After a few weeks in Southeast Asia, I headed home with Thai Airways and Turkish airlines, via Stockholm and Istanbul. While Thai Airways First Class is phenomenal and seems pretty heavily reviewed, their Business Class product doesn’t appear get as much attention.
Thai Airways might be partly to blame, since they have a few different Royal Silk Class products, and they are notorious for doing equipment swaps. For my trip to Stockholm, I flew with them on the 777-300ER. There was no First Class cabin, but Royal Silk (Business Class) featured staggered lie-flat seats with direct aisle access for everyone.
This trip report/review is part of a series. See also:
- 1. Trip to Southeast Asia – Introduction
- 2. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (King Room)
- 3. Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (Junior Suite)
- 4. EVA Air Royal Laurel (Business Class) “Hello Kitty” Jet Houston-Taipei
- 5. Grand Hyatt Taipei (Haunted?) Grand Suite
- 6. InterContinental Hong Kong Patio Room
- 7. Coral Executive Lounge Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 8. AirAsia “Premium Flex” Chiang Mai to Bangkok-Don Mueang
- 9. Conrad Bangkok (King Room)
- 10. Conrad Bangkok Executive Lounge
- 11. Conrad Bangkok Presidential Suite Bedroom
- 12. Grand Hyatt Bangkok Grand King Room
- 13. Thai Airways 777-300ER Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Stockholm
- 14. Park Hyatt Istanbul Park Deluxe Twin Room
- 15. Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul (“July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge”)
- 16. Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class Istanbul-Washington DC
Thai Airways (TG) Flight 960
Bangkok (BKK) – Stockholm (ARN) | Boeing 777-300ER
0110/0700 (10 hour 50 minutes)
Royal Silk Class
One of my favorite redemptions with United is actually from Asia to the US, since they allow routing through Europe. United charges 80,000 miles for a Business Class award ticket on Star Alliance partners (vs. 70,000 flying just United). With one-way awards, United does not allow any stopovers. However, any stays less than 24 hours count as a connection, so I was able to include a 23-hour layover in Istanbul. All in all, I flew:
- Thai Airways “Royal Silk” Business Class, Bangkok to Stockholm
- Turkish Airlines Business Class, Stockholm to Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business, Istanbul to Washington, DC
This is of course out of the way, versus flying direct from Asia to the US. However, with United’s routing rules, I was able to try out more airlines, and even made a short day-trip out of a layover.
Check-In and Boarding
Thai Airways’ hub in Bangkok has a special check-in area for premium cabin passengers, located all the way to the left when you enter the terminal. There are individual check-in counters with seats, along with couches along the back wall for those itineraries that may require more time.
The area was massive, and the service didn’t feel particularly personal, but it was plenty nice for Business Class. First Class passengers get their own check-in desks in another area.
The end of the security check deposits passengers to the escalator that leads to the Concourse D lounges.
Thai Airways has a few Royal Silk and Royal Orchid lounges spread across different concourses for Business Class passengers. The concourse D lounge is by far the biggest, though there are also lounges in concourses C and E for international departures. There is also a separate Royal Silk Spa, where Business Class passengers can get a short massage (First Class passengers get a one-hour treatment).
Other than the massage, there weren’t anything really special about the lounges. I relaxed for a little bit, and headed to the gate around 45 minutes before departure.
There were two doors leading to the jet bridge, but neither were labeled with boarding groups, which is usually the case in Bangkok. Just based on experience, I knew they typically board Business Class at the door closer to the windows.
Boarding began at around 30 minutes prior to departure, starting with families requiring assistance, followed by Business Class passengers. Two flight attendants greeted passengers at the door, and I proceeded to my seat, 15A.
Thai Airways has a staggered product onboard the 777, where everyone gets direct aisle access. The cabin was spacious, though nothing too special.
The seat had decent hip space, and there was a cubby cut out under the screen, with some storage underneath, perfect for shoes or a small bag.
There was also a small pocket under the armrest, for a phone, wallet, or small loose items. Under the pocket was a universal power outlet, as well as the headphone jack.
