Disclaimer: My flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok was paid for by Thai Airways.
Opinions are as always my own.
I think my title says it all and to be honest, this isn’t a Thai Airways review for their business class simply because I didn’t fly business class. There you have it and please don’t rub it in. Flying business class is one of the greatest first-world pleasures in life and one I haven’t had in a very long time which makes me sad.
Truth to be told, we almost exclusively see business class reviews on blogs these days and while part of me loves them, another part of me is simply green with envy and despair (again, first world despair that is!). But let’s be honest here – when picking an airline, their business class isn’t what most people can and should judge it by because most of us tend to fly fancy maybe once or twice in our lives and then most business classes are usually pretty great. Yes, I know there are some differences these days that depend not only on your flight’s distance and airline but also aircraft type but still, the crappiest business class is so much better than the best economy. This isn’t a sex/pizza scenario as in – I’d rather have none than a bad one.
Sorry for the discourse, let me get back to my Thai Airways review. Here is the thing – I personally like to read someone’s opinion on economy classes because this is as good as it gets for most of us travelers. Mind you, not all economy classes were created equal and differences in comfort and service can be huge. For me, at this point in my traveling life, one of the most important aspects of a good economy flight is a great connection and the chance to catch a day time flight. But for others, it might be the food or not so seldom, the inflight movies, or for parents how the airline handles you flying with a baby. Whatever may float your airplane I guess…
With that, it was high time to close the gap between masses of business class reviews & a whole lot of nothing and so I give you the good, the bad, and the purple of flying with Thai Airways from Frankfurt to Bangkok.
Thai Airways Economy Review
If you absolutely cannot wait for your holiday to begin then Thai Airways is the airline for you because they will make you feel like you are already in Thailand. To be honest, sometimes I like this anonymous airplane bubble, the hours of floating in between countries and situations, of not knowing where I am and not needing to know. Other times, like in this instance, I couldn’t wait to fly from Frankfurt to Bangkok and was ecstatic that everything about Thai Airways shouts Thailand.
I will freely admit that a big part of any company’s character (just like humans) is only revealed when shit hits the fan and things go wrong. Especially when it comes to airlines in this day and age, I am huge on their customer service before and after a flight. In the past, I have chosen to forego one airline and instead booked another for more money because their customer service was so appalling.
Since my flight was sponsored by Thai Airways I had no back and forth with some call-center agent about seat allocation or such. I simply got my booking confirmation, went online a week before my departure and selected my seat. There was no ‘if you select this seat you have to pay a trillion extra’ BS and I could simply choose my preferred seat. There are some for an added fee but those are the emergency exit ones with a lot of extra room which all airlines seem to charge extra for these days.
In addition, I got to pre-select my meal and choose from a variety of options. This was also at no additional costs and the lady at the check-in counter even confirmed this for me when I dropped my luggage.
And from the moment I dropped my luggage, it was smooth sailing until I got to Bangkok so I couldn’t put their customer service through the wringer or even rant about anything on social media (which you know I totally do all the time if only because I want an upgrade after spotting a cute guy in business class – which didn’t happen this time…).
Tip: I always chose a seat in the front and at the aisle. I guess window or aisle is quite personal but sitting as close to the exit as possible has saved me a lot of time upon arriving. Not only in Bangkok but the line at immigration can get quite long so it helps to be out of the plane as soon as possible!
Booking with Thai Airways
I did have a sneaky look at their booking system though and will say that I appreciated the fact that Thai Airways offers various versions of an economy ticket which vary in return policy, for date changes, miles given, and baggage allowance which is between 20kg and a whopping 30kg.
Also, they offer the THAI Voluntary Carbon Offset Program which calculates your flight’s carbon footprint and allows you to offset it at an extra fee. I always offset mine on Carbon Fund but I love the idea that an airline offers that as part of their booking service though to be honest – you have to search quite a bit for it and so I would appreciate if Thai Airways were to place the ‘offset’ button a bit more prominently easy to find while you finish your booking.
They not only offer cheap flights to Thailand, but Thai Airways flights cover a big part of the globe with the transit hub, of course, being Bangkok (flights go to BKK which is Suvarnabhumi airport). From here you can connect to the rest of Asia or grab one of their Bangkok to Phuket flights if you are keen to discover the south and islands of Thailand.
Thai Airways Check-In at Frankfurt Airport
I know that check-in varies hugely and can solely depend on the airline. Usually bigger cities will have bigger airports will have more check-in counters and of course, it also depends where an airline has their home base. I dare say there are more Thai Airways check-in counters in Bangkok than there are in Frankfurt.
For my Frankfurt to Bangkok flight, I was super early as per usual and counters opened a strict three hours before flight’s departure and when I got there the line was huge. Or so I thought because I realized that Thai Airways not only offered separate counters for business and first-class, or what they called Royal Silk Class and Royal First Class, but also for online check-in.
It honestly baffles me that so many airlines don’t offer separate counters for those who are already checked in. Maybe their thought process assumes that everyone does online check-in in this day and age, but judging by the regular economy queue and the one for online check-in, people don’t. With that said, I was stoked that I only had two parties in front of me and thus check-in was smooth and fast.
