Bangkok-Sydney on Thai in business class: still a very good service

Arrived from Stockholm I have two hours of connection before boarding for Sydney. It is a bit strange to think that after 12 hours of flight you are just halfway and that you have to leave for a long flight. But I think I like it…

And so here is the (long) routing of these vacations.

You will find a list of all the articles related to this trip at the bottom of the page.

Connection and ground course

As soon as I disembarked from my Stockholm-Bangkok flight, I went through the mandatory security checks before re-embarking. Everything went smoothly in spite of a rather fussy staff, especially on the capacity of the batteries.

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The advantage of Suvarnabhumi is that it has a single terminal which makes connections simple and even allows you to choose which of the airport’s multiple lounges you prefer to use, depending on your eligibility of course.

For my part I will try the Thai Royal Silk lounge which will turn out to be very mediocre but as I had little time and its main interest was to be located near my boarding gate it will not spoil too much my travel experience.

I will be heading to the gate a few minutes after the theoretical start time.

Boarding

What a surprise when you arrive at the gate: there is a security pre-clearance before you can access the boarding room. And since I took my time I’m pretty far down the line.

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After verification it is obviously a control concerning the liquids in the cabin carried out at the instigation of the Australian authorities. As the line moves forward I see passengers having their hand luggage thoroughly inspected, even if it means emptying it. My valid is checked-in and I have only my computer bag with me but I can’t say that I’m happy about it.

While waiting through the window I see the 777 that will take us to Sydney.

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It’s my turn soon.

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“Hello sir do you have any liquids on you?”. I think for a second … in fact yes just a vial of electronic cigarette liquid since everything else is in my suitcase. I feel like being a bit of a player all of a sudden and I say… “no, but lots of electronics”. Saying this I open my bag. The agent vaguely glances in, gives me a big smile and tells me I can move on.

I take a look around with all the suitcases open...I’m not going to say that the controls are done according to the customer face but a bit anyway. Let’s just say that if you’re a well-dressed white male over 40, traveling with just your computer and a business class ticket, people are more likely to take your word for it.

Anyway, I go to the boarding room below.

It begins to be crowded even if “upstairs” I see that the line of the control is not yet resorbed.

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Finally, after the passengers with reduced mobility have boarded, the priority passengers are called and I am the first to enter the cabin.

The business class cabin of the Thai 777

And here is the cabin of our 777.

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Let’s say it’s an “old” version of the already rather average cabin I had on the A350 that brought me from Stockholm. And exactly the same one I had had on a similar aircraft between Bangkok and Singapore 7 years earlier, which is an eternity when you talk about the age of a cabin model.

A dated cabin but strangely less worn than the one of the more recent A350 I had on my previous flight.

As I said in my previous article, the configuration in staggered mode means that on the window side one row out of two has a seat close to the window with a shelf on the aisle side and the other has the shelf on the window side and therefore the seat very close to the aisle. Given that unlike the seats found on the 787 of Turkish Airlines or Singapore Airlines these are much less enveloping, passengers whose seat is close to the aisle on the rows concerned has almost no privacy.

This can be verified with my seat.

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I would be almost the same if I were in the aisle.

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The screen is small, the deployment mechanism of the shelf “cheap”, the width of the fuselage is not even fully used and, to finish, once in bed position the seat is not a millimeter too much for my 1.88m.

There is almost no other storage than the luggage compartments: not very convenient.

An outdated seat that I’m not a fan of at all but it’s still better than traveling in the rear, I admit.

The seat behind, like the one I had departing from Stockholm, offers a little more privacy anyway.

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The IFE remote control is also showing its age and the seat adjustments could be simpler like those on the A350 of my previous flight.

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As for the comfort kit, I think it will be practical to use on a daily basis. Its content on the other hand is very basic, perhaps one of the poorest qualitatively and quantitatively that I saw in business class.

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Now it’s time to talk about the flight itself.

The flight and the service

As soon as I entered the cabin and even before I put my things down, I was greeted and offered a welcome drink. It’s 8am but my biological clock is still on European time so a glass of champagne will be welcome.

It will be Piper-Heidsieck, served in very generous quantities. It will be accompanied by a first oshibori.

