This review is a continuation of my huge US Airways redemption that I wrote about back in this post. I reviewed Swiss Business Class: Boston to Zurich already.

I was very excited to try out my first A380 and sample Thai’s First Class offering, especially after hearing about Tahsir’s great experience on the shorter Bangkok-Hong Kong route.

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How was the service? What made the experience so great? How was the seat and bedding? Did the food measure up to other premium cabin standards? What do you need to know if you fly Thai First Class?

After spending a great day strolling around Zurich, I hopped on an early morning Swiss flight to Paris in business class. The Senator lounge in Zurich had a cool distinguishing trait, the longest attended bar in the world!

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The flight itself was unremarkable: intra-European business class is usually just economy seating with the middle seat blocked from sale.

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Even though the flight was a mere 53 minutes, a light meal was still served. Nothing looked appetizing, so I just picked at the croissant.

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After landing in Paris, I made my way through the myriad escalator tubes to the international transfer desks. Though the queues were crowded with economy passengers checking luggage, the First Class line was deserted. I was immediately helped by a friendly agent.

Before heading to immigration, I marveled at the A380 seat map that Thai displayed. Economy was separated into five color-coded zones. Both First and business class were on the upper deck.

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I was given my boarding pass for seat 2K and a card for the fast track immigration lanes. After speeding through, I took the elevator up from the main concourse to the lounge shared by all Star Alliance carriers.

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The lounge is separated into two sections: a small First Class area immediately to the right of the check-in desk and a business class lounge that spans the entire floor below. I handed the agent my boarding pass and she directed me into the First Class area.

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The lounge was very small and quiet. There weren’t more than a handful of people in there at any point. That’s a positive because the seating options were very limited. The food selection was paltry as well, but they had plenty of booze and a decent selection of non-alcoholic beverages.

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Again, the lounge was nearly empty the entire time I was there. I chose a seating area close to the lounge chairs and did some work.

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The wi-fi speed was excellent, so time passed rapidly. After sending some work emails, I left the First Class lounge and scoped out the business class area on the floor below.

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There was an outdoor seating patio/smoking lounge that was empty due to how cold it was. It would make a great plane spotting area on a sunny day, though! Most people were instead seated at the tables looking directly out into the garden.

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Past the outdoor patio was the main seating area. It was packed as several Star Alliance flights, including both Singapore and Thai A380s, were departing around the same time. The low ceiling gave the space a claustrophobic feeling.

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About 90 minutes before departure, I packed up and headed to the boarding area. Security screenings were being conducted at the gate. Lines were short as most passengers were already congregating near the boarding doors. It was a bit hectic, but I was able to squeeze my way to the upper deck jet bridge when boarding began at 12:50 p.m.

Thai 931
Paris (CDG) – Bangkok (BKK)
Depart: 1:40 PM on Wednesday, October 23
Arrive: 5:55 AM on Thursday, October 24
Duration: 11hr, 15 mn
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2K (First Class)

At the door of the plane, I was met by an agent and directed towards my seat on the right aisle.

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First Class on Thai’s A380 is configured in a 1-2-1 formation. There are twelve total first class seats, four more than on Lufthansa’s A380. The single seats are perfect for solo travelers while the pairs are best suited for couples. There is an adjustable partition in case you get stuck with a middle seat next to a stranger.

As I began to snap pictures, the cabin filled up quickly. The first class cabin would be very full on this flight, as 11/12 seats were occupied, though in no way did it ever feel too crowded. [Scott: My BKK-CDG flight was 12/12 full in September 2013.]

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Stowing my bag was a snap with the ample overhead space, and I settled into my seat. Awaiting me were two very comfortable pillows.

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The seat itself was impressive, with a huge television screen, massive amounts of leg room and two big storage compartments near the window. They weren’t wide enough for luggage, but were deep. I stowed my laptop and other electronics in them.

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Two big storage compartments
Two big storage compartments

At my feet were my headphones, slightly nicer than I’m used to, but not Bose-quality.

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To my right was a shrink-wrapped Rimowa brand amenity kit. The look and feel of the kit were pretty sleek, so I asked for an extra to give to an aviation buff back home.

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The kit had all the basics and some L’Occitane skin and perfume products. The quality was lost on me, so I saved them for my significant other.

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As I was settling in, a cheery flight attendant made her rounds offering champagne . The bottle of Dom Pérignon was resting on a silver tray with an orchid. She poured me a glass with a warm smile.

