Review: Thai Airways First Class Lounge Bangkok Airport

Introduction: A Mess Of A Trip
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Review: Thai Airways First Class Lounge Bangkok Airport
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Changing (And Canceling) A Mess Of A Trip


Our Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong was scheduled to depart at 4PM, so we got to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at around 11AM so we could maximize our time in the lounge. Since Thai Airways offers first class passengers an hour-long full body massage, you’ll want to arrive plenty early for your Thai Airways flight.

Thai Airways has incredible ground services from the moment you arrive at the airport. The first class check-in area is near the first door, as you pull up to the terminal.


Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport exterior


Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport check-in hall

Once inside the terminal we turned left, where the entrance to the first class check-in area was located.


Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport check-in hall

There was an agent there who confirmed we were in Royal First, and once we did, she escorted us into the check-in area, asked for our passports, and invited us to have a seat.


Thai Airways first class check-in Bangkok Airport

There’s quite a bit of seating in the check-in area, though there were no other guests.


Thai Airways first class check-in Bangkok Airport

The check-in desk itself had two beach umbrellas, which I found a bit odd. I get they were probably going for a tropical theme, but…


Thai Airways first class check-in Bangkok Airport

While our check-in was being processed we were offered cold towels and bottled water.


Thai Airways first class check-in drinks Bangkok Airport

Within a few minutes we were presented with our boarding passes, and informed that an escort would bring us to the first class lounge. He insisted on taking our bags, and brought us to a premium security channel, where there was no wait.


Being escorted to lounge Bangkok Airport

Once through security we took the escalator down a level, which is also where the entrance to Thai’s business class lounge is located.


Escalators to lounge Bangkok Airport


Thai Airways business class lounge

At the entrance we were handed over to a driver, who would be taking us to the first class lounge on a golf cart.


Thai Airways first class golf cart

Possibly the funniest part of the entire Thai Airways first class ground experience is that they drive you through the business class lounge in a golf cart. LOL!


Being driven to Thai Airways first class lounge

Once at the other end of the business class lounge we crossed the hall to the other side of the terminal, where the entrance to the first class lounge was located.


Being driven to Thai Airways first class lounge


Thai Airways first class lounge exterior

At the entrance to the first class lounge we were welcomed by several friendly Thai Airways employees, who welcomed us in, explained that they’d bring us to the gate when our flight was ready for boarding, and also asked if we wanted spa treatments.


Thai Airways first class lounge reception


Thai Airways first class lounge exterior

First class passengers are entitled to an hour-long full body massage, though can also choose a 30 minute neck & shoulder or foot massage, if they prefer (the 30 minute massages are also open to business class passengers).


Thai Airways first class lounge spa treatments

I first visited the Thai Airways first class lounge about a decade ago, and I feel like almost nothing has changed. Despite that, somehow the lounge still doesn’t feel outdated to me. Sure, it could use a mild refresh, but it’s still very nice. The lounge consists primarily of one main room with plenty of seating. The lounge is pretty consistently empty, including during our visit, as you can see below.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok seating


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok seating


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok seating

There’s a bar in the front area of the lounge.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok seating

Then there’s a buffet in the back area of the lounge.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok seating

The best place to sit in the first class lounge is the semi-private living rooms. There are about half a dozen of these along the side of the lounge, and they all feel like a living room that has a glass shield for extra privacy.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok

Each of these rooms has a couch, two chairs, a desk with an extra chair, and a TV. Passengers almost always choose to sit in one of these, and I’ve always found that they’re readily available.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok semi-private room


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok semi-private room


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok semi-private room


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok semi-private room

My one complaint about these rooms is that they face the interior of the terminal, so there’s no natural light. I wish the lounge had more natural light and apron views.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok semi-private room view

In addition to the small living room, there’s a larger private room towards the front of the lounge.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok

The bathrooms are also near the front of the lounge, and consist of individual rooms that are spotless.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok bathrooms


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok bathrooms

Then in the back of the lounge is the dining room, though personally I always just eat directly in the private living room.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok dining room


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok dining room

The back of the lounge also has a small business center, as well as magazines and newspapers.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok business center


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok magazines & newspapers

Service in the Thai lounge is excellent, as it’s warm and attentive. When you’re in the lounge there are constantly people checking on you to see if you want anything, and this was no exception.

