Thai Airways A380 Royal First Class Review

Thai Airways A380-800 | Royal First Class
Bangkok to Paris | TG930 | Oct 2013

This post continues from my previous flight, where I travelled business class (with wide eyed wonder) from Melbourne to Bangkok. In that post, you can read about how I managed to pull this off and how excited I was when I entered the business class cabin for the first time in my life!

But now we explore the delights that first class travel can bring…

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Having just landed from my MEL-BKK flight,  I exited the plane in Bangkok, crossed the air bridge…

…and guess what was waiting for me?

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A personal escort (with a buggy) just for me!!

I was like… “are you freaking serious???

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But I soon understood why they’ve got a buggy service for first class passengers. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport is big and convoluted, it took awhile before I reached my destination…

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… my destination being Thai’s First Class lounge on Concourse D!

To my great joy, I found that my parents were already there waiting for me. I flew them up in SQ’s business class from Singapore to Bangkok and they’d landed half an hour before. All the weeks of groundwork earlier this year had paid off handsomely, everything was going according to plan without a hitch! And now we got to experience all of this amazingness together!

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There’s the usual minibar area with finger foods and small eats in the lounge…

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But you also get to order food from an pretty extensive menu (displayed on iPads). Disregarding the fact that we’d probably get a 5-course meal on our upcoming flight, dad went ahead and ordered stuff. But just as well… being Thailand, these dishes from the kitchen were absolutely delicious! And psssst… it’s actually better than anything we got on the plane..!

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The other amenities in the First Class lounge included private slumber rooms and hotel quality shower rooms with (constantly replenished) plush towels and L’Occitane toiletries kits. After my 9-hour flight from Melbourne, I eagerly pounced on the chance to have a hot shower. In cattle class, you never get a chance to have such a comfy shower during transit.

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Thai First Class passengers also get to use the spa…

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You get up to an hour’s worth of massage… with a choice of 1 hour full body oil massage, or a combination of 30min head & shoulder plus 30min foot massage. So our (deliberately planned) 3.5 hour long transit felt pretty short with all these exciting things happening.

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When we got back to the First Class lounge from the spa, they even got us a private room to relax in.

Being first time travellers, we started beading cold sweat as our departure time drew closer and no announcements were made. Apparently, when travelling first, you let the staff do all the stresswork for you while you ‘lounge’ in the lounge…! Still, mum looked so worried that I went out to the front desk a few times to ask if they’d forgotten us. But with a smile, they reassured me that they’d get us when it’s time.

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It was practically about 15 mins AFTER our scheduled departure time before they called us out, and they whisked us into private buggies once more. I felt so obnoxiously ‘important’… driving past other passengers who’re waiting so uncomfortably and dejectedly on the airport terminal’s hard chairs… ha ha!

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The drive was long and I swear it took us about 20 minutes to reach the gate! By then, all the economy passengers had boarded the aircraft already, so we quite simply breezed down the air bridge…

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… and we finally stepped into the cabin.

There we were… in the top deck of Thai Airway’s A380… in the first class cabin with only 12 seats, of which only 7 were occupied for that flight.

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In fact, I’d reserved the first row for us months in advance and my seat was 1A… that’s the very first seat on the very first row of the plane! Haha, I’m geeky like that.

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A glass of 2003 vintage Dom Perignon to settle us in…

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… then there’s the wide-screen TV’s and silk-bound menus… you could tell we’re in for a great time!

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Dad and mom were seated next to me in the aisle section of the plane. While chatting was still possible between them, the wide divider made it feel a little less cosy than the ‘honeymoon’ seating configuration that you can get in Thai’s A380 business class (a flight which we’d experienced on our return journey).

However, I loved my own window seat, you get those little slim cabinets right next to the window to stow all your accessories, it’s one of the perks of having a window seat in the A380’s top deck. Laptop, cables, chargers, cameras, spare pillows, blankets etc all can go in there, within easy arms reach!

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Here’s the little section in my seat for me to plug in my devices. Being such a gadget freak, I value these conveniences greatly. Sadly, the power point did not have sufficient juice to power my laptop. Meanwhile, the photo on the right shows where you can hang your coat.

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But I should also mention the incredibly spacious and clean first class toilet, probably because only the 7 of us were using it. It even had a couch and vanity area!

