March 3, 2013
Lv0800 Arr1145 Airbus A380-800 HS
The return flight was fairly typical and Thai Airways showcases its excellent ground service at BKK
. The check-in area was very quiet in this early morning, and I arrived two hours prior to departure. The airport itself was already fairly busy.
Here is the Thai First Class check-in area – iced towel and bottled water were offered immediately
Here is where Thai First Class really shines and other airlines, even Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines cannot match! Its escort and buggy service to the lounge is unique, and an agent was escorting me all the way to the buggy, where the lounge agent took over at the gate.
Royal First Lounge
Our gate today was a bit unusual, as it was all the way in the E concourse, and not to mention towards the end, E8
. So I sort of anticipate a long buggy ride, but Thai Airways has actually done something unique. The agent actually escorted all of us (ten passengers – two passengers were on board when we settled – I presumed close connecting passengers with no time in the lounge) to the bus gate D1A, and we were escorted to a bus (normal kind used by TG
but only have first class passengers). We had to wait a bit for late passengers, as the arrangement caught everyone off guard including some Thai Airways elite flyers. The bus took us directly to Gate E8
I was happy to see HS
waiting at the gate. Here is a few interesting view of this A380.
Another agent waited for us at the doorstep towards the stairway, and she was checking passport and boarding pass. When we boarded the plane, all the business class passengers were already settled. The three first class F/As immediately swing into action – newspapers, magazines, and pre-takeoff beverages.
Orange juice to start
My seat 2K for this segment
Did not notice the mismatching purple headrest covers and pillowcases? I guess they ran out of the first class ones.
Then the pilot came on and did his usual pre-takeoff announcement, but also informed passengers that we were being delayed at the gate due to some late paperwork, connecting passengers, and cargo loading. I noticed lots of activities in the apron with bags being sorted out. There must be some late connecting passengers, and our gate, E8
, was pretty far from the usual crowd of Thai Airways gates at Concourse C and D. Then the F/As passed out menus and wine lists and took our beverage and meal orders. Refills were offered. I took the opportunity to take pictures of the first class bar (closed position because we are getting ready to takeoff), and the lounge in the front.
First class bar later opened during flight at cruising area!
First class lounge – did you notice the two universal power outlets in the wall?
Magazine and newspaper area in the first class lounge
At the gate waiting for late passengers and cargo
Jetstar Asia 9V
-JSN just arrived from Singapore
Overhead locker already broken (this plane was delivered in December 2012)
Door was finally closed at 8:24am, and the pilot announced that we were being held in the gate due to heavy traffic in Bangkok. We were being sequenced into the takeoff queue. We finally pushed back at 8:37am and there were indeed quite a number of planes waiting for takeoff. One of them was the A380 HS
-TUB that brought me to Bangkok just two days ago, and today it was heading to Narita.
We finally took off from R/W19L at 8:55am.
China Airlines A340 (CI 65 arriving from Amsterdam and heading to Taipei now) B-18803
The long line of planes waiting for takeoff
Flying time was two hours and fifteen minutes, and our routing took us over Surin and then climbed to 41,000feet. Then we headed towards Dong Ha, Vietnam and then passing Vietnam, and into Hong Kong.
Seat belt sign was turned off at 9:03am and the F/As immediately prepared for the breakfast service. I started with champagne – only managed one glass since it was only 9am
Breakfast was soon served.
Hot towel in silver tray
Breakfast with fruit plate and bread basket
Fresh Fruits, Yogurt
Cornflakes and Muesli
Vegetables, Cheese and Egg Souffle
Grilled Back Bacon
Roesti Potatoes, Panache of Mushrooms with Herbs
Pork Ball Rice Soup
Braised Five Spice Beef Short Ribs, Tossed Shrimp Roe Noodles
Sautéed Pak Choy
Roll, Croissant, Danish Pastry, Butter, Jam and Honey
Tea, Coffee, Chocolate Malt
600 F – MENU
View of A380 engine
Descent soon began at 11:36am (Hong Kong local time – Hong Kong is an hour ahead of Bangkok), but given the heavy air traffic in Hong Kong now, we circled a bit.
Shortly before landing – another hazy day in Hong Kong
We landed on R/W7L at 12:10pm and parked at gate 62 five minutes later.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 B-HKF in the tarmac
It took a while for the jetbridge to attach to the upper deck door/enrance and I took the chance to take a few more cabin pictures.
The flight attendants on this flight were quite experienced and they were efficient yet friendly. Considered the plane was full in all cabin classes and F class was 100% full, the service was pretty attentive, and the purser spent time thanking everyone for flying Thai too towards the end of the flight. I had a nice chat with the male F/A, as we were waiting for the jetbridge to be attached to the upper deck door. He told me that the A380 was heading to Paris soon and the fourth A380 will arrive in the middle of the month. He told me that they would do Osaka and Sydney later in the year.
As we finally deplaned, the buggy service was available and it was nice to get a car ride all the way to the immigration area. That was possibly one of the most impressive aspects of flying Thai first class. I am glad that they retain the buggy service in Hong Kong for arriving passengers.
In conclusion, it is a nice journey on Thai Airways, despite the issue with seats in the domestic flight, and the disappointing domestic flight. Nok Air is a fun experience and it is regretful that I did not manage a Thai Smile flight, and maybe next time.
Thanks for reading!
[Edited 2013-03-05 08:55:16]