Flight Review: Thai Airways 777-300ER Business Class from Seoul to Bangkok via Taipei

Flight Review: Thai Airways 777-300ER Business Class from Seoul to Bangkok via Taipei

Flight Information
Date
: March 19, 2018
Flight No.: TG635
Route: Seoul Incheon to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (via Taipei Taoyuan)
Airline: Thai Airways
Type: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: HS-TKP

The second flight of my trip to Phuket – from Seoul to Bangkok via Taipei – was originally scheduled to be operated by Thai Airways 777-200 configured with old-generation business class seats in a “2-2-2” layout.

Luckily, the scheduled equipment was changed to a 777-300ER the night before departure, and so I was able to experience Thai Airways’ staggered business class seats – a product that can be found on many of the airline’s long haul flights.

Transiting at Seoul Incheon Airport

The transfer process at Incheon was as smooth as it gets, and so, not long after getting off my flight from Tokyo, I found myself back in the secure area. As I only had about thirty minutes until boarding was scheduled to start, I visited Asiana Lounge only very briefly (I reviewed it in the past) to have a can of ginger ale, and then made my way to the departure gate.

Along the way to gate 12 where my flight was departing from, I briefly enjoyed a string quartet performance.

Here, I’ll note that I was surprised by how badly the airport was marked. There were only large numbers for each gates and a number of signs scattered across the terminal pointing to different sets of gates. But, there were not nearly enough signs that could easily get people from the central area just past the transit security check to whichever gate they were departing from.

Seoul Incheon Airport

A string quartet at Incheon airport.
Gate 12 Seoul Incheon

Gate 12.
Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER

Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER.

Not long after I got to the gate, an announcement was made that the flight would board in five minutes.

Once the boarding begun, I was the first person to walk down the jetway. But, not before receiving a new boarding pass with a new seat, 15K, assigned instead of the original 19K.

Thai Royal Silk Class

Priority boarding lane.
Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER at Seoul Incheon Airport

Heading onboard.
Boarding Thai Airways Flight to Taipei and Bangkok

It’s always a pleasure to be able to turn left.

When I got onboard, I received a warm “sawasdee ka” welcome by the cabin crew member standing at the door and was shown to my seat.

On the counter of my seat, there was the day’s Japanese newspaper waiting. I was really impressed by that given that the flight didn’t originate in or head to Japan. Instead, they must have prepared it just based on the passenger manifest. Well done, Thai Airways!

Japanese Newspaper Onboard Thai Airways

Japanese newspaper waiting at my seat.

Thai Airways 777-300ER Business Class Cabin and Seat

Before continuing with the flight itself, let’s take a look at the hard product.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ERs are equipped with 42 staggered lie-flat seats split across two cabins. The first cabin, located between the first and the second pair of doors includes 24 seats. The second, smaller, cabin is equipped with 18 seats.

The seats are basically the same model as the one I experienced on Asiana’s A380 on the previous flight of the trip. Since they are staggered in a 1-2-1 layout, the seats in the center section alternate between being right next to each other and being separated by counters.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin

Thai Airways 777-300ER business class cabin.
Thai Airways 777-300ER Business Class Seats

The aircraft was equipped with 42 staggered lie-flat seats.

Similarly, the seats on either side of the aircraft alternate between being closer to the aisle and right next to the windows (“true” window seats).

Thai Airways Royal Silk Class Onboard the 777-300ER

Aisle seat.
Window Seat Onboard Thai Airways 777-300ER

Window seat.

As for the seat itself, it was covered in purple cloth, and upon boarding, a noise-cancelling headset and a fairly large pillow were placed on it. Across from the seat was the foot cubby which felt much spacier than the one on Asiana’s A380 due to a cutout on its right side. Under the foot cubby, there was enough space to store a pair of shoes.

Pillow and Headset

Headset and pillow.
Foot Cubby

Foot cubby.

On the panel of the seat’s console, near the floor, there was a universal power outlet. There was also a pair of USB ports under the IFE screen. On the side of the console, next to the seat itself, there were also the seat controls, the IFE remote, as well as an armrest and a small storage compartment perfect for storing a cellphone or a small camera.

