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Thai Airways

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This incident happened a few days ago, and I wasn’t going to post anything about it. However, when I saw this particular photo of the plane it made me chuckle – So I just had to share it with you all!

Last weekend a Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 flying from Guangzhou to Bangkok skidded off the runway shortly after touching down at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) after its landing gear malfunctioned. The aircraft ended up skidding off the runway into a grassy area, where the plane came to a stop, nose down, whereby emergency slides were then activated.
Luckily there were no fatalities, however 14 people were injured while evacuating the aircraft.

The funny part to this story is the fact Thai Airways attempted to cover up their name and logo on the plane after the crash.

Photo of the covered up plane at the airport for "damage control" - The plane taking off in the background doesn't do anything to help!
Photo of the covered up plane at the airport for “damage control” – The plane taking off in the background doesn’t do anything to help!

Thai Airways initially stated that a “crisis communication rule” set by the Star Alliance was their reasoning behind the logo and the name being covered up on the aircraft.

After the accident, workers on a crane blacked out the Thai Airways logo on the tail and body of the aircraft. An airline official said it was part of an effort to protect its image under Star Alliance guidelines. Thai Airways official Smud Poom-On said that “blurring the logo” after an accident was a recommendation from Star Alliance known as the “crisis communication rule,” meant to protect the image of both the airline and other members of Star Alliance.

The article has now changed to:

After the accident, workers on a crane blacked out the Thai Airways logo on the tail and body of the aircraft in an apparent effort to protect the airline’s image. An airline official, Samud Poom-On, said the move was normal practice for Thai Airways after an accident.

Samud initially said the practice was mandated by Star Alliance, but later said that was not the case. The global airline grouping also said it had no such policy.

The fact that Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is the main hub for Thai Airways means they’re not going to fool anyone – Now the plane just looks like a 5 year old kid did a bad job painting inside the lines of a picture..

Introduction
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


Thai Airways 225
Bangkok (BKK) to Phuket (HKT)
Tuesday 9 July
Weather on departure: Rain
Depart: 10:40pm (Delayed – Actual departure: 11:59pm)
Arrive: 11:59pm (Delayed – Actual arrival: 01:02am +1)
Duration: 1hr 20min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 14B (Business “Royal Silk” Class)

After more than a one-hour delay to our scheduled flight (which we spent mostly in the Thai Airways Royal Silk Domestic lounge in Bangkok) our flight finally started boarding about 11:15pm.

After our boarding passes had been scanned and passport checked by the gate agents, we had a short walk down the stairs to a waiting bus to take us to the plane.

It was raining at the time, but from my brief look around it did not appear that there were any planes nor air bridges anywhere nearby connected to the domestic terminal, making me think that many of the domestic flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport use busses to ferry passengers to the aircraft.

Tranfer bus from the gate to our aircraft
Tranfer bus from the gate to our aircraft

It was a few minutes ride on the transfer bus before we arrived at our plane, which had the stairs already connected for the short (hurried) walk in the rain to the covered stairs up to the aircraft for boarding.

Boarding stairs to our awaiting plane
Boarding stairs to our awaiting plane

Once we entered the aircraft, we were greeted by one of the flight attendants who checked our boarding passes, then welcomed and directed us to our seat.
He also helped to assist us with putting our cabin baggage into the overhead lockers, which once again, was another example of great service by Thai. One of the best things about flying in business class is the ample availability of overhead bins – with almost a separate bin for each pair of seats, this flight was no exception, with only some bins at the end of the cabin reserved for the flight crew.

The A330-300 servicing our flight is in a domestic configuration with quite a large business class cabin. There are 42 seats spread across 3 rows in a 2-2-2 seating layout.

Business Class (Royal Silk) cabin - Domestic
Business Class (Royal Silk) cabin – Domestic

Interestingly each of the seat pairs throughout the cabin appear to alternate between different shades of purple; with some seats being a darker and more vibrant purple, and other seat pairs being a lighter ‘faded’ purple colour.

Personally I thought the darker purple colour looks far nicer and more modern and should be fitted throughout the cabin; the other seats give an appearance that the plane is older, and although they are to a degree, the seat upholstery definitely does not do anything to improve on that impression!

Seat 14A on TG 225 (A330-300)
Seat 14A on TG 225 (A330-300)

On the seat was a comfort pillow, which was much appreciated after the limited amount of sleep over the course of the day.

The legroom was quite decent – not as much as in long haul business class, but enough for someone to easily squeeze past to get to the window seat if needed.

View from Seat 14B on TG 225 (A330-300)
View from Seat 14B on TG 225 (A330-300)
Seat legroom
Seat legroom

Other views from the seat:

Boarding took some time, as several transfer busses were required to get all the passengers from the gate to the aircraft. Despite this, the majority of the business class cabin remained empty, with just a handful of passengers scattered throughout.

While we were waiting, one of the flight attendants went through the cabin offering hot towels to each of the passengers, followed by another one of the crew offering a pre-departure drink.

Pre-Departure orange juice.. not quite the same odd colour as in the lounge, but tasted similar!
Pre-Departure orange juice.. not quite the same odd colour as in the lounge, but tasted similar!

