Thai Airways, Business Class
THE FLIGHT: TG917 from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, the flight left at 21.20.
PRE-BOARDING: Check-in was at Terminal 2’s A Zone. Three hours before the flight, both Business (Royal Silk) desks were vacant and I was the sole passenger. I was welcomed with a smile and shown the way to the business lounge. It's a 15-minute walk (underneath the runway to the B gates) to Star Alliance partner United Airlines' lounge. There were plenty of stools, chairs and couches, with power points and phone charge stations, a wide range of hot food and snack options and a long central bar manned by two bar staff.
THE SEAT: Royal Silk Business is made up of 42 seats in rows 11-22, with the seats arranged in a 1-2-1 confi guration. I was in 12D, one of two middle seats. These have aisle access and there is a wide arm rest/table divider between the two, which helps create a comfortable private space. At 20 inches, the seat felt wide, the lie-fl at option was easy to operate and came without any of the lumps and bumps of some other business ‘beds’. The oversized fold-out table was a neat feature. The only slight negative was the rather clunky seat belts – theme park ride-style – that fi tted over the shoulders and felt quite restrictive.
THE SERVICE: The smiles started as I boarded the plane and were never far away during the duration of the flight – a precursor of what I was to find in the ‘Land of Smiles’. As soon as I took my seat I was offered a hot towel (on a silver platter), Champagne (Veuve Clique) and a bottle of water. For both lunch and dinner we were offered a choice of a Western or Thai menu.
THE VERDICT: This was an extremely comfortable way to pass almost 11 hours. The seat was spacious and its functionality easy to navigate; the AVOD in-flight entertainment was modern and varied and the service struck the right balance between attentiveness and allowing passengers the space to enjoy the premium facilities and the in-flight bells and whistles.
THE DETAILS: Thai Airways flies twicedaily between Heathrow and Bangkok. The 12.30 departure from Heathrow is operated by an Airbus A380, as is the return overnight flight from Bangkok, which leaves at 01.20. Royal Silk Business class fares start from around £2,305. thaiairways.com.
Reviewed by Steve Hartridge (2017)