Taking a complete 180 from this morning’s post about chasing Thai’s most modern first class product, here’s something else worth chasing, though for completely different reasons.

Thai Airways has so many different aircraft configurations and is constantly swapping their planes to the point that you could feel like you’re in 1970 or 2020, depending on which aircraft configuration you get on a particular day. While most of their 747s feature their “current” first class product, they still have a few 747s flying around with their ancient first class seats. These aircraft primarily operate flights within Thailand, from Bangkok to Hong Kong, and also from Bangkok to Copenhagen and Stockholm.

What’s cool about their routes from Bangkok to Copenhagen and Bangkok to Stockholm is that Thai realizes their old first class product is beyond outdated, so they sell it as business class. As a result, there are only 14 seats. So while the meal service is the same as any other business class flight, it really does feel like first class.

Along the same lines they have a 50 seat business class cabin which they realize is totally outdated, so they instead sell it as Premium Economy on their routes to Copenhagen and Stockholm.

I recently got to fly this 747 from Phuket to Bangkok, and while it was outdated in every way, I couldn’t help but feel like I was flying in the “good old days.” It started with seeing the plane at the gate in Thai’s old livery, which looks pretty dated at this point.

Thai Airways 747

And that feeling certainly continued aboard. Their lower deck business class cabin only takes up the left side of the aircraft, as the entire right side of the business class cabin is taken up by the galley. It can feel quite claustrophobic to sit in the center section on the right side, given that there are no windows. What’s awesome, though, is that the business class aisle is literally more than double as wide as any other airplane aisle I’ve ever seen.

Business class

And then there’s the first class cabin, featuring only 14 recliner seats.

First class

While the seats may be outdated, they’re the most comfortable, well padded seats I’ve ever sat in, be it on the ground or in the air. While you don’t have a wide, flat bed, these seats are literally the most comfortable for lounging.

First class seats

Besides, who needs personal televisions when you have one of these badass projectors at the front of the cabin? ;)


Anyway, I’m sorely tempted to book a business class award ticket from Stockholm or Copenhagen to Bangkok. Award availability on the route is phenomenal despite there only being 14 seats, and I can’t help but think that flying might actually be more fun without an in-flight entertainment system containing a thousand movies and TV shows.

  1. September 6th, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Andrew said,

    I’ve been on that exact plane (well, maybe not THE exact plane, but same paint and seating configuration) on BKK-HKG, and yeah, it’s a trip! It was so strange to get on that plane and see the galley structured like that.

  2. September 6th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    mudba said,

    I flew to Chang Mai on a 747 that had the galley and C layout, but it had updated lie flat seats. The wierd galley layout is not just on the birds lucky mentinoed

  3. September 6th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Andy Bluebear said,

    So what’s upstairs, regular economy? Or another business class section?

  4. September 6th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Uniter said,

    Lucky — You’ve lost your mind, man. ;)

  5. September 6th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Andy — Also business class (or premium economy, as it’s marketed on the flights to Copenhagen and Stockholm).

  6. September 6th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Brian said,

    I look forward to this in a couple months PEK-BKK.

  7. September 6th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Brian said,

    PS, I am pretty sure those F seats go flat 180, much like LH’s similar F seats…

  8. September 6th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Kate said,

    Couple that puppy up with your trip to Iceland! BKK/ARN/KEF/???

  9. September 7th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    JRL said,

    I’m pretty sure there is an antiquated PTV built into these seats similar to LH’s 747′s in F.

  10. September 7th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    rice said,

    CI (Taiwan’s China Airlines) also has a few same type of 744s.

  11. September 7th, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    thyeri said,

    Actually the F seat is really good to sleep. It’s fully flat and very comfortable!

  12. September 9th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Calvin said,

    The F seat is not fully flat. The leg rest doesn’t go up all the way!

    However, I agree with Ben that it is a REALLY comfortable seat for both lounging and sleeping. I like sleeping with a slight slope.

    The killer though is the lack of AVOD.. yuck..

  13. September 13th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Chris said,

    Flew Thai BKK-HKT in the F seat (they don’t sell F on the route but we scored F seats) and while the seat was old…I completely agree that they are uber comfortable!

  14. January 9th, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Paddys56 said,

    Well I’m happy for you people in business and 1st class, but what about us poor saps in economy, worst flight I have ever experienced, this is 2012 not 1976 paid for my trip in 2012 dollars, if I want to go across the country in an old steam train then I will book it, c’mon Thi, update your old piece of crap.

  15. June 9th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Gabriel said,

    Does anyone know if First on the new 963 from ARN (stockholm) to HKT (Phuket) is new or old configuration?

    The layout looks like it’s 1-2-1 in first, but it does have the large galley in business.

    Just curious as we are in F2 and K2 on that flight and am realllly hoping it’s the new configuration.


  16. June 9th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Gabriel — Keep in mind they’re only selling business class but you get first class seating. The good news is that it’s the longhaul first class product they operate on this route, so it’s a pretty nice product.

  17. January 5th, 2013 at 3:09 am

    Simon said,

    Award tickets availability in business class are not that “tremendous”. I couldn’t get my business award for my trip from BKK-CPH early APR 2013 when I booked it early DEC 2012. Only Y class seats were available…

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