Power Outlet

Power outlet.
IFE Screen and USB Ports

IFE screen and USB ports.
Seat and IFE Controls

Seat controls, IFE remote, armrest and storage compartment.

Finally, on the panel of the seat in front, there was a safety card pocket, a coat hook, as well as a tray table.

Seat Pocket

Safety card pocket.
Tray Table and Coat Hook

Coat hook and tray table.

One thing the seat was missing was any sort of storage space other than the fairly small counter and the small storage compartment under the armrest.

Departing Seoul Onboard a Thai Airways 777-300ER

Going back to the flight itself, soon after I settled in my seat, one of the crew members came to ask if I was Japanese. After mentioning that indeed I was (half) Japanese, but jokingly making a remark that my reading is not good enough to read the newspaper, she cleared it.

And, at that time, she also brought me a hot towel and asked whether I wanted anything to drink. The orange juice that I ordered was brought not long after.

Welcome Drink and Warm Towel TG

Welcome drink and hot towel.

At 5:25PM, we were welcomed by the captain who mentioned that the flight time to Taipei would be two hours and fifteen minutes. Around the same time, boarding was completed.

The aircraft’s doors were closed at 5:27PM, and we were pushed back two minutes later, one minute ahead of schedule. Several minutes of taxiing later, we reached the end of runway 15R from which we took off at 5:45PM, leaving Seoul Incheon airport behind.

Thai Airways Smooth as Silk

Smooth as silk.
Thai Airways Safety Video

Safety video.
Korean Air Aircraft at Seoul Incheon Terminal

Rows of Korean Air aircraft at Incheon airport.
Runway 15R Seoul Incheon

Entering runway 15R.
Seoul Incheon Airport

View of Incheon airport’s terminal shortly after take-off.

Thai Airways Business Class Meal on the Seoul – Taipei Segment

The seatbelt signs were switched off less than ten minutes after take-off. Not long after that, the preparations for the meal service begun with one of the crew members coming to ask me about my meal choice. Soon after, a blanket was provided.

Thai Airways Business Class Menus

Food and drink menus.
Thai Airways Business Class Blanket

Blanket.

As for the meal, there was a choice of Thai, Western, and Korean dishes. I decided to go with the Korean-style chicken and ginger ale for drink.

 Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Menu

Menu for the first segment.
Drink Menu

Champagne.
Drink Menu

White wines.
Drink Menu

Red wines.
Drink Menu

Other drinks.

Just a couple of minutes after I made my order, I was brought the drink as well as a bowl of cold nuts.

Thai Airways Nuts and Ginger Ale

Ginger ale and nuts.

Once the flight attendant noticed that I finished the nuts, she stopped by to confirm that I was ready to have the meal itself. All of the meal came together on a single tray which is understandable given that it was a fairly short sector. And, besides the chicken and rice, there were also a prawn appetizer, a pack of kimchi, some fruits, and a coconut and strawberry mousse.

Both the appetizer and the main were quite good (although the chicken was a bit too spicy for me, which is unsurprising for a Korean meal).

Thai Airways Korean Dinner Business Class

Dinner number one.
Fruits and Dessert Onboard TG

Fruits and dessert.
Thai Airways Business Class Appetizer

Appetizer.

When I was done with the main and started eating the dessert, the crew came around to ask whether I wanted a cup of tea or coffee to go with it. At the same time the tea I ordered was brought, the crew also cleared the tray.

Dessert and Tea Onboard Thai Airways

Tea and dessert.

Thai Airways’ In-Flight Entertainment System

After the meal, I worked a bit while waiting for the sunset. When working, I also realized how useful the ability to move a seat forwards or backwards can be – especially so when the tray table itself cannot be moved.

Sunset

Sunset.
Sunset

…and once more.

I also visited the restroom which was equipped with some simple amenities as well as a fresh flower.

Thai Airways Restroom Amenities

Restroom amenities.
Toilet Amenities

Orchids in restroom.

