The service in Thai Airways Royal First Class is laudably impressive, even on a short overnight flight. That’s my main takeaway from my 747-400 flight from Tokyo to Bangkok.
After spending several hours in the ANA Suite Lounge, I proceeded to the gate about an hour before the flight. Boarding commenced 15 minutes later and as the only first class passenger in the gate area, I was first on the aircraft and had several minutes on the plane to myself.
Thai Airways 661
Tokyo (HND) – Bangkok (BKK)
Friday, July 5
Depart: 12:20 AM
Arrive: 04:50 AM (arrived 03:45 AM)
Duration: 06hr, 30min
Distance: 2,852 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 1A (First Class)
Thai Airways 747 First Class Service
The great service started from the moment I stepped onto the plane. Three flight attendants bowed to greet me, with one escorting me to my seat.
I don’t know how else to say it, but the crew was genuinely friendly and flawlessly professional. Each member of staff was sincerely kind and attentive. There wasn’t a lot of small talk, but I really felt like a valued guest and not just a passenger.
Before departing, I asked if the first class crew would be willing to pose for a photo and all were quite happy to do so.
What a GREAT crew!
Thai Airways 747-400 First Class Suites
I chose seat 1A, located in the nose of the aircraft on the lower deck. This suite is probably the most quiet on the plane. The nine semi-enclosed suites in first class are all comfortable.
Seats are adjustable via a special unit attached to the seat and storage compartments offer not only room for your personal items, but power ports.
After my dinner, my seat was transformed into a bed which included a thick and comfortable mattress pad, two pillows, and a soft duvet. I managed about two hours of sleep.
The last time I flew the Thai 747-400 in first class, the seats looked like this:
And this was the IFE:
So a lot has changed in the last decade…
Thai Airways 747-400 First Class Dining
I decided to pre-order a steak for this flight, just to test Thai’s pre-order system. A flight attendant confirmed that my meal had been loaded and asked me if I wanted it after takeoff or before landing.
Thai stocks Dom Pérignon and I enjoyed a glass prior to takeoff, though stuck to water for the rest of the flight.
Chocolate was also presented at the seat along with a cold towel:
After takeoff, I was quickly offered a ramekin of mixed nuts and dried fruit as well as beverage. As always in Thai First, my Perrier was served with a can…not sure why Thai always leaves the can, which I think detracts from the first class experience.
Normally, the service on this flight is a light snack after takeoff followed by breakfast prior to landing. I had a “brinner” combo instead, starting with fresh fruit and a croissant, then moving to carrot soup (the late night snack on the menu) and finally my steak, which was surprisingly disappointing for Tokyo catering. Granted, Haneda and Narita are different airports, but I had a much better steak on United than I had on this flight.
The steak included potatoes, mushrooms, nanohana (or maybe asparagus…), cooked tomatoes, and herb butter.
I had planned to sample the bowl of soup prior to the steak, but the steak came out minutes after we leveled off…so I had the bowl of soup after. It was the best part of the meal.
A full breakfast was offered prior to landing…but I slept right through it. I would soon enjoy a nice breakfast in the Thai Royal First Lounge during my layover in BKK. But I did appreciate a hot towel and bottle of water.
Thai Airways 747-400 First Class Amenity Kit + Pajama
I scored a Rimowa amenity kit!, which truly one of the highlights of the flight. Rimowa amenity kits are actually provisioned in first class only on flights departing Bangkok (BKK), but a FA had one leftover from the flight to Tokyo and offered it to me…what a lovely souvenir of this flight.
Pajamas were also distributed from Boggi Milano and I thought they were quite comfortable, especially the pants.
Thai Airways 747-400 First Class IFE
The IFE system is a few generations old and could use a refresh, though there was a good selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games.
Noise-cancelling headphones from AKG were provided (I’ve never heard of this brand, have you?) but worked very well.
Thai does not offer wi-fi aboard the 747.
Thai Airways 747 First Class Lavatory
The Thai 747 has such an odd layout. As you can see in the picture above, a long galley stretches on the starboard side of the aircraft, lavatories are in the middle (literally in the middle of the cabin), and business class seats are on the port side.
I loved that the lavatory was full of flowers and featured real towels.
Thai Airways First Class Post-Flight BKK Ground Service
The flight left Tokyo Haneda after midnight and arrived in Bangkok before sunrise…at 3:45 AM to be exact. What a shame the flight was so short, especially considering the lounge hours in BKK.
While Thai ground staff was waiting at the aircraft to take me to the first class lounge in a golf cart, I was informed the lounge would not open until 5:00 AM, meaning I had over an hour to twiddle my thumbs. I was advised to “buy coffee” while I was waiting. That’s unacceptable. If a flight arrives early, the lounge should be open early…but perhaps I am asking too much. Thankfully, there were Priority Pass lounges that were open 24/7, so I had a comfortable place to wait.
It made me sat that we landed an hour early on a flight that was already so short. The excellent service made me want to connect to London or Paris in first class…hopefully another time. If you’re looking to sleep on the HND-BKK flight, just go right to bed and skip the food. But if you remain awake, you will be treated to excellent Thai hospitality.