I was told by my bosses 1.5 weeks in advance that I need to visit the South Korean office for 4 days to hold a training session. Great for me so I went on to have a look at the available flights. Tried pretty much every airline flying to Seoul (LH, SQ, KL, etc..) only one available proved to be Thai Airways International (TG). Not really happy with that - I read several article about Thai's C-Class already - there was no other choice. So, here we go:
April 16, 2004
Seat 15J (Business Class)
MD-11, Reg. HS-TME
I choose to take the train to the Airport and arrived at ZRH around 2 hours before scheduled departure time. Check-in was in Terminal 2. 1 counter for First, 1 for Business and 2 for Economy were open.
Went straight to the Business Class counter, no waiting time at all. The trainee who was at this station checked me in for both flights, ZRH-BKK and BKK-ICN (with stop in HKG). 5 minutes later I cleared customs and was on my way to the Swiss Lounge. As I am a Gold Member of Swiss I can also use their lounge when not flying with them.
Boarding was announced at 1.40pm at Gate E35. I left the lounge at around 1.30 for the rather long walk to the Sky-Metro which brought me to Terminal E in 2 minutes. Boarding already started when I arrived at the gate. The business class entry was pretty much empty, so again a very quick procedure.
Now it starts to get bad:
I was welcomed by the Thai Flight Attendant, she seamed to be around 60 years old. Nobody told me where my seat (15J) is, pretty bad for people who don't fly that regularly. You don't really wanna go down the wrong aisle, do you? Anyway - the seat proved to be TERRIBLE. Not even sitting there, it looked very old and worn out which proved to be totally true when I sat down. Very uncomfortable seat, no leg-support (only those leg-rests you get in coach class as well, mounted to the seat in front), absolutely no head-support (which proved to be really ugly when you try to sleep) and no PTV's.
So, here I sat already being angry at Thai and being worried on how to survive the 10 hour flight to BKK. When we left our gate, the FA's served a choice of beverages (Orange Juice, Water, Champagne) and a hot towel, which was cold.
After like 2 minutes, the glasses were already collected and I could see out of the window that we were lining up on RWY 16. Captain announces that the crew should prepare for take-off. Guess what - they did not. Take-off roll started and 4 FA's were still wondering around the cabin taking the meal orders. I could NOT believe what I saw - apparently there are not security guidelines on this airline!
There isn't much to say about the whole flight. Let me put it down this way:
1. The food was nice (however, I find the one LX serves better)
2. The flight attendants disappeared after the meal service, not a single cup of water was offered during the 10hour flight
3. I did not catch any sleep due to the bad seats (I always sleep on planes!)
4. The little Sony DVD players were not offered, you had to ask for it
5. Headphones were extremely uncomfortable
6. No duty free sales offered
Breakfast was served 1 hour prior to landing in BKK.
Landing in BKK was 30minutes prior to schedule. Smooth landing, great work by the pilots.
==> As you can guess, the overall quality of this flight was absolutely miserable!
5 hours transit in BKK
I had to spend 5 hours in BKK until my next flight to ICN departed. There are millions of duty free shops at BKK and the TG lounge is very nice. So I had a good time there
BKK-ICN (stopover in HKG)
Seat 12G (Business Class)
After 5 hours in BKK and no sleep on the previous flight I was pretty tired and not really looking forward to another 7 hours flight and a quick stopover in HKG.
Boarding was through gate 56 (I believe) and was done very quickly. The Service on this flight was really nice. We were greated by 2 sympathic young Thai FA's at the door and showed to the seats. There were only like 7 pax on C-Class today. Once boarding was completed, the FA came up to me and offered any seat I like to me.
Drinks were served, hot towels (this time they were freaking hot...) served and safety announcements made.
The seats on the B772 were nice, had great leg-support, PTV's and all the amenities you wish for. As I was so tired, I skipped the food and slept all the way to HKG.
In HKG we had to leave the AC for 40 minutes and got the usual SARS Check and had to pass another security check. Quick trouble there as the HK security guys did not like my siringes I have to carry as I am diabetic. Took me like 25 minutes to explain to them what it is and to have them take a copy of the letter from my doctor.
Boarding started already when I passed the security checks and the continuation of the flight was un-eventful. No additional pax boarded C-class so it was again a very emtpy flight and I took another nap.
Arrival in ICN was 10 minutes delayed, smooth landing again. During disemarkement the FA's did some small talk and wished me a pleasant stay in South Korea. Really attantive staff there!
Overall a huge difference compared to my previous flight from ZRH to BKK.
April 23, 2004
ICN-BKK (via TPE)
Seat 14G (Business Class)
I arrived at ICN about 2.5 hours prior to Departure due to almost no traffic in Seoul that afternoon. The check-in counters were still closed when I arrived so there was about 20 minutes waiting time.
Check in was friendly, however, the lady could check my baggage through to ZRH by not myself. Meaning I have to see the transfer desk at BKK later that night.
Was invited to the SQ Silver Kris lounge. Fantastic lounge I have to admit. Really big, nice food, nice seats, free Internet, etc.... all you need.
Boarding was through gate 41 at 5pm. Quick boarding procedure, not many pax on this flight to TPE. Departure was on time and we climbed very fast to a surprising FL390. The flight can be compared to my previous one BKK-ICN. Staff was very friendly, food very delicious and the seats were great.
Arrival in TPE was about 5 minutes prior to schedule. We were handed the transfer cards and had to wait for approx. 1hour until boarding again. This time, the flight was absolutely packed. I guess it was a codeshare with LH as there were about 50% german speaking passengers on this leg.
Don't know what happend on this flight - I slept all the way to BKK
Transfer in BKK
I rushed to the transfer check-in counters on the arrival level where I was told that my seat reservation is not valid anymore as there was a aircraft change. Lucky me I thought - maybe it's the new business class?? Got seat 15B on the upper deck assigned and headed to the TG Royal Orchid Lounge
Seat 15B (Business Class, upper Deck)
I was still hoping that this flight would be a new B744 equipped with new seats. Oh well - it proved to be an old one.
Same seats as on the MD-11 (see above), terrible!
There were 2 FA's on the upper deck who rushed through the cabin to provide hot towels and drinks.
Safety demo was made and there we went on to the 11h journey to ZRH.
There was a good selection of food, I chose the Australian Lamb Chops. As it proved, this food was not really good as I was getting really sick after like 2 hours. Could catch some 1.5hours of sleep in those terrible seats. When I woke up, the cabin was dark and there was no entertainment at all. Main Screen was dark until like 3 hours before landing when there was a movie screened.
Landing was 10 Minutes late on RWY 34.
Overall satisfaction of Thai was very poor. I will never fly this airline again on a Europe-BKK route, it is just not worth the money at all. Actually this was the first airline I ever wrote a compalint to. On top of that, I still feel my back hurting from these terrible seats.
Pretty long report and probably a bit chaotic, I know - hope you enjoyed it anyways.
Any comments welcome!