Air New Zealand Economy Class, Wellington to Auckland
Air New Zealand International Koru Club Lounge, Auckland
Thai Airways Business Class, Auckland to Bangkok
Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge (Domestic), Bangkok
Thai Airways Business Class, Bangkok to Phuket
Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach, Phuket
Once we had passed back through security and were back airside, we decided to make our way to Thai’s Royal Silk Lounge in the Domestic Terminal which is located on Concourse A. [map]
Finding it was relatively easy as there are signs throughout, and we had already gotten a fair idea of the terminal as we were hunting for the exit in order to get our local Thai sim cards.
Along the way we passed a small stand which had a lady in it promoting a free discount card for tourists, called the ‘Privilege card‘, in exchange for some general information (Name, address, e-mail, some basic travel questions, etc). This particular card covered Phuket, so we decided to get one in case it came in handy while we were there. The card mostly features discounts of around 20-25% at certain restaurants (which actually appear to be more ‘European style’ as opposed to Thai – I guess possibly useful if you want a change from Thai food ;)), as well as some attractions and services.
The lounge was just a short walk further, past some shops. There is only one domestic lounge, and it is located on the second floor, near gate A1.
Something very Thai is the pot of fresh orchids sitting just outside the lounge entrance, which serves to brighten up the place and also add a bit of colour (I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the fact that they’re purple (Thai Airways ‘colour’) is also a nice touch).
At the reception entrance we presented our boarding passes, and these were scanned and verified. The staff member informed us that our flight had been delayed by about an hour, and boarding would be at about 11:30pm.
Interestingly she advised that there would be no boarding calls, which I thought was a little odd – Seeing as we were on a Thai Domestic flight and we were in the Thai Domestic lounge; I doubt there were many other flights at that time of night either.
We did not make a fuss about this though – Thanking her, we were welcomed inside.
The lounge was quite small. Not as small as some of the regional lounges back in NZ, but in comparison to the domestic lounges in Wellington or Auckland, it was about half to a third of the size, which initially surprised me for being Bangkok – Thai’s main hub city.
On reflection, there probably is not all that many domestic destinations within Thailand, so that likely explains why there are far more international lounges at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.
When we arrived in the lounge, it was almost deserted – there was only about one or two people there, so there was plenty of seating.
The lounge is widely laid out with plenty of room to move around. Practically every seat had a cushion and there was also a small purple orchid flower on each of the tables for decoration, which is nice.
As it was quite late when we visited the lounge, it was hard to tell if there is any view out of the windows, but when we were there there wasn’t all much to see.
At the rear of the lounge is a small business centre with about half a dozen all-in-one HP PC’s with internet, and a small colour inkjet printer.
Nearby is a small stand filled with newspapers and magazines both in English and Thai.
At the front of the lounge is an array of tables with both hot (though probably a bit closer to warm) and cold foods. The buffet consisted of “light dinner/supper” options, including a warmer with various pastries, a steamer with some buns and dumplings, sandwiches and fresh fruit.
A small fridge contains chilled drinks (canned and packaged), there are also some juice dispensers and bottled water. Hot water is available for tea and for use to make instant noodles. There is also a Nescafe coffee machine for those that need a bit of caffeine.
There was even a pancake machine (although I would guess that this is only available at breakfast time)..
Near the buffet and kitchen area were two small open partitioned rooms with a chair, lamp, small desk and two phones. One of the phones was a pay phone which accepts credit cards and I assume the other phone is able to be used to make local calls.
I was feeling a bit peckish so I had a selection of the various pastries (which weren’t particularly great – I wondered how long they might have been sitting there), and some of the steamed dim sums, washed down with some orange juice.
I first noticed the unnatural looking orange juice on the first flight we had just completed with Thai to Bangkok, which is very orange looking. I know it is called ‘orange’ juice, but this was taking it to a whole new level – It seems to taste ok though, but it is just a bit different to look at..
I have never seen instant noodles being offered in a lounge before, but Thailand is somewhat famous for its noodles, so I decided to have a cup (I’ll also admit the flavour intrigued me). It was quite good and tasty, and even convinced Sophie to have a cup too.
I spent the rest of the time in the lounge on the phone with my brother who was already in Phuket to test out the new sim card and sort out plans for the next day, as well as catching up on news on my laptop with the free lounge wifi – just generally relaxing before our final flight to Phuket.
Later on, I popped off to the bathroom and noticed a sign for a ‘garden zone’ at the back of the lounge. Curious, I thought I would follow it and see where it went..
At the end of the corridor, there was a small room with tables and chairs, and another small sign pointing to another corridor for the ‘garden zone’.
Unfortunately further down this corridor there was a sign saying that this area was closed, so perhaps this is only open during the day.
Something I noticed on my tour of the lounge was that there are no screens to advise of arrivals and departures, which I thought was quite poor. I did have a look on my laptop for an accurate website to check up on arrivals and departures, but some did not even register our delay!
As there was also no boarding calls being made in the lounge, we decided to leave a little bit earlier to go to our gate. We probably could have asked the reception for an update, but I figured it could be good to get there a bit earlier in case boarding was early, so we left just after 11pm to go to our gate B2B.
It took us a few minutes to get to our gate, but when we arrived it was quite full – there were plenty of people waiting for the boarding call.
There was some TVs nearby with the news on (in English) and something I noticed which I thought was a good idea is an area dedicated to ‘priority seating’ at the gate for particular passengers such as those who are disabled, elderly or pregnant.
Thankfully it wasn’t too long until a boarding announcement was made and started to commence, and it was even a little bit early. Finally we were able to begin boarding our final flight to Phuket, and our last bit of flying for a while!
On the whole, the lounge was good – It was quiet, had a good amount of seating and tables, and free wifi. The food could be spruced up a little but I think a major service improvement would be for Thai to announce boarding calls or at least have some arrival/departure screens installed somewhere, even if it is just at the entrance to the lounge.