Trip Report: HKG to BKK, Thai Airways 601

Ticketing

I had a Bangkok to Hong Kong ticket booked for a Sunday evening in October and so wanted to travel from Hong Kong to Bangkok on the Friday. The Hong Kong to Bangkok route is known for having a multitude of flights operated by a wide variety of airlines. Still, finding one I wanted was harder than I expected.

One way tickets are often exorbitantly priced relative to return tickets. As I was looking at the Thai website, a small block in the corner of the screen caught my eye. Thai was listing some ‘Super Deals’. Some years ago these used to be offered – relatively cheap tickets on random routes, fairly close to departure. I had not seen them for a long time but they now seem to be back, albeit only in economy class based on what is currently available. In any case now they offered a single from HK to Bangkok for a total of 669 HKD. Cathay’s cheapest one way ticket was over three thousand dollars, so this was an excellent deal. It meant travelling one day earlier than I had planned, but I had some flexibility and so given what a good deal it was I decided to opt for this. Super Deals from HKG are here and Super Deals from all locations (including any from Bangkok to Hong Kong, several of which are currently shown at 4,195 baht) are here. The website was unclear about whether it would accrue miles. The ticket booked into Y class.

Given that the flight had dozens and dozens of empty seats in economy class, I wouldn’t be surprised if such tickets continue to pop up.

Checkin and Departure

I checked in at the Thai checkin desk in Terminal Two, and walked over to proceed through customs and security in terminal one as I don’t enjoy the additional shuttle train ride necessitated by starting in Terminal Two. Boarding was orderly and we pushed back on time.

As I don’t currently have the right status and was travelling on an economy ticket, I wasn’t entitled to use the Royal Orchid lounge I normally use when flying Thai. In any case a review is here.

Equipment

The flight was operated by an A380-800. It was clean and decorated in Thai’s usual bright colours, which I find quite cheery.

At the seat there was a USB port but no plug socket. The table wasn’t well designed – if I put a drink on it without extending the table outwards, the seat in front reclining would knock the drink.

Food and drink

The food service started swiftly and I was offered either chicken rice or pork noodles. I opted for the latter and the dish was quite Thai in style – fried noodles and sliced luncheon meat. It was tasty but not exceptional. It was a generous portion, although given the plating this actually made it a bit tricky to eat.

thai air food

There was no wine list and all I could see was that the red at least was a French ‘vin de France’. It tasted alright. Thai serves its wine in very small glass beakers.

Entertainment

thai ife

Cabin crew distributed headphones after takeoff, with sponge covers which one needs to attach oneself. The Thai inflight entertainment system is designed a bit like an iPod which may be perceived to look trendy but makes it slower to select things.

Still, there was a good music selection and what I perceived to be an excellent film selection. They had no less than four James Bond films (all from the modern era) which made one think what fun a long haul flight could be, with a James Bond marathon.

I was annoyed that muzak started to be piped over the public address speakers fifteen minutes or so before landing, while I was still watching a film using the headphones.

Service

The crew greeted politely on boarding and were friendly throughout. As the flight was half full or so there was a good ratio of crew to passengers.

Shortly after takeoff the crew distributed disposable warm towels.

After clearing the meal service, I did not see the crew again in my area. I wanted another drink and waited for someone to walk by, but nobody did, for a long time. In the end, when it was announced that we were twenty five minutes from landing, I went to the nearby galley where seven or eight crew members were gathered behind closed curtains. I was informed that the drinks trolley had now been locked so there would be no more (alcoholic) drinks available. I was disappointed that the crew had basically vanished after clearing the meal trays and felt that they weren’t offering the right level of service on this basis.

Thai also insists on using Mandarin not Cantonese prerecorded announcements on this route despite Cantonese being the local language in Hong Kong.

Arrival

We arrived at gate E8 at 3.15 and I proceeded to immigration where there was a half hour queue to be served. As always at Suvarnabhumi, immigration queues vary a lot depending on time of day and where possible this may something to consider in choosing an economy class flight, whatever the airline.

Conclusion

This was an excellent value ticket and the flight’s punctuality and typical Thai cabin crew friendliness and professionalism was evident. Still, more responsiveness to passenger needs or presence in the cabin would have been good.

Guest Blogger: Christopher R. 

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