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The flight attendant introduced herself, told me the duration of the flight to Sydney and took my order for the two services of the flight. Still no paper menu.

For the first service I have a choice between French toast and chicken, I’ll take the chicken. For the second one it will be shrimps or beef filet and I will choose the shrimps.

Thai’s staff is always so courteous and friendly.

Another refill of champagne and we are ready to take off with 13 minutes of delay which on a flight of this duration is anecdotal.

After a long taxi we finally take off and the service of the breakfast begins very quickly. I can already smell the appetizing smell of the cabin while the aircraft is climbing.

1st service : breakfast

You know from reading me that I’m not a fan of sweet things and that I also find that breakfasts are often an opportunity for airlines to save a lot of money by serving a less refined or even a little sloppy service.

Here I am very happy to have been able to choose chicken for breakfast, hoping for a more or less normal service despite the early hour.

Beverage service begins and like my previous flight there will be only one cart going down one aisle then up the other. It takes a little time.

For me it will be tea and sparkling water.

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The tray arrives very quickly, served individually by another flight attendant at each seat, accompanied by a hot oshibori.

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As it is a breakfast, it is a single service but I find it quite consistent.

The rice is impeccably cooked, as is the chicken, which is spiced just right.

On the other hand, I’m not a fan of the fruits, a bit bland.

All this will be accompanied by a warm bread.

I’ll eat pretty quickly because I’m falling asleep and want to sleep.

The cruise

There is a little less than 9 hours of flight left and we will arrive in Sydney in the early evening. The cabin lights are therefore quickly turned off and switched to the “night” configuration.

As far as I’m concerned, I almost didn’t sleep between Stockholm and Bangkok because of the time of the flight and my biological clock tells me that it’s the middle of the night and that it’s really time to sleep.

So I put my seat in the bed position.

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As I told you, the bed is just my size to the millimeter. When I lie down my head rubs on one side and my feet hit the wall on the other. If I curl up, it’s my knees that are knocking.

So after having tried to sleep in bed position I will spend most of the cruise dozing in “lounging” position. Not ideal but better than nothing.

Not much to say about this phase of the flight where I will mainly sleep.

2nd service: dinner

The cabin is progressively lit again 2h30 before our arrival scheduled at 20h30.

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I am offered an aperitif. I will have a glass of red wine (an excellent Bordeaux whose name I could not note because I did not have a paper menu). It will be accompanied by nuts that are brought to me directly from the galley but unfortunately they are not hot.

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The appetizers come quickly after.

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It is pleasant and fresh without being exceptional.

The appetizer is coming and I will ask for garlic bread to accompany it.

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The scallops are a bit bland but the salad (cabbage) and the spicy sauce (lemongrass) will spice things up nicely.

Then comes the main course, a shrimp curry.

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Once all mixed it is delicious but less photogenic.

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The shrimps are well cooked, as well as the rice and the red curry sauce really spicy as it should be. Nothing to complain about.

Then comes a cheese plate a little less good than on the flight that brought me from Stockholm to Bangkok but still surprising in quantity for a country that is not really known for its cheese tradition.

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And to close the story, the dessert accompanied by a cognac.

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Fresh and light, this is a perfect ending to dinner.

We will be given perfumed oshiboris and then the immigration documents, thus initiating the beginning of the descent.

The service and the staff

Once again I can only compliment the Thai staff: friendliness, courtesy, efficiency. As on my previous flight, a high level soft product that makes us forget a totally disappointing hard product.

Another remark in relation to the service protocol. If I regret the absence of paper menus (the COVID continues to justify cost cutting measures especially since Thai is not in a brilliant financial situation) the fact that the orders of the two services are taken before the takeoff allows a really fast and fluid service. Once in the air you don’t have to worry about anything and the food arrives at the right time without you having to think about it.

Arrival in Sydney

The descent takes place calmly while the immigration forms are filled in and the instructions on biosafety are broadcasted, something that Australia does not joke with at all.

The staff will greet the passengers one by one and thank us individually for choosing Thai.

The conditions are not optimal to photograph the city during the approach.

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Once on the ground I remember being told many times about the harshness of the Australian border controls (like “the USA in worse”) that I expect a not too pleasant procedure.

