Thai Airways introduces a new aircraft configuration on their LAX service

They say variety is the spice of life. I’m afraid Thai Airways probably took that a bit too literally, as I’m convinced they have more aircraft configurations than actual aircraft in their fleet.

Back in July I wrote about Thai’s schedule change on their Los Angeles to Bangkok route (via Seoul), whereby they finally put a 747 on the route as of March 31, 2013. This was pretty exciting news since it meant Thai would finally be offering first class service to the US. They have a good first class onboard product though a phenomenal first class ground experience, including a 60-minute massage in their Bangkok spa for first class passenger.

Well, it appears as if they’ve changed their minds. Instead the schedule continues to show a 777-300ER operating the flight as far as the schedule goes. However, as of October 28 it’ll be a new business class configuration, which looks like this:

The funny thing is that this isn’t a configuration currently in Thai’s fleet, so apparently this is a newly reconfigured plane. This won’t be the product they currently use on the route, which is an angled flat business class seat. And it won’t be their leased 777 featuring first class suites and herringbone business class seats either. Instead business class on this plane will apparently be the same as what Thai has on the Airbus 380, which is a fully flat, staggered product.

So on one hand this is good news since it means Thai will finally have a good business class product to the US. On the other hand it’s bad news since they won’t have first class, as was scheduled as of early next year. Furthermore, while they released plenty of first class award space when the 747 was in the schedule, I see virtually no business class award space on the route, even months in advance. Let’s hope that changes, since this new configuration has 10 more business class seats than the old one.

However, as is the case with all things Thai Airways, this is definitely subject to change.  If Thai Airways actually consistently operated this new configuration on the LAX route it would be the first time they’ve ever done anything consistently. So I wouldn’t count on it…

Comments

  1. Actually, Thai took delivery of this 77W configuration a few months back, it’s been operating a captive BKK-NRT daily rotation ever since. I believe they’re waiting for a second aircraft from Boeing before putting it on BKK-ICN-LAX. FYI, acft rego is HS-TKK.

  2. Why would they make a by yourself aisle seat? Wouldn’t everyone want to be at the window if there’s only one seat?

  3. V Tan is correct. I actually flew this configuration on the 777-300ER in mid-August from KUL-BKK. It was certainly better than their 777-200 business product. However, when I put the seat in the lie-flat position, I was not able to lie completely straight (I’m 6’3″), so seat pitch may be an issue for taller people.

  4. I was on the Thai 380 HKG-BKK today, and there is an article on this in the in-flight magazine. I believe it was similar to this:
    THAI’s Boeing 777-300ER can accommodate 348 passengers in a two-class configuration:

    – Royal Silk Class is fitted with 42 seats that recline 180 degrees, have 87 inch pitch, 20 inch seat width, where each seat is positioned (staggered seating) for easy access, along with 15 inch personal entertainment screen, and Audio Video On Demand (AVOD) system eX2 that offers 100 movies, 150 documentaries, 500 CD albums and 60 games.

    http://www.thaiairways.com.cn/en/index.php/About/detail/id/255

  5. @wwk5d–misplaced cynicism. Anyone half-clever and employed to promote the airline would have included some positive color in the post rather than trusting readers to click a link to a banal news release. I didn’t do that. Oh wait, I reread a previous posts, and this was perchance not direct toward me. Perhaps the obsessive-compulsive frequent-flyer-blogging community is just in jeopardy of becoming a beast eating its own tail while generating a great deal of arguably worthless noise amid referral links.

  6. @wwk5d: I’d like to think that pointing to our AusBT review adds a LOT of value for One Mile At A Time readers while also calling out (in the comment itself) a key concern, and potential drawback, of the seat/cabin design. And as we’re on good terms with Ben, I’d also like to think he is more than okay with this value-add.

  7. I never said it was good or bad. I was just pointing it out. No need for you guys to be so defensive about it.

  8. Thai has had a lot of routes and planes on flights to the US. They have flown through NRT, KIX, TPE and of course the non-stop flight. The non-stop was fantastic and it’s too bad that this aircraft was too expensive to fly. Why someone would want to connect just to be in first class is beyond me.

    I have flown a number of times in Thai’s first class and the service is nice (although not on par with Singapore, Cathay or Lufthansa..yes, I said Lufthansa), but I don’t really like the seat. You are given a huge amount of space, but it is not very comfortable and there is no privacy. When eating you feel like you are sitting in a restaurant with everyone looking at each other.

    I really like Thai’s new business class seats and Thai stands a chance of making more money with this new configuration since few (including me) ever pay full price for First. First class is a money loser and is basically just a customer relations tool for to make top customers happy.

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