Thai Airways "new" First Class on 747-400


Comments on my flight on Thai Airways TG923 Frankfurt to Bangkok in First Class Seat 2K on November 20, 2006

I was not addressed with my name by any cabin crew upon boarding and also not even once later during the flight. This is a bit unusual for first class. I addition to that the cabin crew did also not actively communicate with the passengers and therefore there was a total lack of personal touch during the flight. Service was friendly and polite but appeared rather standardized and mechanical. It was definitely nothing to be remembered or be impressed about.

A few little comments on the food and drink service: The cabin crew did not know that single malt whiskey is traditionally never served with ice cubes. The shrimp snack offered before the dinner was completely fatty and unhealthy. The glasses had a bad taste of dish washing liquid residues. Wine service was not very good with the glasses not regularly refilled. The tables were never cleared of crumbs or debris during the service.

The real disappointment however was not service but rather the recently refurbished first class cabin. Here, a couple of major mistakes have been made by the designer and it is unclear to me why this has been approved by the airline management. The seat arrangement is completely impractical and not at all well thought of. There are sections in the first class cabin where the aisles are even tighter then in economy class. I was not able to drag my laptop trolley bag along the aisle which I can easily in economy class of the same plane. The particularly critical spot is between the window seats of row 2 (2A and 2K) and the foot rest of the seat across the aisle next to each of them (2E and 2F). One of the cabin crew stumbled twice when passing this narrowest point. During service the cabin crew could not manage to drag the service trolley from row 3 towards row 1 to serve me at my seat in row 2. They had to make a complete go around with the trolley passing the opposite aisle and approaching me from the front. This appeared so ridiculous. The most annoying aspect however is that when seating on 2K you have the foot of your neighbor sleeping at 2F right on eye level a mere 40 centimeters beside you. Who engineered this kind of cabin layout I asked myself.

There is another critical spot around row 3 on both side aisles. There is something like a continuous step or a swell in the cabin floor and the carpet is wavy proving to be another potential stumbling point. The purple color casing of the seats looked nice and stylish but the brown wooden paneling around the seat area did not blend in well and appeared cheap and of low quality. This was especially the case for the dining tables. They were covered with plastic laminate printed with wood grain. I banged my head twice against the overhead lockers. The open lockers in combination with the very narrow aisle made boarding and disembarking a very unpleasant experience. The first class seat was not comfortable to seat in for a 190 meters tall person like me. The seat control functions/buttons were very confusing. They are too large in numbers and some buttons were redundant. Besides that, the seat belt stabilizer (a hard, 20 centimeters long piece) to my right was disturbing while trying to sleep. The toilets in F/C had not been refurbished in line with the cabin seats and appeared old. The soap spenders did not work properly. The water of the washbasin was splashing out with high power when I operated the water tap. I spoiled my shirt with water twice.

To summarize, the new first class on THAIs 747 is a half-hearted refurbishment that is not well designed. It definitely has neither a cozy nor a high class atmosphere and appears like having been made under heavy budget constraints. It is therefore neither fish nor fowl and has to be rated as industry substandard.


I enjoy reading critiques like this. Thank you, fffarang.

On the “just-kidding” side, I would think it would be difficult for a person 190 meters tall to be comfortable on any airplane.


I am not sure why you expect to be waited on hand and foot. You bought 1st class for a bigger seat not to be treated like a king. I also think that you are laughable at best for the crumb comment if you make a mess clean it up yourself. If you want 5 star cuisine you might want to stop off and get something before you arrive at the airport. If you are flying to eat and drink you should have stayed home. All in all the cabin crew is not there for your comfort they are there for your safety. Did they operate this flight in a safe manner? That is what you should be worried about not the atmosphere in the cabin.


Never flown biz or first internationally, huh?


Building upon what chiphermes said, in international First Class and Business Class, you should expect to be waited upon “hand and foot.” You are not only paying for a bigger seat but also much better service. The service includes “5 star cuisine”.

Have you checked out the price of a First Class ticket compared to a economy/coach ticket on international flights? It’s not just a few dollars more but often as much as 5 to 7 times as much. For that money, you can bet your sweet bottom I expect to be waited on hand and foot and served the best food possible!

Yes, the cabin crew is there for your safety. It is also there, in First and Business classes, to give you service worthy of a 5 star hotel or restaurant.

I see by another posting that you are a captain for Northwest. Don’t you think if NWA offered better service in First and Business that your airline would be known as NorthBEST rather than NorthWORST? And, who knows, maybe they would actually make money!