Tip: For anybody who doesn’t do online check-in yet, unless, you are my mother (who doesn’t know what the internet is really), you need to get on it asap – if there is a separate check-in line you will be able to use it, spend less time waiting, and hurrah!
I was allowed to board first, the best feeling in the world, to take some pictures without masses of people so I can’t speak for the general boarding process. However, they did announce boarding by zones starting from the back and from what I saw this seemed to work well. There are always some people who try to sort their entire belongings while standing in the aisle and keep everyone else from getting to their seats but that is never the airline’s fault.
Tip: Don’t be that person. Either sit down and sort or even better, sort your stuff beforehand and know what you will put where. Unless you are truly flying for the first time in which case you are forgiven.
Seat & Amenities on board my Thai Airways plane
I quite dig the pinkish/purplish ambiance from Thai Airways and I appreciate little touches like orchids for a welcome. Those were only in business class where I snuck in to take some shots and I guess you don’t need them but they are a nice gesture and remind you where you are flying to – Thailand, the land of casual orchids!
Seats were comfy, had a USB socket and to my utter delight – a footrest. I am such a big fan of footrests and you barely ever see them in economy so I was happy. You also get a pillow and a blanket that makes you resemble Barney the purple dinosaur but no amenity kit. Call me controversial but I don’t mind that one bit. I think amenity kits are such a waste of packaging and I usually bring my own set of eye mask, earplugs, and toothbrush. Sure I appreciate if I can ask for it if need something but in general, I don’t want to pay extra for an amenity kit I am never going to use again.
Even when it comes to business class I am not convinced because chances are any lotions or lip balm they may give me are not as nice as the ones I use at home (looking at you, Aesop travel kit) or are overly perfumed which is never a great idea for a flight. Which reminds me…
Tip: Shower before a long flight but please ease up on perfumes or too strong deodorants. Same goes for eating Mc Donald’s, dried squid and farting. The last two happened to a friend of mine recently and bringing McD and not sharing your fries is just plain rude.
Entertainment Programm in the air
The entertainment program seems to be the holy grail of aviation not just for travelers but also for airlines. People have forgotten all about their unlimited Netflix access once they step on a plane and in a way I get it. Airplane time is the only time I ever watch movies, catch up on all that I have missed in the theatres (I hate going to the movies!), and rewatch old favorites.
Since I can’t ever sleep on a plane regardless of how comfy the seats might be I was excited to have a day time flight. Or at least what my body perceived to be a day time flight since we arrived at 7 am Bangkok time which was 2 am for me. This gave me plenty of time to watch movies and I will say while the selection from Thai Airways wasn’t the best I have seen, it was pretty decent with a good mix of old and new movies. As it is, I had to make some concessions since I recently did quite a few long-distance flights and had seen most of the new movies I was interested in. With that said, not even Jason Mamoa couldn’t make Aquaman bearable for a second time but I was super happy to find a Jacques Cousteau documentary. Ocean documentaries tend to make me happy and teary-eyed and luckily my seat neighbors ignored me.
Tip: When flying Thai Airways you will be royally entertained even on a long-distance flight. If you are looking for something super specific just download it on Netflix before and make sure your iPad is charged.
The Food on the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok
Here is a weird fun fact about me: I like airplane food. And no, I don’t mean the business class meals! In fact, I found most of those I have had quite disappointing and bland and not up to the price tag at all (so I had to make up by drinking all the champagne instead!).
Honestly, it is the economy class food that gets me excited. Maybe it is something about the little containers that remind me of me playing house or tea party as a child. And I will say that most Asian airlines tend to do a way better job when it comes to their food and Thai Airways is no exception.
Even if you don’t pre-select your meal you have a couple of choices one of them being a Thai meal so you can get in Thailand-holiday mood. I don’t mind that idea one bit and quite like that concept of the road being the destination even if that just means an orchid, pretty Thai clothing for the flight attendants and a curry.
I had pre-ordered a vegetarian meal and was super happy to get rice, veggies and some nice smoked tofu. It was honestly one of the best airplane meals I have ever eaten (though it may not look the part, the curse of all airline food). I do think they serve vegetarian and vegan meals as one choice since I also got fruit instead of a cream-based dessert and a full English breakfast minus the meaty bits and the eggs in the morning. Something I did not mind since I think airplane eggs are yucky and fruit is healthy though I dare say if you are a chocolate fan you might have been sad.
My one complaint about the food and beverage service: having recently flown with airlines where I got a whole little bottle of wine, the portion here was a tiny half glass.
Tip: Drink more wine 😉
I think in a day and age where eco-friendliness becomes more and more important to a lot of travelers, airlines have their part to play. And while offsetting carbon footprint is almost a mere bandaid to the issue, I think there is a lot more airlines and passengers alike can do. With that said, I would love to see Thai Airways reduce their single-use plastics when it comes to mealtimes like some airlines have started to do.
The reality for most of us travelers is that we can’t and won’t choose our airline purely based on that which I completely get. What you can do though is your little part by bringing a full refillable water bottle (I use GRAYL and refill it after security with tap water) and ask flight attendants to refill it for you during the flight. In addition, you can bring your own scarf to use as a blanket and headphones so you don’t need to use the airline’s which are usually wrapped in plastic. And as always, make the most out of your long-distance flight by not only offsetting it but also by flying less often and instead, staying in a destination for longer!
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