Date: March 20, 2018
Flight No.: TG203
Route: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Phuket International
Airline: Thai Airways
Type: Boeing 747-400
The last flight of my spotting trip to Phuket before I got to actually enjoy the spotting part was a quick domestic hop from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Phuket.
The flight was operated by Thai Airways Boeing 747-400, and while I was traveling in business class, I got to experience the airline’s first class seat given that there is no “real first class” sold on the route.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Thai Airways Domestic Check-in at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
I spent the night at The Phoenix Hotel Bangkok and caught a 6AM shuttle back to the airport where I arrived just ten minutes later. After entering the large departures hall, I headed to C counters on the very left side of the terminal which were used for domestic flights.
While dropping off my bag – which only took a minute or so – I tried to ask if it was possible to change my seat from 3K to either 1A or 1K, or an upper deck seat (although that would mean “downgrade” to an actual business class seat).
Neither of those was possible since 1A and 1K were occupied and the whole upper deck was closed (as it later turned out, it was occupied by deadheading crew members).
With my bag on its way to the aircraft, I cleared security check and walked towards the domestic Royal Silk Lounge. On the way, I noticed a 747 being towed to the terminal. And, indeed, as expected, it turned out to be the aircraft that took me to Phuket later, HS-TGG.
Boarding Flight TG203 from Bangkok to Phuket
I left the lounge around 7:40 and headed towards gate B5 where the flight was scheduled to depart from at 8:30AM. When I got there, the gate area was already filled with passengers and the aircraft was waiting outside almost ready for the short flight.
Boarding started twenty minutes before the scheduled departure time, and I was one of the first passengers to get onboard the aircraft.
Once onboard, I was welcomed by the crew and instructed to turn left – into the nose of the Jumbo Jet.
Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 First Class Cabin and Seat
The aircraft was equipped with Thai Airways’ newer first class seats and, as mentioned above, was located in the nose section of the lower deck of the 747. In total, there were nine seats in three rows.
The first row only had two seats (1-1) due to the curvature of the aircraft, while the second one had three seats (1-1-1), and the third row had four seats (1-2-1).
My seat was 3K, the right side window seat in the last row of the first class cabin. While the seat was not an enclosed suite, it still provided enough privacy due to the walls on both the front and back of the seat.
Sitting down and looking towards the front of the seat, there was a wall which also doubled as a closet. And, there was a large in-flight entertainment screen next to which was a fresh flower.
Under the screen, there was a large ottoman which also provided enough space underneath to store my fairly large camera backpack.
Along the outer (right) side of the suite, there was a long console.
Going from the front of it towards the back, there was a small storage compartment that also housed inflight magazines and a power outlet, a long and narrow counter which housed the massive tray table, a small tablet with the seat controls, and another compartment with USB ports, IFE remote control, audio output, and some storage space.
On the seat itself, there was a pillow upon boarding. And, to the left and above of the seat, there was a reading light.
One last thing to note here about the seat is that given the aircraft’s age, it was showing some wear and tear. But as far as comfort is concerned, the seat was very good.
Departing Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
After I settled in my seat, one of the flight attendants came to offer me a welcome drink. Based on his suggestion, I decided to go with ice tea – Thai Airways’ signature drink. And, it certainly was the right choice.
Not long after that, he also brought me a hot towel.
Boarding was completed just after 8:30AM (our scheduled departure time), and right after, the safety video was played.
With the video over, one of the cabin crew members made a welcome announcement, mentioning that the flight time was expected to be exactly one hour.
We were pushed back at 8:47AM, seventeen minutes behind schedule, and at 9:03AM, we took off from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport’s runway 19L.
Thai Airways Domestic Business Class Breakfast
The seatbelt signs were switched off five minutes after take off and within another five minutes, the crew sprung into action with the breakfast service.
First, the table was set. As mentioned above, it was massive and, although it was a bit beaten up, it was quite sturdy. In fact, the table was so large that it made the business class table cloth look small and a bit funny.
As for the breakfast, there was a choice between two pastries from which I chose croissant. Other than that, though, there was no choice.
Instead, the breakfast was brought on a single tray. And, besides the croissant, it contained an omelette and a fruit jelly for dessert. Separately from that, I was brought another glass of ice tea.
And, later on, hot tea and coffee were offered from which I chose the former.
While the meal was simple, it was quite delicious. That especially applies to the dessert – of which I could easily have eaten more.
Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 Business Class Cabin
Once the meal service finished, I decided to roam around the cabin a bit.
First, I took a quick look at the galley which was located along the windows on the right side of the aircraft. And which, rather than taking up the whole width of the aircraft was narrow and long.
Then, I briefly stopped by the second pair of doors which, on a 747, offers great views of the wing.
Finally, I took a quick look at the aircraft’s business class cabins. In total, it featured 50 angle-flat business class seats spread across two cabins.
The first cabin was located on the lower deck, right behind first class. It was in a 2-2 configuration, next to the galley. And so, there were only left-side window seats.
The second one was located on the upper deck, and was in the same 2-2 configuration.
Except, naturally, the upper deck had both left and right side window seats whereas on the lower deck, the pair of seats on the right side was located next to the galley’s wall.
Landing in Paradise
When I returned to my seat, there were about thirty minutes of flight time left, and so I decided to work for a bit. The seatbelt signs were switched back on soon after that, however, at 9:57AM, and so I stowed away my laptop and just enjoyed sitting in the ever rarer 747 and looking out of the window.
At 10:05AM, the landing gear was lowered, and soon after that we flew by the famous beach located next to the runway. We landed at 10:07AM, and at 10:16AM, we reached our parking gate.
However, it took another twenty or so minutes until we could disembark since there was an issue with the aircraft’s door.
Once I was able to get off, I picked up my bag, met up with Yukihiro, and we went out to do some spotting. More on that, however, in the next instalment.
Thai Airways Domestic Business Class Summary
When it comes to hard product on a one-hour domestic business class flight, this is about as good as it gets. In fact, even if I had “just a regular business class seat,” it would still have been more than enough for the short hop.
Similarly, the meal was adequate too. While it wasn’t as extensive as when I flew with Mahan Air between Mashad and Tehran, it was still a filling breakfast.
All that said, if I wasn’t booking it as part of an award ticket and was paying for the flight instead, I would just go with the cheapest option which would likely be AirAsia from Bangkok Don Muang. If you decide to travel between Bangkok and Phuket that way, keep in mind that there is a free shuttle connecting the two Bangkok airports.