Having used most Gulf based airlines when flying to and from South East Asia over the past three years, accepting the inevitable transfer time-wait until the next leg, I thought it was time to experience a change. So, for my recent flight from London to Bangkok, I booked with Thai Airways which now operates the A380 – and of course, flies non-stop.
Travel to Heathrow by road from my home in Mid Essex, is always a bit of a gamble with regards to allowing sufficient time to arrive. The now ubiquitous delays on the M25 have to be allowed for, which I did on this occasion and reached Terminal 2 just before 0800hrs, for my scheduled departure at 11.50hrs.
To my disappointment and surprise when presenting myself at the check-in desk, was being told that the flight would not now depart until around 15.30hrs. ‘Late coming in from Bangkok’, was the reason. That I had not ben informed of this long delay, was irritating, as my personal contact details were available to them.
Putting all this behind me (but not looking forward to waiting around the airport for almost 8 hours) I spent the time as constructively as possible, particularly sending notifications to the Bangkok car airport transfer company, the hotel I’d reserved and the company with whom I had an appointment the following morning.
Once on board, it was immediately apparent that the cabin crew were well trained, polite and helpful. The A380 aircraft is a big beast and the internal configuration design is appealing.
Long haul flights like this one exceeding 11 hours, are never easy to bear but I have to say that Thai Airways have provided all possible features and amenities to soften this burden. My seat was as good as it gets, the entertainment system worked perfectly with plenty of choice – and all meals served to a good standard.
Noticeably, a press of the seat call button produced an immediate appearance of a member of the cabin crew, an occurrence not always experienced when flying with some airlines.
The plane actually made up a little time, which meant arrival at Bangkok was three hours behind schedule.
So, as to the flight itself, I have no complaints, rather to compliment the professionalism of the crew for making it as comfortable as possible.
With my Asian itinerary completed, it was time to return to the UK. On arrival at the Thai Airline desk, I was extremely pleased to be offered a space available cabin upgrade, which, of course, I willingly accepted.
Against the prevailing winds, the return journey is always some hour + longer than the outward leg, so lounging on a wide seat, sipping champagne and nibbling caviar-covered biscuits, is not to be sneezed at.
Such an up-grade was especially welcome, as I had suffered an injury to my left ankle when falling during a short jungle trek in Laos and at 80 plus, the results are inevitably more traumatic….believe me!
Once again, I found the crew’s performance to be as first class as the cabin and after eating, I extended my seat, snuggled under a blanket and slept for almost six hours.
In summary then, both flights were seamless and comfortable. They get a ten out of ten from me.
Had the Heathrow departure debacle not occurred, then entire experience would have gained the same marks.