Back Up Over

Thai Airways 747-400 in throwback livery. Flight TG476 SYD-BKK 2/9/2012.

It had been a great trip to Australia. I finished it out, the way I started it…on little to no sleep. After checking into the Four Seasons, I rapidly repacked my bags and then went to meet a friend for dinner at Otto (a decent if wildly overrated restaurant in Woolloomooloo). This of course led to other friends and more bars and me limping back to the hotel around 5am with less than two hours before my car to the airport.

Although I was operating on little sleep, I knew I would have 10 hours to relax in seat 1A of a Thai 747-400, so all was well. At check-in, our group of three were told that we were the only people in the First Class cabin for this flight.

SYD terminal

Thai does not have a dedicated lounge at SYD, so F passengers use the New Zealand Business Lounge. It’s fairly close to Thai’s gate and has decent food and bev. offerings. The drawback is it gets VERY crowded.

NZ lounge entrance

NZ lounge

Close to boarding time, we left the lounge and made for the gate. As is Thai’s style, boarding was not on time, and there was no information given. After milling around for 15-20 minutes, another guy just handed his ticket to the gate agent without being prompted to do so and was allowed to board. This didn’t trigger general boarding, so I asked if First Class was boarding and the gate agent seemed to think “why not” and allowed us to proceed.

Once on board we found that an interloper was intruding on our private cabin. He must have upgraded at check-in. This guy was a total nutjob. He looked like a caricature of the creepy western sexpat who goes to Thailand to sleep with young children. I’d wager a hefty sum that he has pieces of people in his freezer. Throughout the flight whenever we were talking to each other he would sigh loudly and try to look exasperated as if we should all shut up so he could sit in silence…they’re called noise canceling headphones…Thai provides them…use them. At one point I looked over in his direction and this man of 50 some odd years was watching animated children’s movies. I guess he was doing some research so he’d have some to talk about with his prey once he got to Thailand.

Other than this guy whose very presence creeped me out, the flight was excellent. Even though it was a very long flight and I had barely slept the night before, I was unable to get any rest. I watched Warrior, which while wildly unrealistic was an entertaining enough film. Sadly as I had just been on two Thai long haul flights, there was nothing else left for me in the IFE system. [F cabin shots at the end of the post]

While Thai is hit or miss when it comes to everything, especially catering, this flight was mostly a hit (especially the desserts).

The first meal service:

Pre-departure beverage. Dom '02.

Nuts and canapes.

Caviar.

Thai offered a 2nd round of caviar due to the light load in First.

Starter.

Salad.

Main.

Assorted fruit.

Chocolate mousse cake. Excellent.

Thai again provided mattress pads and the good “new” blankets for this flight. Since there were only four of us in the 10 First Class seats, I used 3A as my relaxing seat and had 1A made up as my bedroom. Rimowa amenity kits (which have since been phased out) were available (white) and a choice of the normal purple pajamas (silk screened Thai logo) or the blue button up pajamas (with embroidered Thai logo) were offered. Since I already had several pairs of the purple, I went with blue.

Somewhere over Vietnam the second meal service began. I must say that the combination of an oversized table and the ottoman allows for two people to dine together very comfortably. With the table made up, sitting next to the window you could forget you’re on an airplane at all.

The second meal service:

Spicy soup. Very good.

Assorted dim sum.

Chocolate tart.

Upon arrival in Bangkok purple and yellow Thai golf carts were waiting to whisk us through immigration and to our bags. For westerners it can be almost uncomfortable how fawning and subservient they are, but they most definitely aim to please. Over the course of this trip, Thai Airways moved from unknown quantity, to one of my favorite airline. I fly Thai, and I heartily recommend you check them out.

FIRST CLASS CABIN & ASSORTED OTHER SHOTS:

F Cabin.

F Cabin.

F Seat.

F Seat.

Thai Golfcart.

UA 747-400.

Qantas 747-400.

Qantas, China Eastern, Vietnam and Cathay Pacific.

Garuda Indonesia on final.

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