Thai Airways 747 upper deck Business Class, HKG-BKK

There’s something really special about ascending those stairs to the top deck of a 747! So many carriers have retired their fleet that it’s a very rare experience these days for me. The last time I’d flown in a 747 had been in 2013 on a trip to Osaka flying Cathay, so who knows – perhaps this will turn out to be my last time!

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Ascending the stairs to the upper deck

The crew on the top deck seemed rushed, but it didn’t hamper the special atmosphere on this top deck. I was given a hot towel and welcome drink, and the scented hot towel made me a little regretful that I wasn’t having a spa day in Bangkok on the way to Australia, as I’d originally planned (Thai ended up changing the flight times on my connecting flight, which meant I’d have an extra day with family and friends, but I forgot to cancel the booking on my BKK hotel and was charged for the no-show – whoops!)

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Welcome drink of champagne

Waiting at the seat was a blanket and noise cancelling headphones.

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Headphone jack and USB ports

Pre-takeoff, there is no AVOD and instead a video played which showcased Thailand’s gorgeous tourist spots. It really is a stunning country and I am really excited to be going back there next month. The traditional Thai female uniforms worn before landing are stunning, and really add an exotic feel. The male flight attendants wear a more standard suit.

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Menus were handed out. On short flights such as this, there is no Thai Samrab concept, though I would see this on my next, longer, flight.

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One thing I noticed that might irk Hong Kong people is that they use simplified Chinese instead of traditional on the menus. I was gad I’d ordered the vegetarian meal, as most of the options were meaty and the Chinese style fish option didn’t appeal.

Orders  for the regular meals were taken on the ground.
As we prepared for takeoff, I realised I’d have a spare seat next to me! ♥

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The view from my seat before takeoff

Like the A380, there is a great amount of storage along the window. My connecting flight, on a 787, wasn’t as great in the storage department.

We pushed back at 2015, and took off at 21.10.

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Warm almonds and drinks were served after takeoff

When the entertainment was switched on, I watched a couple of episodes of a cheesy sitcom that I reserve for flights, which suit being in holiday mode and having spent the day at work. At the start of each programme, Thai Airways encourages passengers to log on to the Passenger Choice Awards and vote for their entertainment. I’m not sure it’s worthy of any awards – it certainly isn’t ICE or Krisworld, with only a couple of episodes for each TV show, but it did the job for a short flight. I hoped the 787 had a more extensive choice, but I would be disappointed.

At 21.35, our Captain made a greeting in both Thai and English, and said we were due for arrival at 22.40. I would have enough time to make my next flight, scheduled an hour later, though probably not enough time to enjoy the lounge or do any gift shopping.

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My meal was unceremoniously planked down by a harried crew member with no eye contact. On this short flight, it was a tray service. Thai’s new servingware is beautiful and elegant, and the cutlery is very distinctive and lends a Thai feel. The Indian vegetarian appetiser was a strange, dry ball of something served on a lettuce leaf. I wasn’t hungry, having eaten in the lounge, so I passed on it.

The main was better, but the quality still wasn’t to the standards of Singapore Airlines’ or Cathay’s Indian vegetarian meals, which are SPECTACULAR in business class. Another strange aspect was that Chinese tea was handed out during the appetiser, which is usually done at the end on Cathay. For dessert, I just had a couple of bites of fruit, then I decided to recline the seat into a bed and have a nap.

I probably would have napped until landing had it not been for the Hong Kongers behind me. A repeat of my recent China Airlines flight, they were the only ones talking and not making use of the bed, and were completely oblivious to the amount of noise they were making. A lot of people here love to complain about mainlanders, but when I’m out of Hong Kong it’s often the Hong Kongers who can be heard making a scene.

One thing that had changed since my last trip to Thailand was that express passes are no longer handed out – apparently you need to show your business/ first class boarding pass at immigration instead. Thai immigration forms were handed to those passengers not transiting through BKK.

The seatbelt signs were on at 23.30, and by this time the female crew had changed to their other uniform – could it be called a ground uniform?

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The cabin before landing

Landing announcements included a recorded one in Mandarin but not Cantonese. Like many other airlines, Thai needs to show sensitivity to the fact that Mandarin is not spoken here in HKG.

Before landing at 23:49, there was a hilariously old fashioned customs video that looked like it was a spoof of something from the 80s – unfortunately I didn’t get a pic of it.

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The darkened cabin just before landing
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Hello, Bangkok!

So, all up, this prelude to my longer flight to Oz was fairly comfortable and memorable for the fact that it was on the 747 upper deck. Service varied between crew members, and there was one flight attendant who appeared stressed and harried the whole time, but it didn’t affect my flight experience. However, if I were travelling to, say, Sydney, I might be rather underwhelmed. There’s no direct aisle access and the seats are less private than more modern business products, and I did find my lower back hurt a bit when I was reclined into the bed position.

Speaking of Australia, Thai’s product to Australia varies greatly – 747 to Sydney, 787 to Brisbane and Perth, the 777-200/300 to Melbourne (hard products vary greatly depending on which 777), and we’re still waiting for the Thai A350 to grace Melbourne. The type of aircraft would definitely be a huge factor in my choice to book on Thai for longer routes.

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