Oct 29, 2013

Trip Report: Thai 747 Royal First Class SYD-BKK

The third flight on my US Airways 140,000 mile Australia redemption was Sydney to Bangkok, forming my return stopover in Southeast Asia. Thai operates two flights daily on 747s, and both routes had tons of first class availability. For as long as I've been checking, there were first class seats open every single day in October.

I started at check-in, which unfortunately didn't open until three hours prior to boarding, so I was stuck waiting for about 20 minutes. Even when they opened lanes for check-in, the agents didn't start taking passengers for another ten minutes.

Thai Royal First Checkin Thai Royal First Boarding Pass

At check-in I was given an immigration fast-track card for expedited security and immigration, which I whisked through quickly. Since this was my first time in Sydney's international terminal, I did some walking around and planespotting.

Planes on ground at Sydney Airport Qantas 747 at Sydney Airport

Thai Airways uses Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand's lounge, which was nice enough, though unfortunately because the Singapore SilverKris lounge was undergoing maintenance it was quite packed. The lounge was directly above the gate for my flight, so I got a nice view of the lounge welcome sign with the Thai 747 outside. Though mostly a classy lounge, there was an very out-of-place hot dog stand!

Air New Zealand Lounge Entrance Air New Zealand Hot Dog Stand
My Thai 747

Upon boarding I saw as expected that this was Thai's older 747 first class product with dated but very spacious chairs. I originally flew this product on a Thai Airways Bangkok to Chiang Mai domestic flight, and at the time that was my first time in anything other than economy. I was looking forward to spending the next 9 hours trying it out on a longer flight. I was quickly served champagne and presented with nicely-bound food and drink menus, and noticed there were only three other first class passengers: an older couple sitting in the center, and a very demanding younger man seated at window seat 2A. I was seated at the very front of the nose cone in 1K.

Seat Menus

The meal service started with a small salmon appetizer and some hot nuts, with Dom Perignon refills.


Next came the caviar service, presented with a tray and dished out with a choice of condiments. I was also offered a shot of vodka, which I surely did not refuse.

Caviar Service Caviar

Caviar service was followed by a lobster appetizer and a salad, both of which were good.

Lobster Salad

I choose the beef option from the menu, which was adequate but pretty chewy. I remember having a better beef meal on US Airways, of all airlines. After beef they came around with a cheese and fruit plate.

Beef Cheese

Desert was a vanilla tart drizzled with vanilla sauce.

Vanilla Tart

After dinner I decided to check out the bathroom and change into my Royal First pajamas. I was unimpressed with the bathroom, which compared with other first cabin bathrooms was quite small (though there were two of them).

Bathroom Amenities Pajamas

The flight attendants saw me changing into my pajamas and were making my bed as I stepped out of the bathroom.

Making Bed

The bed was quite comfortable, but didn't seem completely 180 degrees flat, as the headrest was angled upwards slightly. I got about two hours of sleep before waking up to sounds of the other passengers being served food. I was still pretty stuffed from the first meal, but the flight attendants were insistent, and I thought it would be worth at least trying what they were offering. I was served some tom yum soup, which was good but mild, and chicken satay, followed by another vanilla tart.

Tom Yum Soup Chicken Satay
Vanilla Tart

Upon landing I could see that were were taxi-ing to a remote gate. Although I love Bangkok's airport, Thai's use of remote gates for huge wide-bodied aircraft is frustrating. Luckily for the first class passengers, we disembarked first and were whisked away in a van straight to immigration (normally, with a jet bridge they drive you in a golf cart inside the airport to immigration - this was admittedbly probably faster, as much as I hate remote gates). Once inside, we were escorted straight to diplomat immigration with no line. All told this was the most seamless ground experience I've ever had landing internationally at an airport. From stepping off the plane to curbside was less than ten minutes.

Leaving Seat 747 at Remote Gate

I had a great time on Thai's 747 and look forward to trying the new "refreshed" 747 cabin they're starting to introduce on some routes, and their A380 first class product which I'll be flying next week!

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