I have flown Thai Business Class (called Royal Silk Class) a few times and my favorite one is their latest and flagship product, Business Class on the upper deck of the Airbus A380! From hard product and onboard service to food and entertainment, it does its name and marketing tag line proud and delivers an experience “smooth as silk”.
If you are not familiar with Thai Airways, you can read more here. And you can read about their rewards program, Thai Royal Orchid, here. And if Business Class is not good enough, you can read my review of Thai First Class here.
As a business class passenger on Thai Airways, you can bring 2 pieces of 70lbs (32kg) each from/to the US and a total of 40kg between Asia and Europe. That’s pretty standard for a business class flight on these routes. As a Star Alliance Gold member, you get an extra piece or 20kg allowance.
For the meal service on board, Thai offers a “Chef on Call”, allowing you to request special meals in advance. You can order online or by phone and select from a long list of unusual onboard meals! While the list is not as long as in First Class, it still beats your choice of three entrees on US airlines (or two or one, if they are running out).
At the airport, Thai welcomes you with a dedicated line for Business Class, staffed by exceedingly friendly staff, getting you checked-in and on your way to the plane or lounge quickly. Compared to my other favorite airline, Singapore airline, the ground staff seems less determined to stick with the rule book and is more willing to ensure you have a great experience, making exceptions from the rules as they see fit. I have not once had an eye-roll moment with Thai ground staff. The Thai Airways Royal Silk ticket will provide you with lounge access, either a rented, shared or Thai Airways lounge. The standard varies greatly by location, from fairly poor at Manila (MNL) airport to spectacular at their flagship lounge at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. It’s the only lounge where I ever enjoyed a massage and the space, food and drink choices are much better than what US airlines have to offer. You can read more about the Royal Orchid Lounge BKK here (link).
Onboard the Airbus A380, the 180 degree, fully flat business class seats are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration on the upper deck, giving everybody direct aisle access. You have a choice of private window seats, semi-private aisle, middle seats that are far apart and middle seats close together. That should allow you to find the perfect seat, whether you are traveling alone or as a couple. With the staggered layout and a small divider near the head-end, the seats offer very good privacy for a business class seat without feeling tight. They are 74in long and 20in wide and feel more spacious than the numbers suggest. The seat reclines gradually from seated to lounge and flat bed, making it very comfortable while dining, watching movies or sleeping. The pillow, duvet and amenity kit provided are pretty standard for international business class, nice and competitive but not differentiating. The video screen is big at 15-16in and clear, with hundreds of international and local movies and TV Shows to choose from. It’s better than what US airlines offer, but about par with other top airlines. There is WiFi available for a fee and power outlets and USB ports at your seat.
Even though I missed out on the pre-ordered “Chef on Call” meal, I enjoyed the multi-course meals, after departure and before arrival. The quality and selection of food and drinks was in the top group for the industry, I especially enjoyed the champagne and wine selection! What really elevates the flight experience in Thai Royal Silk above the competition is the amazing service! From the traditional Thai dresses the (female) flight attendants change into when on board to the never-ending smile to the full attention throughout the flight, I have never had any issue on a Thai flight. What differentiates it for me from Singapore or Cathay Pacific is the friendliness and warmth the service is provided with. The flight attendants I have experienced were not only very well trained (like on Cathay and Singapore Airlines) they also seemed to genuinely want the passengers to have a great experience!
Overall, Thai Royal Silk is a top notch business class experience and I will go out of my way to select them over competing airlines. Ticket prices for Thai Business Class are pretty steep, but there is very good availability to reserve seats with StarAlliance miles. I have frequently found Thai Business (and Thai First) class seats via United MileagePlus and despite the recent devaluation of United miles for partner flights, they still represent a great way to use United miles.