United Airlines 747 First Class Chicago (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt (FRA)
Thai Airways A380 First Class Frankfurt (FRA) to Bangkok (BKK)
Thai Airways 737 Business Class Bangkok to Koh Samui (USM)
Conrad Koh Samui
Mae Koh National Park Boat trip and Chaweng Beach
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT)
Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
James Bond Island and Little Island Boat trip
Phi Phi Island Boat trip
Patong Beach and Bangla Road
Air Asia Economy Class Phuket (HKT) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
ELE (Elephant Life Experience) Elephant Camp
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK)
St. Regis Bangkok
Dinner at Vertigo at Banyan Tree Rooftop
Chatuchak Weekend Market and Wat Pho Temple
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)
American Airlines First Class Hong Kong (HKG) to Dallas (DFW)
Thai Airways A380 First Class Frankfurt (FRA) to Bangkok (BKK)
I must admit I was pretty excited for this flight! It would be our first flight on Airbus’s mega-plane, their A380, which is the largest passenger aircraft in the world! Thai Airways is somewhat notorious for equipment swaps meaning they will sometimes substitute another type of aircraft then what was originally scheduled. We got lucky and the scheduled aircraft stayed an A380.
We boarded through the upper jet bridge as the the first class cabin is located on the upper deck of the plane and in the front of that cabin. Upon reaching the door we were greeted by the two nice flight attendants and were escorted up to our seats. I thought the cabin was spacious and airy and overall aesthetically pleasing. I do think it would be an overall nicer experience in first class had they only installed eight seats instead of 12. The load in first class would be 11/12 seats occupied for this flight.
Upon reaching our seats and getting our bags put away we were offered the obligatory hot towel and on Thai Airways a glass of Dom Perignon or our choice of other beverages such as juice.
I always struggle when booking our seat assignments. Sometimes I want to book the two middle seats so we are in closer proximity for conversation or sharing items but we do enjoy the windows and often time we don’t have long drawn out conversation while flying so I chose 2A for my wife and 3A for myself.
I do, in fact, enjoy Thai Airways color combination for the cabin’s interior and I found the seat to be very nice! Plenty wide, tons of forward leg room and a good size TV monitor. Plenty of storage compartments throughout the seat along with ample plugs for charging electronic devices.
This was the first time I have had Dom Perignon and I do enjoy champagne quite a bit so I was excited to give it a try. I found it good but a tad “buttery” for me. I don’t know if that is the proper terminology but that was my initial impression. I was shown the bottle before pouring and a quick glimpse revealed this was a 2004 vintage if I recall correctly. I did enjoy four or five glasses throughout the flight including dinner.
I visited the bathroom before takeoff to change into my complimentary Thai Airways Royal First Class pajama’s. I wanted to get comfortable right away. It seems I set the trend as most of the other cabin followed suit to get changed. The bathroom is HUGE! This is one of the largest airplane bathrooms you will ever see. It had a separate changing/sitting area which was perfect for changing into my PJ’s. The area had a vanity which I am sure is appreciated by ladies that like to sit down to freshen up their makeup.
There were plenty of wash cloths and towelettes. The lavatory was accented by lovely orchids which are a nice touch and add’s Thai’s signature purple color to the room. There were plenty of complimentary toothbrushes and other amenities to help freshen up during a long flight (10 hours). The bathroom was kept very clean and every time I visited it looked as if it was never used.
The negative is that all 11 first class passengers share this one first class bathroom! Many other airlines have two lavatories in the first class but the bathrooms are then much smaller. So it is a trade off. The bathroom was available most all the flight but did get busy at the end of the flight as everyone was trying to change and freshen up before landing. During that time there was a small line of one or two people waiting. There is another bathroom behind the first class cabin that is also used by business class passengers however I chose to stick to the larger one up front.
Before takeoff I also gazed at the menu to see what I could look forward to. Everything sounded great and the wife and I agreed we were going with the stir fry pork. Although many times we like to try different dishes this time we both weren’t budging although the duck sounded appetizing to me as a backup option.
