Low cost carriers may not always have the lowest fare. A few days prior to leaving Chiang Mai for Bangkok I found a super cheap fare on Thai Airways. Originally I was going to take the overnight train, in a sleeper just for the experience of mixing with the locals and seeing the countryside. Taking the train did mean arriving in Bangkok between 5 and 6 am and I had read my hotel in Bangkok had a strict 2pm check in policy. Did I really want to hang out in the hotel lobby or wander around in the Bangkok heat after a 14 hour journey that I may not sleep well? No, so I looked into some flights. I started with Nok Air and Thai Air Asia, there was little difference in fares between the two and they both flew into the older Don Meaung Airport where a cab to your hotel is the best option but the cost can be high in the local traffic. Then I noticed Thai Airways, the national carrier and full service airline, were offering seats for an even lower price than the previous two, so I snapped up the ticket for AU$54. It was also flying into the main airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, making it easier, with several transport options, to get into the city.
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Flight TG105, departing Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK) left at 10:20am and the short 1 hour and 10 minute flight was operated by a 4 year old Airbus A330-300 which the airline received in April 2013. Registered HS-TBG and named Samut Prakan – a provence south of Bangkok – it operates on international and domestic services.
Thai operates 3 variations of the Airbus A330-300 featuring two classes, Royal Silk Business Class and Economy Class. This particular aircraft had 36 angle-flat seats in the forward Royal Silk Business cabin and 263 Economy Class seats.
With a 2-4-2 configuration, the seats have a comfortable 32″ pitch and width of 18″ which would be expected from a full service carrier and each seat came with a small economy-esque pillow.
The Economy Class cabin is fitted with individual 9″ Audio Visual On Demand (AVOD) touch screens which feature around 30 movies plus TV programs and a music library.
Thai SkyConnect Wi-Fi was available on board with pricing based around the megabyte usage rather than time, starting from 10MB for US$4.99. As this was a short flight I didn’t connect and I did think the pricing was a little high.
I found the AVOD touch screens responsive and didn’t feel the need to use the remote. There was a USB outlet for recharging above a small compartment for headphones or your phone and a sturdy cup holder. There was the standard bi-foldable tray table, although when folded out that tray did seem to need a really good clean.
The service was impeccable, polite and very efficient for this short sector. Being a full service airline a snack was included which was a hot chicken ragout calzone, cream wafer biscuits and a bottle of water. Tea and coffee were also served after the meals delivery. That chicken ragout calzone was yum and really hit the spot for this mid morning flight.
The flight arrived on time into Bangkok and overall it was a comfortable and enjoyable. With the inflight entertainment and food included and being priced below its competitors on this route where those extras come at a cost, its certainly worth looking at all your options and not just the low cost ones.
FreakyFlier paid for the ticket independently.