Who doesn’t love a good smile? Or in this case, a good Thai Smile flight that is…
There are MANY choices when taking domestic flights in Thailand. From Bangkok Airways, Air Asia to Thai Smile you won’t have a problem finding a flight to your favorite beach city. In this trip report we take a look at Thai Airways regional airline, Thai Smile!
For those who are unfamiliar with Thai Smile Airlines (WE), they are a low-cost regional start-up airline with Thai Airways as the parent company. Thai Smile operates a fleet of 20 Airbus A320-200 aircraft and serves Thailand’s domestic market as well as destinations in Asia. Click here for their route map.
On this trip to Phuket, HKT, we decided to give Thai Smile a try. For years, we’ve been flying on their direct competitor, Bangkok Airways (trip report here) and wanted a change of scenery. The domestic and regional market to Phuket and other Thailand beach cities is extremely competitive with many different airlines. Full fare tickets can be found for around $50 or less each way, which, is a steal! But, what you get on each airline for that $50 can vary with checked bags and free meals. Let’s take a look at our flight on Thai Smile from BKK – HKT.
Thai Smile (WE) flight 273
BKK-HKT Gate B3
Thursday, 16 September 2016
Flight Time: 1+25
Seats: 42A, 42B and 42C
Cost: $49 one-way
The perks of flying with Thai Smile includes: free meal and beverage served on board, seat selection with no extra fee, free 20kg (40lbs) baggage allowance and the ability to earn Royal Orchid Plus (Thai Airways frequent flyer program) miles.
For our 10:30am departure, we arrived at BKK at 8:45 am leaving plenty of time to check in and head over to the gate.
The check-in counter for Thai Smile is located by the domestic end of the departure hall. Although there was a line, it moved quite swiftly. We completed our check-in and seat change to the exit row in less than 7 minutes. The check-in staff was pleasant and efficient. Next stop, security.
We got through the security line in less than 5 minutes considering it was high departure time for domestic flights. Once on the other side, we grabbed a quick snack of more Mango and Sticky Rice and some morning tea.
All domestic flights depart out of concourse A and B and it’s quite a walk, so give yourself enough time factoring in some great shopping as well.
One thing I miss flying with Bangkok Airways is their lounge. It’s a basic space that provides refreshments, reading material, wifi and space for the kids but it sure beats hanging out at the gate. The upside is being able to catch a glimpse of the crew in their vibrant Thai Smile uniform.
Boarding began promptly at 10 am, 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
Once we got to our row, we were greeted by a very pleasant Thai Smile crew member waiting to assist us and brief us on exit row responsibilities. BUT… look at the pitch on these exit row seats, they do pale in comparison to any U.S. carrier. I feel that the pitch in the exit row is what you would find in a regular row on a U.S. carrier. Boarding was quick and efficient considering it was a full A320.
Exit row pitch! How do you get out of the window in an emergency?!
Exit row leg room.
Non-exit row leg room.
We love the air sickness bag!
Shortly after pushing back from the gate, we taxied to the north runway and took off south bound to Phuket.
The Thai Smile crew members begin their service promptly. The Thai Smile PLUS class curtain is drawn, even for taxi out! No peaking during taxi!
On an hour and fifteen minute flight, the crew handed out a cute little lunch bag that contained a sandwich, water and wet wipes.
Visually, the Black Bread Chicken Salad Sandwich doesn’t look appealing but it’s quite tasty!
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
And what a great surprise when we caught a glimpse of the beverage cart coming down the aisle. If you’ve flown Bangkok Airways on this route before, you know the beverage options are: water, “orange juice”, coffee and tea. Kudos to Thai Smile for a full beverage cart service!
Inflight entertainment was an episode of AFV!
With 20 minutes to spare, the cabin service is complete! Then, a few minutes after, the captain came on and announce our descend into Phuket.
Finally, arrival to HKT!
Comparing Thai Smile to our flight on Bangkok Airways there are a few differences. Flying with Thai Smile you get mileage credit to Thai Airways ROP, newer aircraft, free checked baggage, and a full beverage service, however, leg room is limited. On Bangkok Airways, their aircraft are a bit older, however, you get hot meals, the ability to credit miles to One World Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, lounge access and the leg room is more generous. They are almost identical in my opinion, maybe Bangkok Airways slightly better with amenities and leg room, however, when I go again, I’ll probably pick Thai Smile just because I prefer the newer A320’s. However, both are great choices for domestic travel in Thailand.
Our final grades of Thai Smile (WE) 273
Comfort of the Seat: B-
Cabin Space Seat Layout: D
Amenity kit: N/A
Storage space: B
Inflight cabin crew service: A
Ground customer service: A
Have you flown on Thai Smile or any other Thailand domestic carrier? How was it? Let us know in the comments!
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