Smooth as Silk as the Thai Airways’ beloved tag line has long read, is the best summation of Thai hospitality. This airline does not promise the fanciest product or indeed lounges, but passengers are assured the genuine service when they fly with Thailand’s national carrier.
Thai hospitality is no secret, and the airline demonstrates its ability to carry that warm smile and elegant standard into the skies. To that end, Thai Airways Royal Silk Class is quite special.
With a strong network across Europe, Asia and Australasia, the airline is experienced at connecting travellers circumnavigating the globe. The luckiest among them will get to spend some time in Thailand too.
Thai is a founding member of Star Alliance, which also includes the global airlines Air Canada, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Copa, Ethiopian, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss International, Turkish Airlines and United.
Members earn and redeem frequent flier miles when flying Star Alliance partner airlines. Thai also has codeshare agreements with many airlines, which opens up hundreds of new destinations around the globe.
Thai’s main hub at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is a bustling airport and requires a lot of walking - although moving walkways help expedite the journey to your gate. Thai Airways Royal Silk passengers have priority access to check-in and security lines - reducing waiting times. Lounges are available to Thai Airways Royal Silk passengers as well as Star Alliance Gold passengers in any class of service.
Royal Silk (Business Class) and Royal Orchid (Business and First Class) lounges offer hot and cold food, a wide range of complimentary beverages including wine, beer and liquor, and newspapers & periodicals. In many of its Royal Silk lounges in Thailand, Champagne is not available. Wine is available from the bar but is not on show like the other beverages – you have to request it. Comfortable relaxation and work spaces make the lounges ideal for business travellers. Families will appreciate that lounges have a play area for children.
In Bangkok, one of the best perks for Business Class passengers is the 20-minute massage treatment in the Royal Orchid Spa. Arrive early to make an appointment. These are complimentary. Many lounges also have showers.
Outside of Thailand, there are numerous Royal Silk and Royal Orchid Lounges offering similar amenities including hot and cold food, an open bar, and a comfortable workspace. These are in cities including Dhaka, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Manila, and Singapore, but only the Bangkok lounge offers a complimentary massage. If there is no Thai-branded lounge, Business Class passengers have access to third-party lounges, often affiliated with the airline’s Star Alliance partners.
The purple, gold and brown hues immediately make an impact as you enter the cabin. Purple fabric and wall coverings remind you that this is a Thai flight, and the floral accents are visible everywhere including on the flight crew’s colorful uniforms.
Consult the seat map of your flight before settling on the ideal seat - or flight - as Thai operates so many different types of planes. All seats are free to assign. Depending upon the aircraft, even the size of screen and level of entertainment varies. Plenty of storage space is available at any seat – and they all come with a pocket for magazines plus a power and USB outlet for charging devices. Each seat comes with a soft pillow and blanket for a sound rest.
Thai Airways has sadly retired its large Airbus A380 and Boeing B747-400 planes, as well as the Airbus A330. The remaining fleet consists of Boeing B777-300ER, B787-8, B787-9 and Airbus A350-900 aircraft, as well as a handful of older Boeing B777-200ER.
On the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing B777-300ER planes, the setup is a 1-2-1 arrangement, and seats are completely flat beds.
The pairs of seats in the centre section have two side tables, while window seats have side tables that alternate between being on the side of the window or the side of the aisle. Seat maps show which seats have a small table closer to the aisle for those that prefer to have a barrier between your seat and the aisle. Those with the table in the center mean that the seat is more exposed to the aisle - this makes it easier to get in and out though.
Couples travelling together should opt for the "honeymoon seats" - centre seats that have tables on the aisles and seats next to each other in the middle. Solo travelers seated in the center section will prefer the seats closer to the aisle with tables in the center acting as a privacy barrier.
On the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the seats are all completely lie-flat, but the layout varies. On the B787-8, the setup is 2-2-2 while on the B787-9, it is 1-2-1 meaning every seat has all aisle access. The latter are reverse herringbone seats meaning they face slightly away from the aisle for more privacy. These are arguably the best seats in the Thai Airways fleet.
On the B777-200ER, the seating is 2-2-2, and the seats are angled lie-flat meaning they do not go completely flat. While many still find them comfortable, light sleepers may find themselves preferring a fully flat bed. This may however not be a problem as the B777-200ER is now mostly used on shorter routes.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.
Thai Airways Royal Silk Class serves superb cuisine – including delicious dishes from the home country. Printed menus detail the variety of meal choices available inflight; these range from Thai selections to international offerings. One of the airline’s recent introductions was a Samrab menu to long-haul services, which includes multi-course dishes accentuating traditional Thai flavours - as well as the usual international favourites.
Flight attendants deliver linens for the tray table before beginning the meal service, which comes course by course on a tray. No matter what you order, there are warm bread options that accompany every dish. These are presented in impressive fashion in attractive porcelain dishes from the galley. The meal comes with various spicy condiments and is followed by a dessert trolley with fresh fruit, Thai options, cakes, and many more sweet treats.
