This is just part of our recent round the world trip.The routing was EZE
. Airlines flown included QF
,NZ,EK,BA,TG and LH
. Classes flown included four sectors in F five in J and three in Y.
We first had to get from Hong Kong to Bangkok for our connecting Thai flight to Frankfurt. After four enjoyable days in Hong Kong we checked out of the excellent Renaissance Kowloon and jumped in a taxi just as a heavy shower of rain came on and headed to HKIA. The rain went off, the roads were clear and the driver drove like a bat out of hell so we arrived at Terminal 2 with plenty of time.
Check-in area was very quiet. A young female Thai Airways agent approached me greeted me and I asked her for some baggage labels.
I was about to fill them in when I noticed they were for economy class. Wait a minute this just won’t do, so my wife went back over and was issued with Royal Silk Class ones instead.
At check-in the agent asked if we were aware that our original flight to Frankfurt the next day had been cancelled I said that we did and we were given our boarding passes as well as invitations to the Royal Silk lounge.
Bit of a carry on next as we then had to get the train to terminal one where our flight would be leaving from. After a look at the shops where my wife had no problem spending our remaining $HK we went to seek out the lounge which was found one level up.
It’s a open lounge which gives the feeling of space and looks out to both sides of the airport which I liked and on to the departure area below. There was plenty of hot and cold food on offer plus a good selection of drinks. I helped myself to a Gin and Tonic and after trying some sandwiches I sampled the dim sum which I must say were delicious. There was also a chilled cabinet stocked with tubs of ice cream so of course I just had to have one of them as well. Free WIFI was also available which enabled us to call Argentina for pennies using Skype. I had a rather nice coffee as well.
Hong Kong - Bangkok
692 Airbus 330-300
Seats 12A/B Royal Silk Class
We could have stayed in the lounge longer but I wanted to get to the gate in time to take some pictures of our A330.
Boarding was civilised and we found our seats in row 12 which is actually row 2. For some reason they start the row numbers from 11 upwards. Pre-departure drinks were offered and taken, menus and hot towels handed out and some reading material given.
The cabin seemed to be quite busy, the seat was comfy with plenty of leg room.
Bang on time we left the gate and started to head out to the runway passing some busy stands along the way.
Once in the air another a drink was offered and I went for a Gin and Tonic this time instead of another glass of Champagne. The female flight attendant who was serving was a bit frosty having told my wife that she couldn’t have her small bag under the seat in front before take off and it would have to go in the overhead bin despite several other passengers having their bags under the seat in front of them. My wife was not too enamoured with the lady it has to be said women don’t like to be parted from their bags.
The meal service started and I had the seared Japanese tuna to start with which was tasty.
Next up was the steamed pork with black bean sauce. This I liked, the pork was tender and not too fatty. My wife had the beef tenderloin and I saw she was happy with it as there was none left on her plate when I looked.
Cheese and biscuits along with some port and coffee finished the meal off nicely. All in all, a very tasty, good quality meal.
The frosty experienced FA
seemed to have mellowed during the meal service and started to smile and didn’t even bother telling my wife she would have to put her bag back up in the overhead for landing. Most of the cabin crew seemed to be of the older type but their experience showed in the service as it was very good with regular top ups of water and wine offered.
We arrived on time at Suvarnabhumi it was all very quiet looking at that time of day with not too many gates occupied.
Our luggage came off the belt quickly. Unfortunately the handle on one of our cases had been damaged. I was going to file a damage report but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and just accepted it as part of travelling.
I knew the Novotel Suvarnabhumi shuttle bus could be found outside Door 4 and sure enough it was there waiting. It is a very short distance to the hotel but the underground walkway had not been completed so the bus is the only sensible alternative. We checked in and were soon in our room which was pretty nice I have to say.
We had gone into central Bangkok the night before to the MBK centre to do some shopping and have a bite to eat before heading back to the hotel around ten. As it happens the only item we bought was a dodgy looking battery for my wifes mobile phone so we weren’t laden with bags as expected - I was happy not sure about the wife though.
After a good sleep I pulled back the curtain and found it to be yet another sunny day. A variety of aircraft could be seen parked up in the distance.
We were in no rush as we had been given an extended check-out till two in the afternoon instead of mid-day so after showering we headed down to have a leisurely breakfast. I have to say I was most impressed with the Novotel Suvarnabhumi - of course as a Scot the £38 I paid for the room certainly helped me like it even more.
All the staff were wonderful at their job and this continued in the breakfast dining area. I had put some bread in to toast and had forgotten about it. So attentive was a waiting staff member that she brought it over to me when it was toasted.
