Thai Airways A380-800

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  • Anonymous
    Guest

    CHECK-IN
    I checked in online for both myself and my husband. We were connecting through to Krabi on another ThaI Airways internal flight so check in allowed me to do both flights, checking and amending our seats and confirming our passport details. Strangely though the system would not let me print off my boarding pass for the main London to Bangkok leg, but would let me print off the internal flight one!

    We were flying back into T4 so parked the car there and got the Heathrow Express across to the new T2. The walk from the HeX station to T2 takes a good 15 minutes even if you're relatively fit, so be prepared for that. Once we found the Thai First Class check in desk, which is in Zone A, right over in the back corner, we were dealt with with exemplary service and with no queue at the desk, were sent on our way with our boarding passes within 5 minutes.

    THE LOUNGE
    As were flying on Christmas Day the airport was relatively quiet. We zipped through Fast Tack security faster than ever before, being the only passengers passing through at the time.

    As the Thai Airways flight was on their A380 this meant leaving from the T2 satellite building which meant yet another 15 minute walk. However, we managed to jump on the shuttle golf buggy which Heathrow now run along the lengthy corridor between the two terminal buildings and, thankfully, they have now installed a moving walkway too.

    Although we were directed towards the new United Airlines lounge, you can of course use any of the Star Alliance lounges which are there. We did chose to use the new United Airlines lounge as we had heard that it was actually the best of the bunch.

    It did not disappoint. We were ushered into the First Class part of the large lounge and again, we were the only passengers there. We enjoyed breakfast; you can choose a la carte (I had the eggs bending with smoked salmon which was excellent) or buffet.

    Champagne was flowing immediately on entry to the lounge and right up to the time when we had to leave to get to the gate to board the flight. There was a bit of a party atmosphere as it was Christmas Day and the staff were very chatty. To be honest I'd rate this lounge much higher than BA Concorde lounge in T5 for its ambience, food, layout, toilet facilities and attentiveness of the staff.

    BOARDING
    There were no announcements in the lounge so we had to keep an eye on the boards. Despite being told that boarding would be 45 minutes before push back, the flight did not show boarding until a good 20 minutes before the allotted time. When we got to the gate, which was only two gates away from the lounge, most of the passengers had in fact boarded and the last of the Economy passengers were forming two queues.

    We joined one of the queues and when the staff saw that we were first class ushered us straight in front of all the other passengers to board the plane. This was a little embarrassing but was efficient nonetheless. A few things didn't help proceedings though; as we were continuing past the Economy jetway and along the First and Business class jetway, a member of staff put his arm right across our way to prevent us from continuing. It was not until is told him we were First Class that he let me through but then also tried to stop my husband too.

    We were greeted at the aircraft door with the friendly smile and ‘Sawadeeka’ from the crew. I was ushered to my seat 1k immediately but my husband, who was seated in2k behind me, was sent over to 2a where a passenger was already sat. Again, it was only when I asked what he was doing on the other side of the aircraft that the crew realised their mistake and with many apologies, sent him over to his correct seat.

    The crew helped me with my carry-on bag and within seconds of me sitting down I was offered a drink. I chose the rather excellent Dom Perignon champagne.

    THE SEAT
    The First Class seat on Thai’s A380 is a large semi-open suite; there are no doors but the suite has a feeling of privacy. Everything in the cabin has a sense of calm, decorated in beige and cream with hints of yellow and purple. The seat is wide and deep and is exceptionally comfortable. There are numerous settings for the back, leg rest, head rest and three distinct settings for take off/landing, dining and sleeping, and there is also a massage function.

    If you sit at the window seat there is side storage near the windows, but no overhead storage bins. The seats in the middle of the cabin have no side storage but have the overhead bin storage. All seats have a mini wardrobe set in the side wall of the suite.

    WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
    The cabin has three rows, set out in 1-2-1. If you're a couple who likes to travel together then clearly the middle two seats are best. If you both like window views then you can sit one behind the other like we did.

    Row 1 could be considered a little too close to the front stairs, small lounge and the very capacious toilet/changing room. Row 3 could be considered to be much to close to the extensive galley and toilets between First and Business class.

    To note though, seats 1a, 1k, 3a and 3k only have two windows; they are set about right for row 1, but you'd have to lean slightly forward in row 3 to look out. Therefore for really good window views and for being away from the front no the back of the cabin, seats 2a and 2k are perfect.

    THE FLIGHT
    We pushed back on time and were straight from the gate out onto the runway and took off immediately, well, it was Christmas Day after all and very few other flights were operating.

    Within about 20 minutes the seat belt signs were off, I was changed into my PJs and was being offered my second champagne (of many). As both my husband and I had pre-ordered our main meals (both having the superb Lobster Thermador) we were. To asked what we wanted from the menu no dinner service was started within 45 minutes after take off.

    An amous bouche of shrimp was followed by their excellent caviar service and then a selection of cold salmon and trout. The main dish followed after which I was so full I simply couldn't do any of the deserts any justice.

    I decided to bed down so the crew kindly undertook the bed service and turned my seat into a rather comfy bed with mattress cover, thin duvet and pillows. I slept for about 5 hours and woke with about 3 hours to run to Bangkok; as it was quiet I decided to get changed back into my clothes and asked for a pot of English breakfast tea to help me wake up.

    Within an hour the breakfast service started and I had a plate of very elegantly presented fruit and a hot scrambled egg, bacon, tomato and sausage entrée, washed down with copious pots of tea.

    We landed about an hour ahead of schedule and were at the gate 45 minutes ahead of our allotted time. This meant that we had plenty of time for our connection for our flight to Krabi, which was made all the faster by the excellent First Class arrivals service on disembarking at Bangkok, by the Thai Airways golf buggies, which meet you and zoom you to wherever you are destined to go, be it immigration/customs or your connecting flight, via immigration.

    VERDICT
    We flew Thai Airways First Class on their 747 service a few years ago when they had refurbished them with their new First Class suites. The A380 service is equally as good and I could not fault any part of the flight, from check in to disembarkation. We flew this on award miles so cannot comment on value for money, but it was certainly worth the miles!

    Review courtesy of Seatplans.com. Original review by user bigglesgirl can be found here


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Thanks for the detailed check.

    Readers may be interested to know that Thai offers stand-by upgrades from economy to business or from business to first class.

    http://www.thaiairways.co.uk/en_GB/plan_my_trip/Special_fare/Offers_Booking/THAI_Standby_Upgrades.page


    AsiaTraveller
    Participant

    I have been a frequent critic of Thai Airways over the years, and watched with chagrin as they devalued their Royal Orchid frequent flyer program, raised fares, flew increasingly aging equipment, and ultimately abandoned the U.S. market (where I live). But I think I need to say something positive for TG after a recent experience. I think TG, as they say, may be stepping up its game. This is not a review of the First Class or Business Class product, but I recently had such a pleasant experience in Economy on a TG A380 from BKK to Narita that I thought the experience was worth sharing. The food was great, the aircraft was spotless and impressive, and the flight attendants were very nice. Everything went without a hitch, and I would not hesitate to fly TG again. First time on an A380. If things internally improve within the TG organization and their economic calculations permit, I would welcome TG’s return to the U.S. market.

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