This is the first part of a report on Thai International from Perth to Los Angeles and return, via Bangkok and Osaka. The return trip will be reported separately, and, later, maybe some comments on domestic USA sectors with AirTran and jetBlue.
Wed 8 October: TG 988 Perth – Bangkok Business Class
Thu 9 October TG 774 Bangkok - Osaka First Class
Thu 9 October TG 774(cont) - Osaka – Los Angeles First Class
In general, my opinion was most favourable, so I will confine these remarks to those areas of the flights and service which I thought were either outstanding, or else were a little disappointing.
Our seat allocations were as requested for all flights, however, although I had confirmed our Royal Orchid Club membership numbers twice with Thai in Perth, they were not recorded in any of the bookings at check-in, meaning that I had to ask the check-in people to insert them every time we checked in. Although there were only about 13 passengers in Business Class out of Perth, my jacket was not hung up. (Well, big deal, and really who cares, but given that you pay Business Class fares, and are in a cabin that is less than a third full, having a jacket hanging over the edge of your seat for most of the flight is pretty disappointing!) The PTV screens for both my wife and I were quite loose, and kept falling forward. When the mainscreen movie was screening, it was also shown on the PTV’s – but no other program was screening during this time, severely limiting the choices. Service at both mealtimes was very good, but the crew was virtually unseen in between. In every other respect the flight and service were very good. Movie choice (when they were available) was good.
TG 774 9 Oct The service on both sectors of this flight to Los Angeles in First Class was outstanding. The senior Flight Attendant (female) in the First Class cabin from Bangkok-Osaka was, quite simply, the best, most efficient and most charming that I have ever encountered. This level of excellence was maintained in the onward leg from Osaka to Los Angeles, where again the senior female FA was superb, and almost as excellent as the lady on the first leg. Both flights were outstanding.
Some additional comments: We were parked at a gate in Bangkok almost adjacent to the runway, and took off with a very short taxi – and the safety video was still screening as we were climbing. I found this unusual. It was played at the proper time, and without delay, but the taxi was so short, it was only part through as we were airborne.
On none of our flights were ladies presented with orchids. My wife was very disappointed, as I had told her this was a feature of the service. Has this been discontinued? I have seen no reference, and it is still a feature of Thai advertising. Again, really, in the whole scheme of things who cares - but if you are making it a feature of your advertising, either put up or shut up guys. The amenities kits were good in Business and great in First. Check-in staff and customer service agents at the airports, and particularly at Bangkok were most helpful, and provide an outstanding service.
On arrival at Los Angeles, our luggage was last to reach the carousel, quite some time after all other luggage had been delivered. In fact, we had to send a representative to look for it. The reason was that, although it was First Class luggage, it had been booked through to LAX from Perth, and had been placed in a separate container. The delay was very long, and we had become concerned that it had gone astray.
I don't understand why Thai continues to use their older interiors on the long route to and from the USA. There are no flat-beds in First, and the Business seats are far from state-of-the-art. Obviously they see the European market as more important, and direct the newer configurations there. I hope they re-think this in the near future.
I hope this doesn't sound like some nerdy "I flew in First and the hot towels were only luke-warm" sort of report - but some people prefer premium cabins on very long haul, and I thought maybe the comments would be interesting. I love Thai - I think they are right up there with Cathay, and better than SQ for personal service, even though their cabins are less advanced.
The report on the return trip follows.