After a wonderful breakfast we went back to the room to finish packing. To be honest 2pm couldn’t come quick enough so we headed downstairs before we had to.
When checking out I enquired about the hotel shuttle bus and they said it would be along shortly.
We were the only passengers for the very short drive to the International departures. I told the driver we were flying first class so he would know to stop at the correct doorway.
As we exited the bus a smiling Thai representative appeared with a trolley and took charge of our luggage.
We followed and entered the terminal turned left and saw the Thai Royal First Class signed check-in area.
We were then welcomed by a uniformed Thai agent who asked for our booking details as well as our passports whilst showing us to the soft armchairs that were set back from the desks. He asked us to wait and he would organise the luggage to be checked-in. I told him that originally we were booked on the 12.45 lunch time flight but as it had been cancelled we had been moved on to the late evening flight hence the reason we were here at this ridiculously early hour. He said that wasn’t a problem. We were the only passengers in the check-in area and with about five staff looking after us it felt very exclusive indeed.
As our tickets did not include the departure tax my wife was escorted to the area where she could pay it. This took some time as she had to first change some dollars into Thai Baht to complete the transaction but I was in no hurry so comfortable was the chair I was in. Once she returned we were given our passports and boarding passes for the Thai flight as well as our onward flight to Buenos Aires with Lufthansa.
The agent asked if we would like to go to the lounge to rest. I said yes and he asked us to follow him. He even offered to wheel our cabin bags for us but we declined the offer. We chatted as we walked about the airport I told him the last time we had been in Bangkok it was the old Don Muang airport we had flown in and out of. I said I was impressed with what I had seen so far of the new Suvarnabhumi airport. We were then escorted through immigration and security to the Thai lounge complex.
At reception we were introduced and asked if we wished to take a spa treatment. I asked if the head and shoulder massage would entail any stripping off of clothes. I’m not a prude but neither my wife nor I could be bothered with having to go to all the trouble of undressing and showering just for a massage. We were told that was only necessary for the full body massage so we agreed that we would go ahead with the head and neck and my wife would have the foot massage as well.
Once again we were then asked to follow our host and walked through a long hall. Female staff members were strategically positioned all along this hallway looking splendid in their beautiful outfits. Every one of them put their hands together, bowed their heads and uttered a greeting as we passed them by.
We were shown to our very own private room with large sofa, several easy chairs, desk, table and flat screen television. “Is this suitable for you Sir or would you prefer to sit in another area of the lounge? ” This will do nicely I replied. I call it a room, it has no door but does have a frosted glass partition covering half the entrance to give one the feeling of privacy.
Soon a girl in one of those beautiful outfits entered the room. “Would you care for a drink Sir? A glass of Champagne for me and some orange juice for my wife please I replied. “Would you care to eat something now? No thanks, perhaps later if that’s alright. Our escort said we would be informed when our flight would be ready for boarding and told us not to worry as we would be escorted to the gate. He said his farewell and we were finally left alone. Lost for words my wife and I just looked at each other. My wife is not usually one to be impressed but she said “this is fantastic” - I had to agree. We had sampled both the SYD QF
F lounge as well as the BA LHR
Concorde Room in the last two weeks but this was something special.
After all this excitement I needed a cigarette. I went out into the hall and asked one of the ever attentive staff if they had a smoking room. “Certainly Sir, please follow me” I was taken the very short distance to the room and shown in. The room was empty, smelt of perfume and a candle was lit by the doorway. Every table had an ashtray on it, all were clean. I was asked if I wanted a drink I declined and she left with a smile.
Next visit was to the Gents toilet. Again everything was immaculate and clean. In the individual cubicle there were enough amenities to freshen up in peace and privacy.
Back in "our room" I set up the laptop on the desk and connected to the free WIFI while my wife watched telly. I ordered some coffee, although nice tasting the coffee wasn’t very hot to be honest.
Four hours had flown by and I was beginning to feel a bit peckish so decided to ask for the menu. No need to go out and look for a staff member as every few minutes one would pass by and glance in just in case we might need something. The menu came and I chose some chicken with noodles and another glass of Moet Champagne. When we were being served anything at the table the staff members male and female would kneel down before placing or taking away any items on the table. It was all done with such grace and gentleness and as always service came with a smile. The dish tasted nice.