We were also given a Porsche Design branded amenity kit which was nice looking and contained all the usual do-dads. I kept this kit but didn’t end up using any of the items since I had plenty left from my United first class amenity kit. We also were given a deck of Thai Airways A380 playing cards (the cards were handed out at the end of the flight).
A quick video snippet of my seat
Views of Frankfurt upon takeoff
The meal service commenced shortly after reaching 10,000 feet. Our tables were set and glasses filled up. Course by course I chowed down on some very nice cuisine! I really enjoyed the meal service and thought it was good. Perhaps slightly better than our Cathay Pacific flight (that had the dry lobster main). The caviar presentation was great as it was plated right in front of you and you watched them add the portions to the plate and all the accompaniments you desired.
After finishing dessert we were both stuffed in fact my wife had to pass on dessert but I pushed forward to complete all courses. Overall a very nice meal service. We were both very satisfied.
After dinner I watched some of the content on the IFE and started getting tired thus I went to request turn down service. I did not ring for the flight attendant but instead decided to walk back into the galley and ask nicely. I was quiet when I walked in and four of the flight attendants were chatting and huddled around a cell phone looking at something or other. Then one of the flight attendants noticed me and hopped to attention. I smiled and asked if she could provide turndown assistance on my seat. She promptly went to my seat to assist however she was not a first class flight attendant and one of the first class attendants said she would do it and the other then went back into the galley. Once the bed was setup I found it to be pretty damn comfy. I continued to watch a few more hours on the IFE and then drifted off to a semi-slumber sleep for about 2-3 hours.
After resting for a while I got up and before you know it, it was time for breakfast. I was surprised I was ready to eat again. I am glad I did not pass on breakfast though! The potatoes and mushrooms were SUPERB!
After 18 hours in an airplane in the last 24 hours I was happy to land safely in Bangkok! One of the signatures of Thai Airways first class is their ground service! First class passengers are met upon exiting the jet bridge. A Thai Airways rep was waiting for us with a sign with our names on it. I greeted the rep and she confirmed our names and escorted us to a buggy along with two other nice passengers from Australia finishing up a two month trip to Europe!
We were whisked through the terminal straight to immigrations. We were then introduced to our immigrations guide. He would be guiding us through and then escorting us to the lounge. When we got to the immigrations queue they asked for the customs card but we were never given one while onboard so we were not aware we needed to fill one out. We then had to step to the side and fill the form out and we were then escorted back to the front of the line and allowed to pass. We got our bags scanned again at security then we followed our escort to the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge!
I am not going to add a separate blog entry for this lounge as it was quite crowded when we arrived and I frankly hate taking pictures of a crowded lounge as I don’t like pointing a camera at a bunch of people in a lounge. There were some decent food options and plenty of beverage offerings. We relaxed there for about 40 minutes before we had to catch our next flight to Koh Samui!!!
I would love to fly Thai Airways again, it combined a great hard product with a lovely staff that took good care of my wife and I. My wife said she liked it and “its just like Cathay Pacific” which is saying a lot. I think Cathay is still slightly better as the cabin only consists of six seats compared to double that with Thai. I admit I may never have the chance to fly them again after the United devaluation of their miles program last year the cost for this flight has went up tremendously (130k United miles one-way now)!
(The information below is exactly the same as part two of my trip report as this was simply the second segment of our flight to Koh Samui.)
We used a grand total of 140,000 United miles for TWO tickets and $77.20 total in fees. We booked these out of my wife’s account. The miles were accumulated through various ways/channels. About half were Ultimate Reward points transferred to my wife’s United Mileage Plus account. Ultimate Rewards points can be obtained with various Chase cards such as:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (40,000 point signup bonus)
- Chase INK plus and Chase INK bold (50,000 point signup bonus)
- Chase Freedom (10,000 point signup bonus)
She also received the:
- Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer card (50,000 bonus miles when she applied)
Finally she received over 3,000 bonus miles through United’s dining program.
In lieu of using points United’s website gave me purchase options at the time to purchase economy seats for $7,987.10 or first class for $22,225.10!!!! Yikes! This is for the entire itinerary all the way to Koh Samui. Safe to say we went with the points!!!
Let me know if you have any questions on our trip thus far! Thanks for reading.