In this trip report, we review a flight on Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 in First Class known as Royal First from Bangkok Airport, in Thailand to Munich Airport (MUC) in Germany. We flew this route in February 2018.
Originally, I was booked on a flight from Bangkok to Paris onboard one of Thai Airways’ six Airbus A380 planes, but a technical failure delayed the Paris-bound flight for 8 hours (from midnight till 8:00 am). The choice was waiting at the airport in a small bedroom (since the Thai Airways First Class lounge closes during the night) or being rebooked on a Thai Airways B747 to Munich that departed one hour later than the Paris-bound flight, with a connecting flight to Paris operated by Lufthansa. We choose the latter.
The cost of a one-way First Class ticket from Bangkok to Paris was €280 EUR + 105,000 Miles& More miles. Miles and More is the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa, a Star Alliance partner of Thai Airways.
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One of the nicest things about traveling First Class with Thai Airways is the impeccable ground service from the moment you arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, which starts with the Thai Airways First Class Lounge at Bangkok Airport.
Thai Airways features a mixed long-haul fleet with 10 Boeing 747 planes, 32 Boeing 777 (both B777-200ER and B777-300ER), 8 Boeing 787, 15 Airbus A330, 12 Airbus A350, and 6 Airbus A380 planes.
The carrier is notorious for last-minute aircraft swaps, and that’s problematic if you’re flying Business or First Class since all aircraft feature a different cabin layout and seat product, ranging from bad (Thai’s old First Class installed on some B747s) to excellent (Thai’s A350 Business Class product).
Thai Airways plans to retrofit its 777-200ER fleet later this year as part of a push to offer lie-flat Business Class seats across its long-haul fleet. Thai Airways is also introducing a new premium product for its regional fleet, which will debut later this year on a retrofitted A330-300s.
Thai Airways First Class Cabin
First Class in Thai Airways’ Boeing 747s is located on the lower deck in the plane’s nose. The carrier operates two versions of First Class.
The ‘old’ First Class cabin configuration features 10 seats, with 3 seats on each side and two pairs of seats in the center (row 2 & 3).
The ‘new’ First Class cabin configuration features 9 seats, with 3 seats on each side, one single seat (row 2), and one pair of seats in the middle (row 3).
The new First Class cabin layout offers a much better experience than the old product since the new seats are semi-enclosed suites with plenty of privacy. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to know in advance which product you’ll get as last-minute plane substitutions are such a frequent occurrence with Thai Airways. Still, I was lucky that the flight to Munich was operated by a Boeing 747 with the new First Class configuration.
The new First Class cabin features an almost tropical retro-look. The light grey suite walls are partly covered with wooden panels, with the ‘mahogany’ theme persisting in the dark, purple seat fabrics and the leather arm- and footrests. Bright yellow pillows, blankets, and headrests make for a remarkable and colorful contrast.
Two relatively small lavatories for the exclusive use of First Class passengers are located in the back of the cabin. A narrow, long galley is situated beside the lavatories, along with the windows on the aircraft’s right side, which is a rather odd configuration since it means that passengers in the Business Class cabin on the left side of the plane are looking onto this galley’s wall.
No seat map of the new First Class cabin can be found online (Seatguru’s seat map of Thai Airways’ B747 is not correct).
The Best & Worst Seats on Thai Airways
I was seated in-suite 1K for the 11-hour flight from Bangkok to Munich. All suites feature the same layout and are surrounded by high walls except for the entrance area on the aisle side.
Thai Airways did not install sliding doors in these suites (like in Emirates‘ First Class), as it would have increased privacy.
The ergonomic seat, which has a width of 23 inches (58 cm) and a pitch of 203 cm (80 inches), is very comfortable, and the various seat positions, as well as the suite’s lighting, are controlled via a tablet that is located near the armrest. Several other storage cabinets are also located in the armrest, with one of them holding the massive foldout tray table. Across the seat is a large 23 inch TV screen, a leather ottoman, and some additional storage space beneath the ottoman.
At the push of a button, the seat automatically reclines into a flatbed of 86 inches (218 cm) long, with a fully retractable armrest. A cabin crew member installs a mattress pad, two fluffy pillows, and a thick blanket when you want to sleep.
What are the best First Class seats on Thai Airways’ B747? Solo travelers should go for the window seats, while companions should choose the two middle seats in row 3.
What are the worst First Class seats on Thai Airways’ B747? There are no bad seats in Thai Airways’ A380 First Class cabin, although the two seats in the first row are not as private as the other seats because the cabin is quite narrow here.
Thai Airways First Class passengers get the following amenities: A Rimowan kit in the form of a mini-suitcase in various colors. The bag contains the essential items for long-haul travel (e.g., eye mask, earplugs, a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash) in addition to two tubes of Monteil skin products (e.g., facial moisturizer and lip balm), a pair of slippers, and a comfortable, Royal Thai labeled pajama, packed in a bag with an exotic motif.
Food menu On Thai Airways
The dinner offered during this flight was exceptionally good, consisting of some of the best food I ever tasted in a First Class cabin. I selected the following items from the menu:
- White sturgeon caviar with garnitures
- Hors d’oeuvre
- Foie gras terrine with Monte Vibiano sesame dressing
- Curried pumpkin soup with Alaska king crab meat and Isigny crème fraiche quenelle
- Baked Chilean sea bass with creamy leek crust, fried leek, and lobster bisque, and served with spinach ravioli and tomato concassé, roasted potato, buttered asparagus and tomato, and roasted resto pumkin
- Lemon pie with raspberry sauce
The breakfast service was less extensive and a bit disappointing. Fresh fruits, yogurt, cereals, fresh fruit juice, and a fruit smoothie were offered as a starter, followed by a tomato dill omelet with pork sausage, bacon with spring onion, roasted baby potato, and grilled asparagus.
Each First Class seat on Thai Airways’ B747 features a 23-inch entertainment screen. The entertainment system is controlled by a handset hidden near the armrest and doubles as a game controller. Noise-canceling headphones are available, although they are not of the best quality (and cannot be taken away with you). The entertainment selection on offer is decent, with over 1,000 hours of regularly updated movies, short films, games, music, news, and information.
Thai Airways’ in-flight Wi-Fi internet service is available on the Airbus A380-800, A350-900, selected A330-330, and Boeing 787, but not the B747. It is worth mentioning that the service onboard Thai Airways’ flights are excellent.
Review by our friends at Luxury Travel Expert
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.