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Thai Airways A340-600: LHR-BKK  
User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 26329 times:

Hello and welcome to my 6th trip report!

For this trip I travelled home from London to Bangkok on Thai Airways for a university Easter break. This is the return sector on my previous report which can be found here THAI's A346 Smooth As Silk To London (by win1290 Jan 20 2012 in Trip Reports) .

The trip to London Heathrow airport started in Bristol (where I am located for university), I would be taking a Great Western Train service from Bristol Temple Meads station to London Paddington station then go on a Heathrow Express train from London Paddington to Heathrow Airport.

Platform 15 for a 15:30 service to Paddington
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Inside the train. I booked this ticket a few weeks in advance and so I managed to save over 100 GBP on the travel!
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After 1 hour and 45 minutes, I arrived at London station

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Then I went in a Heathrow express for a 15-minute journey

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Arrived London Heathrow Terminal 3 at around 17:45 for a 21:35 flight to Bangkok

Here is the detail of the trip
Date: 24 March 2012
Airline: Thai Airways International
Flight: TG917
Route: LHR - BKK
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Class: Royal Silk

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Quite surprised to see check-in counters were already open nearly 4 hours before the flight

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Royal First counter

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Royal Silk and Economy counters

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Initially, I queued to check in at the Business counters, but as the two counters were occupied by 2 large groups, we were advised to join the Economy line by the friendly ground team, which I and the few people behind me did. The check-in lady was very efficient, and my bags were checked very fast and very quickly I got my boarding pass. She also invited me to use the SAS London lounge and advised the direction. However, to be absolutely pedantic (which I am usually not) , she didn't attach Royal Silk tag on my bags, nonetheless she did tag Star Alliance priority. During check-in, I overheard the next counter, when the check-in agent told passengers that the flight was overbooked and the airline was looking for some volunteers to go on the next flight but they quickly said they didn't want to volunteer. It was clear that this would be a full flight in all classes.

Check in area

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At this time, security screening was very quick, took less than 5 minutes. Here are pictures after security

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Then I was on my way to SAS London Lounge

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Some lounge impressions. It was not busy at all when I arrived there
The lounge spreads over 2 floors, the first one has more food offerings and the second floor has more seats

First Floors

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Second Floors

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Snacks/refreshments on the second floor

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my choice

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Then I went to use the shower facility.

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At 20:35, the gate information was displayed on screen, then I was off to gate 34. It was a long walk

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I was among the first group of people getting to the gate. This gate is not big at all, and I wondered if it could facilitate the full A340-600's flight.

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Then it got quite busy

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At around 21:15, boarding call was made, first by passengers travelling with children and those needing assistance. Then Royal First and Royal Silk passengers were called to board. The boarding process was very strict. When the Business class boarding was made, a lot people assumed that the star alliance gold card holders could board at the same time, and they were turned back unfortunately, and I thought the way ground staff turned back their frequent travellers was not polite and professional at all, by shouting 'No, First and Business class only'!. Nonetheless, when we were boarding the airplane on door 2L (only one door was used) we were greeted by very friendly cabin attendants who gave each of us directions to our seats.

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Boarding the plane. I was seated on the same seat as on the BKK-LHR sector a few months back.

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Then came welcome drinks! I must look so young that the cabin crew offered me orange juice   but in the end I went for champagne.

When the aircraft door was closed, a welcome announcement was made and the safety demonstration video was played

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Then pushed back

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Taxied to runway

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Took off, around 30 minutes behind schedule

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As soon as the seatbelt sign was switched off, the crew came to shut the curtain and turned on orange mood lighting.

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Seat control

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Sawasdee inflight magazine and an A380 article.

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Inflight entertainment

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Then the captain made an welcome announcement that the plane was climbing to a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet and the flying route would be heading south west to Belgium's capital of Brussels then heading to Bangkok. and the flight time would be for another 10 hours and 40 minutes Usually, the captain would state all countries and seas that we would be flying pass.

Food service shortly began

Here are the food and drinks menu (photos taken at home)

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First offered was drinks and peanuts. I noticed in the past that TG used to give peanuts in Economy class and cashew nuts in Business class and macadamia nuts in First class. This was not the case on this flight.

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Chicken satay. I was surprised to see the crew came with a tray of chicken satay and offered the second round. I gladly accepted it  http://i1055.photobucket.com/albums/s515/win1290/Travel/DSCN2732.jpg

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Then we were given hot towels, and our table was set and dinner served.

First course: wild mushroom and ricotta ballottine marinated crayfish, fig and balsamic chutney.

