06 Sep REVIEW: THAI AIRWAYS BUSINESS CLASS (A350 & 777-200)
After an incredible week in Sri Lanka, it was time to say goodbye in style and what better way than by experiencing Thai’s brand new business class on the A350! This review covers our experience in business class (Royal Silk) on the 777-200 from Colombo – Bangkok and then on the A350 from Bangkok-Frankfurt.
Overall: The experience in business class on the 777-200 was fairly mediocre and we definitely wouldn’t recommend it on any of Thai’s long-haul flights. However, our experience on the A350 and the lounge in Bangkok more than made up for it! It was just one of those flights you don’t want to end: a top-notch seat, delicious food and great service. Aside from the Wifi, which was too expensive, the flight was essentially perfect in every other way.
Booking: As a Star Alliance redemption, flying out of Sri Lanka back to Europe offers quite a few options such as Swiss, Thai, Austrian and Turkish but mostly connecting in Bangkok. Out of all of these options we were mostly excited about trying Thai’s Royal Silk (business class) on the A350 as it is a new product and overall the service and the food on Thai tend to be more interesting and on point. We decided to fly Colombo-Bangkok-Frankfurt by redeeming 45.000 Aegean miles and paying just €140 in taxes. A pretty good redemption when you consider that if we had started our trip in Bangkok (which falls under a different region) we would have needed to redeem 55.000 miles. The only downside was that the flight from Colombo to Bangkok was on a 777-200 (the 777ER has a seat similar to the A350) which features the old, angle-flat business class product but hey, for a 3.5hr flight we thought it’d be more than enough
Lounge(s): Our flight out of Colombo was at a rather awful time as it left at 1.20am and after about 3.5hrs landed in Bangkok around 6am. Once in Bangkok, we had a 6hr layover so it was important to have access to a nice lounge where we could catch up on some rest and be ready to enjoy the 11hr flight to Frankfurt. Thankfully, Bangkok has become quite the Star Alliance paradise when it comes to lounges and so we embarked on somewhat of a lounge safari! We started off with the Thai Royal Silk lounge in Concourse D where we slept for a couple of hours after landing. The lounge offers beds however don’t expect something fancy: the rooms are pretty open so not really private and the bed itself is not terribly comfortable. Remember to ask for a blanket at reception! After our quick nap we headed to the futuristic Eva Air lounge which offers the best shower rooms where you can freshen up. After our shower, our next destination was the new Singapore airlines lounge which had the best food on offer and a barrista who made us a pretty good coffee! We left though the best for last and headed to the beautiful Royal Orchid Spa where Royal Silk passengers can enjoy a free 30’ head and neck or shoulder massage (First class passengers can get a 1hr body massage!). Everything from the massage, to the space and the service were divine and we left feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready for the main event: our A350 business class flight! All in all, 6 hours at Bangkok airport just flew by….
The seat: The old business class on the B777-200 definitely shows its age. The cabin is in a 2x2x2 configuration and while the seat offers ample legroom it doesn’t fully recline so it’s not ideal for sleeping. However, for a 3.5hr flight it was fine and we actually managed to sleep through the entire flight. We just wouldn’t want to have this seat on a long-haul flight. The business class seat on the A350 however was just on a different level. In a 1x2x1 configuration, all seats offer direct aisle access which is always a great benefit. The single seats alternate between being close to the window or closer to the aisle (essentially your feet slot into the back of the seat in front of you). Similarly, the seats in the middle alternate between being right next to each other to being closer to the aisle. If you are travelling alone, then the best seats are the single ones by the window as they offer the most privacy. If you are travelling with someone else then you probably want to go for the two seats in the middle that are right next to each other, otherwise known as the “honeymoon seats”. Other than that, all seats are exactly the same and are just incredibly well-designed and comfortable. They have a lot of storage space and the seat is highly adjustable. We were also provided with a nice, big pillow which definitely made the seat even more comfortable. As a bed, the seat is pretty soft and above all, has a lot of room for your feet compared to other similar configurations on airlines such as Swiss, Austrian or Brussels airlines. The only drawback we could find is that to access the aisle when sitting in the seats by the window or the “honeymoon” seats you have to go through a pretty narrow space. Other than that, we were very pleased with our seat and had a very comfortable 11hr flight!
Food/Service: If you love Thai food then you will definitely enjoy the food on Thai’s business class. On the flight to Bangkok we didn’t eat anything as we wanted to maximize sleep but on our flight to Frankfurt we enjoyed a Thai feast! Most Thai flights offer two types of menus: a Thai one and a Western one. We opted for the Thai one and were not disappointed with our choice. We were served a full lunch right after take-off and another meal before landing. In both cases, the meal was a Thai samrab which consisted of many small dishes, all served at once. Everything we tried was very tasty, zingy, colorful, balanced and with great presentation. In between meals we also enjoyed some Illy coffee and Veuve Clicquot champagne. We didn’t try any of the wines but the list looked pretty good.
Entertainment system: Every seat on the A350 comes with a large, high resolution touchscreen which can also be controlled via the small touchpad by your seat. The list of movies/shows was pretty extensive and kept us entertained for a good 5-6 hours. However, we didn’t use the noise cancelling headphones we were given as they looked pretty mediocre and we opted instead for our own Bose Quietcomfort 35. Thai offers Wifi on its A350 but it was really expensive and had a low MB limit (other airlines such as Turkish offer free, unlimited wifi in business class). As such, we decided not to pay for internet as we were pretty sure we would use up our allowance very quickly. This was probably the most disappointing part of the whole experience.
Amenity Kit: We were given an amenity kit on our flight to Frankfurt that had all the basics (toothbrush kit, mouthwash, socks, earplugs, eye mask, comb and slippers) but was nothing to write home about. On our short flight to Bangkok we didn’t get an amenity kit but were given earplugs and an eyemask upon request.