into the Royal Silk Business Class lounge, however as we were flying First Class, a golf buggy was awaiting us at the bottom and we were whisked off through the business class lounge and along the corridor of Concourse D to the Royal Orchid Spa.
THE LOUNGE: As we had booked a massage at the check in desk, we were dropped off outside the spa and were greeted and taken inside for a cold ginger tea whilst our massage rooms were being prepared. My husband and I then parted for our individual massages both emerging a good hour later after having been pampered significantly with the free ‘Touch of Silk’ full body massage. After chilling with a hot ginger tea, we left the Spa and crossed the councourse to enter the Royal First Class lounge. We were greeted by a member of staff and ushered into one of the cabanas and handed drinks and meal menus.
BOARDING: There are no calls for boarding in the lounge, instead the lounge staff come and find you about 20 minutes before the flight is due to depart, and escort you to the aircraft. As our gate was close to the lounge we were walked, rather than ‘buggied’ to the gate. Boarding was swift and straight-forward and I took up my seat 1A immediately. Shortly after taking my seat a glass of champagne was offered along with papers, magazines and the menu.
THE SEAT: The aircraft servicing the lunchtime departure to the UK is the A340-600 and so the Royal First Class is of the older, open seat variety. The cabin does feel very spacious with only 8 seats, but it is an old layout. Saying that though, there is plenty of storage, although not as many sockets and connection points and cubby hole cupboards as on the new 747 layout.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?: For couples travelling together the middle seats 1/2E and 1/2F are definitely the ones to go for, however if you want a window view, you can sit in tandem as we did and have either 1/2A or 1/2K and dine together if you fancy a chat.
THE FLIGHT: We pushed back on time and after a short taxi were airborne within 10 minutes. The food service we experienced on the outbound flight was exceptional and we were hoping for the same on this flight, only it wasn’t to be. Although it started well with the drinks service and warm nuts and the canapés. The crew did not come around and ask for our meal order, instead chosing to serve everyone in the cabin the same early courses (including the excellent caviar course) and then proceeded to offer the main courses from the wheeled table. Whilst this seemed like a good idea they completed missed out one of the main courses choices (Slow Cooked Lamb Shank) which would have been the choice of my husband, plus a couple of other passengers, all of whom were asking where that choice was. By the time we were served the food was cold and unappetising, not what one would expect from first class at all! After a rather disastrous meal I returned to my own seat for an Oolong tea to aid my digestion.
Even though this was a daytime flight I wanted to try to get some sleep so I proceeded to make my bed, at which point one of the crew came out of the galley and continued the process for me. I decided not to change into my pyjamas as I only intended on a few hours of sleep. The seat on the old A340-600 DOES NOT go fully flat, it leaves the head end slightly elevated which quite frankly was causing me some severe problems with my neck when lying on my side – to that end I probably only got about 2-3 hours sleep out of what could have been a comfortable 4-5 hours instead.
Lights were switched on about 2 hours before landing and the afternoon meal was served. As the earlier meal was such a disappointment I had lost my appetite and only opted for the Chicken and Leek soup, which because it was served to order, was hot and delicious, just as you would expect the Thai Airways food to be; if only they had served the previous meal in the same manner!
We had had a couple of medical emergencies during the flight so the aircraft was ushered straight into Heathrow without stacking and emergency crews were onboard the aircraft before passengers were allowed to disembark. We landed on time and bags were collected within about 30 minutes of landing.
VERDICT: The Thai Airways ground service at Bangkok was absolutely second-to-none from the moment we checked in we were very well looked after, the flight however left a lot to be desired and was shame considering the excellent service we had on the outbound flight. Come on Thai, when you do it well, you do it well, but otherwise it’s terrible! Consistency of service is what is needed.
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