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Unfortunately, due to my food allergy  http://i1055.photobucket.com/albums/s515/win1290/Travel/DSCN2736.jpg

For the main course, I went for pork in red curry steamed Thai Hom Mali rice, vegetables.

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Cheese and fruits

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Cappuccino and hazelnut mousse with caramel sauce. and a cup of tea

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Some cabin views

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My seat in the sleeping position

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After a seven hour straight sleep, I was woken up when the cabin light was turned back on and the crew giving me a hot towel.

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Just passed India

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Then breakfast was served.

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 26213 times:

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I went for the cheese omelette option

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Then captain announce that we would soon be descending from the current flying level of 39,000 feet. and the crew was preparing the cabin for landing.

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Descending to BKK

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Landed slightly behind schedule

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Airport welcome sign

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My seat (the left one   )

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Disembarking the plane. TG didn't distribute orchids to lady passengers.

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First class cabin

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Unfortunately, there wasn't a spot where I could take a good picture of the plane I travelled on   .

It was a long walk to passport control.

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I was warned that recently it took a long long time at passport control desks in BKK, last month, my parents waited for over 1 and a half hours. Luckily, it took me less than 5 minutes to clear.

Off to belt number 7

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Interesting arts next to the baggage belt

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It took over 15 minutes until my bag arrived. The airport was quite busy in the Sunday afternoon

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This concludes this trip report. Overall, it was yet another good flight experience with TG. On board service was indeed smooth as silk. Food was tasty and crew were so naturally friendly and during the flight they came around so many times offering drink top-ups. Despite the wait at the baggage belt, it turned out to be perfect timing as when I got out the terminal building, parents arrived to pick at the same time. As for the SAS London Lounge, I think it offers a good refreshments and it has all the facilities that one could think of using while waiting for a flight.

Thanks for reading and as ever, all comments/feedback are very appreciated.

Win


User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2207 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 25469 times:

Excellent TR! Loved the photos, the catering looks phenomenal on TG, I hope to try them someday.

Thanks!

Irish



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 25407 times:

Hey Win,

Nice to see the final, or well "first" part up. Again seems like you had a really nice flight on Thai. Interesting that you had chosen night time flights on both ways, was this done for the sole purpose of catching the A346 or do you more enjoy flying at night? To me daytime flights are nicer, at least westbound since they give you more time to enjoy the service at least up front   The load on your flight seemed quite heavy, which must be an indication that Thai are doing some good business on the LHR route.

The food looked very delicious as always on Thai it seems   Although a bit surprised they only offered one starter option. The Satay were a nice touch, seems like they've taken after SQ or has it been standard on TG from long before?

I was quite surprised to see you using the SAS London Lounge. Firstly the place looked much nicer than I had imagined, since generally the SAS Business Lounges are crap. Seating looked nice and comfy, although just the standard Biz Lounge armchairs, and so goes for the rest of the interior. Offerings however seemed far superior than the SAS Lounges in Scandinavia, food offerings looked quite generous and I was very surprised to see them serve hot food which is something we don't have in Scandinavia. Suppose that's just to set the standard for the other *A carriers using this lounge.

Drink offerings seemed poor though, by judging the looks of it, no proper booze in that lounge? Shower facilities were a huge plus though, and again something we don't have in Scandinavia. Perhaps I should try this place out soon  

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4273 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 25145 times:

Hi, Win,

good continuation and return flight on TG A346! Lovely service, great food it seems. The satay is very nice, definitely among my favourite dishes. Did the crew pro-actively refill the drinks throughout your meal services?

I fully understand your choice for the nightflights, a good way to find your rest and sleep on the comfortable J-class seat. That where it is destined for   

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 3):
To me daytime flights are nicer, at least westbound since they give you more time to enjoy the service at least up front

You have gained experience so much from just 1 single flight to/from PVG? Interesting!

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1313 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 25032 times:

Hey,

Very nice report, Thai JCL looks great. You made me a bit hungry actually.

Thx for shearing,

Jonathan



"In Israel, on order to be a realist, one's must believe in miracles" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 24586 times:

Hi Win,

Nice trip report and some interesting photos. I like the idea of having various artworks on display to view while waiting for bags to arrive in BKK.

Quoting win1290 (Thread starter):
ground staff turned back their frequent travellers was not polite and professional at all, by shouting 'No, First and Business class only'!.