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The bells and whistles did not end there. Each of us got a hard-case amenity kit (by Rimowa) packed with L’Occitane products, I hear that these highly sought after amenity kits go for around A$120 on eBay.

And.. get this… we were each given our own pyjamas to change into! Of course, I made sure we ‘tried out the merchandise’… ;D. Mum commented that the slippers and socks were comfy and of good quality. And you get to take these kits and PJ’s home with you.

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And just as well I changed into PJs… it meant that I could literally have dinner in bed! Dinner started grandly with a white cloth being placed over the table, then a bread basket and butter. We started off with White Sturgeon Caviar with Garnitures. The caviar tasted very good when mixed together with the eggs, onion and sour cream and I wished I’d asked for more of those blinis.

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Lamb Navarin, Potatoes & Celeriac | Rigatoni Egg with Seafood 

The second entrée consisted of Tiger Prawn with pressed tomatoes and pesto. Then each of us chose a different main each, but sadly, everything tasted pretty ordinary (and I’m being polite). Only dad’s simple cream soup tasted a bit nicer, albeit served lukewarm.

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Still, I enjoyed how I got to have a TV dinner in ‘bed’ (I cranked my seat into full flat bed position and ate my meal cross-legged). Something I’d never even do at home, ever!

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Dessert consisted of a selection of whatever cheeses you desire with a platter of whatever fruits you want, plus a Pear William Cake if you can fit it in. Not that any of us had space for all of that in the middle of the night, but I welcomed the fresh fruit!

In retrospect, if I’d ever get to travel premium class again, I might try the meal pre-order service, where you get to order special dishes from a much nicer online menu days to weeks before your flight. Alternatively, I’ll just have my meals at the lounge and go straight to bed on the plane, since airplane food just can’t compare with a full Thai kitchen on the ground.

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After our tables were cleared, we were told there’s a bed turn-down service. So whilst I was in the bathroom cleaning my teeth and washing my face, the cabin crew made my ‘bed’ by lining a soft futon over the seat and providing two pillows and a duck down quilt.

I think this is the reason why people travel premium class: the ability to have a full flat bed… and thus have a good night’s rest. The seats are designed such that you don’t feel any of the folds and creases and ‘lumps’ that airplane seats normally have once it’s laid flat. With the thin futon laid on top, it did feel very much like a good, firm and comfy bed.

NB: see how far away the wings appear from my window? That’s the view from the first row… =D

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Needless to say, this was the best night’s sleep that I’ve had on any flight ever. You don’t get any of the discomforts of travel such as cramped spaces and crying babies. While I did have the foresight to bring eyeshades because the cabin is never completely dark, I’d bring foam ear plugs next time because you can still heard sounds of prepping from the kitchen as breakfast time drew near.

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The lights came back on a number of hours later, the cabin crew greeted us ‘good morning’ by name, and breakfast service began.

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Breakfast once again consisted of a lot of food. A basket of breads, butter and jam, a fruit platter, cereals and yoghurt to start with… and then a hot meal. The frittata with bell pepper and Gruyère cheese was actually quite good, but the French toast (stuffed with cream cheese and blueberries) tasted decidedly peculiar.

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As the plane started its descent, the friendly cabin crew visited each seat with big smiles and a parting gift of orchid flowers to bid adieu. They chatted for a bit and ask how we enjoyed our flight, of course I said it was great!

But to be honest, all that fanciness aside, flying is still flying no matter the class of travel. And in this I mean I still had a headache from cabin pressure, dry lips, and that listless feeling of cabin claustrophobia. So would I fork out significantly more money to fly premium class in the future? My answer is probably no. I’d rather channel it into staying at nicer hotels. Luxury travel like this is probably only for the rich who can afford it.

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And just like that, the 12 hour flight was over… so fast! This was our parting view of the cabin before we disembarked.

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Helloooo Paris! Here’s the plane we flew in… the aircraft that my parents and I experienced together that will forever be etched into our memories. We have collectively ticked one big item off our bucket lists, and that was to travel first class!

Here are my other flight reports for this trip:

Thai Airways Business Class Boeing 777 MEL-BKK (Shell seats with 167º recline)
Thai Airways Business Class A380 CDG-BKK (Full Flat Bed)
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330 BKK-SIN-MEL (Angled Flat)