Just before midnight, boarding had completed, and we began our pushback onto the runway.
There was effectively no queue for takeoff (probably due to the late departure of the flight) and soon we were in the air.

There was a minor amount of turbulence on climb out, but I expected this due to the weather. Once we reached cruising altitude the captain turned off the fasten seatbelt sign and the light supper meal service began.

No alcohol was served on the flight, but the meal provided was reasonably substantial for such a short flight (approx. one hour).

The meal was delivered on a tray and consisted of an appetiser/side dish of pasta with vegetables in a mayonnaise-type sauce, which was served on top of a purple lettuce leaf; a main of seared, lightly seasoned scallops, and a dessert that looked like quite traditional Thai cuisine, which I think was sticky rice balls in coconut milk/cream.

Supper
Supper

One of the cabin crew passed through the cabin to offer tea and coffee shortly after the supper trays were delivered.

Although I wasn’t all that hungry (after all, we had practically been eating all throughout our journey to Thailand), I did try the pasta side dish and the scallops were quite nice. I did try the dessert but as I am not a huge fan of coconut, I left most of it.

The staff were very attentive and pretty much as soon as I finished the meal one of the crew asked me if they could take my tray away, which was great.

There is not much in the form of entertainment onboard for this domestic flight, as the duration of the flight is only one hour. At the left and right rows to the front of the cabin are small LCD screens, and there is a projection screen in front of the middle bulkhead row.
All of the screens displayed the flight tracking and route information throughout the entire journey.

Business Class (Royal Silk) cabin and entertainment
Business Class (Royal Silk) cabin and entertainment

As I was feeling quite tired, for the reminder of the flight I set the seat into recline mode and took a nap. With a 20-inch seat width, 49″ pitch and 138-degree recline, it was quite comfortable.
It wasn’t long until the captain made the announcement that we had begun decent, and one of the flight crew came on over the PA to return our seats to the upright position and put our seat belts on for landing.

The descent and landing into Phuket was smooth, and we touched down at the airport just before 1am. There was a short taxi off the runway and the plane came to a stop alongside some other planes, away from the terminal building.

Once we disembarked off the aircraft, some transfer busses were waiting for us, and we boarded these for the short shuttle to the main terminal building.

At baggage claim, we had to wait for about 5-10 minutes until baggage started coming out onto the carousel, but it gave a good amount of time to have a look around at some of the tourist information stands and various brochures available for Phuket.

One of the tourist information stands and brochures at Phuket International Airport
One of the tourist information stands and brochures at Phuket International Airport

Once the baggage did start to come through, our baggage was one of the first out, perhaps due to our priority tags – It was great to be able to grab our bags and leave the airport quickly as we still had an hour to get to our hotel!

Welcome to Phuket!
Welcome to Phuket!

Overall the flight was uneventful, short and similar to our previous flight with Thai: very well covered especially on the service front.
Although I do not think that there is anything spectacular about Business Class on Thai, it was nice to have a light meal and refreshments, and the extra recline is good for a light nap and would also be beneficial for those that are taller and need the legroom. I don’t think that it would be worth paying for on such a short trip, but as complimentary upgrade or as part of an award fare, it is a nice comfort to have.

It was great to finally be in warm (but humid!) Thailand for our relaxing stopover before the remainder of our long journey to Europe.. Time for 10 days of massages and relaxation!

Introduction
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]

Passing some of the gate seating on the way to the lounge
Passing some of the gate seating on the way to the lounge

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.

Just follow the signs..
Just follow the signs..

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.

Signs to the Thai Royal Silk Lounge (Domestic), Bangkok
Signs to the Thai Royal Silk Lounge (Domestic), Bangkok
Thai Royal Silk Domestic Lounge entrance
Thai Royal Silk Domestic Lounge entrance

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).

Entrance to the Reception
Entrance to the Reception

Introduction
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


Thai Airways 492
Auckland (AKL) to Bangkok (BKK)
Tuesday 9 July
Weather on departure: Fine / Sunny
Depart: 1:10pm
Arrive: 8:25pm
Duration: 12hrs 15min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
Seat: 12J (Business “Royal Silk” Class)

By the time we had reached the gate we were departing from (gate 6), boarding had already commenced. A dedicated line for business class passengers and frequent flyers meant that we were through the gate quickly and onto the air bridge to board the plane.

On the airbridge about to board Thai Airways TG492 bound for Bangkok
On the airbridge about to board Thai Airways TG492 bound for Bangkok

Upon entering the aircraft, we were greeted by no less than 3 of the flight crew, with a bow and a welcoming “sawatdee kraup” (hello in Thai). One of the flight attendants checked our boarding passes, before we were ushered into the Royal Silk section of the cabin and shown to our seats.

Thai has had some changes to the aircraft servicing this route between Auckland and Bangkok, but currently they are using a Boeing 777-200ER. Business class on Thai with this particular plane consists of 30 almost flat (angled) seats spread across 5 rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
We took our seats in 12J and 12K, which are window seats at the front (second row) of the cabin on the right side. On each of our seats was a blanket, pillow and an amenity kit snuggly tucked into the armrest.

Seat 12J on TG 492 (777-200ER)
Seat 12J on TG 492 (777-200ER)