If you want to eat something in the lounge, there’s both a buffet and a menu. As soon as we settled in we were offered an iPad with all the food and drink options.


Thai Airways first class lounge menu

Then there’s the buffet. This is a fairly small buffet and it seems like most of the food is intended partly just for display purposes. That’s because much of the stuff here is also on the menu. The lounge attendants tend to observe when you’re in this area, and typically if you want something you just tell them, and they’ll plate it for you.


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet


Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok buffet

The menu read as follows (some of this is repetitive, since there are different sections, including a section for snacks, a vegetarian section, etc.):

The drink list read as follows:

We had breakfast early, so decided to have lunch. To start we had some champagne (Thai serves Moet & Chandon) and cashews.


Thai Airways first class lounge — champagne and cashews

To eat I ordered a shrimp wonton soup and a shrimp phad thai, both of which were excellent.


Thai Airways first class lounge — shrimp wonton soup


Thai Airways first class lounge — phad thai with shrimp

Tiffany ordered the beef curry.


Thai Airways first class lounge — curry with beef

After the meal I ordered a cappuccino and Tiffany had tea. While my cappuccino was great, I’d note that they were serving Lipton tea, and I feel like they should do better than that.


Thai Airways first class lounge — cappuccino and tea

For dessert, Tiffany had a cheese plate, while I had green tea mousse.


Thai Airways first class lounge — cheese plate


Thai Airways first class lounge — green tea mousse

While not the most gourmet meal ever, the quality was for the most part very good, and service seemed to be from the heart.

As mentioned above, Thai first class passengers receive a complimentary full body massage in the Thai Royal Orchid Spa. The lounge host set up an appointment for us, and five minutes before the appointment she escorted us to the spa, which was across the hall.


Walking to Thai Airways Spa Bangkok Airport


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport

At the reception desk we just had to fill out a quick form, and then were immediately escorted to our treatment rooms.


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport reception

The spa here is on par with what you’d find in many top spas outside of airports, with a large room that has a private shower, and toilet. My massage was excellent.


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport massage room


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport massage room


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport massage room


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport massage room


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport massage room

After the treatment we were brought to a room where we were offered tea and asked to fill out a survey. This area also had a few snacks.


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport snacks


Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa Bangkok Airport tea & survey

Once done, we were walked back to the first class lounge. I had intended to tip the masseuse who performed the treatment, and specifically put some money in my pocket when I headed over to the spa. However, when the treatment was done I couldn’t find the money. Once back in the lounge one of the attendants came up to me and said he found the money on the floor in the lounge, and asked if it was mine. That’s some impressive honesty.

Our boarding passes indicated that our flight was scheduled to board at 3:20PM, so at 3:10PM we decided we wanted to head to the gate. Thai Airways escorts you to the gate when the flight is ready for boarding, and they insisted it was too early. As you guys know I like to be first onboard so I can get pictures, so I didn’t listen to the and we still headed to the gate.


Bangkok Airport terminal

Our flight was departing from gate C1, which wasn’t far away.


Bangkok Airport terminal


Thai Airways departure gate Bangkok

The gates in this part of the terminal are one level down from the rest of the concourse. Once there our boarding passes were scanned and passports checked, and we were then in the gate area.


Thai Airways departure gate Bangkok

The lounge attendants were right for having told us it was too early to board. Boarding ended up being delayed (despite the flight showing an on-time departure), and the flight only boarded at 4PM, so we were stuck there for a while.


Thai Airways 747 Bangkok Airport

Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok bottom line

The Thai Airways first class lounge Bangkok is excellent. I’ve ranked it as number seven on my list of the top ten first class airline lounges, and that’s something I stand by, even after this visit.

The Thai first class ground experience stands out for the fact that they take care of you from the second you arrive at the airport until you board. Furthermore, the hour-long full body massage is the best complimentary spa treatment offered by any airline. The entire experience is also extremely well intentioned, with genuinely caring stuff constantly taking care of you.