The time went by so quickly it was already nine so time for our spa treatment. A member of staff came to get us. I asked what about our bags she said not to worry they would keep an eye on them. We were taken to the spa and asked to sit down in the quiet waiting area. A hot towel each was ready on the table as well as two glasses of a purple looking liquid. I didn’t quite catch what was said when I asked what it was and what we should do with it? At first I thought we were supposed to clean our hands with it hence the towels being there buy my wife said it was for drinking. I slowly put it up to my lips and when no one seemed to show any concern about my action I assumed you were indeed supposed to drink it. We did take a sip and agreed it tasted a bit strange. The girl confirmed what our treatments would be. I would have half an hour my wife would have the full hour as she was having the foot massage as well. Our two masseuses appeared and we followed them to the treatment area. I explained to the girl it was to be my first experience of a massage and I wasn’t sure what to expect. She said not to worry about it and asked me to take my shoes off which I thought was strange. I confirmed with her that it was my wife who was having the foot massage and not me. She smiled and said that was correct but I would have to put my feet up on a stool hence why the shoes had to come off. I just hoped my socks weren’t smelly.
She held my hand and gently started to massage my fingers with her soft delicate fingers slowly working their way up my arm to my shoulder. To be honest at this stage I was having my doubts about getting any benefit from this at all as I wasn’t feeling anything much I had expected something a bit rougher. Her hand worked its way under my thankfully dry arm pit area and I nearly burst out laughing as a thought came into my head. This is ridiculous I’m in a airport catching a plane and I’m sitting here supposed to be getting a neck and shoulder massage yet this very pretty girl has her hand under my armpit.
Thankfully I only giggled under my breath and from then on I decided to stop acting like an idiot and make myself relax and enjoy it. Within a few minutes of changing my attitude I did indeed start to feel the benefit especially when she went to work on my neck and shoulders. I was impressed with her finger strength as she untied my knots first one side then the other. Just as I was really getting in to the way of it it was over. I honestly felt great and free from the neck pain I usually get when I put my head from side to side. She took me back to reception and asked me to sit down where some herbal tea and some fruit bars were waiting for me. I thanked her and then she was gone – I felt alone. A strange feeling of peace had come over me in the surroundings and I really felt refreshed and relaxed for the long flight ahead. I was a bit of a cynic before but would definitely do it again given the opportunity.
After a few sips of the tea I decided to go back to the lounge and wait there for my wife and was just beginning to think how to get back when one of the staff asked me to follow her.
On entering the lounge again I noticed it had got busier during our time away and I was wondering if anyone had made themselves at home in “our room” but I needn’t have worried it was as we had left it. I was asked if I would like anything so I asked for a Gin and Tonic and let them know I was going for a cigarette. Even although the lounge was busier the service hadn’t deteriorated as my Gin and Tonic - a big one at that - was brought to me in the smoking room in a instant.
When I got back my wife had reappeared and was raving about her treatment and how relaxed she felt…...I wasn’t the only one who had felt the benefit of those girls with the magic hands.
After eight hours spent in the lounge our time was soon to be over. We were informed our flight was ready for boarding and we were asked to follow a gentleman wearing the Thai blazer. Once again he asked us if he could take our bags. We followed him and I asked if the flight was to leave on time, he confirmed it would be. Approaching the gate he asked us for our boarding passes. Passengers queuing looked on as we walked past them and entered the priority air bridge. As we approached the door the cabin crew were given the boarding passes by our escort, he wished us a comfortable flight and we were passed over to the cabin crew. I’ve never spent so many enjoyable hours in an airport in my life it was sad to go.
Bangkok – Frankfurt
920 Boeing 747-400
Seats 2E/F Royal First Class
We were welcomed with the usual Thai greeting by a very elegant flight attendant and taken to our seats. She brought us a hot towel followed by our pyjamas and some Champagne for me. The menus were handed to us in a folder and I settled down for the flight experience ahead. A folder in the seat pocket contained Thai Airways branded postcards, writing paper, envelopes as well as a Do Not Disturb sticker with instructions to stick it on the head cover if one wanted to sleep.
I had a look round the cabin which compared to the British Airways F cabin on a 747 was much more spacious. Only ten seats compared to 14 in BAs set out with three on either window side plus two sets of two in the middle of which we were in the front row 2 . In row 1A/K was a middle aged German couple. In seats 2 and 3 A was a mother and teenage daughter. In seat 2K was an older Australian gentleman travelling alone dressed in white trousers T shirt and a rather snazzy pair of Nike shoes. Behind the Australian dandy in seat 3K was a middle aged German gentleman. The last occupant in 3 E, a young man of Far Eastern descent with the seat beside him unoccupied.
The alcohol was starting to take effect with the picture quality.
