As I began to make my way back to North America from Bangkok, I was fortunate to have back-to-back aspirational flying experiences lined up. For the first leg, I had a flight onboard Thai Airways First Class from Bangkok to Tokyo Narita.
Flying in Thai Airways First Class was a particularly novel experience for me, and one that had long intrigued me ever since I first delved into Miles & Points back in 2017.
Furthermore, Thai Airways’s newest First Class product hasn’t received a lot of coverage in the recent past, since it’s only offered on a select few routes, and award availability is quite difficult to come by.
In This Post
- Ground Experience
- Meal Service
- Lunch Service
Thai Airways First Class – Booking
I booked this flight as part of a larger itinerary using Aeroplan points.
The first leg took me from Bangkok to Tokyo in Thai Airways First Class. After a three-day stopover in Tokyo, I’d continue onward to Chicago in ANA “The Suite” First Class, before making my way to Montreal in Air Canada business class.
In sum, I parted ways with 135,000 Aeroplan points and around $100 (CAD) in taxes and fees for the entire journey. While that’s surely a handsome amount of points to spend on a few flights, I was very pleased with the value, as well as getting to tick a few aspirational flying experiences off of my list.
If you were to just book this flight on its own, a First Class ticket would cost 60,000 Aeroplan points.
It’s worth noting that award availability was much better when I made the booking in Spring 2022, since much Asia was still closed off due the pandemic.
However, as of late, award seats for Thai Airways First Class, and ANA First Class for that matter, have become exceedingly difficult to come by. Seats are inconsistently released, and when they are, they’re quickly snatched up.
If you’re looking to score a seat in Thai Airways First Class, consider the Bangkok–Osaka route instead of the Bangkok–Tokyo route, as it seems to have better availability.
Nevertheless, it’s a challenge to book, so be diligent with your searches, and consider using an ExpertFlyer alert to monitor award space.
Thai Airways First Class – Ground Experience
On the morning of my flight, I was delighted to head to the airport and see what Thai Airways had in store for me.
Check-in was quick and painless. As a Thai Airways First Class passenger, there’s a separate dedicated check-in area after proceeding through a separate airport entrance.
I was welcomed by the staff, shown to a nearby seat, and presented with a cold bottle of water.
The Thai Airways staff confirmed my reservation, and showed me a seating chart. While I’d selected my seat and meal in advance of the flight, I was once again given the option to choose, should I have changed my mind.
I was also pleased to learn that I’d have the entire First Class cabin to myself on the flight to Tokyo. It’s a truly delightful experience to have so much real estate at your disposal on a plane, especially in First Class.
After completing the formalities, I was escorted to Fast Track security by a Thai Airways representative, who’d be looking after me until I boarded the flight.
Security was a breeze, and I was then accompanied to the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Prestige First Class Lounge.
The lounge was nice, and I enjoyed a few items off the menu; however, I reserved most of my appetite for indulging during the flight.
Overall, the lounge experience didn’t quite feel like a true First Class experience, since it was really just a cordoned-off separate section of the business class lounge.
However, I enjoyed the décor, and since I was one of the only passengers in the lounge that morning, the service was very attentive and kind.
It’s worth noting that the Thai Airways First Class ground experience could be elevated and more competitive with other First Class lounges if the Royal Orchid Spa were to ever reopen.
In the past, both business and First Class passengers could enjoy complimentary spa treatments before their flight, which was one of the main draws of the ground experience.
After polishing off a few dishes and drinks, I was met by my Thai Airways representative, who chatted with me as we strolled through the terminal to Gate D7.
I couldn’t help but feel like the boss at this point, as the representative parted a sea of passengers waiting to board the flight as we made our way directly to the gate.
He signalled to the gate staff that a First Class passenger was coming through, and they immediately stopped checking other passengers in to ensure a very seamless process.
After thanking him, I meandered down the jet bridge, and turned left at the First Class and business class entrance. As I boarded the flight, I clicked my heels and grinned in anticipation of what was next.
Thai Airways First Class – Cabin
Once boarding was completed, I was delighted to confirm that I was indeed the only First Class passenger on this flight. At this point, I took time to explore the cabin thoroughly, after having pored over the limited number of photos and videos of Thai Airways’s new First Class product.
There are eight suites configured in a 1-2-1 layout, which take up rows 1 and 2 at the front of the plane.
The First Class cabin features mainly tan and beige hues atop a rich purple carpet.
The rest of the cabin has hints of yellow dotted throughout the pillows and walls.
Overall, I found this cabin to be very pleasing to the eye, and the colour palette reminded me of the tropics.
These suites are open and very spacious, but without a door, lack privacy as compared to some other modern First Class products.
If you’re travelling as a couple, your best bet is the middle seats, as the middle divider can slide down, making it easier to chat, see each other, and enjoy the experience together.
For solo travellers, you can’t really go wrong with any of the “A” or “K” seats near the windows.
In my case, I selected seat 1A for this flight, at the front left corner of the cabin.