Special meal choices for vegetarians, Kosher or Halal are available, but must be booked before departure.
Prior to landing, there is a second meal service on long flights although it depends on the time of day as to what it is. It could be a breakfast or brunch service on morning arrivals including a traditional Thai dish including boiled rice soup with prawns or a more familiar dish to international travellers including omelets. Daytime flight arrivals would see a more traditional lunch or dinner selection with warm or chilled meal choices.
Thai Airways offers Royal Silk passengers the benefit of pre-ordering main courses before departure. The menu selection is available for all international flights departing from Bangkok. Options can be viewed and preselected online or via the Thai Contact Centre up until 72 hours before departure.
Before takeoff, a welcome drink is served although it can depend on local regulations as to what type of alcohol is served on the ground. The airline lists detailed descriptions of the drinks on offer in the printed menu - with a dedicated section for the wines.
After takeoff, the flight attendants roll around multi-tiered carts where the many bottles of drinks are displayed. This type of thoughtful presentation seems like a throwback to many decades ago and is just an extension of the level of hospitality that you might find if invited into someone’s home.
Champagne labels vary depending on the flight but can include well-known brands such as Veuve Clicquot Brut. On most flights, there are three red wines, two white choices and one rosé option. Thai is one of few airlines to serve Business Class passengers Champagne in long stem Champagne flutes, a type of glass mostly reserved for First Class on other airlines.
The spirits list offers everything from Johnnie Walker Black Label to Bacardi Superior White Rum. In addition to a few beer selections plus digestifs and liqueurs, the menu also has a sizeable selection of mocktails for those who choose not to imbibe alcohol. There is also a plentiful supply of fruit juice and soft drinks plus still and sparkling water.
A range of coffee and tea includes cappuccino and espresso on most flights. Most long-haul flights have single origin coffee from The Royal Project Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai plantations as well as a tea selection from Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.
Thai crews are delightful and service oriented, although perhaps not quite as polished as cabin crew on a few other Asian carriers. While not as doting as you might imagine, they are always available to handle any special requests.
You will notice that during the flight cabin crew change out of their traditional Thai dresses – Chut Thai – complete with colorful sashes and flowers into more standard flight attendant attire. This comes as quite a surprise for many passengers on overnight flights, who wake up to see the cabin crew looking very different than what they did just a few hours ago.
Wide entertainment screens on all aircraft assure plenty of diversion during the flight, but the style of screen varies based on the seat. Some are larger than others with better touchscreen capability. All have remote-control access, too. There are lots of international movie and sitcom options plus cartoons for children. In addition, a global selection of music and short programming like documentaries will keep you busy, but only the newest planes like the Airbus A350 and Boeing Dreamliner have the biggest collection of entertainment choices. Noise-reducing headphones are available at each seat.
Long-haul aircraft feature Wi-Fi with prices that vary with data usage. Luckily, there is an option for unlimited data that can be worth it if you plan to work extensively. Business Class passengers on Wi-Fi equipped plans receive a complimentary voucher for 20MB of usage.
An exciting amenity on some aircraft is the exterior camera showing passengers wherever they are during the flight even if they are not in a window seat.
International newspapers and magazines are available before takeoff and throughout the flight, and the airline’s Sawasdee magazine is in the seat pocket with details on the airline’s fleet and destinations.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on WiFi and inflight entertainment.
Slippers and amenity kits from well-known brands including Lacoste, Mandarina Duck, THANN and Furla are a nice perk. These include the usual products: eyeshades, ear plugs, socks, and dental kits. Before and after each meal service, hot towels are provided to refresh face and hands.
Thai provides Royal Silk Class passengers with a comfortable pillow and blanket as well as a matttress pad to facilitate good inflight rest.
A noteworthy tradition on Thai Airways is that cabin crew often provide passengers with fresh purple orchids, a signature of Thai’s Royal Orchid service.
Families travelling with infants under six months of age can pre-reserve seats suitable for a bassinet.
On regional flights, Thai offers an abbreviated version of its long-haul flight inflight service. These include printed menus on all international segments and amenity kits on medium-haul flights. The full bar service is also an option including Champagne on most flights. Thai is known to make many aircraft changes, particularly for short flights. All Thai aircraft are however widebody jets, so passengers are guaranteed the comfort and sense of spaciousness that only large planes can provide even on short flights.
Thai offers a voluntary carbon offset program for customers to donate - based on their flight pattern. The route planning department is also working to make flight operations more efficient and reduce unnecessary fuel use. Similar energy saving efforts are taking place behind the scenes in corporate offices.
Onboard recycling and waste management programs to reduce excess food is a priority. Even the airline’s cargo department is focused on sustainability and environmental protection efforts. It makes a concerted effort to avoid transporting prohibited items including elephant ivory.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.