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Thai Airways (TG) Regional Business Class Review

I’ve always been a fan of Thai Airways.  I’ve enjoyed Thai on the dozens of short domestic flights in Thailand, and for a few years, RIP, the non-stop JFK-BKK flight on Thai was my favorite flight.  This was my first Thai business class experience, and was excited to try it out.  Did it live up to my expectations?

Thai mostly flies their 747’s on the long haul regional flights.  In the past year they recently added their new business class product to these planes.  The seats are the modern “shell type” lie flat seats.  This means that the seat slides up and down within the shell back.  These seats are electrically powered and are fold flat.  However these are not completely parallel with the floor, as the seats are angled when folded flat.  I’m not aware if there is specific industry terminology yet, but I like to use the two terms, “fold flat” and “lie flat”.  Fold flat to me means that the seat straightens out into one flat surface.  Lie flat should mean that it is parallel to the floor.  Most business class seats that advertise lie flat, usually mean fold flat, and are angled.  I personally think this isn’t as comfortable as it sounds, as I always feel as if I’m sliding off slowly.  Its important to note that these seats are not that wide.  While clearly wider than an economy seat, its only about four inches wider.  There is also a lumbar massage function on the seat, but I didn’t think it was strong enough to be an effective massager.  On my return flight to Japan, the second floor of the 747 has bins under the window at the floor level for passengers with window seats.  I think this is a nice feature as you can access your belongings during the flight without having to get up and open the overhead bin.

Meals are an appetizer, maybe a fruit plate, an entrée and a small dessert cake.  Food is ok, but not as well done as food on the same route on equivalent airlines like Cathay Pacific or ANA.  Food is served on trays with a table cloth and cloth napkin, and a decent quality red or white wine or sparkling white.  While the meal service was definitely acceptable, and extremely better than anything on a US carrier, it isn’t as outstanding as some of the experiences I’ve had on higher rated Asian carriers.

The entertainment system was a large 10” video on demand system.  The screen, I want to point out, is not 16:9 widescreen ratio, and is a negative since the newest and highest rated in-flight entertainment systems right now do have widescreens.  It can be controlled by the remote control in the seat, or touchscreen interface.  A touchscreen is useless in my opinion, since you can’t reach the screen while seatbelted.  There is a large selection of US movies, and Asian movies with English subtitles, as well as TV shows.  The selection of about 15 movies of recent Hollywood hits was fair, but not as much as the seemingly endless movie options on Emirates.

There are very cheap slippers for use available in each seat, as well as a standard AC power port.  The amenity kit includes: socks, eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, mouthwash and lip balm.  The case is a nice zippered bag that can be hung up and used as a toiletry bag for travel.  However, noticeably absent is any luxury branded toiletry products.

My opinion of Thai Airways regional long haul business class is overall good.  I think the lie flat seats that are angled are bad because of the consistent slow sliding off, and I feel the seat padding is insufficient as it is rather hard when laying down to sleep.  It’s still a much better option than sitting sardine tight in economy, but I wanted to point out what I thought was lacking in seat comfort.  The food is decent, the seat is decent, the in flight entertainment is decent, and the service on Thai is consistently good.  But these things are just decent, and if given a choice between Thai and competitors such as Cathay Pacific or ANA on the same routes, I would recommend those carriers over Thai Airways in regional Asia long haul business class.

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