My Amazing Life-Chapter 1, Thai Airways
I recently participated in a FAM/Press trip to Thailand and Malaysia. I have been to Thailand many years ago, but never to Malaysia and I always get excited when my destination is SE Asia or that part of the world. I love the people, the food and the culture in this part of the world and was profoundly enthusiastic over the impending trip. I received my itinerary and saw that we would be visiting many 5-star hotels, one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. The basic theme was culinary and spa events. My cup of tea for sure! Our Airline of choice would be Thai Airways. Its slogan is “Smooth as Silk”. Little did I know that this airline would soon capture my heart!
I flew my old stand-by American Airlines from Austin to Los Angeles and the service was typical and fairly unremarkable. One does not fly this airline to be impressed. If you live in Texas as I do, then you more than likely fly American, as many cities are hubs for American and American Eagle in smaller towns. Such is the case in Austin. The majority of the flights out of Austin are on American Airlines.
I landed at LAX, gathered my bags and started to walk out the door towards Tom Bradley Terminal, which houses the International flights and bumped into Mary Jo Manzanares, one of the other Travel Bloggers going on the trip. She is an elite blogger, director of #TBEX and a stewardess in her spare time. We walked together and made contact inside the terminal with our group.
I learned the group would be three travel bloggers, three print media writers and a representative from Thai Airways, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Malaysia USA and Saeshe the advertising company that put the trip together and organized the itinerary. We were quickly whisked upstairs to the Star Alliance Lounge. Having visited many Admirals Club locations I was knocked over by the offerings and easy access to WiFi at the Star Alliance Lounge. This was my wonderful Thai lunch with my choice of noodles, veggies and chicken.
I boarded in Economy for the first leg of our flight to Seoul from LAX. I was surprised, as the width of the seat was comfortable and had to be at least three to four inches wider that my usual seat in economy in American. All seats had video screens for viewing movies, playing games, etc. The seats leaned back with hardly any intrusion into the seat behind. I love that aspect of the plane.
I absolutely hate it when the passenger in front leans so far back that you cannot get out of your seat to move around. Given the 12.5 hour flight to Seoul South Korea; we had the opportunity to eat three different meals, but I could only handle two. Prior to the meal the stewardesses and stewards hand you a very warm washcloth to clean your hands and face with. It is very stimulating I must say. This was my first meal in economy, a curry pork dish with a shrimp appetizer.
Remember this is in Economy. It was fantastic and I ate every bite, as if I hadn’t eaten just before boarding at the Star Alliance Lounge. One of the first things I noticed on Thai Airways is the smiles of their people. I am not used to this on my domestic flights with airlines in the US. The majority of the stewardesses and stewards are just going through the motion and appear to be waiting for retirement in most cases. Not only do you visualize the smiles on Thai Airways, but you get the idea they are genuine and the employees really want to help you.
They continually walk the aisles and ask for your needs, unless you are sleeping and they respectfully leave you alone if that is the case. Another factor to consider is that all alcohol is no charge if you are 18 or older, regardless of seating class. I couldn’t believe this given what my old stand by airlines charges for one beer. Many passengers took advantage of this, but I did not see any that became inebriated, so I am guessing they “control” the flow to a certain degree.
One’s drink service (mine was water and Coca-Cola) is continuous and non stop as long as you desire. Its not like my normal American service where you get your one drink and the airlines personnel sit for the remainder of the trip, consuming first class meals and all the beverages they can ingest. The Thai Airways people work their rear ends off the entire flight. We landed in Seoul. South Korea has a strange policy and all passengers have to deplane and go through customs and security. I don’t get it but it is what it is!
On the first leg of our flight from LAX to Seoul I got the short straw. I rode as stated previously, in the Economy section. On the second leg from Seoul to Bangkok we all traded out, as there were several spots in Business class, that we used on both legs. This leg I flew in Business Class. Thank you Thai Airways for this experience. Business class is a drastic difference and the seats are wonderful. You can get a massage with one of the seat settings or adjust the seat to your liking and lean back as far as you like, without intruding on the people behind you. This is a photo of the controls. Notice the very front icon states bed. They really mean it, as your seat folds down completely and turns into a flat bed. Oh so good on long flights with major time zone variances.
So what were the meals like in business class you ask? Each passenger had an appetizer, an entree, a cheese and fruit tray and a desert. Not just once but twice on the longer legs. I was fortunate and received the Business class allocation for the return trip from Seoul to LAX. It was heaven. This is just an example of my dishes and courses served.