Thai Airways First Class – Seat
I took a few moments to inspect the suite before I sat down. My initial impressions were very positive, and the First Class suite also appeared to be pretty much brand new, with no signs of wear whatsoever.
Upon taking my seat, I was greeted by a 24-inch in-flight entertainment screen directly across from me. To its left is a small flower holder dressed in gold, which didn’t have anything in it.
Underneath the screen is an ottoman, which doubles as a buddy seat for dining with a companion. Below that is a decently sized storage bin, in which you can place smaller carry-on items.
On the left side down by your knees, you’ll find a literature pocket and some extra storage space for any newspapers or magazines.
Close to the seat on the left-hand side, you’ll find the seat control screen, as well as five preset buttons to quickly adjust the seat to your preference.
Just below here is a touchscreen, which you can use to raise or lower the partition, call a flight attendant, or turn on the reading light.
Above the seat controls is a small surface space with a white marble finish.
Directly below the surface space, you’ll find a three-pronged headset jack, and a USB-A port.
Moving forward, you’ll find a long surface space finished with wood. Once it’s flipped open, a large wooden tray table lined in metal pops out.
At the far left side of the suite, right next to the entertainment screen, there’s a small cubby where you can store a few items. I found a bottle of Evian water and noise-cancelling headphones waiting for me when I boarded.
Close to the seat controls is a small leather-covered door, which houses the entertainment controller.
Further back in the suite is another leather covered surface space, which you can flip open. Once you do, it exposes another small storage area large enough for small laptops and tablets.
Along the edge of the surface space is an open compartment, which is perfect for holding noise-cancelling headphones or anything of a similar size.
To the right, there’s a sliding partition which can help with privacy; however, it’s quite limited even when fully deployed.
At the front of the suite, there’s a closet with a coat hanger inside, which is where you can store some garments.
Overall, I found the Thai Airways First Class suite to be aesthetically pleasing and quite spacious, and it wound up exceeding my expectations.
In particular, I appreciated the contrast of the royal purple carpets with the cream and off-white interior, as well as the pops of yellow.
Furthermore, I enjoyed playing around with the touchscreen seat controls, which allow for a high level of seat customization.
While the new Thai Airways First Class seat lacks the high degree of privacy that’s offered in, say, ANA First Class or Emirates First Class, it’s undoubtedly a beautiful product, which hopefully can stand the test of time.
Thai Airways First Class – Amenities
Once I took my seat, the service director introduced himself and warmly welcomed me onboard.
I was then offered a choice of welcome drink, and I opted for a flute of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Champagne, which was quite generously topped up before departure.
Then, I was presented with two decadent chocolates to enjoy alongside the bubbles, as well as a box of Kan Vela craft chocolate, which I gladly accepted. Shortly thereafter, a warm towel was handed to me to round out the pre-departure service.
Thai Airways First Class passengers are given a Porsche Design hard shell amenity kit, which came amply stocked.
Inside, it came jam-packed with contents, including a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, an eye mask, ear plugs, and mouthwash. In addition, there were four Payot skincare items: lip balm, cologne, moisturizer, and mist.
Unfortunately, there were no pajamas or loungewear available, which was disappointing in that I couldn’t add to my airline pajama collection. I suspect it could be because this was a daytime flight and relatively short, but it would have been a very nice touch if they were provided or available upon request.
A pair of slippers and a blanket were placed on the ottoman for boarding.
Along with my amenity kit, there were noise-cancelling headphones by AKG.
Just after takeoff, a member of the cabin crew came by and proactively converted seat 1K on the opposite side into a bed for me, which was a very thoughtful gesture.
Thai Airways First Class – Meal Service
Soon after we reached cruising altitude, I was asked when I wanted to enjoy my first meal, which happened to be breakfast service. I requested to eat at the earliest convenience, since I’d held off on indulging too much in the lounge prior to the flight and was quite hungry.
I’d chosen my meal in advance using the Thai Airways online meal pre-selection, but I was given yet another opportunity to peruse the menu in case I changed my mind.
The menu was presented on a laminated piece of paper, which seemed a bit odd and clashed with the luxurious ambience of the rest of the flight experience.
There were three breakfast options: one Thai, one Western, and one Japanese.
For the second meal service, there were just two choices, along with some Thai sweets.
I was also provided with an iPad listing the beverage menu, but I was asked not to take a picture of the Champagne selection as it was out of date. Thai Airways no longer serves Dom Pérignon on flights, ever since Emirates secured the exclusive right to serve it onboard through 2024.
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To begin the meal service, I ordered a glass of Thai iced tea, which was accompanied by a generous helping of grass jelly. The icy cold beverage was both rich and refreshing.
Inspired by Ricky’s beverage of choice on planes, I ordered a glass of mango juice, which was made all the more refreshing with an accompanying towel.
Breakfast began with a basket of pastries, including a jam-filled Danish and a croissant, both of which were light and fluffy, though a bit short of extraordinary.
Next came a beautifully cut and arranged fruit plate, consisting of dragonfruit, kiwi, cantaloupe, apple, and grapes.