Since I had a “window” seat, I also got the benefit of having some extra room between the seat and the inner wall of the fuselage.
Awaiting at my seat was a variety of amenities, including the amenity kit, slippers, and headphones. The headphones are “noise canceling,” though they were not very high quality.
The amenity kit came in a gray pouch with yellow zippers, and featured THANN products. Just like most Business Class amenity kits, it contained all the essentials, including socks, a dental kit, eye shades, ear plugs, and moisturizers.
Also on the seat awaiting guests were a pillow and a duvet, which I found to be just the right thickness. Both the wine and food menus were in the magazine pocket.
The in-flight entertainment was made available before takeoff, and I liked that there were two USB ports under the screen.
Both the IFE and seat controls were located to the right of the seat.
Next to the screen was a generously-sized table that flips out completely, as well as a coat hook. I actually like these tables that fold out as a whole, since they provide a much more uniform surface. I think anyone who has tried to type on a “fold in half” table can understand the annoying wobbliness from which many of such tables suffer.
The bathroom was clean every time I used it, and featured Borghese products. I liked that they had real towels even for Business Class passengers.
Just seconds after I found my seat, a flight attendant stopped by to offer a towel and a pre-departure beverage; I selected still water.
Other than that, there wasn’t much going on until after we’d reached cruising altitude. Dinner service began with a mixed nuts and dried fruit snack.
The table could actually be pushed away if you need to get up for the bathroom. I watched a few episodes of Bones with dinner.
From the menu, there were both Thai and Western options available. The Western menu offered a grilled beef tenderloin with pesto brown sauce and tomato salsa, or a roast salmon with red capsicum sauce and brown sauce. Meanwhile, I selected the prawn with pineapple in red curry from the Thai menu, forgoing the other option—stir-fried minced pork with galangal and herbs.
The main course was served on a tray with a spicy grilled chicken salad, braised duck in pickled lime soup, stir-fried spinach with garlic and chili, as well as steamed jasmine rice. Everything was delicious, and the texture of the prawns was just perfect.
For dessert, the banana in sweet coconut milk sounded good, but I already had my fair share in Bangkok. Instead, I went with the apple tart satin with vanilla bean ice cream.
I finished off dinner with a cup of herbal tea, which was served with chocolate and a towel.
Since all the bedding were already waiting at the seat, I “made the bed” myself shortly after dinner. The bedding was comfortable, but the duvet was a tad bit too short, perhaps since I like having it up to my shoulder instead of at chest level.
I had told the flight attendants to wake me up about 2 hours to landing, but I got up just before then. I got a pretty good night sleep, and the sun was just rising when I woke up.
There were a few snack options available throughout the flight, including a rice vermicelli noodle soup with pork balls, pad Thai, and a quiche lorraine. I made a comment about wanting to try the pad Thai as I was ordering breakfast, but said I didn’t want to waste food.
Instead, I ordered the boiled rice with red snapper (khao tom pla kapong), served with Thai omelet and fresh fruits. For those interested, a cold cut platter, scrambled eggs, and continental breakfast were the other options.
The flight attendant working the breakfast service was super friendly, and we actually started chatting about our families and my travels. As I finished breakfast, she came back with a small plate of pad Thai for me to sample, “I know you wanted to try it. Just a little bit.” I really appreciated her offering, and I wish I remembered her name (my bad…I know.)
As we prepared for landing, she asked if I would like an extra pair of slippers or anything like that, just in case my next flight doesn’t provide it. That was again super thoughtful, but I declined since I knew I’d be spending a day in Istanbul.
Soon enough, it was time to prepare for landing. The view from the window was breathtaking, and I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures.
We arrived in Stockholm on time, and I bid farewell to a wonderful crew.
I routed through Europe in order to experience Business Class on Thai Airways, and I wasn’t disappointed. The crew was friendly and thoughtful, the food was delicious, and the bed was comfortable. After all, I think that’s what Business Class should be about. Nothing screamed “over the top opulence,” but Thai Airways hit the mark between practicality and luxury pretty well with their Business Class product.