Were the ground staff Thai or contract employees? It is strange that so many people don't listen to the boarding calls. When boarding through just one door, other airlines will board economy first so that passengers in the premium cabins are not disturbed by the constant flow through the cabin, although they do generally say that premium passengers can board whenever they like. I suppose that some First/ Business passengers might worry that they don't get enough time to swill down the welcome aboard champagne. 
Quoting win1290 (Thread starter):
I noticed in the past that TG used to give peanuts in Economy class and cashew nuts in Business class and macadamia nuts in First class. This was not the case on this flight.

Economising, maybe? I notice that the nuts came in a clear bag and not warmed and in a bowl. Another cost-cutting move?

Quoting win1290 (Thread starter):
Food was tasty and crew were so naturally friendly and during the flight they came around so many times offering drink top-ups.

The meal presentation looks good. And as always, a friendly and welcoming crew makes all the difference.

Thanks for sharing,
Roy / Quokkas


User currently offlineAeroflop From New Zealand, joined Mar 2012, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 24310 times:

Great trip report!

Very nice to see you post pictures of the they journey to the airport as well as the flight.

Aeroflop


User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 23465 times:

Hi and Thanks for all the comments, really appreciate them!

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 2):

Excellent TR! Loved the photos, the catering looks phenomenal on TG, I hope to try them someday.
Thanks!
Irish

Hi Irish! Thanks, I am glad you liked them. TG food continues to impress me.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 3):
Hey Win,

Nice to see the final, or well "first" part up. Again seems like you had a really nice flight on Thai. Interesting that you had chosen night time flights on both ways, was this done for the sole purpose of catching the A346 or do you more enjoy flying at night?

Hey Jonas, yes it was another great experience on TG. Thai operates the A346 on both day and night flights, but I went for the night flight because had I chose the morning departure, I would have to get up very early in the morning for a long train journey and I am not a big fan of waking up early  . Also as Eric pointed out, I also wanted to have a good rest/sleep on the comfortable J seat and usually I don't get jet lag on a night flight.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 3):
The load on your flight seemed quite heavy, which must be an indication that Thai are doing some good business on the LHR route.

Its true, when I tried to make reservation for the journey, I originally planned to travel in Economy class (as usual) but sadly it was full. Luckily as a TG Gold member which offers a guaranteed reservation on fully booked flight, I got a confirmed booking but on the expensive booking class in Economy. Which I then used my Gold complimentary upgrade. I wonder if when the flight is usually busy on BKK-LHR route then why did TG swap it for A346 instead of 744? Nonetheless there are more Business seats in A346 (60 seats) than 744 (40 seats) so it was usually quite tricky to use a complimentary upgrade on a 744 and it was so much easier on the A346.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 3):
Although a bit surprised they only offered one starter option. The Satay were a nice touch, seems like they've taken after SQ or has it been standard on TG from long before?

I am pretty sure that TG only offer one choice of starter in J and F.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 3):
I was quite surprised to see you using the SAS London Lounge. Firstly the place looked much nicer than I had imagined, since generally the SAS Business Lounges are crap. Seating looked nice and comfy, although just the standard Biz Lounge armchairs, and so goes for the rest of the interior. Offerings however seemed far superior than the SAS Lounges in Scandinavia, food offerings looked quite generous and I was very surprised to see them serve hot food which is something we don't have in Scandinavia. Suppose that's just to set the standard for the other *A carriers using this lounge.

Drink offerings seemed poor though, by judging the looks of it, no proper booze in that lounge? Shower facilities were a huge plus though, and again something we don't have in Scandinavia. Perhaps I should try this place out soon  

SAS lounge in LHR is a designated lounge for TG J and F passengers and I usually use this lounge as I like the space it offers. I think this is a good place to relax before the flight. Apart from pot noodles, the lounge only started offering hot food from the last one or two years so or. Apart from TG pax using this lounge, it was also a lounge for ANA pax, I am not sure if other *A airlines use this SAS lounge. As for drinks, it has some whiskeys, rum etc, but unfortunately no baileys. Shower facilities are very nice, there are 4 shower rooms in total.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
Hi, Win,

good continuation and return flight on TG A346! Lovely service, great food it seems. The satay is very nice, definitely among my favourite dishes. Did the crew pro-actively refill the drinks throughout your meal services?

Hi Eric! Thanks a lot for your comments! I like satay also. Yes, the crew walked by many times just to check if I wanted a refill on my drinks or if I want any other drinks.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 5):

Hey,

Very nice report, Thai JCL looks great. You made me a bit hungry actually.

Thx for shearing,

Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan! The food was very nice, I got hungry when I looked at the pictures too  .

