Thai Airways 911 & 417 – London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok

O V E R V I E W :

It is that time of the year again, my annual long trip back home with a slight twist this year as it was not the usual months which I would do it being August to September but actually the peak travel period of December. Having heard of how pricey airfares can be for travels during this period, I got my flight tickets as early as I could (being 6 months in advance as per work requirements). When flights survey was done, I was delighted to find out that THAI came out the cheapest with a return flight to KL via Bangkok at approximately £550.  Without much hesitation given that TG is my bucket list airline which I have yet to fly, I secured my return tickets with a longer stopover (about 10 hours) in Bangkok for my outbound journey before flying on to my final destination of Kuala Lumpur as it has been a while since my last visit and I was craving for some authentic Thai cuisine. This trip report will consist of both outbound sectors but separated into 2 parts.

Thai Airways  – TG 911 – LHR – BKK

Capture

Airbus 380
Seat 61G (Economy)
Flight time: 11:50 – 06:15 [+1] (12:20 – 05:57) [+1]
Duration: 11 hours 25 minutes
6th December 2018

img_7520On the day of departure, the first order of business upon arriving at the Queen’s Terminal at LHR was to print my boarding pass at the self check in kiosk. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately for me :P), the machine was unable to read my passport and I had to proceed to the counter to get my boarding pass printed besides getting my bag checked in. Cheers to non flimsy boarding passes. 🙂img_7521-2.jpgAs there was not much of a queue at the bag drop counters, I got my baggage checked in and boarding pass printed after a short wait. To my surprise, the boarding pass design was rather simplistic to what I recall seeing online for TG with more colours. :Oimg_7522-1Christmas decor noted in full swing at Terminal 2 after clearing security. img_7526-1After the infamous long walk to the satellite terminal at T2 – the B concourse where my flight is scheduled to depart from, I got to be up close and personal with my favorite livery in the skies, even better on my favorite aircraft type. Something about the TG livery that is just very classy and elegant. 🙂img_7539-1After a rather long wait with queues stretching out of the allocated line separators after boarding was called, which seemed to be due to the heavy load (close to 100% I reckon) to BKK that afternoon, I made in to my seat towards the middle of the lower deck. img_7546-1Managed to snap a shot of my neighboring seats (I chose an aisle seat in the middle rows as usual) before the seat owners arrived. img_7551-1Quite a good legroom for this long haul flight, note that TG’s seats are equipped with footrest in Economy though I am not a fan in using them. Another plus of my seat was that the IFE box was not obstructing my legroom given its position (at my seat neighbour’s legroom compound instead). img_7550-1Amenities that were present at the seat upon boarding (not pictured was the usual headphones). A special mention to the blankets provided which are thicker than what other airlines provide, thumbs up to this. img_7558-1Mandatory seat pocket content shot, WiFI was available on the flight with a fee. img_7572-1Still in awe with the sheer size of the superjumbo even after numerous flights on it, as pictured with the view via the tail camera after push back whilst the plane taxied to the runway for departure. img_7579-1Shortly after take off, drinks service with a light snack commenced and I went for a G&T to compliment my pretzels. Very glad to find out that the snack provided was friendly towards people with peanut allergy like myself, unlike certain airlines around the region.img_7567-1Although no hard copy of the inflight menu was provided ala Emirates / Singapore Airlines, the choices available was present via the IFE. As I have pre-selected the seafood meal in order to be served first, the menu was not really applicable to me.img_7584-1Shortly after that, my seafood meal tray was presented to me. Note the bottled water that was given out as part of the tray, which I personally prefers (given the convenience to quenching thirst post meal service) than what most other airlines do by just offering a small cup(?), thumbs up to TG on this note too! Non metal cutlery was provided but it wasn’t much of an issue to me. My seafood meal tasted good overall though it was slightly underwhelming on the flavoring for my salmon main.img_7590-1My Asian-ness being apparent with a request for Green tea instead of the usual black tea or coffee option at the end of meal service. 😛img_7592-1Time for some leg stretching activities post meal service, with the first stop being a visit to the loo. Pretty standard lavatory on this THAI A380 though eau de toilette was on offer, something that seems to be fading off with most airlines nowadays as part of their cost cutting measures. img_7600-1Getting the steps count in on this long haul flight by walking up and then back down the stairs as it was barricaded on the top. Tried to get a seat on the Economy cabin upstairs but they were all taken unfortunately. img_7601-1Lights were dimmed in the cabin a couple of hours into the flight for passengers to rest. img_7595-1Feeling a little peckish after keeping myself occupied on the IFE system which offered a decent selection of movies & shows, I went to the galley and asked if there was anything for me to bite but was only given almonds as the cabin crew mentioned that the mid flight snack service will be begin shortly.img_7593-2Lovely sunrise view on the tail camera as we flew through the different time zones. img_7597-1Soon enough as mentioned by the crew earlier, I was brought my seafood meal snack, which was a salmon sandwich. Interestingly, as I gobbled down my sandwich rather quickly, I was served with another sandwich when the other passengers were getting theirs, which I politely accepted. 🙂img_7606-1After some rest and approximately 2 hours to landing, the cabin lighting was back in full swing and hot towels were provided before breakfast was served. Yet again, my seafood meal was served in advance of other passengers and it consisted of an English breakfast with a salmon omelette, taste wise this was better compared to lunch served earlier and overall it was another good meal. img_7613-1After about 11 hours in the air, I find myself back in Bangkok after my last visit being 7 years ago (though I transited at Don Muang airport back in 2015 and did not leave the airport).img_7614-1Although I felt really tired having not slept much during the flight, I was excited to clear immigration and start my food adventure in the city…