At 6:13PM Taipei time, the captain announced that we would be starting our descent soon and that we were expecting to land in Taipei around 7PM. Not long after that, I stowed away my laptop and switched the in-flight entertainment system on.

Thai Airways In-Flight Entertainment System Welcome Screen

IFE welcome screen.
Thai Airways IFE Main Menu

IFE main menu.
Thai Airways IFE Entertainment Menu

Entertainment main menu

As for movies, there was a total of about a hundred movies divided into ten or so categories. While the selection was not as extensive as that of the Middle Eastern airlines, it was better than airlines such as ANA – and it was certainly enough to keep a person entertained on even a long haul flight.

Thai Airways IFE Movie Categories

Categories of movies.
Thai Airways IFE Movies

Movies.

Similarly, there were about fifty TV shows, each with a couple of episodes. Here, it was unfortunate that the seasons and episodes available were quite random. But then again, there are not many airlines that offer full TV show seasons.

And, they offered some episodes of The Big Bang Theory – my go-to TV show on flights – so I had nothing to complain about.

Thai Airways IFE TV Shows

Categories of TV shows.
Thai Airways IFE TV Shows

TV shows.
The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory.

While I didn’t listen to any of the music or play any of the games, there were several hundred albums from a large variety of artists and more than ten games available in the IFE system as well.

Thai Airways IFE Music

Categories of music.
Thai Airways IFE Music

Music.
Thai Airways IFE Game Categories

Categories of games.
Thai Airways IFE Games

Games.

Finally, the information section included the in-flight map as well as other things such as the airline’s fleet details.

Thai Airways IFE Information Section

Information section.
Thai Airways IFE Map

Flight details with wrong time to destination.
Map Options

In-flight map selection.
Flight Information

Flight details with correct time to destination.
Moving Map

Standard map.
Thai Airways IFE Boeing 747-400

Thai Airways 747 details.

Landing and Transit in Taipei

Once I was done with going through the IFE system, I decided to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Thai Airways Business Class Headset

Noise-cancelling headset.
Watching TBBT Onboard TG

Watching The Big Bang Theory.

At 6:35PM, the cabin crew made an announcement that we were starting our descent, and that they would be preparing the cabin for landing.

At that point, I realized that the the crew basically disappeared into the galleys right after the meal service, not coming around the cabin to check on passengers or offer drinks. And, not even clearing my cup and can.

If there was any negative point of the flight, that would be the only one.

In either case, at 6:37PM, the seatbelt signs were switched back on, and at 6:58PM, we touched down at Taipei Taoyuan airport.

While we were taxiing to our arrival gate, an announcement was made that we would depart after a roughly 40-minute-long stop. And that – unlike on my Qatar Airways flights between Doha and Hanoi – even transit passengers had to get off and go through security.

Approaching Taipei

Approaching Taipei Taoyuan airport.
Taxiing at Taipei Airport

Taxiing to our gate in rain.

We arrived in blocks at 7:03PM, and after disembarking, transit passengers were handed a transit card and were directed through security to gate B5 where the onward flight to Bangkok would depart from.

Thai Airways Transit Card in Taipei

Transit card with old Thai Airways logo.
Taipei Airport Gate B5

Gate B5 at Taipei airport.

Departing Taoyuan Airport Bound for Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

The second segment, from Taipei to Bangkok, started boarding around 7:40PM, half an hour before the scheduled departure time of 8:10PM. I was one of the first passengers to board, and onboard, I found a cleaned up cabin including new fresh orchids, pillows, as well as headsets placed at each seats.

Boarding Taipei-Bangkok Segment

Boarding in progress.
Thai Airways 777-300ER Business Class Seat

Cleaned-up seat.

Not long after I settled down, the same friendly flight attendant that was taking care of me on the first segment came around to offer me hot towel and orange juice (based on my preference from the first segment).

It’s worth noting that she did it in Japanese adding another nice touch that personalized the whole flight experience.

Welcome Drink

Welcome drink and hot towel.

