27th February 2014 at 03:55 #585966
Anonymous27th February 2014 at 03:55 #585967
Thai Airways Boeing 777-200 flight number TG 600 from Melbourne to Bangkok: The flight from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport was delayed by at least an hour. A member of staff informed me at the Air New Zealand International Lounge, where I had been invited as a Royal Silk Class (business class) passenger to wait, that the Thai Airways crew had been stuck in traffic due to chaos on the roads- a result of Melbourne’s annual White Night cultural festival.
Boarding was quick as the flight was fairly empty (only seven business class passengers onboard, out of a total of 30 seats). The usual business class choice of orange juice or champagne was quickly offered by friendly cabin crew, and after no more delays, we were quickly in the air.
The Thai Royal Silk seat was a bit of a disappointment. While the service was “as smooth as silk” the seat definitely wasn’t. It did not fully recline, instead resting at an uncomfortably steep angle for sleeping. I was very happy I had no one next to me, as the separation partition was far too small to ensure any degree of privacy. The onboard entertainment was satisfactory, as was the food.
Having flown Royal Silk Class on the long-haul Melbourne to Bangkok leg of my journey, I was to travel Economy Class to my final destination, Hong Kong. This meant that during my two-hour transit at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport I was unable to use the Royal Silk Lounge.
Verdict: there are direct services between Melbourne and Hong Kong so to make it worthwhile flying Thai, the airline has to do more than it did here (although obviously price plays a part).
The seat was very old and fairly uncomfortable, but the service was very good. Overall it added up to a very average experience.27th February 2014 at 06:03 #585968
Thanks for the review, BettyLouise. I was struck by your comments about lounge access in transit. Did you actually try to access one of the TG lounges? If so, exactly what was the response?
Personally, I think it is rather churlish of an airline to refuse lounge access to an international long-haul passenger in transit – although given the disparity in travel classes, would I be correct in guessing that the different legs were on separate tickets?
Mind you, perhaps I am spoilt, since my allegiance is to oneworld, which operates a much more generous lounge access policy than Star. Here is what the oneworld site has to say on the subject:
Connecting between oneworld marketed and operated flights:
First and Business Class customers connecting on the same day of travel, or before 6am the following day, can access the lounge when travelling between an international long haul (a oneworld international long haul flight is defined as an international flight marketed and operated by any oneworld carrier with a scheduled flight time longer than 5 hours) and an international short haul or domestic flight (and vice-versa).
Lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.
You must be prepared to show your boarding pass or itinerary showing travel in First or Business class on the international long haul flight, in order to access the lounge before your international short haul or domestic flight.
Mind you, the TG business lounges in BKK are surprisingly modest in the offering – except, of course, for the spa!!
You can see my own review of the 747 seat (which sounds similar) at http://seatplans.businesstraveller.com/airlines/Thai-Airways/user-reviews#comment_id_8079, and as you can see my view of it was, I think similar – good for short haul, but decidedly subpar for longhaul. And my word, isn’t the cabin PURPLE!!?! I mean to say, a bit of colour here and there is nice, but virtually everything is in different (and clashing) shades of purple, and I thought it was all a bit too much!27th February 2014 at 07:10 #585969
Same seats on the airbus A330 flew from DXB to BKK and back and again the seats are the same, steep angle for sleeping not great for an overnight flight, but the service and food was great. Thai need to sort there J seat out.27th February 2014 at 07:44 #585970
Thanks for your comments, Ian. Upon my arrival in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5:40am I went straight through security to departures and headed for the Royal Silk lounge. I had visited the lounge on my trip from Hong Kong to Melbourne via Bangkok a week earlier, and was looking forward to a warm shower and some breakfast. In fact, I specifically hadn’t eaten on the plane, opting for a few more moments of uncomfortable sleep instead, as I planned to dine in the lounge.
I went to reception and was greeted in the usual friendly Thai way by a junior member of staff. I handed over my Royal Silk Class ticket stub from the Melbourne flight I had just arrived on, in addition to my onward economy class boarding pass for Thai Airways flight to Hong Kong. I was then informed I would be unable to use the lounge as I held an economy class ticket for my onward journey irrespective of the fact I had just flown as a business class passenger on a long haul international flight. After a polite protest, and a brief conversation with the manager of reception who also confirmed I was not allowed to come in, I gave up, hungry and embarrassed by my public rejection, and waited out my two-hour transit in Starbucks.
Thanks for sharing details on Oneworld lounge policy. It is useful to know for my future travels!27th February 2014 at 07:51 #585971
Well, BettyLouise, good on you for trying… Star do seem rather stingy in this respect. I remember many years ago flying first class on SQ from Bangalore to Singapore to connect to a CX flight. It arrived early, long before the CX lounge opened. Since SQ didn’t have a lounge in Bangalore, I tried going to the (24-hour) SQ lounge in Changi and asking, very politely, if they would let me in given that I had had no lounge access so far on my first class flight, and was summarily dismissed. I did write in to complain, and to my amazement they did actually apologise and hinted that that the guy on the desk should have exercised his discretion and let me in. All of which, of course, ultimately made no difference at all!
Although the memsahib and I enjoy lounge access with CX/oneworld, when travelling en famille through Bangkok we often visit one of the (several) reflexology centres in the airport. These are fairly cheap by international standards, and are an absolutely wonderful way to relax, so if you find yourself in the same situation again I do recommend trying it out. It is a very pleasant alternative to the lounges!27th February 2014 at 08:14 #585972
I couldn’t agree with you more. I have flown business class on many international carriers, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. Thai’s Royal Silk Class does not compare to these airlines in terms of seat comfort!27th February 2014 at 09:40 #585973
I fully agree with you. Airline employees should use their discretion. At 6:00am the Royal Silk lounge was incredibly quiet. Despite their rule about only admitting passengers with an outbound business class ticket, I believe they should have just let me in. Or at the very least offered me some assistance to find the nearest place to freshen up! Next time I travel I will definitely seek out a reflexology centre! Thanks for your support and advice 🙂27th February 2014 at 14:33 #585974
BettyLouise – Opt for a flight with one of TG’s A380s or B777-300ERs for a fully flat bed seat in business class.
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