Thai Airways Aircraft Changes

I’ve written in the past about how unreliable Thai Airways’ scheduling and aircraft planning is. People think I’m joking and exaggerating. I’m not. I don’t think it would be unfair to say that Qatar Airways’ A380 delivery schedule was executed with more precision than Thai Airways’ aircraft planning.

Thai Airways’ aircraft planning is so unreliable that it has its own verb which can be used in lieu of your preferred cuss word — “TGed.” Used in a sentence — “My flight is scheduled to be operated by a 747 with first class as of now… hopefully I don’t get TGed.”

So how much “TGing” has Thai been doing lately?

Thai Airways will offer first class to Sydney… no they won’t… yes they will…

One of the best ways to get to Australia in first class is on Thai Airways through Bangkok, as they release a ton of award space.

A few weeks back I was surprised when Thai Airways announced that they’d be swapping in 777s for the 747s that usually operate the route for peak season, starting October 26, 2014. That signified the end of Thai’s first class service to Australia. This sucked for anyone on a first class award to Australia, as they were downgraded to business class.

It seems Thai Airways was just kidding, as they’ve reversed the equipment swap on the Sydney route. Thai Airways will continue to offer 10x weekly 747-400 service to Sydney, with first class.

Go figure they downgraded all the first class passengers to business class, and now they’re still confirmed in business class even though the flights once again have first class.

Thai-Airways-747

Thai Airways will discontinue their second daily Bangkok to Frankfurt flight… no they won’t…

A few weeks back Thai Airways announced they would cut their second Bangkok to Frankfurt flight, which is operated 6x weekly by an A340-600. It seems they changed their mind since then:

Oh, and remember that 747-400 service Thai Airways was planning on launching out of Dusseldorf? Well, they’re still not taking reservations for that.

Bottom line

Hey Thai Airways, want to know why you’ll lose 20 billion Baht this year? Because you don’t let people book your flights!

There’s value of course in yield management and also in optimizing your route network and equipment types, but not on a daily basis… especially when you stop taking reservations each and every time, and downgrade your passengers.

Unbelievable.

Comments

  1. that’s why I chose to just fly JL newly introduced First Class to Sydney instead.

    TG also keep putting 747-400 into Mumbai market on and off almost daily basis as well. Not sure they sell F in that market.

    I was still mad that one of my QF A380 SYD-HKG got bumped into J even they still fly A380 on my date (around Xmas) and let me sit in F, but it will be a J service. Unacceptable!

    BY the way, if someone want to really make sure they get to fly TG First Class… then book on FRA-BKK (the first flight with A380) or LHR, CDG, ZRH-BKK or BKK-NRT TG 676.

  2. Same happened here. BKK-HND in November, was scheduled on 744 F, now on 330 J…..

    No award space available to move around either….

  3. And one more. A while back they anounced a 747 service in F from BKK to DUS. A few days ago these flights mysterically disappeared.

  4. Thanks for the heads up Lucky.

    I was on SYD-BKK in F downgraded to J to a flight a day later which actually gave me an extra 24+ hour stopover on my award in SYD but then it broke the rest of it because my onward connection in BKK would require transporting back in time as original date on it remained. I couldn’t use CA F from SYD because I’m in that narrow window right before they start their F on that route.

  5. So I previously had F award on the 747 BKK-Sydney route. Will they automatically put me back in F? And is this route new or old F now?

  6. Timely post, trying to fly BKK-MEL soon after Oct. 26, but would rather connect in SYD instead of flying the 777-200 from BKK-MEL

    No award space in first on the BKK-SYD route, in your experience do they usually open up more closer to departure?

  7. A bunch of TG pilots had quited recently. They are also laying off a great number of employees. They are certainly having issues with scheduling. Part of the problem may be due to this.

  8. I got TG’ed twice this year from F to J: BKK-SYD and PEK-BKK. The PEK-BKK route may or may not have F if you try to book it. Good luck!

  9. @Alex No you will not be automatically put back into F. Call the airline you booked via and have them put you back into F assuming there is space.

  10. @ Alex — It seems to be old first class now. Unfortunately it’s not likely they’ll automatically put you back in first class, which I realize is pretty screwed up.

  11. I’ve been TGed twice with bookings in First, with last minute equipment swaps the day of departure.

    About 5 months ago, I had a booking from SYD-BKK in First and without telling me they changed their departure times and cancelled my award booking and wouldn’t rebook me.

    Last month, I was on a flight in First from SYD-BKK on the refurbished 747. We were 3 hours out of BKK and the windscreen broke and we had to make an emergency landing in Bali. 4 hours on the ground with a limited TG staff, we left the aircraft and we had to leave our passports with immigration, because Thai didn’t wanna pay the Bali customs fee of $30 for the entire plane.

    A ton of sketchy stories the next day at the airport calling out peoples passports like Bingo numbers and waiting 7 hours to board only to find it was the old 747 product. Last Wednesday, I did the return again in First and it was still the old product which means they still haven’t fixed the windscreen.

    I enjoy their hard product on the refurbished 747 and their ground services in BKK but their food is absolute garbage.

  12. Yesterday I booked BKK-SYD and back for October. Do you think I should just push it to a later date if they will continue to offer it? I’d prefer to go when it’s warmer down under.

  13. @ AJK — The seatmap shows ten seats rather than nine for the dates I searched, which indicates the old product. Of course as is the case with everything Thai Airways, that’s subject to change.