 

Thai Airways – TG 417– BKK – KUL

b

Boeing  777-300
Seat 57A (Economy)
Flight time: 16:45 – 19:55 (16:53 – 19:43)
Duration: 2 hours 10 minutes
7th December 2018

IMG_7653After approximately 8 hours in the city centre, where I devoured numerous cheap and good authentic Thai delicacies, got a foot and back massage and walked under the blazing sun only to realize that it is not possible to just rely on my foot to travel between destinations given the weather and had to settle for the BTS, I found myself back at Suvarnabhumi airport and ready for my flight back home. img_7658.jpgAs my boarding pass to KUL had been issued in London, I headed straight to security clearance and passport control upon arriving at the airport. Interestingly, there was not much of a queue during that time of the day and I was at airside in no time. IMG_7660A feature that I reckon every major airport should have, thumbs up to Suvarnabhumi airport for having water fountains at multiple locations across the terminal (typically close to the W.Cs).IMG_7664A quick browse through the duty free shops to spend my remaining Thai Bahts before proceeding to my boarding gate. It is not my first time travelling on this route but it will be my first on a widebody. 🙂IMG_7675Greeted by these lovely colours upon boarding the B777 that evening. IMG_7679When seat selection was made online, I decided to go for the rear section of the middle cabin where the seats are configured in a 2-3-2 configuration instead of the usual 3-3-3 as I wanted a window seat but with ease of entry and exit if I needed to use the loo. IMG_7682Decent seat pitch for this short flight to Kuala Lumpur. Note that foot rests are also present on this aircraft type, similar to the Airbus 380 I flew from London to Bangkok. IMG_7685Jackpot shot that evening with a Thai Star Alliance liveried Queen of the skies docked next door. On a side note, despite the flight being of decent load factor (about 90%), the seat next to me was empty after boarding was completed, cheers to extra space and having both the window and aisle seat! 🙂IMG_7676A quick visit to the lavatory after take off. IMG_7677Similar to the WCs onboard the A380, eau de toilette was on offer as well on this B777. IMG_7701Given the length of this flight, meal service was in full swing shortly after the seat belt signs were turned off. I had not pre-booked any special meal for this sector as I wanted to give the Thai option offered a try given the catering was ex-BKK. To my horror, my choice of chicken curry (choice being presented verbally by the crew instead of via the IFE system like on the A380 – hence the lack of detail of the ingredients) instead of the other one which I cannot recall now made my flight experience go down hill after finishing the meal. IMG_7703Long story short, I have a mild nut allergy and at that point in time it did not cross my mind that the curry offered would have nuts involved (though I am aware that Thais love adding nuts to their cooking) and I am part to blame given that I did not double check with the crew and let them know of my dietary requirements before making the selection. Only after finishing the really delicious meal (and I really mean it as I finished everything) when I realized that nuts were used to make the curry as my allergic reaction started to kick in. IMG_7709On the bright side, it was a short flight and I had my antihistamine with me though it did not quite help that much this time round (probably because of the altitude?) and I was feeling really poorly up to the moment of arrival at KLIA. Despite that, I managed to snap this really blurry picture of the KL skyline with the latest skyscraper (The Exchange 106) amongst others spotted at the right side of the picture before landing.IMG_7711Arrival was on time and in fact minutes before scheduled time. It was definitely one of the rare occasions where I couldn’t wait to be back on the ground and thankfully baggage claim did not take very long and I was well on my way back home for a much needed recuperation.

C O N C L U S I O N: 

Having had a certain level of expectation before these flights on Thai Airways after reading reviews and reports by other passengers, along with feedback from my friends, I would say that overall TG lived up to my expectations. In terms of its hard product, even though the aircrafts being operated are not the latest in TG’s fleet, the interior of the cabin seemed to be well maintained. In addition, I appreciate the fact that Thai is still offering some service that are now slowly phased out by competing full service carriers with the aim of cost reduction (ie: hot towels/perfumes in the WCs/bottled water for every passenger). In terms of the IFE, while it is not on par with the award winning likes of Emirates the selections offered are decent. The cabin crew on my flights did a good job though lack a little personal touch which makes a great difference. Lastly, prior to flying on TG the common point highlighted by others would be their catering and without a doubt, the food offered are one of the best I have ever experienced (in Economy class at least). That said, I wished that airlines and not just TG would put more effort in highlighting the ingredients that goes into their in flight meals given the various allergies that are present in today’s world (whether via the menu offered or perhaps even special meals dedicated for people with certain allergies), it would definitely make a difference and contribute to a positive flight experience. Overall, good flights from London to KL via Bangkok and hopefully this experience will be relatable when I get onboard my inbound flights back to London.

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