United Airlines SAN to SFO
Hyatt Regency SFO
United Airlines Global First Lounge
ANA First Square SFO to NRT
Park Hyatt Tokyo Park View Room
Kamakura and the Great Buddha
Thai Airways First Class on the A380
Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi Airport
Royal Orchid Lounge and Spa at Bangkok
Thai Airways Business Class BKK to CGK
TG433 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi BKK – Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK
A330-300 HS-TET Kirimas
Right from the comfortable confines of the Royal First lounge, it was definitely a shock to be told that departure today would be from a remote stand and that means all the passengers were taken by bus. Since I was one of the last passengers to ‘board’ there was no seats left and it was one of the longest bus rides ever to the plane since we seemed to travel from one end of the terminal to the other.
One thing I did notice was how banks now like to plaster their advertisements on jet-bridges following HSBC’s footsteps as one of the local Thai banks had a series of nice advertisements on BKK’s jet-bridges.
While boarding the stairs is supposed to be a fun experience, it was not the case this time round. Due to the extreme temperature changes and humidity of Thailand, my camera lens just fogs up after getting off the bus and this did not allow me to take any good photos of the plane I would be taking. Once onboard, the cabin felt terribly warm and uncomfortable since I do believe the plane was parked in this remote area overnight. Thai’s Business Class cabin on the regional configuration was in a 2-2-2 seating arrangement with angled lie-flat seats not unlike that of Singapore Airlines’ on their A330s. The main difference lies in the colour scheme, while Singapore Airlines goes with earthy tones that exudes an air of elegance with leather trimmed seats, Thai Airways has gaudy purplish grey fabric seats that makes the cabin feel smaller and darker. Not a big fan of their business class cabin, but it is still very comfortable for the short 3-hour regional flight. Business class on the route is about 70% full today and I have a European seat- mate who seems to be touring South East Asia for a holiday as he was dressed in casual athletic gear.
Upon being seated, I was offered hot towels and a welcome drink. I got myself an apple juice for the morning flight and placed my bag on the floor in front of my seat which seems alright to the flight attendants. Even while we boarded on time, there was some wait before the door closed. And what came next was practically a tour of Suvarnabhumi Airport as the plane made its way to the other end of the airport for take-off. I must have seen airplanes from all 6 continents during this taxi! While I was not in a hurry, I felt like I had been made to walk from one end of the airport (the lounge) to another end (the boarding gate) to board a bus that brings me back near where I started only to taxi to a runway on another end of the airport! What a nice way to waste my time indeed!
The weather in Bangkok was turning cloudy when we took off though it was sunny clear skies once we entered the Gulf of Siam. Meal service began about half an hour after take-off which gave me some time to explore the cabin and take some more photos from some of the unoccupied seats at the back of the Business Class cabin. I took a peek of the Economy Class cabin and noticed that the flight was nearly full in the back as well indicating healthy loads between these 2 south east Asia city pairs.
Since I had pre-ordered a business class meal online, I did not peruse the menu carefully and just played around with the inflight entertainment system while waiting for the starters. Today’s breakfast menu read as follow:
Bangkok – Jakarta
Fresh Fruits and Yoghurt
Congee with Chicken Thigh and Black Mushroom
Fried Soba Noodles with Vegetables and Prawn
Sauteed Choy Sum
Omelette with Creamed Corn Kernel
Pan-fried Veal Sausage Chipolata
Hashed Browned Potatoes, Sauteed Buttered Spinach
Roll, Buttered Croissant, Muffin, Butter, Jam
Tea, Coffee, Chocolate Malt
Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne
Château Villa Bel-Air 2010
Rully La Bergerie Domaine Roland Sounit 2010
Chateau La Vieille Cure 2007
Gevrey Chambertin 2010
Mekhong THAI Sabai, Campari, Gin Martini, Screwdriver,
Bloody Mary, Black Russian, Vodka Martini, Warre’s Warrior Port
Rum, Gin, Bourbon Whisky, Vodka
Cognac & Liqueurs
Camus X.O., Kahlua, Drambuie, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
Chang Beer, Heineken Beer, Singha Beer
A Range of Soft Drinks, Diet Soft Drinks, Fruit Juices
Decaffeinated Coffee, Cappuccino, Espresso, Instant Coffee,
Special Blended Coffee, Oolong Tea, Ceylon Tea,
Japanese Green Tea, Chocolate Malt 3 in 1
I was actually glad to have pre-ordered the green curry dish since none of the main dish attracted me, especially considering I already had my breakfast of congee in the lounge. The meal was unique as it started off with the individual fruit platter first. The fruits was very nicely presented, and came with a cup of yoghurt, a plate containing jam and a smaller butter plate. However the fruits was ordinary and not that sweet, neither was it juicy.
Next came my pre-ordered Thai Green Curry Chicken main course that was served in a casserole. This dish took some time to be served but it came piping hot. The taste though was authentically Thai, since it was really spicy and I would advise against ordering this dish for someone who is not used to spicy flavours. The portion was also a bit small and not unlike to what Singapore Airlines would have served on Economy Class sectors. Flight attendants also offered a choice of breads from the basket and I got myself a croissant since that concluded the meal service on this 3 hour flight. The pre-ordering of meals made the service better somewhat though I would have liked an ice cream bar or something sweet at the end of the meal. Perhaps I have been spoilt after 2 amazing First Class flights since this meal service was very good when compared to what I might have gotten on a North American Domestic First Class.
I proceeded to recline my seat to a lie-flat position after the meal to just relax and enjoy the inflight entertainment. I was able to finish a movie during the flight and glanced out of the flight in time during descent to catch a shot of the islands off the coast of Java. After all Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago and what better way to invite me back home with the sight of tropical islands under the blue skies? With that it ended my succession of flights that brings me back to Indonesia from Canada. With the second flight onboard Thai Airways, I have to say they are one of the better carriers in Star Alliance, and I would not hesitate to transit in Bangkok at all when travelling in their First Class. Though this experience also points out why many more travellers choose Singapore Airlines over Thai for travels to South East Asia since Changi Airport and SIA are generally more convenient for Business and Economy Class passengers.