Thai Airways International is one of several airlines plying the Hong Kong – Bangkok route. And the flight takes roughly three hours. Which raises a question: is it really worth the extra cash to splash out on a business class ticket on such a short flight? Check out my firsthand flight review of Thai Airways Business Class, Hong Kong to Bangkok! I’ll let YOU be the judge!
Why I Was Traveling
After being stuck in Hong Kong for three years because of COVID-19, I was suffering from a serious case of itchy feet. I really wanted to travel. And what better destination than a nearby spot such as Thailand, which is less than a three hours flight from Hong Kong?
Thai Airways Airbus A-350-900
My flight was on a Thai Airways International Airbus A-350-900. In fact, the airline was the eighth airline to introduce the aircraft.
A long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet aircraft, the A-350 was developed by Airbus to compete against the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is one of my absolute favourite airliners!
Here is my review of a flight on the Dreamliner: Qatar Airways Business Class from Hong Kong to Stockholm.
- Flight Number: TG 601
- Business Class – 32 live flat seats with 44 inch pitch, 73.5 inch bed length, and 20 inch width in a 1-2-1 seat configuration
- Economy Class – 32 inch pitch, 18 inch width in a 3-3-3 seat configuration.
- Aircraft: Airbus A-350-900
- Scheduled Departure: 12.45 pm
- Actual Departure: 1.30 pm (approximate)
- Takeoff: 1.40 pm (approximate)
- Scheduled Arrival: 2.25 pm
- Actual Arrival: 3.30 pm (approximate)
- Scheduled Flight Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
- Actual Flight Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes (approximate)
- Distance; 1,690 kilometers, or 1,043 miles
- Seat Number: 12A
- Baggage Allowance: 40 kilograms
- Total one-way fare including tax and surcharges: HK$3,583 (US$456.50)
Pre-flight Experience at Hong Kong International Airport
This was the first time I had flown since the pandemic began. And I was surprised at how empty Hong Kong International Airport was! In fact, it was practically like a ghost town. And this was despite the fact that the most of the COVID protocols had been scrapped. But there were a few exceptions.
For example, there was a line at the check-in counter for Thai Airways International. And it must have been for my flight.
Happily, there was no line at the spot for Business Class passengers and passengers that had checked in online. So, I lucked out on two counts!
Thai Airways doesn’t have a business class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. However, since Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, business class passengers flying Thai Airways from Hong Kong usually have access to the United Airlines business class lounge.
Unfortunately, the lounge bad been temporarily closed as a result of COVID-19. And it had not yet reopened. So I was given access to the Plaza Premium Lounge, which was no big deal because my credit card already gives me access to that lounge.
So I was a little disappointed – especially when I couldn’t find the bar! I only learned while waiting to board that it was hidden in the back. But the question remains if I would I have to pay for drinks? In fact, most business class lounges in Asia do NOT charge for drinks! But alcoholic beverages are not complimentary at the Plaza Premium Lounge unless the airline gives you a voucher.
To make matters worse, the food options were pretty sparse. For example, there were none of the yummy bar snacks that the lounge used to serve in the past. None of the items on the buffet tables looked very enticing.
Lie Flat Seat
The Business Class seat seemed comfortable enough. But the flight was less than three hours long. So I didn’t get the chance to see how comfortable it would be in the lie-flat position.
Food on Thai Airways Business Class
Everything arrived on one tray, which was kind of disappointing. In Business Class, I expect the food to be served course by course. Is this because it was such a short flight?
Regarding the meal, the starter consisted of three pieces of a creamy cheese wrapped in thin slices of smoked salmon. Quite nice! And there was one dried apricot and one prune.
There was a choice of three entrées. And I chose the shrimp. While I was expecting something Thai, the sauce was definitely not Thai. And it came with mashed potatoes rather than rice.
In addition, there was garlic bread, which was a welcome change from the little buns wrapped in cellophane that many airlines serve. And the chocolate dessert was quite satisfying.
Overall, the food struck me as what I would expect on an airline. In other words, it was nothing special. But the serving was larger than I would expect in economy class.
Beverage Service on Thai Airways Business Class
Fruit juice and champagne arrived shortly after I arrived at my seat. And the champagne continued to arrive after we were airborne. In fact, I had to ask for a switch to wine when lunch was served.
Both wine and champagne glasses were topped up without my having to ask. At some point, I asked for coffee. The last thing I wanted was to be kicked off the plane mid-flight!
I’m not sure about the choice of beverages because menus seem to have been discontinued owing to COVID-19 protocols. The same seems to apply for in-flight magazines and amenity kits.
Business Class Cabin
The business class cabin afforded a great deal of privacy. And I liked the soothing off white and purple and magenta colour scheme – oh, so Thai!!! In fact, it reminded me a bit of the business class cabins on Qatar Airways.
Furthermore, unlike on some airlines, business class and economy class passengers boarded through separate doors. So, we didn’t have passengers jostling past us while we were enjoying our pre-departure glass of champagne.
As for the facilities, they seemed a bit more spacious than usual. And the toiletries had a very pleasant scent.
The crew were well groomed and professional. Their uniforms were very stylish. And they kept my champagne glasses full without my having to ask.
When I accidentally dropped my charger under my seat, they sprung into action. And I quickly understood why passengers were requested not to try to find them themselves.
Believe me, I could NOT have done it without their help!
Upon arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, our plane parked at a location quite distant from the gate. So we were shuttled to the gate by an un- or under-airconditioned shuttle bus, which didn’t have many seats.
Frankly speaking, the journey was NOT pleasant. And to be honest, I’m surprised at how often this happens at airports outside the United States.
I mean, it’s one thing at a small airport in a warm climate – such at that very cute airport terminal in Koh Samui. But at a major international hub?
My business class ticket gave me access to the same Fast Track Lane that airline employees and diplomats get to use. And having faced long lines at countless airports over the years, this alone was almost worth the price of a business class ticket.
Owing to a miscommunication, there was no driver waiting for me at the arrival area. But it took me awhile to figure that out.
So I ended up paying more than I should have to arrange a driver rather than waiting in the lengthy taxi rank.
When my driver finally arrived, he had never heard of my hotel. So he asked ME to give him directions! Seriously?
Anyway, this has happened before. But thanks to modern technology, I was able to show him the location of my hotel. Most importantly, the address was in Thai. So he got me to my hotel.
But not without negotiating Bangkok’s horrendous traffic at the beginning of rush hour. And the car was under-airconditioned!
But at least the elevated fare had been negotiated in advance. So there was no “drama” upon arrival.
Was it worth splashing out on a business class ticket on such a shorrt flight? Should I have spent the money on a more “worthwhile” indulgence as some friends suggest?
I think this photo of economy class speaks volumes. And my one word answer is, “YES!!!”
In my opion, it was worth it! And despite a few disappointments, I would definitely do it again.
But what about you? Would you splash out that money to fly business class?
If You Are Going to Thailand
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