Thai TG 625
Manila – Bangkok
A300-600 (HS-TAO) Chanthaburi
Royal Orchid Class, 17A
Scheduled Departure Time: 20:25
Actual Departure Time: 20:25
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:50
Actual Arrival Time: 22:18
Arrived at the airport at 19:15 for the 20:25 flight. I knew that it was playing it close, especially with the sometimes unpredictably crowded terminal at Manila. Some panic started to set in when I actually saw the TG A300 come in to land above me while I was stuck in traffic. I left home at about 17:30, so I thought it would be ok. But for some reason there was a huge jam outside the airport…hence the late arrival at the airport. After completing the initial security check at the entrance, I dashed off to the Thai check in counters to find that half of them had been closed already, and there were only about 4 or 5 passengers there, bickering about some excess baggage charges. I got to the Royal Orchid check in desk and was serviced by a very nice agent. She was a member of Thai’s ground handling agent in MNL, Miascor. After a quick check in, she told me not to go to the business lounge but rather proceed straight to gate 10 for boarding. Nodded and thanked her and passed though the airport tax desks and immigration. The airport wasn’t too crowded, as by then most of the flights to Europe had left. As I made my way to gate 10, the boarding announcement was made at 19:56. This meant within 30 minutes of arrival the aircraft was ready for boarding...seemed like a really short time to me! Right by the gate there is one last security check where officials open bags one by one and search them by hand. I have always found this method very hassle some!
Boarded HS-TAO through door 2L and was greeted by the in chief of the cabin crew. She smiled and directed me to my seat. I was seated in the third row of this A300. The curtains were half drawn at the front of the aircraft so I could see everything that was going on inside the galley from my seat. The two female crew were preparing the drinks and seemed to be in a fight of some sort. Another male FA was greeting passengers and showing them to their seats. The male FA then started handing out hot towels with a smile to everybody. He also collected the towels and offered the pre take off drinks. By that time one of the female crew was sitting down in one of the crew seats while the other one disappeared. The male FA then handed put the menus and asked what we would like for our main course after take off. The choices were:
Chinese Roast Pork, Mixed Salad, Cha-soba
Pork Schnitzel with Demi-glace Sauce
Linguine Noodles, Vegetables
Grilled Tanguingue Fish with Adobo butter, Steamed rice
Assorted Breads, Crakcers, Butter, Chese
Chose the Fish as I had no idea what the pork with sauce was. The FA smiled and said good choice. We pushed back at 20:25 sharp and taxied towards the runway. The welcome announcements were made in barely understandable English and the safety video was played. Drinks and hot towels were all collected by the male FA with smiles. By now I was wondering why he was the only one running about the cabin doing work while the two other FAs were just sitting pretty inside the galley. At 20:30 after a short taxi and a short wait for a delayed QF 763 to land we roared down the runway and took off.
The seatbelt sign was switched off very fast after take off and the crew swung into action shortly after that. I noticed that the seat next to me was the only empty seat in the whole J class cabin. One thing I noticed is that the crew on this flight didn’t take a post take off drink order but just brought the cart down the aisle asking what people wanted to drink. I opted for a glass of OJ which was extremely sweet. One of the female crew then came around and set the tables for dinner. The movie that was aired on the flight was Driven….a bit old for main screen isn’t it? A trolley was rolled out with assorted snacks in on it like packets of banana chips, peanuts, assorted Japanese nuts….I asked for the Japanese nuts which turned out to be ok. The two female crew then came back with the trolley with the trays in them with the roasted pork appetizer already laid on the trays. The pork looked delicious and proved to be very good. When I looked at the crew, though the smiles were plentiful from the male FA, the two females were giving faint smiles, whispering what they were giving to you…like “pok”…or “fich”…good enough…but it seemed that those two were still bitter at each other…the way they spoke to each other seemed like the two had a rift. After finishing the appetizer, my fish was brought along. It looked good and tasted excellent. It seems that Thai’s catering hasn’t changed at all…excellent as usual. During my main course, a disgruntled American passenger in front of me started complaining to the FAs about the J class seat. “Is this Economy class or Business class!?!!”...”for the price I pay for this seat, I should get a bed like they have on Cathay Pacific!!”….the two helpless crew looked overwhelmed by his shouting and apologized and tried reclining his seat further, obviously in vain. He then demanded to see the “head of this flight”…the chief of the cabin crew came and apologized to him…he then said “you’re not in charge of this flight!...I want to see the captain!...this is no way to be treated…I’m American!!”…. at this point I was getting tired of this guy’s ranting…jeez…its not like the crew could help it! And what does him being American have to do with it...does he expect better service because his American? After about ten minutes of bickering as to why he couldn’t go into the flight deck to tell the captain, he said he would report this to TG’s president. Anyway…after I finished the fish, the crew came back out with the cart again which was full of crackers and cheeses. They also had fresh fruit. I passed on both and opted for the strawberry delight which I found to be disappointing…really tasted like strawberry flavored Jell-O. After that the crew cleared our tables very fast and the lights were switched off for the remainder of the flight. I noticed that the movie picture’s quality steadily declined throughout the flight until the picture was completely distorted. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again, TG needs to upgrade its A300s!!...Though the interior of this particular aircraft didn’t look too old, it still wasn’t good enough. Unlike my flight to Dhaka, and my previous flight to Manila from BKK on TG, this aircraft didn’t have the orchids on the walls but unlike my flight on HS-TAT from DAC to BKK, they didn’t have the new seats installed and the walls and ceilings looked very tired…a light beige color. Also, like my previous flight to Manila on a TG A300…the entertainment system was totally whack…none of the audio channels were what was listed and the feature movie wasn’t even the movie listings. Anyway…I took out my lap top to do some work at about 21:50 but an FA came (already dressed in her purple suit) and told me I couldn’t use it. Just as I started to ask her why, I felt the plane starting to descend and immediately shut myself up and switched the laptop off. I was really surprised that we had commenced our descent to early, as we were scheduled to land at 22:50. We descended quite fast. The lights came back on and the FAs handed out hot towels once again. After the collection of the towels, the cabin lights were dimmed again as the lights on Bangkok appeared below the clouds. For the first time I experienced a straight in landing at BKK without having to circle or stack. We touched down at 22:18, a full 32 minutes ahead of schedule. No idea how this happened, as the captain had said we would have a fight time of 3 hours flat. Never had a fight from Manila to Bangkok be less than 3 hours…but I didn’t mind at all!...docked at gate 22 and was off the plane by 22:25.
Overall the flight was pretty good, the crew service wasn’t substandard but wasn’t the best either unlike my return trip to MNL on TG (which ill post soon). Food was good as usual, but the equipment needs an upgrade fast. However, though the seats are substandard, there was no need for such fuss that American guy in front of me created. Overall, I’d give the flight a 8/10.