If you’ve been to Phuket, you know it’s hard to leave. The beautiful beaches, clear water and ideal weather makes it a drag to pack things up and head to the airport.
However, in our case, our resort, The Naka Island SPG, (review here) was a 5 star stay, the activities were in abundance but the weather just didn’t cooperate. However, it’s time to jet off to Sydney for a few days.
Our routing on this trip began at HKT newly opened, five days old terminal which drew a lot of media frenzy due to many celebrities and royalty who came and celebrated the opening of the new International Terminal. From HKT, we’d make a quick four hours stop in BKK and then board an overnight flight to SYD on the 747-400, or “The Jumbo” as the crews call it. We will review the BKK-SYD later, for now let’s look at Thai’s Royal Silk Class service from HKT to BKK on the 20 year old A330-300.
Thai Airways flight TG 202
HKT-BKK Gate 9
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Arrival: 14:30 same day
Flight Time: 1h + 15 minutes
Aircraft: A330-300 HS-TEJ
Seats: 11A and 11B
“Where are you off to?” asked our driver from the Phuket Marina.
“Thai Airways, NEW International departure terminal please!” I replied.
“Oh! It’s my first time dropping off there!” he answered with excitement. And that’s when we were reminded again that Phuket just celebrated a long awaited opening of a new international terminal.
And new it is! The new terminal is pretty impressive or at least comparing it to the old, now domestic terminal. The Check-in islands are similar to Suvarnabhumi airport and boost an open feel.
But enough about the airport, we’ll do a quick review later. Now, let’s focus on our Royal Orchid Business Class experience.
Once we were dropped off…. we made our way into the main terminal and from there, into the Thai Airways counters. The check in area was quite empty so moving around was a breeze. Because we were connecting in BKK for a flight to SYD we were considered to be headed international, meaning we had to check-in at the international terminal.
Although we were on a Royal First Class ticket from HKT-SYD, the domestic sector of our routing (HKT-BKK) is in Royal Silk Business Class.
The check-in process was efficient and the staff were very friendly. We were also told to wait so we could be escorted through the passport control and security lines.
A Thai Airways ground staff member leads us to the priority lane.
Once on the other side, we get to catch a glimpse of Phuket’s International terminal air side.
Then he walked us right to the temporary location of the Royal Orchid Lounge which is nestled in the waiting area of gates 10 and 11.
Every staff member in the lounge was gracious and attentive. When’s the opening of the permanent lounge? “We don’t know” was the answer I got. But, let’s make do with what we have and what we have is a well stocked snack bar, a nice espresso machine, fresh fruits and menu to order meals. We ordered the Chicken Noodle Soup with Vegetables which sounded comforting but turns out to be a package of “Mama” instant noodle soup. I’m not one to frown on “Mama” especially when it kept my tummy full as a new hire flight attendant living in Manhattan in 2000. However, it’s still delicious though!
Boarding was called at 12:50 since our inbound aircraft arrived a bit late.
Gate 9 was our departure gate which we had to be escorted to the domestic terminal via an encased walkway because we’ve already cleared Thai emigration. (Notice the “CIQ” sticker on the shirt)
Once on board, our seats were 11A and B on this Thai Airways A330-300. The cabin looked a bit dated and it’s definitely Thai’s regional business class configuration of 2-2-2.
Let’s take a look around.
Still, the seats were comfortable.
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Leg room was great in the bulkhead.
Anyone need to phone home?!
Projection system, it’s like we’re flying back to the 90’s.
The Business Class cabin
As we boarded we received a welcome drink of Tamarind Iced Tea, Orange Juice or water and cold, refreshing towels. Nice touch with the logo in the hot towel.
Taxi out and are ready for takeoff.
At exactly 10,000 feet the seat belt sign is turned off and service begins on this quick flight.
Service started with a placement of the linen.
The food cart came out.
Followed by the FA coming around and saying we have “Chicken Fried Rice” today and placed down the tray.
For some reason a full beverage service was not offered. However, they gave you a choice of Coke, Sprite, Tamarind Iced Tea or Orange Juice.
Followed by tea & coffee.
Before we knew it, we were on decent. It was a quick and pleasant flight.
Once we got to the gate, we were met by a smiling Thai Airways representative who was ready to walk us through the CIQ or Passenger in Transit process. Soon, we were checked into the Royal First Class Lounge where we waited for our SYD flight.
With a handful of carriers (Thai, Thai Smile and Bangkok Airways) operating premium cabins on this route, Thai’s domestic Royal Silk business class falls below par to its competitors. Basically, it comes down to the seat and the Star Alliance loyalty program. The plus about flying with Thai is the seamless premium service before and after the flight. Flying with Thai and Thai Smile you’ll get mileage credit to Thai Airways ROP. I’ll be honest, for such a short flight, I wouldn’t pay for a business product on this route. However, it served it’s purpose because this was from an original booking that continues to SYD in Thai First Class.
Our final grades of Thai’s Royal Silk TG 202
Comfort of the Seat: C
Cabin Space Seat Layout: C
Amenity kit: N/A
Storage space: C
Inflight cabin crew service: B
Ground customer service: B+
Have you flown on a Thai Airways or any other Thai domestic carriers? How was it? Let us know in the comments!
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