I was then served fried bread accompanied by pandan sauce and condensed milk, which was delicious and very filling. Having noticed that I’d finished the fried bread quite quickly, I was presented with a second helping, which I couldn’t resist.
A glass of muesli yogurt topped with blueberry compote provided a refreshing tang, and was a lovely contrast to the richness of the fried bread.
For the main course, I selected the Thai option, which is known as the Royal Boiled Rice Set. While it doesn’t necessarily have the most pleasant-sounding name, I figured the Thai option would be the best choice on a Thai Airways flight.
The Royal Boiled Rice Set consists of soft-boiled rice together with five side dishes: Thai crispy spicy salad, stir-fried asparagus with crab meat, stir-fried bean curd with salt and chili, stir-fried lobster with chili paste, and stir-fried scallops with garlic and pepper.
Each of the dishes was tasty and packed with flavour; however, I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the rice. It was immersed in a lot of water, and rather resembled plain congee.
Surely, I could have asked the flight attendant about this, but I wound up polishing off the dishes without further ado.
Overall, the breakfast service was elaborate, with attentive flight attendants, and felt quite befitting of a First Class meal service in terms of the presentation and courses.
Everything was beautifully arranged, and little details such as the flower-shaped butter and ornate details on the dinnerware and cutlery elevated the experience.
Noticeably absent from the meal service was caviar, which is typically a staple of First Class dining. However, I wasn’t too fussed about this, since I still had another ANA First Class flight to look forward to.
Thai Airways First Class – Entertainment
After finishing breakfast, I put on a James Bond film on the entertainment screen, and casually got some work done on my laptop.
The in-flight entertainment system had a decent selection of movies and TV shows, but I wouldn’t call it the most extensive selection I’ve come across in the skies.
The screen itself was rather ordinary too, especially in comparison to some of the cutting-edge screens available in other contemporary First Class products.
It’s worth noting that Wi-Fi isn’t available on Thai Airways 777 aircraft. I happened to be flying on a Sunday and didn’t need to be connected; however, other passengers may be disappointed to find that it’s not an option.
Thai Airways First Class – Bed
With a full belly and over half of the flight remaining, I headed into the restroom to freshen up before lying down for a bit.
As the lone passenger in the First Class cabin, I enjoyed exclusive access to the two restrooms at the front of the plane, which once again elevated my experience.
The main restroom wasn’t by any means elaborate or unique, but it was otherwise clean and roomy enough.
There’s also a bench that folds over the toilet to help facilitate changing, which is a very useful feature.
I then made my way over to seat 1K to finish up the film and take a quick nap. The bed was already set up, and the staff had placed another box of chocolates and a flower to welcome me into the suite.
The bed was divinely comfortable, with plush bedding, supportive pillows, and plenty of room to move around. A benefit of this seat type is that there’s no footwell enclosing your legs, so you’re free to toss and turn as you desire.
Moreover, the flight attendants popped by to check in with me whenever my eyes were open to offer me more food and beverages.
I felt very relaxed after catching a few winks, and then enjoyed a glass of Champagne looking out over the clouds before the lunch service began.
Thai Airways First Class – Lunch Service
As we approached Tokyo, the cabin crew asked me if I’d like to have lunch.
At the beginning of the flight, I’d ordered the stir-fried spaghetti with dried chili and bacon for the lunch service.
I would have gone for a Thai or Japanese meal, however, those didn’t appear to be options with the lunch service, as the only other meal on offer was a dill salmon coulibiac.
However, I ended up being delighted with my choice, as the spaghetti was surprisingly delicious. The pasta was close to al dente and was perfectly seasoned, and the bacon added some smoke and salt to the dish, which paired well with the dry heat of the chili peppers.
Lastly, dessert was a three-piece affair consisting of intricately molded Thai sweets. I couldn’t have been happier with the selection, and these colourful morsels tasted as good as they looked.
I washed it all down with one last flute of Champagne as we descended into Tokyo, feeling quite satisfied and pleased with my experience.
Overall, Thai Airways First Class exceeded my expectations. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure if it would hold up compared to other First Class products I’ve flown, but I’m pleased to report that it was a fairly seamless affair.
Most parts of the ground experience were excellent, especially since I had someone ensuring the entire process was smooth and without any delays. I couldn’t help but feel like royalty as the Thai Airways representative parted the crowds as we approached the plane.
The attentive, personalized service continued onboard, especially since I was the lone First Class passenger that day. The flight attendant was around often enough to ensure I had what I wanted, but wasn’t overbearing by any means.
In terms of the hard product, the Thai Airways First Class suites are a bit lacking in the privacy department, which is all the rage these days. However, I found the seats and bed to be exceptionally comfortable, and the overall décor of the First Class cabin to be beautiful.
If presented with another opportunity, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Thai Airways First Class again.
Hopefully by the time I return, the Royal Orchid Spa will be open once again, and perhaps Dom Pérignon Champagne will be available onboard, too.