In 2024 I hope to post first impressions of my flights closer to taking them. It takes us a couple of weeks to put the final comprehensive reviews together. Last week I flew Thai Airways Royal Silk business class on a long 12h33m Boeing B777-300ER night flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Paris, France.
I wanted to share my first impressions in this post, in advance of our review of this flight.
Needless to say, I left with such an interesting experience, and one I wasn’t expecting.
I was pleasantly surprised!
My Thai Airways Customer Service was Fast and Efficient
My adventure on Thai Airways began with a self-inflicted mis-adventure – I booked my flight on the wrong date! I’ll also mention this ticket was effectively booked within 24 hours of travel.
My intended flight to Paris has a departing time of 00:05, just after midnight.
I was initially looking for a single booking that connected into this flight, with the origin leaving on Saturday evening. Instead, I made two independent bookings, and I forgot to change the travel date to Sunday for my Paris-bound flight!
In other words, when I arrived at the airport on Saturday evening at 9pm, my booked flight had already departed at 00:05 earlier that morning! Oops!
I only discovered this incident when I was trying to check in at the airport. To my great surprise, I was simply sent to the Thai Airways ticket office at the airport. Here, I found it fully staffed with ten agents ready to go.
I took a queue tag, and was called up within five minutes. After explaining the situation, I had to pay an 8000 baht penalty ($232 USD) for my mistake… I was handed a new ticket with a smile, again on my way less than ten minutes after arriving.
The agent deliberately called the staff on the aircraft to check the seats. On my request, I was given the last available window seat on the flight!
I was able to check in as usual after that.
I imagine this procedure would be far more difficult, had I been flying into Thailand instead of outbound, given the facilities present at BKK.
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Service is Exceptionally Attentive, Detailed, and Caring
The level of service on this flight was exceptional, from the minute I walked onto the plane to the moment I got off. It was amazing.
All drinks, including wines, coffees, and even normal juices, were brought out on gorgeous silver trays, and professional served at each seat.
Flight Attendants worked in teams to give specific passengers service, all night.
When I asked for a red wine recommendation – the FA returned with help, brought out three wine bottles in hand on a silver tray, and poured all of them to sample in three separate glasses. I didn’t even ask.
To be clear, it wasn’t just me. I’ve become used to receiving a different standard of service if the agents figure out that I’m documenting the flight. I noticed it with all passengers in the cabin around me, too.
There was the mother with a child, who was moved to the row across from me since it offers a honeymoon suite, allowing them to be close together. They received exceptional attentive service the entire flight, even in the sleeping hours. There was the business class upgrade, and an elderly businessman. I saw everyone treated with attention and care.
Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Food and Drinks are (Mostly) Delicious
I was floored by the wine, coffee, and tea service.
Drinks and food were served directly to each passenger’s seat, and on elegant, classy silver trays. The dessert was presented with a real purple flower, and a sliver of chocolate.
I thought the drinks selection was delicious. The specialty drinks on Thai airlines are tart yet tasty, bringing you right back to Thailand.
There was pour over coffee available on demand, and these were served right at your seat! Wow.
There’s also this delicious thai tea bubble drink – sweet and tasty. Yum!
The dinner service was brought on individual plates and dishes, rather than simply on a tray like most airlines would.
I really, really enjoyed the final Michelin Chef created dish – one of the best I’ve had in the air lately.
If there’s one area I think Thai Airways can seriously improve, it’s in the base food selection.
I don’t think most of the food on the flight did justice to the amazing food that exists in Thailand.
Thai Airways B777 Royal Silk Hard Product is Dated
Like other airlines in the region, Thai Airways could use some investment in the hard product.
The Royal Silk Business Class seats are very unique and definitely maintained well for their age, but unfortunately still dated at this point. The window seats in the Royal Silk cabin offer excellent privacy, but less table space.
The obvious flaw is mostly with the aisle seats lacking privacy or barriers to the aisle, meaning things fall over mid flight all the time. This is the most common seat in the cabin.
The maintenance was still sufficient for the aircraft age.
The In Flight Entertainment worked but partially and slower. Quite frequently the in flight map would stop transmitting and instead show as a black screen; otherwise, the system was slow to load for all steps.
This flight lacked WiFi entirely. Although it was a Saturday into Sunday flight and I didn’t need to work, I can’t help but think how lack of WiFi in 2024 makes an airline completely unsuitable for business travel. I’ve noticed business travelers will pay higher fares in premium cabins for access to working WiFi. In this case the original ticket price was $1,700 one way – that’s quite steep without working WiFi.
I was wonderfully surprised by Thai Airways. I’ve read and heard mixed reviews about the airline, and thus wasn’t sure what to expect returning from Thailand.
Every step of the way, from the ticket exchange thru Check-In thru the boarding and all thru the cabin service, I had a wonderful experience – and that’s rare when flying these days! Maybe I just got lucky – it was especially apparent the crew put a lot of effort into providing a good experience.
Initially I thought my last minute ticket at $1700 one way was expensive, but I left with an impression my money was well spent for this route and the service received.