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):

Hi Win,

Nice trip report and some interesting photos. I like the idea of having various artworks on display to view while waiting for bags to arrive in BKK.

Thanks Roy! Its a good idea to have that.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):
Were the ground staff Thai or contract employees?

From their plain uniform, I'd say contract employees, but a supervisor who wears TG uniform, I am guessing TG staff.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):
I noticed in the past that TG used to give peanuts in Economy class and cashew nuts in Business class and macadamia nuts in First class. This was not the case on this flight.

Economising, maybe? I notice that the nuts came in a clear bag and not warmed and in a bowl. Another cost-cutting move?

I think TG only give them warmed in a bowl in First class.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):
The meal presentation looks good. And as always, a friendly and welcoming crew makes all the difference.

I agree. first impression on board always makes the journey pleasant.

Quoting Aeroflop (Reply 7):

Great trip report!

Very nice to see you post pictures of the they journey to the airport as well as the flight.

Aeroflop

Thanks Aeroflop! Glad you liked it.

Regards

Win


User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1167 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 21799 times:
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Hi Win,
Excellent report once again, Thai service looks quite nice  
Quoting win1290 (Thread starter):
Inside the train.

Looks quite nice, just bought that AirlinerWorld last Thursday hehe  
Quoting win1290 (Thread starter):
As soon as the seatbelt sign was switched off, the crew came to shut the curtain and turned on orange mood lighting.

Nice mood lighting!

cheers,
adamspotter // Brendan


User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 21588 times:

Hi Brendan,

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 9):
Excellent report once again, Thai service looks quite nice

Thanks a lot!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 9):
just bought that AirlinerWorld last Thursday hehe

    
Quoting adamspotter (Reply 9):
Nice mood lighting!

Very nice indeed.

Win


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 11, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 21185 times:

Hi Win,

very nice last part of your series. TG's product looks very impressive, I particularly liked the catering. Are A346s used regularly to LHR?

Quoting win1290 (Thread starter):
I was warned that recently it took a long long time at passport control desks in BKK, last month, my parents waited for over 1 and a half hours. Luckily, it took me less than 5 minutes to clear.

I was stuck in a queue for more than an hour some weeks ago. But it wasn't much better at Dubai's Terminal 1 two days before.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineThai744 From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 21050 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Really nice TR - thanks for writing it up!

As you can see by my username, TG is a favourite airline of mine.

I just wish they'd get some consistency across their fleet - you never know what you're going to get in terms of aircraft, cabin, PTV's etc. They're about 5 or 6 years behind other carriers in the region IMO. Hopefully they'll catch up soon.

And yes - "choice" (not that there is one!) of one starter in F or J is completely unacceptable in this day and age.

Other than that, product looks quite nice for your flights.

Thanks again!


User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 20651 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
Hi Win,

very nice last part of your series. TG's product looks very impressive, I particularly liked the catering. Are A346s used regularly to LHR?

Hi PH, thanks a lot! I really like the food on TG too. I don't think A346s are usually operated to LHR, I started to travel a few times between BKK and LHR since 2006 and only on one occasion (February 2008) that the A346 was used, until this flight of course. That said, tomorrow my brother will fly on TG: BKK-LHR and he will be on A346. However, in 3 weeks (if I cannot get a confirmed reservation on CX which I am currently on waitlist for award ticket) I would be flying to LHR on TG Boeing 747-400. But in mid-July this year, our reservation on TG (BKK-LHR-BKK) shows that we will be flying on A340-600 both ways.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 11):
I was stuck in a queue for more than an hour some weeks ago.

I am sorry to hear that. But I am quite optimistic that after the improvement on immigration (more staff, more counters etc.) it will be better in the future.

Quoting Thai744 (Reply 12):
Really nice TR - thanks for writing it up!

Thanks Thai744! TG is also my favourite  
Quoting Thai744 (Reply 12):
I just wish they'd get some consistency across their fleet - you never know what you're going to get in terms of aircraft, cabin, PTV's etc. They're about 5 or 6 years behind other carriers in the region IMO. Hopefully they'll catch up soon.

I agree. I hope to see an improvement on consistency in the long haul products on TG soon. It should take another year for TG to refit its 744, which should be very nice.

Thanks!

Win


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 20266 times:

Hi

Great trip report, thanks for sharing this footage with us! TG seems to be great. Would love to fly the 346 some day.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinewin1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 20115 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 14):
Hi

Great trip report, thanks for sharing this footage with us! TG seems to be great. Would love to fly the 346 some day.

Greetings
Marc

Thanks Marc! I am always impressed by TG service.
Win


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