Thai Airways’ “light premium” service, Thai Smile, has just received one of its 11 A320s on order and will start servicing the Bangkok-Macau route from July 7. The delivery flight took off on June 30 at 1230 from Airbus’s facility in Hamburg, stopped in Dubai to refuel before continuing on for the Thai capital.
Among the passengers were journalists from Thailand and Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, as well as Thai Smile’s managing director Captain Woranate Laprabang.
We were flying out of Airbus's Hamburg facility for Bangkok via Dubai. As we boarded on the flight, numbered TG8929, we were greeted by flight attendants in very stylish and smart orange uniforms.
The colour palette of the interior, however, is much darker than we expected. The seats are upholstered in mostly brown and orange ethnic stripes, with dark brown leather head rests. Woranate said that head rest covers with the Thai Smile logo would be added.
Configuration is 3-3 throughout, and each seat is 18 inches wide, with a recline angle of 120 degrees. The first four rows, a business class product called Smile Plus, have a wider seat pitch at 33 inches, versus 28 to 31 inches in economy. Moreover, the three seats on each side in this premium space are to only accommodate two passengers and, with the armrests lifted, are to provide ample of space to stretch.
In front of every seat is a magazine compartment above the tray table, and there is also the seat pocket. At our flight, there was nothing in either. Woranate said that initially, Thai Airways' Sawadee magazine would be provided but eventually, Thai Smile would have its own inflight title.
Smile Plus provides more leg room but even at the back of the cabin, not all seats are made equal. The pitch of those after row 42, at the emergency exit, is significantly smaller. When I sat in one of those for a test, my knees were touching the back of the seat in front of me and if a passenger in front of me reclined, it would be really uncomfortable.
One good feature of the aircraft is the very spacious overhead storage compartments. Each can easily fit in two small trolleys. According to Woranate, economy passengers will be served simple sandwiches and drinks, while the Smile Plus cabin will have multi-course meal service and more beverage options.
Thai Smile flights come with all the same checked baggage allowance and Royal Orchid Plus benefits as Thai Airways and Smile Plus passengers have lounge access.
For a more detailed Tried and Tested review of Thai Smile, look out for the September issue of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.