The pilot made an announcement saying that we would be leaving on time and that the duration of our flight would be a little over eleven hours. We were soon taxying out and with little waiting we took off.
Not long after the cabin crew got to work taking our meal and drink orders. My wife and I decided to get changed into our pyjamas soon after before the meal service began. Whilst opening my pyjamas the wrapping dropped to the floor and within a flash the FA
was over to lift it up.
The area in front of our seat was transformed into a mini bar and then the meal service started,
Caviar for me with the offer of Russian Vodka to go with it I declined the vodka. It had been a long time since I had tasted caviar and it wasn’t like how I remembered it. However the salty sensation was soon got used to and I devoured the rest. An offer of seconds was made but I declined wanting to enjoy what was to come.
Next up was a Duo of Marinated Halibut and Smoked Salmon. A very nicely presented dish. The fish was excellent although I would have liked more salmon rather than the bigger helping of halibut.
The main was next and I had opted to go for the duck. I’m no expert on duck but I do know that it can be a bit tough if not properly cooked. I needn’t have worried this was another well presented dish and the duck was very tender and went well with the potato mash and veg.
For desert the trolley came round and we were asked to choose our cakes. I took one of each and some port but gave the cheese a miss. The cakes were okay but nothing special. Excellent coffee followed.
The lights were dimmed and the mini bar area in front of us setup with drinks and snacks during which the FA
accidentally knocked a glass off the table and it smashed on the floor. She went into a panic to clear the broken pieces up before anyone stood on it by mistake. My wife helped her find the pieces by shining her reading light on the area. She was really thankful for this help.
I swung the screen round and decided to see what was available. Quite an extensive selection was on offer on the AVOD and the screen was of a fair size so I chose to watch one of the Transporter films, number two I think it was. During this time the FA
made frequent walks through the cabin with juices even although we had been given water bottles and the bar was stocked with drinks. The film came to an end I noticed that everyone else seemed to be asleep. I heard the bing bong of a call bell and the female attendant soon arrived by the Australian gentleman’s seat. He was lying down in bed mode and it seemed all he wanted was for the FA
to retrieve his blanket from the floor and for her to put it over him, bit of a cheek I thought but she did what was asked in a very delicate manner as if she was caring for a child.
Time to visit the toilet and prepare myself for a sleep I thought. Just before entering the toilet I saw the FA
once again come in to the cabin. After the brushing of teeth, washing my face and generally having a nosey in all the drawers I eventually came out. The FA
had been waiting for me to exit the toilet just to inform me that the IFE would be unavailable for fifteen minutes due to it being reset. I thanked her but told her it wouldn’t be a problem as I wanted to get some sleep. I put the seat just short of the flat position and settled down and with all the good memories of the day behind promptly fell asleep.
Just as I sensed the lights were coming back on I was gently shaken by the lovely FA
who asked if I wanted breakfast. Apart from a couple of interruptions I had not too bad a sleep. For me anyway it wasn’t too bad as I don’t usually sleep too well on planes. We were about two hours out of FRA
. I went to the toilet to get dressed as did my wife who had had a great sleep.
Breakfast consisted of some fresh fruit, an omelette for me with bacon as well as a selection of pastries and bread and some of the great coffee. I wasn’t all that hungry so couldn’t finish it all. The rest of the cabin awoke during this time and soon we were heading for the landing at Framkfurt.
A final last turn before making a smooth landing. All the first class cabin crew were there to say their farewells and we exited after what had been a memorable and comfortable flight.
My wife and I were travelling onwards home to Buenos Aires with Lufthansa not in first class but in business class so it was a surprise for me to find at the end of the air bridge a girl holding up a card with our names on it. I had assumed that this service was only for first passengers connecting to a first class flight. I went up to the Thai representative and introduced ourselves. She asked us to follow her and she would escort us to the lounge where we could spend our time before the next flight a very nice service to end our journey with Thai.
I have to say the whole Thai experience is what all first class travel should be like. From the greeting at the entrance to the terminal at Suvarnabhumi where our luggage was taken care of to the effortless check-in. The escort through the terminal to the high class lounge. The way they looked after us in superb comfortable surroundings. The spa treatments were a novelty for both of us but definitely worth experiencing at least once.
On board, the cabin layout and the seat were excellent as was the high class service. I’m not really one to get too excited about airline food but what they gave us was very good quality and could not really be faulted. Even at the end there was someone there to look after us you aren’t just looked after on board they take care of you before you even get inside the airport and after you leave the aircraft. Above all what I will remember most about the Thai experience is the dedication of the staff that showed real pleasure in looking after their customers and always done it with a smile.