I’d say the area where some other lounges come out ahead is with the quality of the food, as well as the decor of the lounge. The food was good and the lounge was nicely furnished, though didn’t really scream “first class” in the same way you might find in the Swiss Lounge Zurich, for example.

If you’ve visited the Thai first class lounge Bangkok, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. I’ve been there several times and it’s something every frequent flyer should experience once. It is the most seamless, organised airport experience I have ever had. The golf buggy is always a hoot, especially the looks you get from the other passengers.
    I don’t like how thin the walls of the private rooms in the lounge are as you clearly hear every terminal announcement every 30 seconds but that’s a small price to pay.
    Thai Airways is hardly perfect but their F lounge experience is pretty close.

  2. Frequently travelling in First class, I have tried numerous First class lounges worldwide including this one. My favourite of all remain The Wing (for the cabanas), the Pier. The least interesting in my view are the First class & Concorde room in LHR (Always overcrowded)

  3. I have been there the last 3 years and agree with @Lucky’s overall take, but especially on the shortcomings.

    I have declined the full-body massage each time, but not the golf buggy!

  4. Endre, you forgot to mention that you always fly first class on PAID tickets. Please keep reminding us 🙂

  5. I visited the first-class lounge recently as part of my 747s around-the-world adventure and it was great! Granted, I’m a newbie to first-class but the semi-private room was great and the staff of Thai were just so friendly and genuinely happy to please. It was my first airport-scooter ride too, which was mildly embarrassing due to how crowded it was but what a relief to go through Customs in mere seconds instead of waiting in another endless line! The porter also seemed to predict to the second when my luggage was being dropped onto the carousel! As for the lack of a ramp-view, I second that desire, as the views from the terminal are pretty atrocious due to a striping effect on the window glass. Additionally one cannot just wander into any departure gate to view or photograph airplanes, as you can only be checked into your specific gate. Terrible airport for viewing but a very pleasant experience with Thai and also in the China Airlines lounge! (747 to Taiwan and back!)

  6. I presume it’s not too crowded and your carry on luggage is safe when you’re getting the massage and shower?

    Is the massage very hard and painful?

  7. @derek: Thai massage in general is not of the “deep muscle” type, generally light bending, stretching, and pressure. That said, my only experience in the Thai lounge was as a business class passenger where the full massage program was not available. I choose the “head and shoulders” massage (I had been suffering from a stiff neck for months) and that was extremely deep, somewhat painful, and incredibly therapeutic. My neck felt great for months afterwards.

  8. I have to say, I was disappointed after flying from CDG-BKK in F, I was not allowed to visit the lounge after landing since I was connecting to another airline. Bad form I think

  9. First of all thank you for bringing up great reports like this one..I appreciate the good pics as well..
    My last visit was almost identical to yours..the difference I was so hungry I had two mains..I can only second the praise to the attentiveness of the staffs..I was constantly look after without being obstrusive..I would be an hypocrit if I deny not loving the golf cart rides..the arrival and deparure assistance are just awesome..I feel looked after very well..About the message..it was a full body one and extremly relaxing..I miss this service..I wishe AF, LH would offer free 1h complimentary massage respectively..TG F ground service is one of the best..

  10. @Lucky – heading to the F lounge this Friday en route to ICN. Is it customary to tip after the one hour massage? Cheers!

  11. I can’t agree more.
    My friend insisted that in the city center I would have better massages and food with decent prices, but I often don’t have time or energy to do that.
    Attentiveness is also their beauty, you will not miss the flight even if you keep sitting on a sofa. It is really handy for passengers who are not familiar with BKK or TG.

  12. Lucky, do they still serve you on their knees in TG First? It was a tradition when I once visited the lounge in 2008.

  13. I was there in February. Lucky’s report is spot on although when I was there the place was a bit heavy on the staff to guest ratio and although the service and friendliness are exceptional it did get near the point of please just give me a little respite here in my semi-private room, I’ll call you if I need anything. As for the decor, it needing “a mild refresh” is a little generous, I would say overall it feels dated, but yes it’s comfortable and spacious.