When you quote a long posting, PLEASE do everyone a favor and don’t quote the whole thing. Edit the quote then add your comments.


Checking a sample fare from NY to Bangkok, coach is $5,300 RT and 1st is just $1,200 more. Personally, I’d expect 5-star treatment in COACH for that matter :open_mouth:


Uh yeah I have and I have also flown the 747 400 from the real first class.


Hey I give my welcome to everyone one the plane and keep all of the crew and passengers updated to the best of my abilities. Making money oh yeah thats what we are doing here thats right. In my job they have these things called Furloughs and paycuts. I have suffered along with my co-workers through both of these. You try working for half of your usual wage and show up at work happy. BTW we are making money we posted a 37million dollar profit for the month of October.


This deserves the “Batman smackdown” references…

Smack, bang, bop, boom, pow


That almost makes up for the $2.5 BILLION lost last year. :wink:


I found this LAX to BKK roundtrip, leaving in 26 days (1 Jan) and returning 2 weeks later on Thai
Economy: $1621
Premium Economy: $1658
Business: $5567
(no First available)

The Business fare is 3.4 times the Economy fare.

Using the original poster’s flight (FRA-BKK):
First: $7849.50
Economy: $4117.50

The First Class fare is 1.9 times the Economy.

Yes, I expect exceptional service in Business Class!


While not begrudging your salary because I think airline pilots earn for those fire minutes of shear terror they face once in a while, it still boils down to the fact that 1/2 of senior airline pilots’ salaries is still a lot more than others make, especially when you consider the average work is scheduled to work about 2,200 hours a year compared to a maximum of on-duty time for a pilot of about 1200 hours (100 hours/month). In many cases, union contracts limit the duty hours to way less than 100 hours a month.


I just checked the same flights for tomorrow and my price is $0.00. All I have to do is just show up, doesn’t matter what airline they are all free.


It still boils down to the fact that 1/2 of senior airline pilots’ salaries is still a lot more than others make, especially when you consider the average work is scheduled to work about 2,200 hours a year compared to a maximum of on-duty time for a pilot of about 1200 hours (100 hours/month). In many cases, union contracts limit the duty hours to way less than 100 hours a month.

I am on the top quater of the master seniority list and in the top 20 in DTW. I work about 12-14 days a month. Your information is wrong. We can fly 8 hrs a day, 30hrs in a week, 100hrs a month and a Max of 1000 hrs in a year. That being said those are flight hours not duty time. We can have a duty time of 16 hours in a day. I consider the TAFB work which can be 120hrs or 5 days away from my family. Last year I was at work for close to 4700hrs. Everyone thinks that 8 hr rule is our entire work day no where close. Next time you get on an airplane and you see the cabin door open that flight crew is not being paid anything except their $2.05 an hour per diem. Once the door closes that is when the pay starts. I hope that this sheds some light on this glorious industry.


Don’t forget my all-time favorite * ZOWIE *

That was low. GOOD, but low. :laughing:

My sample was leaving NY in 3 weeks and returning in 4. I expect AT LEAST a lap dance for that fare!

I bet you’d do it for 1/3 of the pay because of your love of the job! :wink:

Yes, you work for a company that treats their clients like cattle in a pasture of dung. We’re all aware of the pact with the devil which allows you to experience “the treatment” without having to pay for it like the rest of us do!


There is no way, I do not like my job enough to work for pennies.

You see I can fly on any airline for free not just mine so “the treatment” you speak of is usually on Delta in first class for free.


There use to be a columnist for Airways Magazine named Richard Drury. One of the things he mentioned often was that too many airline pilots today view flying just as a job. Their main interests are their seniority, their union (i.e. us-versus-management) membership, their pay.

He bemoans the fact so many pilots just check the aircraft out, take off, and then just put it on automatic until it’s time to land. They have no interest in hand-flying the aircraft.

Richard was an airline pilot for many, many years until he was forced to retire at 60.


Then why fly? A pilot, unless he/she has been there a while, isn’t going to make very much moola. If you don’t LOVE flying, then get a job that at least makes something.


That was his point exactly!
He was talking about not just new pilots but pilots who had been flying for years.


I will tell you that I do love flying,and hand fly as much as practical. The caveat is that when flying is your passion it is bright and shiney,and as you slowly evolve it into a career and work for many years it becomes tarnished by the hand of management and the union. You miss important things in your family’s life kids first steps, games, plays ect. It is especially hard when you have to work on the Holidays. Even with all that said I could not see myself doing anything else.