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BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Sat Nov 03, 2001 1:24 am

Thai Airways TG 624 (J class)
Airbus 300-600
Departure Time: 15:00 (actual departure time: 14:54)
Arrival Time: 19:20 (actual arrival time: 19:17)

I arrived at Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport at 13:30 for the flight. There was a big crowd at the terminal as usual. I proceeded to check in row seven as that was the only check in row that was not filled with people. Check in was swift, with the check in clerk seeming a bit rude at times. She gave me my seat, 22A for my three-hour flight into Manila. I had asked if the flight was full, and requested that the seat next to me be left empty as much as possible. She then said abruptly that the flight was not full, but not empty either, and that she couldn’t promise anything. She then gave me a pass for the Royal Executive Lounge. After immigration, I proceeded to the far corner of the airport to the lounge. I had about thirty minutes before boarding time, so I made use of their VERY sparse computer systems. Thai Airways still has a long way to come in terms of competing with SIA’s superb Raffles Class lounge at Changi International. I passed on some of the stale Danish pastries available at the lounge. They then called for the flight at 14:30. I went to gate 23 for boarding. It turned out most people had already boarded. Interestingly enough, they were only using the second door on the A300 instead of both doors. Would anyone know why? Anyway, the Air Bridge was very crowded, and by the time I got to the door it was already 14:40. I was greeted by a charming chief flight attendant, sporting Thai Airways’ female ground uniform (rather than the traditional Thai costumes that are worn by all the other cabin crew). She directed me to the very tired looking Royal Orchid cabin of this aging A300. It has been a long time since I last flew on a TG A300, that being about two years ago when I flew from Bangkok to Kathmandu. Since then, I have been a frequent flyer on Thai’s B747s, A330s, MD11s, and 777s, though I have yet to fly on TG’s 777-300. I didn’t remember the cabin looking so worn out. I definitely think its time for TG to start looking for replacements for their A300s. I was on the second to last row o the cabin. The cabin was configured in the standard 2-2-2 layout. Oddly, the first row of the plane was row 15. I found the J class leg room to be lacking, and seat recline to be almost pathetic. However, the exceptional service of Thai compensates for that.

The moment I took my seat, a flight attendant came rushing to offer me a glass of juice or champagne. Few moments after she left, another crew member approached me with hot towels. The crew then handed out menus for dinner. The choices were:

Smoked Chicken Thai Style

Pork Curry “Pa-Naeng”
Steamed Hom Mali rice
Shrimps and Scallops in Champagne Basil Sauce

Cheese and Biscuits

Coconut Flan

Tea, Coffee, Green Tea, Espresso, Cappuccino

I opted for the Pork curry which was truly excellent. Anyway, more of that later.

We pushed back from the gate at 14:54 and started our take off roll at about 15:03. We waited for an SAA B747-200 to take off before us and a Singapore Airlines B747-400, Thai Airways B737-400, Turkish Airlines A340 and Vietnam Airlines A320 to land before we took off. We rolled about one fourth down the runway before lifting off. We then banked to the left and fixed on course to Manila. Captain Baroncharoen then came on the PA and dictated that our cruising altitude would 35,000 feet and our flight path to Manila would bring us South East out of Bangkok, through Vietnam, out to the South China Sea, over the Spratly Islands and straight into Manila Bay and into Ninoy Aquino Intl.

Shortly after the Captain’s announcement, the F/As rolled out a cart of cocktail and soft drinks. They then brought out table cloths and trays with the salad already on them. The overall food service was excellent. The pork was very good. I was actually surprised at the quantity Thai Airways gave. Quite filling. The crew then came out and offered fruits, biscuits and cheese. At the end they brought out the Coconut Flan which was mediocre. After that they dimmed the lights and I basically sat and watched the sun set over the South China Sea.

Thai has to improve on their on board entertainment. No PTVs on the aircraft, but a small projection screen in the front of the plane. I don’t know if Thai doesn’t load the month’s new entertainment system on their older aircraft, as the movie shown on the flight was Bridget Jone’s Diary, a movie that wasn’t even listed in the Sawasdee in flight magazine. The movie was also quite outdated by the time I flew which was on the 9th of October. The music system loaded on to the aircraft was not in the magazine as well with less than half of the channels available.

We started our descent into Ninoy Aquino Intl. Airport at 18:57 pm local time and landed from the east at 19:17 pm, three minutes ahead of schedule. We taxied out and docked straight into gate 10, the usual gate of Thai Airways. As we were taxiing, a Lufthansa B747-400 from Frankfurt and Bangkok (flight LHH 744) landed. We saw an array of airliners during our short taxi to the gate. Among some of the airplanes spotted were A Cathay Pacific B747-400, Air Niugini A310, Qantas B747SP, China Southern A320, and a Royal Brunei B767.