  14. @ Ken Y. — If you can find the space, sure. I’ve thought all along that it’s fairly likely they’ll keep 747 service to Australia, so I think it will stick around.

  15. I’m on a flight from BKK-DEL on 747, it’s a business ticket but given seat 2A. Does this mean I have F seat with business service or this a mistake?

  16. @ Norm — If it’s a 747, yes. It could be that they’re not selling first class on the route, and just seating some business class passengers in first class seats.

  17. Just checked my SYD-BKK award flight in First….it’s showing me in Business class despite the 747-400 seatmap showing. God this is annoying. Gonna have to call them tomorrow to sort this out.

  18. Wow, this is so frustrating. I just rebooked on CA SYD-PEK since they were swapping in their 777-300ER.

    @Lucky – would you keep CA First on their 777-300ER or revert back to TG on their 747 in F? It looks like it’s their old 10-seat F product, not suites. But knowing TG, they may swap in their 9-seat suites once in awhile… or get rid of F completely again!

  19. i think the bigger question here is why this airline still has first class if they can’t execute it properly? i mean i like the bigger seat and the amenity kit and even the ground service… but the on-board service simply can’t keep up with real F products…

  20. @Lantean, blah blah blah. Even at the height of their purported mediocrity (which for the record, I disagree with), TG’s F experience (hard, ground especially, and yes, even soft) wipes the floor with, for example, UA or.CZ. Since when is the bar for offering an F cabin measured by “proper” execution relative to other airlines’ execution? It isn’t. It’s dictated by the market, and other extenuating circumstances (like appearances).

  21. @AJK

    i could not agree more about UA and CZ… but i was referring to TG competitors in the region like CX & SQ. UA F is obviously a joke and a waste of miles/money.

    and clearly the ratings are very subjective (like we saw recently when bloggers rates F cabins) but seriously… if you had the choice to fly TG F or SQ F… would you even hesitate? 99% of people would pick SQ in a heartbeat. (all else equal)

  22. @ Lantean

    That’s like asking me if I’d like to take a Ferrari over an Audi; although their both premium products, it’s a silly question.

    But that’s the not question you’re asking. You’re asking why even offer an Audi at all, if it isn’t as good as the Ferrari? The answer is simple: Many people would prefer driving an Audi than a bicycle… me included. Especially when the Audi has an even a better “ground experience” than the Ferrari.

  23. @ Lantean — That’s no mystery, they’ve admitted it many times before. They have first class for the Royal Family.

  24. @AJK
    i think you’re missing the point. in your example TG F is not an Audi… it’s a Camry with an Audi sticker on it.
    it’s all about managing expectations.
    šŸ˜‰

    @lucky
    yeah, i heard that, the problem is i don’t know what the chances are that the royal family will be on my flight? i assume if they were the service would be better. or would they have the whole F cabin to themselves and i’d get downgraded?

    my point is if they only had biz as their highest class of service, they would get away with these aircraft swaps much easier.

  25. I have flown TG several times and never had an equip swap. They were all A380 F segments from CDG or FRA or NRT so maybe just i improved my odds by booking popular routes that they can not afford to mess with and damage their rep. But big deal – TG’ed? never heard of it and would sound eye-rolling if I heard somebody using it. Yes, it is sad that one of the few remaining good values for UAL redemption is BKK-SYD F for 40,000 o/w, but 30,000 o/w in C is still good value. This would have been a good factual piece, but too much crying….just report and stop complaining (sounds childish and spoiled) and try to avoid using words such as “sucked”….makes me cringe – and that is too bad because I really love your reviews, tips, etc, but lately it is too much temper tantrum throwing.

  26. @ LuvTG — Right, they only fly the A380 to a handful of destinations, so won’t typically swap it. But you don’t find it ridiculous for an airline to change the aircraft type, downgrade all first class passengers, then just weeks later switch it back and leave all those passengers in their downgraded class of service?

  27. What happens when you book TG F award from Sydney to Europe using Lifemiles when they had the aircraft change? LM won’t allow you to have mixed cabin, does it mean you get your ticket canceled? Or you just get J SYD – BKK, and F still from BKK to Europe?

    If the latter, it’s not so bad as SYD – BKK is relative short and J is good enough. But it will be a headache if they cancel the ticket as you might not find award availability in J for the whole trip!

  28. I got TGed BKK-SYD and just accepted the new two class flat bed layout in J. Didn’t mind too much since it was the overnight sector and I would mostly sleep.

    But now it is back to a 747 and there is no award space at all… cabin is F0 with no seats assigned so still crazy things going on.

  29. Hi Lucky,

    I read your blogs religiously. Despite reading this blog I stupidly decided to book F class flight for my partner and I in June from Sydney to Frankfurt with an open-jaw, returning from CDG. I booked in October and thought I may get “TG’d” as it was 9 months in advance.

    Sure enough… Thai Scheduling is having a fiddle with the FRA flights.

    The current TG920 service from BKK to FRA is on an A380, but they have stopped selling all F class to FRA. I called Thai and let them know that i was fine if i was getting TG’d, but i wanted to reroute to CDG as they are less likely to change the a380 from there, or at the very lease still offer F class.

    Thai, in their infinite wisdom wont let me change until they confirm the equipment change.. I asked why i couldn’t re route and they said i can, but there is no discount F fares available to CDG so id have to waitlist..

    So unreliable.. so frustrating…

    Should have read your blog a little harder. Lesson learnt for next time!

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