This flight was like going to a party that you know you’re not going to really be into, but you just decide to stick around and see how it goes. The Thai 777-200 Royal Silk is a dated product and definitely not the best business class product but I was still interested in seeing how it would be and if it would really be that bad. Keep reading to see how my flight went on the Thai 777 from TPE to BKK.
Table of Contents
The trip routing
This particular segment to Bangkok was part of a mini round the world trip which included the following routes: IAH->TPE->BKK (layover)->FRA->IAH.
- IAH->TPE: EVA 777-300 J
- TPE->BKK: Thai 777-200 J
- BKK->FRA: Thai A350-900 J
- FRA->IAH: Lufthansa A380-800 F
After securing flights to Taipei and from Frankfurt to the US, I still needed to find a way to get across those 5,823 miles from Frankfurt to Taipei. Ultimately, I decided to fly Thai Airways from TPE to Frankfurt with a connection in BKK based on how good the A350 hard product and soft product appeared and not to mention the low fees. So this leg from TPE to BKK was essentially a positioning flight so that I could fly a much more respected product.
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Here are the details for the flight:
- Route: Taipei (TPE) -> Bangkok (BKK)
- Flight No.: TG 637
- Aircraft: 777-200
- Class: Business Class (I)
- Seat: 12A
- Date: June 14, 2019
- Departure Time: 7:51 am
- Arrival Time: 10:26 am
- Flight Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
Booking Thai business class with points
I booked Thai business class with 75,000 United miles — a pretty competitive rate from Asia to Europe. Fees were only $17.50 but I had to pay $50 in United close-in fees which don’t show below. This flight went for $2,294 USD so that’s about 3 cents per mile which isn’t bad, though that’s a pretty reasonably priced business class ticket in my opinion.
Getting to TPE
After finishing up a very enjoyable (but rainy) stay at the W Taipei, I was off to the airport at around 4:30am via taxi, amid a pretty powerful thunderstorm. I’m glad I left so early because the taxi ended up taking 52 minutes to get to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), thanks in large part to a traffic jam near the airport (I think there was some construction going on).
The taxi driver then dropped me off at the entrance of Thai Airways (TG).
The airport was relatively empty at the time and I quickly made my way to the Thai Airways check-in desk.
I knew I was flying in a 2-2-2 configuration and so I asked to be moved to a window seat with no other passenger next to me if possible and the agent happily made sure that would happen. He also said he’d keep other passengers from choosing a seat next to me, which was a nice gesture and immediately gave me a great first impression of service on Thai Airways.
In the past, Brad and I always have traveled as a couple, so 2-2-2 arrangements were never an issue but as a solo traveler, they do present potential issues since you’ll sometimes be closer to someone than you’d prefer and potentially lose direct aisle access. It might not be a big deal to some people but it’s one major reason why: traveling as a couple > traveling solo.
After you check your bag at TPE, they require you to wait for your bag to pass through the x-ray before you proceed. I’d never seen that before but it only took about a minute or two for my bag to get through.
After checking a bag, I was on my way to security and to find the lounge. Following the boarding and “VIP lounge” signs, I easily found my way through TPE. It would only take me about 13 minutes to get through security and arrive at the lounge.
Plaza Premium Lounge at TPE
As a business class passenger on Thai, they provided me with lounge access to the Plaza Premium Lounge at TPE. Plaza Premium Lounges are often a part of the Priority Pass network and you can also get access to them if you have the American Express Platinum Card.
Like at many other airports, at TPE, several lounges are clustered together, including Cathay Pacific and China Airlines.
I first came across a Plaza Premium Lounge that was not open and I had to keep walking through the main lounge hallway until I came upon another Plaza Premium Lounge. (When I later left, that first lounge would be open so maybe they just open later? Not sure.)
I was welcomed in and then found a seat. The Plaza Premium Lounge wasn’t very big but it was cozy and equipped with plenty of seating (crowds weren’t an an issue at all).
I liked that the seats came equipped with power outlets and were actually very comfortable, although it was a bit chilly inside the lounge.
I also liked the little cubbies found in the lounge, which while very compact were still nice for a little bit of privacy. These were like a miniature version of the Korean Air First Class Lounge.
I then wandered over to the dining area, which had two long tables for eight individuals and then a few tables on the perimeter.
I took a look at the food options and ended up requesting a beef soup with rice. It was pretty good though I’m not used to eating beef soup for breakfast. There were some other Western options like scrambled eggs but nothing really struck me as particularly appetizing. Still, it wasn’t a bad line up to choose from.
They had a small selection of wines, beer, coffee, teas (hot water machine), and a soda machine. As for snacks, they had a jar with cookies, nuts, cereal, and also a basket of apples and small selection of bread that you could toast.
Overall, the Plaza Premium Lounge was a decent little lounge that had enough in it to get you by. I thought it felt pretty cozy in there and was very pleased that crowds were a non-factor. But it’s definitely not a spectacular airport lounge or particularly notable for an international business class lounge.
Heading to the gate
After spending about an hour and 10 minutes in the lounge, I was off to find my gate: B4. On the way to the gates, the corridors were pretty interesting. It’s not exactly Incheon International Airport but at least there’s something to look at along the way.