    I was a transfer and the reverse is true too with the express golf carts; if you land on the tarmac the FC passengers take their own bus, the golf carts meet you, whisk you up to fast track, then drop you off at the lounge.

  14. @David R – It is not customary to tip. It is a thing driven by visitors. Thailand does not have a tipping culture.

  15. @David R – Not only is it not customary, its borderline offensive.

    At least you asked, unlike most Americans.

  16. The 8am flight to HKG on the 747 (assuming no equipment changes) was tough to fully enjoy the First Class lounge due to time constraints, but I did the best I could … which involved a 30 min foot massage vs. the full 60 min body massage.

  17. I second @derek’s question about the massage being painful. Thai massage can be awfully aggressive. My wife and I had a couples massage once where I got some injury, perhaps a cracked rib, from a surprisingly small girl. I could barely sleep for days. If the massages are that style at the lounge, a bit of caution may be in order.

  18. @Lucky, I think those umbrellas are in place for when the sun is overhead the windows in the ceiling 😉

  19. @David R: No, it is not normal to tip especially when this is offered complimentary in a First class lounge. Tipping will be not so chique….please don’t stoop to that level by tipping while in a First class lounge like what Lucky had planned to do (fate stepped in to avoid that blunder). There is also no need to tip any of the attendants helping you with your luggage or the buggy when they bring you to the lounge or gate, it will just show how “cheap” you are.

  20. The F class for this sector won’t last much longer. Indeed F on TG is mostly for the ratbag’ hiso’crowd, some of whom pay but many others just low-life freeloaders. F cannot be justified on commercial grounds and some of the more rational elements in Thai ( a rare breed for much of the airline’s history) would like to see it phased out. That day isn’t far off.
    They would be better advised to beef up their J product , as well as services for Star Gold members. Both are more ‘bread and butter’ than F, and while Thai likes the status associated with First it is unsustainable when virtually no one pays for it ( except Endre, of course).

  21. @ Paolo

    You are totally wrong here. Asians are willing to pay hard cash just to distance themselves from the mundanes..Your aspect reflects more the US and European market in which the majority prefer a more egalitarian approach in a super business class like QR.
    LH F and AF F are rare breeds as less people are willing to pay F ticket but rather fly F redemption. First class products will certainly stay far more longer when it is already obsolete in ozher parts of the world..
    So again class distinction is not only a matter of airline classes. It has been there in Asia for centuries..there will be always a snobbish eye looking at you when you take a sit in your First class seat onboard or when you dash across the First lounges..
    Especially in the kingdom of Thailand..it is all about knowing your station..even for a farang like you!

  22. @Myles
    What you have said is not inconsistent with my comments. Sure, some ‘Asians’ will pay to be away from the riff-raff in J and Y….my point is HOW MANY will do it. Answer: not enough to justify a separate F cabin ( reflected in the reality: F IS already gone from most sectors on TG; Sydney will go imminently, Hong Kong will be next, Paris and London might survive a few more years).
    Freeloaders, scroungers, and points-ticketed wannabes alone cannot sustain F …it will die. I can understand that people don’t want it to go ( myself included), but it will, sooner rather than later ( and indeed TG itself might go unless the stumbling buffoons running the show move over to let the few sesnsible ones in the team implement new survival strategies and reforms). By any objective consideration they are bust now and the government’s ‘golden share’ is worth less every single day.

  23. I live in BKK and tipping is surely NOT offensive. The women there have a very privileged job compared to the average massages jobs in the city. Still don’t Forget that they also prepare and clean the bathroom before and after the massage. I always tip them 500Baht (14Dollar) and it’s ok for me.

  24. And the luggage guys I always tip 100Baht. BKK is getting more and more expensive, while those easy job wages don’t rise. The minimum wage is 9000Baht per month and I am sure those guys are not much above that line. I just don’t tip in restaurant which have the 10-% service charge, but the times of “tips are seen as rude” are gone

  25. For an airline with a good reputation, TG’s business lounges are absolute trash. There is a PP lounge at BKK that blows TG’s lounges away.

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