Finally, after months of anticipation, we were only moments away from flying on the Airbus A380 – the largest passenger plane in the world!
In the past, I’ve flown on the Airbus A380 once, but in Singapore Business Class. Although not in 1st Class, it was still an awesome experience sitting on the upper deck on this massive jumbo plane. And since then, I’ve been dreaming of flying this big bird again, but in 1st Class.
So naturally, as we were riding on the golf cart to the gate, I was giggling away like a little girl, because I knew soon enough, we would be royally spoiled on this flight to Frankfurt!
- An “Around-The-World-Travel-Hacking” Extravaganza!
- ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Business Class (SJC-NRT)
- Thai Royal First Lounge + Royal Orchid Spa (Bangkok)
- Thai Airbus A380 – 1st Class (BKK-FRA)
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
- Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i – 1st Class (FRA-IAD)
Route: Bangkok (BKK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Date: Saturday August 23th, 2014
Depart: 11:45 pm
Arrive: 6:00am +1 Day
Duration: 11hr 15min
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Cabin: 1st Class (Royal First)
The 1st Class cabin consisted of 12 seats in a 1-2-1 seat configuration. And in the travel hacking world, Thai is known to be very generous with the amount of 1st Class award seats it releases. As a result, I was able to reserve seats 1E and 1F, which are the middle seats in the very first row.
The middle seats on the A380 are perfect for travelers with a companion. They are designed so that conversation is very easy, and as you can see in the picture above, FIF and I had an awesome time toasting each other for 11hrs!
The cabin also featured a lounge area, which was located in front of the plane, next to the bar.
The width of the 1st Class seat measures 26.5″ across, which is plenty wide for me! And more importantly, the fabric was soft, comfy, and a joy to sit/lounge/sleep/eat during the entire flight. Well done Thai!
Once seated you will find:
- Two pillows (Soft and Firm)
- Pair of slippers
- Amenity kit
- Noise cancelling earphones
- Bed pad
Below are the seat controls, and you can pretty much adjust anything that you want, even lumbar support!
Now here is where the larger size of the A380 really shined! Because the 1st Class lavatory was H-U-G-E. As soon as I entered into the lavatory, I was greeted by this large sitting area, and fancy purple lighting!
Unlike other aircraft’s, the A380 had plenty of space for me to change into my fancy 1st Class pajamas 😉
Pretty stylish, don’t you think???
Unfortunately, the toilet didn’t have an automatic toilet flush like on ANA, so you still had to manually lift the toilet seat…bummer.
But the sink did have the automatic faucets, which I love!
All lavatories should have these touch free faucets installed.
Once we were seated on the plane, the flight attendant (FA) offered us a glass of Champagne. I was curious to know which Champagne was being served, and politely asked the FA. Moments later, he came back with this bottle – Dom Perignon!
Now prior to this flight, I had never sampled Dom Perignon Champagne before. And after trying a bottle, all I can say is, WOW, this stuff is really that GOOD! The flavor was intense and crisp, but not too heavy or bubbly. Simply perfect!
For reference, the current release of Dom Perignon is from the 2004 vintage, and it is highly regarded as a much better year than the 2003. The retail price is typically ~$150, and luckily for us, Thai served the 2004 on this flight!
Next up, was the Caviar! Now I have to admit, Caviar is not something I eat on a regular basis. In fact, the only few times I’ve tried Caviar have been on 1st Class flights! It’s crazy to believe, but I’ve never had Caviar in a restaurant before, only up in the sky.
The flight attendant made my plate with White Sturgeon Caviar, and with the usual garnishes; egg yolk, egg white, onion, and sour cream. I always have a fun time trying to pretend I know how to eat Caviar, but in reality, I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing!
However, I do find that I enjoy it the most with just a little bit of onion. Oh, and with a glass of Dom, of course!
Next, the starters:
- Mille Feuille of Avocado and Potatoes
- Duck Liver Ganache
- Tiger Prawn Salad Thai Style
I wasn’t really expecting to have avocado or ganache on a Thai flight, but they were both really good! The prawns however, were kinda bland, and nothing really special.
And for the main course:
- Lobster Thermidor
LOBSTER THERMIDOR WITH DUCHESS POTATO DISH OF LOBSTER MEAT COOKED IN BERCY SAUCE MIXED WITH MUSTARD AND MORNAY SAUCE SPRINKLED WITH CHEESE ARRANGED IN LOBSTER SHELL AND GLAZED., SERVED WITH DUCHESS POTATO.
What! Lobster on a plane??? How is this even possible?
Well, let me give you some background on how I discovered this wonderful dish. Prior to this flight, I learned from a fellow blogger that Thai has a “Chef on Call” service. Basically, you can pre-order your meal in advance from over 40 different selections, and each dish will be prepared by a Thai master chef. However, there are two requirements that must be met before you can use this elite service.
- You must be a Royal 1st Class passenger
- You must depart from Bangkok
Thankfully, we met both requirements, and I was able to choose our meal online, on Thai’s website.
After doing some research, I learned one of the signature dishes from the “Chef on Call” service was the Lobster Thermidor, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it! The lobster didn’t disappoint, and was probably the best meal I’ve ever had on a plane. I really wish you could taste the picture below!
I was so STUFFED after the lobster that I couldn’t even attempt to take on dessert. Next time, I really need to pace myself better in the lounge!
And when breakfast rolled around, I still couldn’t work up an appetite, so I just went with the pancakes since they were drizzled with chocolate.
After stuffing our bellies full of amazing food, it was time to get some shut eye. So up I went to the lavatory to change into my pajamas, and when I returned, look what I found!
Needless to say, the bed was a complete joy to sleep in:
- The pillows were large, and not the tiny travel size ones
- The comforter and bed pad were both warm and comfy
- And there was plenty of room to toss and turn
Overall, the Thai Royal 1st Class experience was unbelievable. More specifically, the ground service in Bangkok really separated Thai from all other airlines. I mean seriously, what other airline in the world offers golf cart rides, massages, and gourmet meals in one place? However, although the ground service was remarkable, the air service wasn’t nearly as good.
Well, if compared to Cathay and Singapore, the service on Thia isn’t as polished and attentive.
For example, it’s common for the Purser to introduce himself/herself before the flight, and to welcome you by name. Unfortunately, I never received this on Thai, and to be honest, it certainly isn’t the end of the world, but it’s the little things that make a lasting impression.
Another example is that on Cathay and Singapore, the flight attendants will kneel in front of you when talking. They are trained to engage customers at the same eye level during conversation, and it really adds a nice personal touch.
Finally, Singapore flight attendants are trained to anticipate a passengers need. So if you’re licking your lips like you need some water, and without having to ask, a flight attendant will magically bring you one. And when you wake up after a nap, a flight attendant will automatically appear, and ask if you would like any water or food. Again, it’s the small gestures that make the service more personal and memorable.
Now don’t get me wrong, the flight attendants were all very friendly, but they just didn’t provide that personal service that other airlines strive to deliver.
I’m probably just nit picking too much, as I was secretly hoping the air service was going to excel the phenomenal ground service in Bangkok. But when compared to other airlines, Thai’s inflight service was simply lacking. In the end, I didn’t pay very much for this flight, and the service blows away anything United or American Airlines has to offer, so I’m still all smiles =)
Through the years, travel hacking has given me many special memories, and this time around, I’m truly grateful to have shared this once-in-a-lifetime experience with my brother, FIF!