I finally arrived at the gate and noticed that this was one of those gate areas where I’d need to head down some stairs. I took the stairs down to the boarding area and promptly lined up for business class so that I’d be the first one to board.
The gate area was decorated with a saxophone theme, which was interesting.
It was still raining outside but I got a little view of the 777-200.
Overall, the boarding process seemed to be very orderly and it was nice having a separate designated line and doorway for business/first class which isn’t always a thing.
Thai Airways 777-200 business class cabin
The Thai Airways 777-200 has 30 angle-flat seats in business class (Royal Silk Business) arranged in a 2-2-2 layout.
I knew I was getting ready to fly on a dated product so my expectations were pretty low but the cabin felt super roomy when I entered. The 777-200 is a true wide body aircraft with no shortage of room in the aisles.
There’s also plenty of legroom between the seats.
Thai Airways 777-200 business class seat
Design, comfort, and privacy
The Thai Airways 777-200 business class seat comes with 60″ of pitch and 20″ of width. That’s not very wide for a business class seat but it didn’t feel cramped when I was on it. The seat design is definitely dated and the seat cloth worn (I’ll show you a closer look in a minute) so nothing about the seat felt “fresh,” though I like the Thai color scheme.
There’s plenty of legroom as mentioned.
The catch is that these are angle-flat seats, so you’re not able to get fully flat when trying to sleep. Here’s what it looks like when it is fully reclined.
Honestly, I was completely comfortable on the four hour flight to BKK but if I were trying to get real sleep, that would have been a major issue.
In this case, the footrest that folded out of the seat was pretty tattered.
There is not much privacy at all on these since there’s no suite or privacy shield to block the views of your neighbors. However, since I didn’t have a passenger next to me, the seat felt very private and I didn’t have any complaints in that department.
Seat features (controls, storage)
The seat controls are on the armrest and were pretty responsive. When I fly on these dated products, I pretty much go in half expecting the seat controls to not work properly but everything was in order, as shown by the photos above.
There also is no storage with these seats. You’ve got some counter space but you have to share that and there’s no compartment to place other belongings (aside from literature slots). I had things spread out on the seat next to me so it’s not an ideal work station.
The tray table comes out of the side of the seat, under the middle armrest.
Thai Airways business class amenity kit & headphones
The seats came with a blanket and pillow but no amenity kit which is understandable for it being such a short flight of under four hours. However, they did issue headphones.
These were lower quality headphones. I’m usually not that observant when it comes to audio quality but I immediately noticed quality drop. These were not on par with the AKG headphones issued in the Thai A350.
Thai 777-200 business class IFE
In-flight entertainment was a major miss on this flight. There’s no touch screens so you’ll control the IFE with a controller that is stowed in the side of your seat. This controller was not very responsive and there was an 8 to 12 second delay for any button I hit.
The screens on the aircraft were 10.4-inch AVOD screen and were seriously outdated.
The movie selection wasn’t bad, though. I had decided to get into the Creed movies on my EVA flight and really enjoyed the first Creed. So I needed to know what happened to Adonis and I decided to watch Creed II on this flight, which I later regretted. Not because the movie was bad but because I could barely make out what was happening on the screen due to the horrible glare and bad picture quality. I thought about switching seats but I’d already made it through half the movie and just said screw it. The A350 screens were lightyears ahead of this.
Thai 777 business class take-off experience
The crew was pretty good about coming around and offering drinks to begin the flight. I ended up going with some orange juice and then some sparkling water (which was on the warm side).
As we took off from rainy Taipei, I got a couple of shots on the way up but the rain was relentless.
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Thai 777 business class dining
I really didn’t expect much on this flight in terms of dining but I definitely wanted to try it out for the sake of reporting.
The first dish consisted of a small fruit arrangement, a couple of rolls and a croissant, and bircher muesli (also known as Swiss Oatmeal). The fruit was fresh, bread pretty good, and the bircher muesli was interesting. I wasn’t in the mood for such a heavy dish like that but had I been, I could’ve seen myself enjoying it.
For the main, I went with the spinach omelette which wasn’t that bad but I didn’t care for much else on the plate such as the chicken sausage, hash brown, or asparagus. It wasn’t the worst meal I’ve had on a plane but nothing that I would be interested in trying again.
Thai 777 business class service
I thought service was where it should be on a flight like this. I didn’t notice any shortcomings and I thought that the crew did a good job at being attentive and warm. I guess you could say they did a good job of working with what they had given the old 777 were in. On my next flight, service would also be pretty good (for the most part) so I feel like Thai does a pretty good job overall.
Thai Airways 777-200 lavatory
The lavatory is pretty basic but I did like the nice touch of the orchids.
Arriving at BKK
After so much rain in Taipei it was refreshing to see the sky open up again as we approached Taipei!
After landing, it was time to make my way through connections and then get ready for the Thai A350, which was wayyyy more of an impressive product, which you can read about.
Overall, the Thai 777-200 was very dated. I would not want to be on this plane for a long-haul flight because the angle-flat seat would get old as I tried to sleep and the IFE experience would be frustrating due to poor screen quality. For the four flight to BKK, this wasn’t that bad though, and I didn’t have any major complaints (given what I was flying on).
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.