We deplaned at 19:22 and I was out of the airport by 20:00. Not bad for Manila. Overall the trip was good, though it did have some minor setbacks. Thai must improve on more of the technical aspects of their service such as entertainment and their cabin. It will definitely improve their overall product immensely. But Thai was able to keep up to par the legendary crew and food service they are so proud and famous for.

Overall trip rating: 90/100
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Sat Nov 03, 2001 1:45 am

Nice report -- thanks!
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Sat Nov 03, 2001 4:45 am

Nice report ....i must say that im really surprised Thai is still operating the A300's..... i assumed they were phased out a while ago.... most if not all of the rest of Thai fleet is very modern...
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Sat Nov 03, 2001 11:29 am

Nice report! Thai never fails to impress in terms of service and food, but their A300s are indeed a little old. As much as I'm a huge fan of Thai, it'd do them some good to get rid of the A300s soon.

I was in their Royal Executive Class this July, from BKK to SIN, and I was quite dissapointed with the rather dilapitated state of the A300-600. And their lounges at Don Muang, unfortunately were also nothing to sing about. They were overcrowded, and I had quite alot of problem trying to look for a place to sit.

The flight was smooth, but the seats were old and nothing in comparison to SIA's Raffles Class. Worst of all, they only had the front leg rest and not the kind attached to your seat. Many other airlines have the front leg rest even on economy. But in terms of service, they are almost on par with SIA. They just don't bother remembering passengers' names, which is a shame.

But oh well, it was an enjoyable ride, and I really shouldn't be going into details here. Sorry Sq_ek_freak for using your thread to talk about my own experience! Couldn't resist it!
Tg 747-300
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Mon Nov 05, 2001 2:17 am

I can't understand whats wrong with TG's A300's, but I know that their Bussines Class seats and entertainment is a little outdated. Luckily that don't go for their Y-class

tg 747-300
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Mon Nov 05, 2001 6:48 am

As a semi frequent traveller I had the pleasure of flying TG recently. And what a pleasure it was indeed. A total of 18hrs on their 773's (TKD and TKC) on SYD-BKK-SYD (connecting with LH to europe in BKK), and I cannot tell you how impressed I was.

The seat pitch and width was very impressive, very noticeable when after a LH rebooking I wound up on a QF 743 going to FCO which was like being packed into a tin can.

The service was exceptional (not quite as good as NG C clas sthough :P) as was the food.

I cannot recommend TG highly enough ... and the A300's are more of an incentive to fly TG aren't they?

Best Regards

Bradley Mortimer
Sydney, Australia

airliners.net's passenger - simultaneously connecting and flying direct.
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Mon Nov 05, 2001 9:43 am

Nice report!  Smile

I recently flew on TG's 777-3D7 (HS-TKC) and have flown with their 744s too. All flights have been absolutely great. I have taken 76 flights this year and the TG 773 flight was one of the best along with Ansett (744 upper deck).

The service on all of my Thai flights has been wonderful, planes spotless and food really superb. Sure, they don't have PTVs but it didn't bother me at all.

I can only second Bradley's opinion - can't recommend them highly enough. TG is an outstanding airline. I'll probably be checking the A300 next March.

Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Mon Nov 05, 2001 11:02 am

Great trip report. Is there any news on whether Thai is going to upgrade their IFE systems. If they do, then they will be an excellent option to fly with.
Tg 747-300
Posts: 1282
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 1999 6:08 am

RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Mon Nov 05, 2001 8:52 pm

According to thaiair.com TG will introduce new seats and IFE in First and Biz- class onboard the 777 and 747 (maybe also the other a/c)

tg 747-300
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Cathay Pacific
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Mon Nov 05, 2001 11:10 pm

how is SQ's business class on their A310????
cathay pacific, now you're really flying
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RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Tue Nov 06, 2001 1:19 am

THAI operates many A300-600's which vary a lot in terms of age. The first A300-600 was delivered in 1985 whereas the latest one was delivered in 1998. I've been on some A300's which are quite new and impressive as well as ones which are quite old.
Posts: 590
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2001 12:00 am

RE: BKK-MNL On Thai Airways Royal Orchid Class

Tue Nov 06, 2001 1:36 pm

I must have gotten their older A300-600s then. The one I took was rather old.

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