As the flights transpired I noticed that the Thai Airways personnel remained very active and were always there to pick up your empty glass or food tray. You didn’t have to wait for 45 minutes like on domestic airlines, to have someone retrieve your finished product. They never stopped working and passengers were all treated like royalty, regardless of the seating class I was in. This wasn’t my expectation, given normal transgressions on domestic flights in the US.
I have saved my finest point until last intentionally and one that may or may not effect you personally. Traveling frequently and consuming as much as I do with drinks and food, its only natural that I have to use the facilities. The good news is there are ample amounts of facilities, regardless of seating class on Thai Airways. As you know on domestic flights one has to literally wade through the swamp, referred to as a bathroom on flights. You know what I am talking about and how bad they get on flights over let’s say 3 hours long. What did the Thai Airways personnel do you ask?
I will gladly tell you as I saw this with my own eyes. They literally clean the restrooms from top to bottom on a regular basis. I am not talking every four hours or so. I am talking like almost between every passenger or as quickly as possible. They take a sanitizer and clean the walls, the toilet seat, the sink and yes even the floor. I was blown away when I turned the corner and saw a stewardess with plastic disposable gloves wiping down the floor of a restroom. They even fold the toilet paper just like in hotels.
Thai Airways may charge a little more than other airlines, but if you consider their service, their warm friendly personnel, the amazing food in all seating classes and the free alcohol, I think that their premium is not that much to ask. It is offset with your comfort and well being. I know this, I have found a new airline that I will go out of my way to fly from now on. They are far superior to any other airline I have ever flown in my forty plus years of flying. Thank you Abha Wangpaichitr for allowing me to experience your wonderful airline and for showing me that good old fashioned customer service, is still alive in the airline Industry! I will fly you again and again, when the opportunity arises.
*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.
Posted By December 8, 2013
You are right! Thai Airways was wonderful! I lucked out on business class the entire way for this trip and enjoyed every minute of it! That is the problem with business class sometimes because
“I never want to sleep!” They took such great care of us! They are so friendly and nice and like you said, they are always there to take your left overs and to see if you need anything. I will fly them again!
Rub it in! Ha! Notice I didn’t comment (in the blog) on the fact the ticket takers picked me for the 1st leg! Urrgghhh! They are a magnificent airline. Thanks for stopping by. Let’s makes sure if they do the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai trip that we let each other know! Ha!
I’ve never flown Thai business, but I have had great experiences in Thai economy all over the world. They are hands down, one of the best economy experiences, with comfy seats (as best as you can get in coach), good food, great service, and always clean bathrooms. I am glad you had the chance to fly them!
Given a choice I will always fly Thai Airways from now on!
Considering Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” it sounds like it wouldn’t be farfetched to call it the “Airline of Smiles” … not only the flight attendants, but the passengers, as well. 🙂
I love that phrase. It is truly an Airline of Smiles!
We are flying from Philly to Bangkok and on to Chang Mai from January 7 – 9—theoretically, without leaving any airports. We’re flying from PHL to SFO on USAirways (or I guess it’s American now)and then from SFO to Manila (with a refueling stop in Guam) and then on to Bangkok. We’re flying on Thai Airlines for the short hop from Bangkok to Chang Mai. We’re doing the long leg business class. I will be keeping this post in mind as I compare the experience to what you have described. In these times, it is somewhat surprising to find a travel writer/blogger waxing poetic about a flight experience — but I did the same after flying business class on Air Canada from Toronto to Tokyo. I titled it “O Business Class” — get it?
PS: Have you heard from Mary Jo about your references to the “stewardesses”? 😉
Oops, I left out that the looooong leg across the Pacific is on Philippines Airlines. Stay tuned…..
LOL. I get it! It will be interesting to see if you get the quality of service we received. I would guess you will but am looking forward to your response. I am also way jealous that y’all are going to Chiang Mai! I really want to go there hopefully next trip! Thanks.
I have just returned tO the UK
From Thailand and the flight both ways was good.
Even though we had a 2 hour technical delay outbound
From LHR. The Thai staff kept us informed.
I usually go to Thaland once a year and am
Quite happy to pay the extra cost compared to EVA airlines.
Glad to find another happy customer of Thai Airways! Best of luck on future flights! I love Thailand!!!
It is a great airline indeed! It’s been a number of years since I last flew with them but even then I remember there was a cold water fountain besides every toilet entrance with new paper cups for passengers to drink at will. I have not seen that in any other airline!
I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. Thai Airways is amazing and I will always go out of my way to fly them from now on!