Tried & Tested

Thai Airways A340-500, Business Class

10 Oct 2006 by intern11

As we write this review, THAI Airways and the rest of the airline gang at Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport are rushing to migrate to the new Suvarnabhumi facility. This review is based on a flight that departed from Don Muang on June 5.

First impressions: My flight from Hongkong arrived on time at 2225, which meant there was an over two hours’ wait for the connecting flight to Melbourne, time enough to enjoy the Royal Silk lounge.

The lounge: Despite knowing it was soon bound for Suvarnabhumi, THAI still invested in a new executive waiting room, which it launched middle of this year. The best-kept secret is the free 20-minute massage service, which I always book the minute I arrive. (I like to think THAI will continue to offer this treat at Suvarnabhumi.) Impending flight departures are called out, albeit a bit too loudly.

Boarding: The holding halls of Don Muang are not the most well designed as there is only one pathway leading to the finger pier, a situation that always creates bottlenecks.

Before settling down, I checked my seat for a compartment to stuff my reading glasses, pen and some toiletries, and found one underneath the armrest. We gently pushed off a little after 0015.

After the safety video had been aired, the captain came on the air with his welcome spiel, but either he had a naturally soft speaking voice or the audio was not on the right level, I couldn’t make out anything he said.

The seat: Royal Silk Class on this Airbus A345 had a 2-2-2 configuration and featured THAI’s new cradle-type seats. The seat pitch is 60 inches; seat recline is 170 degrees; and seat width is 19 inches. The master controls are found on a sleek touchpad on the right armrest, while below it is the handset for the IFE and ceiling light (there is also an adjustable lamp by one’s right shoulder). On the seatback in front of the passenger is a 10.4-inch TV monitor. Getting to sleep position, however, was a bit embarrassing, due to the racket created by the sliding process – we recommend some oiling of gears here.

The flight: Having eaten a full meal on the way to Bangkok, I was not hungry but I asked for three pieces of delicious garlic bread. Then, it was lights out.

Arrival: We landed at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport around noon as scheduled.

Verdict: Except for the noisy seat, the journey to Australia was totally relaxing.

Price: HK-BKK-MEL return Business Class starts from US$2,043,

Margie T Logarta

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