After a long walk in the corridors of the airport I am at the immigration.

Before venturing towards the controls, you must go to an automated kiosk.

I insert my passport and the system makes the link with the visa I had applied for online before my departure. A ticket is printed and I head to the actual checkpoint.

My ticket is scanned and I am not directed to the immigration counters but directly to the baggage claim area. Obviously when everything is administratively ok and we don’t have a risky passenger profile they find it unnecessary to make us meet a human being and that’s fine.

I retrieve my luggage from the conveyor belt in a few minutes and head for the second test: biosafety. Anyone who has seen the TV shows dedicated to the subject knows that the Australian authorities are very picky on the subject: try to bring anything organic into Australia and you’ll end up with a big fine and a return ticket on the next available flight!

All suitcases are scanned so there is no way to cheat.

I am the second to arrive at the control, my suitcase is scanned and the agent gives it back to me with a big smile, collects my customs declaration and wishes me an excellent stay.

I was expecting a not very pleasant experience but it took me less than 10 minutes to pass immigration, get my suitcase and pass biosecurity and customs! I have seen much worse.

Less luck for the passenger who arrived before me: his suitcase is open and he obviously tried to bring in some fresh fish. I am quite surprised that some people still try while the reputation of the Austrian customs is well known.

Bottom line

Another very good flight on Thai with a soft product that compensates for an outdated hard product.

A flight where, it is true, I would have spent most of my time sleeping which will make me to arrive in Sydney in the early evening totally jet lagged but with a departure at 2pm it was impossible for me to sleep between Stockholm and Bangkok.

In short a pleasant flight and after 24 hours of flight I am finally in Australia.

Articles related to this trip

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1Intro and genesis of the itineraryVacations in Australia: first steps in the “Land Down Under
2HotelCourtyard Paris Charles de Gaulle Central
3FlightParis-Munich – Lufthansa – Business Class
4FlightMunich-Stockholm – Lufthansa – Business Class
5HotelSheraton Stockholm
6LoungeSAS Gold Lounge – Stockholm Arlanda
7LoungeAmerican Express Lounge by Pontus – Stockholm Arlanda
8FlightStockholm-Bangkok – Thai – Business Class
9LoungeThai Royal Silk Lounge – Bangkok Terminal E
10FlightBangkok-Sydney – Thai – Business Class
11HotelSheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park
12LoungeRex lounge – Sydney Terminal 2
13FlightSydney-Brisbane – Virgin Australia – Economy
14HotelW Brisbane
15RestaurantElska – Brisbane
16RestaurantSouthside – Brisbane
17RestaurantSpice Central Kitchen & Bar – Brisbane
18Travel diaryBrisbane jour #1 : the heart of the city
19Travel diaryBrisbane day #2: museums and lazing by the river
20LoungeVirgin Australia Domestic Lounge – Brisbane
21FlightBrisbane-Sydney – Virgin Australia – Economy
22HotelSydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay
23RestaurantNour – Sydney
24RestaurantMekong – Sydney
25Travel diarySydney day #1: the opera house and its surroundings
26Travel diarySydney day #2: around Hyde Park and the city center
27Travel diarySydney day #3: culture and entertainment around the harbor
28LoungeSalon Air New Zealand – Sydney
29LoungeSalon Silverkris Singapore Airlines – Sydney
30LoungeAmerican Express Lounge – Sydney
31FlightSydney-Bangkok – Thai – Business Class
32LoungeThai Royal Silk Lounge – Bangkok Terminal E
33LoungeOman Air lounge – Bangkok Terminal E
34LoungeEva Air lounge – Bangkok Terminal F
35LoungeMiracle business lounge – Bangkok Terminal F
36LoungeTurkish Airlines lounge – Bangkok Terminal D
37LoungeSingapore Airlines silverkris lounge – Terminal D
38FlightBangkok-Stockholm – Thai – Business Class
39LoungeNorrsken Lounge – Stockholm
40FlightStockholm-Zurich – Swiss – Business Class
41FlightZurich-Paris – Swiss – Business Class
42Travel diaryLessons learned from this trip to Australia
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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