During a 2-week long visit to Singapore, I took the chance to travel to Bangkok since fares are relatively cheap from Singapore with a multitude of flights. From budget carriers to full-service airlines, there was a lot of choices for travellers flying between these 2 cities. In this case, Thai Airways came out to be the best in terms of the combination of flight and prices. With the inclusion of meals and seat selections onboard new wide-body airplanes, I figured there was no worse way to travel even if one is at the back for the roughly 1 and 1/2 hour ride.
Check-in was done in Terminal 1 and it was quick with no queues at all. As I did not have much useful status in Star Alliance, it was just time to browse the shops and get some snacks as we took a leisurely walk towards the gate. As it ends up, there was a late arrival of the aircraft and that meant a slightly delayed boarding. Though from the looks of it, there was plenty of families who were already queueing up to board.
TG404 Singapore Changi SIN – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi BKK
Boeing 777-300ER HS-TKY Yubhaphaka
Gate D49 Seat 46H
Boarding was orderly and this made for a pleasant start to the journey. Even with our hand carried items and being one of the last to board, there was still overhead space. Coincidentally, I met some of my other distant relatives in this flight and they happened to be seated across from my seat. This is what happens when one travels during the peak holiday season.
Thai Airways new 777-300ER has seats in a 3-3-3 configuration for Economy and this was as comfortable as it gets since it matches the competition with Singapore Airlines. However I noticed the legroom was a bit tighter even though the seat was the same one utilized by Singapore Airlines. On each seat, there was a small pillow and headphones can be found in the seatback pocket along with other inflight literature.
On the seatback there was a good sized personal entertainment monitor with a coat hanger on the left and a USB socket that would charge and connect your device to the monitor on the right. Below the inflight monitor lies the controller which can be used to change the volume, pause your movie, call the attendant and control overhead lighting.
Thai Airways has a pretty good selection of new movies and TV shows on their entertainment system, though do not expect that much episodes of any one TV show. In addition to that, I like how they incorporated their menu into the system so that passengers can make their choice beforehand. That would certainly make meal service more efficient in Economy Class as passengers know what to expect.
A quick and efficient boarding process was followed with a fast pullback from the gate. During the taxi to the runway, the crew went around to distribute the immigration forms that is required for visitors entering Thailand. The taxi and queue for the runway in Changi meant there was time to fill up the forms before take-off. As always, the feeling of flying on a 777 certainly beats that of flying any single aisle plane like the A320 or 737 that lesser airlines use for short flights.
For the short 2-hour journey, the crew got to work nearly immediately once the seat-belt sign was turned off. They begin by serving meals from the front on each section of the cabin.
I chose the prawn dish for my lunch since it was considered the ‘Thai’ option while my siblings chose the ‘Chinese’ option of chicken with fried rice. As a comparison, I thought the prawn was much tastier with a nice spicy flavour while the chicken was a bit too dry even though the flavour was just nice. In addition to the main course, a garden salad was served as appetizer, with an apple crumble as dessert. There was also a bun with butter for the hungry passenger. A bottle of water was also included in the tray though the crew still do ask passengers for their beverage orders as they go around.
The food and beverage service was considered good for a short regional flight and comparing to Singapore Airlines, I actually found I enjoyed many of the dishes onboard Thai. Though this could be attributed to my penchant for Thai cuisine. It helps as well that Thai cuisine is popular within Asia.
After the meal service, the crew went around to offer coffee or tea as well as promote the duty free offerings. With the quick meal service, there was certainly enough time for passengers to peruse the shopping onboard. The fine weather meant the view out from the wing was not bad either, though my brother got the benefit here as he took the photo below for me.
While the pilot did his best to arrive on time, the flight was encumbered by a busy day in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. The captain went onboard to announce to passengers of the holding pattern as the crew awaits further instructions from the control tower. This resulted in a bit of a delay and add to the fact that Suvarnabhumi Airport is not exactly small, eventually it meant we still landed behind schedule.
Upon disembarking from the flight the terminal seems quite empty and thus we took our own time walking to the immigration which was a big mistake!
It turns out the immigration queue was long and we spent at least 40 minutes or more making our way past passport control. This was one of those times when I miss the fast track passes that Thai Airways would give their premium passengers in Business and First Class. I would recommend all passengers in First and Business Class to ask from their cabin crew about a fast track pass to get through Bangkok’s immigration as it can get really long at times. Otherwise, this was a nice flight even in Economy with a tasty meal, still fresh looking cabin and seats as well as acceptable entertainment system. Travellers flying with Thai Airways in Economy could certainly choose the 777-300ERs if the option is available to them for the newer cabin and better seats.