Good morning from Sydney! I just got there on Thai First Class and as such I thought I’d write a few thoughts about it like I did with Cathay Pacific First Class. First of all Thai (Royal) First Ground services is epic. Also apologies for the more intermittent posting schedule. 🙂
I’m sure you’ve may have read many trip reports on Thai First, but I just have to say again it ‘s f@#$ing epic!! The buggy is so cool and the glares from the business class passengers as you get driven through the lounge are as real as described. The massages (I got a foot massage) are also equally awesome, especially when you could hear the muted airport announcements during the treatment. The shower rooms also have great L’Occitane products.
Onboard unfortunately we were stuck with the old cabin, but in my opinion it wasn’t that bad at all. Thai always seems to be called the “weaker/est” of the Star Alliance F products (vs. Asiana/All Nippon/Singapore) and other products as well, and to me it seemed very underrated. Obviously the hard/soft products are completely different on every carrier, but if you just take Cathay Pacific First as the “benchmark,” I think in many respects the Thai old product is as good if not better. It certainly exceeded my expectations and I think it’s very underrated from what I’ve read before flying the product.
The meal service was stunning, with the carts for caviar and fruit/cheese done really well. The courses (8 – Hors d’oeuvre/Caviar/Appetizer/Soup/Palate Cleanser/Main/FruitChese/Desert) were done really well overall., and I love their lemon iced tea. Their amenity kit is also really nice with great products that I’d actually use including Hermes and Flocaril products, and FACIAL MIST!!!! (If I haven’t conveyed to this to you but I am a very big fan of amenity kits!!) I do think they work as a marketing tool because I end up buying and using the products that I actually like even though they are a bit expensive. 🙂
The only dimension where Thai may be weaker than most other products is the seat. To me it really wasn’t an issue and the quality of the sleep I got was as good in comparison to other F products., but one issue that people might have was that the seat was a bit narrow and short. I am 5 10 and my feet was touching the seat in front of me. and I’d say the width of the seat is around 23-25″ with two 2-3″ armrests which could have adde to the width but didn’t come completely down completely in the lie-flat position so it was fairly cramped but still very comfortable. The IFE was also very dated but I just used it for the map (I carry all my IFE on my Macbook Air).
One thing I noticed overall with the service was that it wasn’t entirely perfect. Maybe it was just the people we interacted with, but for example, in the lounge all the agent basically said was “Yes.” She did have fairly limited english proficiency, but it didn’t seem like there was any personal interaction. I had a longer conversation with the taxi driver getting to the airport. Up until the gate the experience is as close to perfect (minus the interaction part). During the flight we had a fairly old flight attendant for my flight but that didn’t impact the service levels at all. Although Sinagpore/Cathay is much more consistent, I found the interactions with the crew to be really sincere, warm, and for the most part proactive, although the crew again was fairly limited in providing their own opinion (or perhaps even knowledge about their product, but I’m just speculating). So when I woke up I asked for some hot tea that would be good for my sore throat but the purser seems a bit confused and very hesitant with his answer. I mean that’s not that big of an issue in the big picture, but I just found that worth mentioning as I’m assuming the flight crew should know the menu fairly well enough to produce an answer.
Overall I think that the TG F product is a very good and solid product (although service may be the luck of the draw but that happens with every airline), even if you’re stuck with the old product (as long as you’re short and skinny like me ;)). Of course it just completely blew the UA F and AC J products that I flew to BKK out of the water. I’m flying their A380 F product soon so that should be exciting!
I only paid 40,000 miles for Asia to Sydney in First Class + 50,000 miles for Vancouver to Asia in business class (different miles) and it really just shows what travel hacking can do, because if I actually bought the miles it would still have been cheaper than paying for a revenue Y ticket on Air Canada YVR-SYD (which cost $1500). And for the price I paid I’m comfortable with essentially anything. I might sound snooty or braggy, but sometimes you just have to remind yourself how privileged you are to be able to enjoy all the flights that you are able to take even though I probably paid less than the economy passengers sitting on the flight with me. Being in Bangkok is also a very stark reminder of how many people in developing (or even partially developed) countries have a much lower standard of living and income.
And now please enjoy this instagrammed (follow me!) view from my hotel room in Sydney:
Hopefully there’ll be a trip report coming soon! I’ll also have a post soon where I talk about how I paid not very many miles for this J/F trip!