Flying within Southeast Asia can be extremely cheap, especially when you are flying within the same country. As such, it rarely makes sense to book an award within this region, unless BA Avios options are available.
Not only did I purchase a revenue ticket with THAI Airways for my Bangkok (BKK) to Phuket (HKT) flight, but I did so in business class, making this one of the very few times in my life I have actually purchased a revenue business class ticket. You might be asking yourself why I did so for such a short flight (70 minutes) and the answer is simple: I could have paid $143 for an economy class ticket or $171 for a business class ticket. In addition to a much more comfortable seat, for an extra $28 I received the following:
- Access to business class check-in lines
- Access to expedited security lines
- Access to THAI’s (horrible) domestic business class lounge
- Priority boarding
- Expedited delivery of our checked bags (something they usually take seriously outside of North America)
- Light meal service
To me, it was a no-brainer to pay an extra $28 in order to receive all the aforementioned benefits. Furthermore, I am a firm believer that if something goes wrong with your reservation (delays, cancellations, etc.) you will be treated better if you have a business class ticket instead of an economy class ticket. Plus, if there is a delay after boarding, you are ten times more comfortable waiting for departure in business class than in coach.
As for the flight itself, it was as uneventful as you want a 70-minute flight to be. Boarding began on-time. There were separate jetways for business class (which THAI usually calls Royal Silk Class) and economy class passengers. Interestingly enough, the sign directing you to the business class jetway was handwritten:
This was my first THAI flight. Even though I knew what the seat colors would be before boarding, it was still shocking to see THAI’s vibrant purple seats:
The recliner seats themselves were as comfortable as you could expect for such a short flight. There was absolutely nothing fancy or modern about them, but the legroom was exceptional:
Bangkok Airways A319
Bangkok Airways A320 and other THAI wide-body aircraft
The seats also had a footrest:
Business was less than 1/4 full:
Not surprisingly considering we were headed to Phuket, everyone seemed to be on full vacation/party mode.
Not expecting any meal service, I had lunch just before boarding. To my surprise, there was a light meal service which I passed up. I could not tell what they were serving. Unfortunately, they had no beers on board, so I had a coke:
There were no inflight-entertainment options on this flight (nor were they needed), but I believe THAI has now added personal TV monitors to all seats an all their A330 aircraft.
Interaction with the flight attendants was minimal. I never needed their assistance for anything, but they seemed pleasant enough.
We landed in HKT about five minutes ahead of schedule. The hour-plus flight felt much more like a 30-minute flight, which is always a good sign.
Whenever the difference in price between economy class and business class is marginal, always go with the business class option. The pros of doing so far outweigh the cons.