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After finishing my glass, I got up to check out the rest of the cabin. The front right portion of first class features a small lounge area with newspapers and magazines. I did not see it occupied once the entire flight.

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Across the aisle was the bathroom which was one of the biggest positives of the plane. It was absolutely huge and featured a separate seating area, perfect for changing into pajamas or freshening up.

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Seating area in the first class bathroom.

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After scoping things out, I settled back into my seat. I overheard the passenger in 1K getting upset about his meal choice. Apparently he pre-booked lobster thermidor which was not loaded on the flight. The main purser was able to eventually settle him down, and they were laughing by the end.

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After a smooth take off, the flight attendants made their rounds with pajamas and menus.

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I used this down time to head to the bathroom and change into my pajamas. When I returned, all the other passengers already had their canapes. The attendant immediately came over and served me, a nice touch instead of just setting them down while I was in the lav.

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After nibbling on those, caviar was served. This was a first for me and an interesting culinary experience. Like Scott, though, it’s probably not something I would go out of my way to try again.

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The next course was the marinated scallops and prawns. The prawns were delicious.

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I couldn’t decide on the main course, so the flight attendant suggested the shrimp with hoisin sauce and steamed vegetables as the “most” Thai dish. The flavor was a bit lackluster.

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I was beginning to feel stuffed, but nibbled at the petits fours which were delicious.

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Though the meal was decent, I was a bit frustrated by service throughout. My tray would be cleared often, but drink refills weren’t offered even though my glass was clearly empty. I had to actively catch their attention, which was tough as they rushed to serve a nearly full cabin. They clearly were trying to “get through” the service as opposed to serving each passenger individually.

After the (nearly) five course meal concluded, I was ready for some sleep. I asked the attendant to ready my bed, which she did efficiently.

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I lounged and watched some of the new Superman movie before finally dozing off. The bed was extremely comfortable and the best sleep I have ever had on a plane. The pillows were firm without being rock hard. I was able to slip one between my legs for added comfort. The duvet was also large and warm without being stifling.

I slept for about six hours, another personal best, and woke up as we were over India at approximately 3:45 a.m. Bangkok time.

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At that point, breakfast service began. I opted for the mushroom and cheese omelet, fresh fruit and an espresso to jolt my senses at this early hour.

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Unfortunately, the omelet tasted like it looked, unappetizing. I had two or three bites before throwing in the towel. As breakfast concluded, I read a bit before watching our entire descent on the tail camera. It’s a perfect feature for any aviation geek.

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We arrived at the gate at 5:40 a.m., about 15 minutes early. The flight was great, but I was now anticipating the Thai Royal Orchid Lounge and the complimentary massage I was about to receive!

How I Did It

I booked this flight as part of a nine segment US Airways award to Asia, connecting in Europe both ways for only 120k miles in First Class. The award relied on US Airways’ cheap award chart and their agents allowing extremely lax routing.

Don’t miss out on collecting US Airways miles with the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® with 30,000 US Airways miles after first purchase. This card will soon disappear during the American Airlines/US Airways merger.

Overall

Seat: The seat was spacious with plenty of legroom. It was perfect for lounging though a bit uncomfortable in the fully upright position. The suite itself isn’t fully enclosed, but I never felt the cabin crowded even though 11/12 seats were occupied.

Food: Very hit or miss. I liked parts of most of my dishes, though the breakfast omelet was weak. The presentation and plating was first class, but the meals were overall disappointing.

Service: Inconsistent at best. All agents were certainly friendly, though it was tough tracking one down at times. Proactive is not a word I would use to describe the crew. I had to always ask for refills or for anything else I wanted.

Bed: I loved the bed, though I know Scott had a different experience on his flight. The two pillows were incredible and the perfect amount of firmness. I slept like a baby.

[Scott: The bed has a slightly raised “pillow” built into the top where your head goes. This alone was not enough. This plus a real pillow was too much. I did get six hours of restful sleep BKK-CDG, but I thought Malaysia, Emirates, American, and United First were more comfortable.]

In Flight Entertainment: The television is a big selling point on Thai. It’s quite big, so strained eyes will never be an issue when watching a movie. The selection of entertainment was extensive, with plenty of shows and flicks.

Recommendation: The food on Thai is lacking, plain and simple. The quality sleep helps make Thai First Class a great experience. Service isn’t on par with Singapore Suites, Emirates First Class, or any other ultra-aspirational product, but it’s an excellent use of miles on longhaul flights, especially if you are connecting in Bangkok. You want to make full use of their incredible ground services and spa!




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