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Thai Airways – Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Tokyo, Japan (NRT) – Flight TG 676
Fantastic Bombastic from Check-In to Arrival!
Thai Airways – Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Tokyo, Japan (NRT) – Flight TG 676: Awarded by Skytrax as the “World’s Best Cabin Staff” and “The Best Airline in the World” in 2006 and placing second in the ‘Airline of the Year’ category in 2007, Thai Airways had some big expectations to fulfill in my mind and was subject to much scrutiny. Fortunately, they delivered to the letter with almost no fault. (Click here to read our Bangkok hotel and restaurant reviews and click here to read our Tokyo hotel and restaurant reviews.)
We booked a morning flight from Bangkok to Tokyo (flight time was 5 hours 15 minutes), First Class, and arrived at the airport hours before our departure in a hotel van.
The moment we pulled up in the curb at the airport, Thai airlines staff was there to meet us and assist with our luggage. Without delay, they escorted us to the first class check-in counter, took our passports, took our coats and jackets, and had us sit and relax while they handled all the paperwork.
Check-In: Within minutes, we were escorted through immigration and security and down an escalator where we were met by another Thai Airways employee who, in choreographed fashion, pulled up in a cart just as we reached the bottom of the escalator. We climbed in and before we even knew it, were immediately whisked through the airport to the first class lounge.
We were handed off again to another employee who welcomed us, warmly as is the custom in Thailand, and escorted us into the lounge. Once we were comfortably settled in the gorgeous lounge, a young Thai lady came and took our orders. You would think with as many times as we were turned over from one staff to the next that it would be incredibly confusing or take a ridiculously long time. On the contrary, the whole thing took less than 15 minutes and was so efficient and graceful that it seemed like a well-choreographed dance, practiced countless times.
Purely excellent, purely First Class service.
The Lounge: The First Class lounge was huge, arranged into clusters of mini-living rooms. At the center was an array of small sitting areas. With its open design, you would think that all the chatter in the room would create a general buzz or noise. Surprisingly, it was quiet and relaxing.
Browns and taupes were the color palette of choice in the lounge’s interior design—pleasing to the eyes and relaxing to the senses, appropriate for a temporary escape from the hassles of air travel.
The lounge also had a small restaurant with a capacity of about 20 diners. Appetizing samples of the day’s specials were set outside to easily select from. You can eat either in the dining room or in the main lounge. I chose to dine in the lounge, as I just had a quick bite to eat. Eating there did nothing to diminish the service or the experience. Perfection once again. Thai Airways knows what 1st Class, five-star service is all about.
First Impressions: The cabin crew was pleasant and immediately made us feel welcome. The cabin itself was spacious, or rather, very very large when it came to airline cabins. It was a little open, or at least not as closed as so many 1st class cabins seem to be.
The Cabin: Our plane, a 747, had a First Class seating configuration of 1 x 2 x 1. While the lie flat bed seemed narrow, it was surprisingly comfortable. I especially liked the colors of the cabin—the seats were purple with accents of gold while the pillows and blankets they provided us with were mustard gold—rich and beautiful colors that were wonderfully representative of Thailand.
Even the flight attendants were delightfully dressed to suit the theme—gold for women and purple blazers for men.
The Flight (Service/Food/Drink): The moment we boarded, Thai airways flight attendants with genial smiles welcomed us, promptly showed us to our seats, and assisted us with our carry-on bags. They gave us an in-flight kit, which was a no-name bag with unbranded amenities consisting of a toothpaste, breath fresher, eye shades, and socks.
Once everyone was settled in their seats, the attendants came around and offered us juice or water, then came around a second time with hot cloths to refresh ourselves, and then again with newspapers and magazines, and finally with the breakfast menus.
Here is a sample of their menu:
Fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal
Spanish omelet and potato with grilled premium back bacon or breakfast cheese sausage
Boiled rice soup with young pork spare rib
Steamed Japanese rice with grilled salmon flake and mixed vegetables with prawn sauce
Yellow noodles soup with barbecued pork
The first class seats were set up so that people can dine together; one person sits in a chair, the other sits on a stool. There is nothing like dining together (even if its breakfast) above ground, 30,000 feet. So when they came to set up breakfast, I moved over to sit with my friend.
Even though it was a morning flight, the yellow noodles with barbecued pork caught my fancy and so I gave it a try. It was so good, I asked for a second serving.
The wine menu was considerably nice but it was limited to a French selection, which was odd. Typically, in first class, they would offer a wider variety. Nonetheless, I picked the Chateau Le Bourdillot Graves, 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon. It was slightly golden in color and was fruity and crisp with a nice aroma of lime and peach, perfect with the noodles and barbecued pork.
Here is a sample of their wine list:
La Grande Anne - Bollinger 1999
Chateau de Cruzeau, Pessac - Leognan 2003
Chateau Le Bourdillot Graves 2005
Meursault Les Vireuils Dessous 2004
Chateau De Valois, Pomerol 2001
Pommard, Le Manoir Murisaltien 2002
After dinner I moved back to my seat to check out the entertainment. While the beds wonderfully lie completely flat, I didn’t get the chance to fully test the lie flat bed since it was only a five hour flight. Instead, I took advantage of the AVOD (Audio Visual On Demand). There was an endless number of channels to choose from, fully occupying my time that I didn’t notice the hours flying right by me.
Arrival: We arrived on time at the Narita Airport in Tokyo, and Japan was about as perfect as could be expected. The efficiency the Japanese are so well known for was evident in every step of our arrival. Getting through the airport from immigration to baggage to customs was pain free, fast and simple.
Overall Impression The Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Tokyo was simply an amazing experience. From the greeting at the curbside at the airport to the fast and carefree check-in and to the amazing food and service on board, it was a Fantastic Bombastic flight and one I would love to do again!
Flight Time: Bangkok, Thailand to Tokyo, Japan - 5 Hours, 15 Minutes
Airline Partners:: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, BMI, Egyptair, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Air, South African Airways, Spainair, Swiss Air, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, United, US Airways, Air China, Shanghai Airlines. Other Airline Partners: Delta, Mexicana, SilkAir, Virgin
Bangkok, Thailand - BKK
Tokyo, Japan (Narita) - NRT
Be sure to read our Bangkok hotel and restaurant reviews and our Tokyo hotel and restaurant reviews.
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