With all the passengers onboard, the cabin crew closed the door at 7:59PM, shortly after which the captain welcomed us (back) onboard. He also mentioned that the flight time would be 3 hours and 35 minutes, and that it was 28 degrees Celsius in Bangkok.

Right after that, the safety video was played, and at 8:07PM, we were pushed back.

Thai Airways Safety Video

Safety video.
Cathay Pacific 777-300

Cathay Pacific 777 parked next to us.

As we were being pushed back, the cabin crew came around taking (second) dinner orders. As I had the Korean option on the previous flight, this time I decided to go with the Thai option – the fish curry.

Dinner Menu

Menu for the second segment.

At 8:11PM, the cockpit crew requested the cabin crew to do a cabin check and take their seats for take-off, and right after, we started taxiing towards runway 05R from which we took off at 8:23PM.

Taxiing for Departure from Taipei

Taxiing by Evergreen hangards.
Taking Off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport

Departing Taipei.

Thai Airways Business Class Meal on Taipei – Bangkok Flight

Once we were airborne, I continued watching The Bing Bang Theory episode that I started watching on the previous segment.

At 8:35PM, the seatbelt signs were switched off and the cabin lights on, and so the meal service could begun. Just like on the previous flight, it started with a bowl of nuts and a drink of choice (ginger ale in my case).

Watching TBBT Onboard Thai Airways

Continuing with The Big Bang Theory.
Ginger Ale and Nuts

Ginger ale and nuts.

Then, about half an hour later, table cloth was placed on my table, and just a couple of minutes later the tray with the dinner was brought. Besides the fish curry and rice, there was also spicy chicken salad and a fruit plate.

Once again, the meal was very tasty.

Thai Airways Business Class Fish Curry Dish

Second dinner – fish curry.
Thai Airways Business Class Fish Curry

Fish curry.
Chicken Salad

Chicken salad.

Unlike during the meal on the previous flight, this time the dessert came separately after the meal rather than on the tray with the main. I decided to go with strawberry panna cotta and a cup of peppermint tea.

Dessert

Dessert and tea.

Not long after the dessert was served, the crew came around with warm towels. And, another several minutes later, I was brought a Thai immigration form. While I had to ask for a pen even when flying with Cathay Pacific in first class, Thai Airways provided pen together with the form. Yet another nice touch.

Thailand Immigration Form

Thai immigration form.

Testing Thai Airways Business Class Flat Bed

As I had been up since the early hours of the day, I decided to get some sleep once the dinner service was finished.

Interestingly, while blankets were provided on the shorter segment between Seoul and Taipei, they were not provided on the longer segment to Bangkok in spite of the fact that it took place at night.

In spite of that, I managed to get a bit more than an hour of good sleep in the comfortable seat. As mentioned above, the seat felt spacier than its Asiana counterpart due to a cutout in the foot cubby.

Thai Airways 777-300ER Seat in Bed Mode

The seat in lie-flat mode.

Landing at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

When I woke up, I found a bottle of water placed next to my seat. And, around the same time, an announcement was made that we would be landing in about forty minutes.

Water

Water.
Approaching Bangkok

Almost in Bangkok.

Not long after that, at 10:25PM Thailand time, we started our initial descent as we were flying over Pattaya. About five minutes later, the seatbelt signs were switched on, and at 10:47PM, we touched down at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport.

Flying Over Pattaya

Flying by Pattaya.
Approaching Suvarnabhumi Airport

Seconds before landing at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Less than ten minutes later, at 10:56PM, we parked at our gate. And, thanks to flying business class, I was through immigration at 11:10PM even though the regular line was at least an hour long.

Thai Airways 777-300ER Seoul – Taipei – Bangkok Summary

Overall, I highly enjoyed my first two flights with Thai Airways. While it would have been nice if the crew came around the cabin proactively offering drinks from time to time, otherwise they were excellent.

And, as mentioned in the beginning of the report, I was especially impressed with the Japanese newspaper waiting at my seat upon boarding. That showed me how much effort Thai Airways puts into customizing their service to each passenger.

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