Does Thai Scandinavia have the best "premium economy"?

12 Dec 2013 by Alex McWhirter

Thai Airways certainly hides its light under a bushel.

Most travellers outside Scandinavia will be unaware that Thai offers probably the best "premium economy" seating anywhere in the world on B777-300ER flights departing Copenhagen and Stockholm for Bangkok.

After all, what other carrier provides fully-flat bed seating disposed 1-2-1 when passengers buy a premium economy class return priced at DKR 13,014 (£1,464)?

But if the product is so good then why doesn’t Thai offer it on other routes? Because the Scandinavian market is unique.

Scandinavian travellers are more egalitarian than those elsewhere and this fact prompted national airline SAS to ditch first class way back in the 1980s.

What it means is that if foreign airlines wish to sell their premium products in Scandinavia they must price creatively. And that is the case at Thai Scandinavia.

It has a special "U" premium class tariff for B777-300ER flights departing Copenhagen and Scandinavia.

Out of Copenhagen this ticket costs DKR 13,775 (£1,550) when booked by December 31 (for travel up until March 31, 2014). Bookings made by January 14, for travel between April 1 and June 28, cost DKR 13,014 (£1,464).

A spokesperson for Thai Scandinavia explained to Business Traveller that its U tariff meets the needs of the Scandinavian market.

He said: "In Scandinavia, there are a high number of corporate accounts that have travel restrictions for using business class but still have need of better comfort on long-haul flights.

"There is almost no demand for first class in Scandinavia so we use the front cabin as business class and the second 18-seater business cabin as premium economy where the service levels provided are in line with the booking classes.

"It's a good example of where a product meets local demand and makes a positive financial contribution to our Scandinavian operation." has a display of the relevant aircraft, where you can spot the second cabin which occupies rows 18 to 22.

One advantage of flying with Thai is that, for little extra cost, you can extend your trip to include other destinations in south-east Asia, although regional flights would be in the normal economy cabin. Passengers flying beyond Thailand can break their journey in Bangkok.

Thai Scandinavia has a number of other tariffs which are offered locally but not elsewhere. The carrier is the market leader for Asia in Scandinavia and Thai's newish B777-300ERs are its flagships.

It is advisable to book U class tickets through travel agents or with Thai Scandinavia direct.

Alex McWhirter

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