BKK (Bangkok) – ZRH (Zurich)
3 SEP 2012
Royal First Class
Seats 2A, 2E
As we boarding through our own First Class jet bridge and boarding door, the agent who escorted us wished us a pleasant trip and, immediately, the purser introduced himself to us and showed us to our seats in 2A and 2E.
I chose these seats because, after asking around on Flyer Talk, I learned that these would be better for having access to your travel companion. It’s a simple step across the aisle versus going through and around the forward galley if we both had the middle seats.
We were two of the last passengers to board First Class so I didn’t want to disturb the cabin by taking too many photos. Here is a picture of the entire cabin unoccupied courtesy of Airliners.net.
Thai’s A340-600 First Class is an older product, as you can see. It was probably the least private of the three products we sampled (Cathay, Thai, Swiss). This is not to say that it was a bad product, but it paled in comparison to the other two.
These seats were 180 degree lie flat shell seats. They did not recline backwards; rather, they slid forward. The ottoman could move forward, which was obviously helpful for Joann. 😉
The IFE screen pulled out next to the tray table; it was fairly small and underwhelming. There were also plenty of compartments for storage, though I’m not sure how much storage I could possibly need on a flight.
The Soft Product
After settling in, the FA came by with pajamas, amenity kits, and some pre-departure champagne – Veuve Cliquot Rose this time around.
The pajamas came wrapped in plastic and were really comfy, a little lighter than Cathay’s Shanghai Tang ones. I appreciate that since I’m always hot, especially when I’m sleeping. Joann LOVED that they were baby blue, as that’s her favorite color.
I was really hoping to get the Rimowa-branded amenity kits that Thai has been giving out for years, but, as luck would have it, they made the change to Tumi shortly before our trip. The contents aren’t very different, but it’s that case that I was after. It’s really cool looking!
Not long after, the captain came on to advise us of the flight time. Soon, we were rolling (for what felt like a while) and then the big quad-jet A340 was wheels up. I had a great view of the engines during takeoff.
The Food – Dinner
The food, unfortunately, was probably the weakest part of the flight for me. Nothing was bad, but nothing was really memorable either. I just remember not enjoying the meals as much as those on Cathay and Swiss.
The meal service itself was very good though. The caviar service was particularly nice because it was only our second time trying caviar (our first was on the Cathay flight a week prior) and we enjoyed it very much. I have no idea what kind of caviar they served us but Joann and I agreed that it tasted better than what Cathay served us. Maybe we just developed a taste for it or something. With the caviar service, they broke out the good bubbly – Dom Perignon 2003.
Like I said, the food was just OK. The Pad Thai that I special ordered for Joann didn’t really taste as we expected it to; the one we had in the Royal First Lounge was way better. At least the lobster tail was good!
They forgot to load my special order meal so I ordered off the menu. I should have gone with something Thai but I wasn’t really feeling the “Stuffed squid with shrimp mousse poached in red curry”. I opted for the “Veal Zurich Style”. The veal was rubbery and chewy so it wasn’t pleasant at all.
Time Out. Time to Sleep
After dinner, it was time for some sleep. The FA made bed. It was lie flat and comfortable enough, but just not as private or as wide as Cathay Pacific’s First Class Suite.
Again, when ranked against Cathay Pacific and the impending Swiss First Class flight, this came in last, but that’s not to say it’s bad. It’s still a lie flat bed on a private cabin of only 8 people. I’ll take that any flight of the week.
I slept for a good 5-6 hours until I woke up to the smell of other passengers in the cabin having breakfast. Time to eat again!
The Food – Breakfast
Breakfast went a little better than dinner. That’s not saying much because there’s not much to screw up for breakfast.
The fruits tasted fresh and the coffee was great. For the main course, I had the Spanish omelette with grilled bacon and sausage. Really hearty and refueled me for our layover in Zurich.
Overall, we were satisfied with the Thai Airways First Class experience in the air. Were we absolutely blown away? No. Were we pleased and more than well rested for the rest of our trip home? Yup!
While the food did disappoint a little, I think the service made up for it. The entire First Class cabin crew were so helpful and attentive that we did not want for anything.
The hard product (read: the seat & plane) was another “good but not great” rating. It is a bit dated compared to the products we’ve flown and could use a refresh.
Judging from the ENTIRE experience both on the ground in Bangkok and in the air, we’ll definitely fly Thai Airways again. Hopefully, their new A380 First Class will hit open up more First Class availability.
We’ve still never been on an A380 so it would be great to break ground on Thai’s A380.
So that was our 11 hour flight from Bangkok to Zurich. The last 30 minutes of it was spent getting some great views of the Swiss countryside as we approached Zurich.