We were approached in the lounge and introduced to our escort who would take us through security and to our flight. The Hong Kong flight was close-in, so no golf cart today. Instead, a short walk to the flight.
We boarded and were immediately offered some pre-departure champagne. Thai was serving the ’99 Bollinger, I had been expecting some 2000 Dom Perignon but Bollinger is still a respectable bottle. I assumed this was just for the Hong Kong flight, but some colleagues subsequently flew Beijing-Bangkok-Shanghai in Thai first and had the Bollinger on both segments, so perhaps this is provisioned for intra-Asian first these days.
The ‘new’ Thai First seat is nice, certainly an improvement over their old first class (beware the dreaded Thai aircraft swap!) but there’s no privacy to it at all. Perfectly nice for a short day-time flight intra-Asia, but not really world standard for long-haul.
Still, the seat is stylish and the tray large. And the ground experience makes up for anything Thai lacks in the air. I was so relaxed from my massage that I could have been downgraded to business and I wouldn’t have cared.
The lavatory has a window and is well-provisioned, though isn’t oversized as one finds in the latest first class products.
I was a little bit concerned about my connecting flight on Asiana. I had no boarding passes, and the flight had been downgraded from a 747 to a 767 and business was zeroed out. Was there some risk I would be downgraded for the Hong Kong – Seoul segment? Normally the prospect would have had me on edge, but relaxed as I was post-massage and sipping on Bollinger it was more a curiosity about how the rest of the flying day would unfold rather than a sense of dread…
A second glass of Bollinger was offered, because our flight was going to be briefly delayed – 25 minutes ultimately while they searched for and offloaded a checked bag that belonged to a passenger who had checked in but didn’t board.
Menus were distributed, a standard wine list but breakfast of course. The menus listed food for both the Bangkok – Hong Kong flight and the continuing segment on to Taipei.
It’s really rare that I’ll be a fan of breakfast offerings on planes, and since Thai Airways’ food usually is a bit off of my liking I decided to pre-order the Lobster Thermidor. Thai Airways first class offers a pre-order menu, it doesn’t vary by meal, so the Lobster Thermidor seemed like a decent enough brunch offering for the 2.5 hour 8am departure. (Candidly the lobster thermidor ex-SIN in short-haul business is more flavorful, though not as artfully presented.) mrs. gleff pre-ordered the Fish Chu-chee, which she enjoyed.
We arrived about 20 minutes late, just after noon, giving us about an hour ten minutes to make our connection. At Hong Kong not a huge deal, even arriving at the distant Thai gates and departing from the close-in Asiana ones. Still, having to pickup boarding passes on the other end of the airport, and clearing transit security, there was a chance things could be tight.
Fortunately, Hong Kong is Thai Airways’ second best airport for ground services. In addition to the above-average lounge they also provide meet-and-greet service. When we deplaned there was a waiting golf cart. Most of the passengers were continuing on to Taipei, but there was one passenger terminating in Hong Kong and the two of us connecting on to Seoul.