Thursday, 9 August 2012

My mission: To fly on Thai's A340-600 Part 1 (Airbus A330 ride)

Welcome to my trip report on Thai Airways to Bangkok!




Introduction

My target for this trip was to fly the A340-600. Did I get it? Read on to find out! 

Meanwhile, this is my return sector.


Thai's A340-600


When TG had sales during this period on SIN-BKK sector, I decided to book it, as the discounted ticket allowed me to fly on TG413/414 which was operated by A340-600. Once I set the dates, I paid S$294(US$232)for the return tickets. Even though the price was more expensive than flying on LCC, it was worth it, especially flying on a type that you want to add into your flight logbook. I had already flown once on the A340-600 with Etihad, but that was not enough.

The problem with flying on Thai Airways is that the airline is well-known for changing equipment at the very last minute. This term is known as "TGed" among the enthusiasts. For example: "Charles, have you been TGed?" (meaning the aircraft that you want to fly on has been changed to others at the last minute.)Anyway,the last time I flew with Thai Airways was on SIN to Shanghai via Bangkok on 772 and 333 in the old livery and cabin, how much have they changed? I was about to find out.

Booking online

The website itself is mediocre.I had a hard time trying to change my flight seats. Tried using Chrome then IE, didn't work for me. I keep trying until a few days later! I find it pretty strange that selecting of seats are limited, I was only allowed to choose the last few rows of seats on the aircraft as my ticket was of a special fare. Well, at least better than paying for the seats.









I dislike it when someone has to choose the seat besides me when there are other empty row of seats! I tried to change my seat but the website doesn't allow me to.

Mobile website



Thai's mobile website is simple, nothing much to shout about. Choosing the seats, you have key in the number, rather than clicking on the box which is more convenient if you ask me. The good thing about this application which is the most important is no problem with it and allows you to change your seats unlike the website itself.

Some improvements can be done to make it a more user-friendly application for Iphone and Android users, that is to make the boxes click-able for selection and store the 6-digit ticket reservation code into the system, this will definitely save time especially if you can't remember the numbers.

The journey

I had a good sleep the night before, waking up, looking forward to my flight experience with Thai. I did a quick check to see which Airbus A340-600 would I be flying on. However, I was flabbergasted to find out that I would be flying on TG's A330-300 old cabin (no ptv), HS-TEG instead. I had just been "TGed"! Took me a while to get over the disappointment, well there was at least the return flight to turn to.

The in-bound flight from Bangkok, TG413.



I went to the airport to check-in, get my boarding pass and meet up with Daniel Lim, another aviation enthusiast in Singapore.







After the short but enjoyable lunch with him, I went to the air side to take some photos.



Not before long after, I headed to the gate D46 where my aircraft was parking.




My ride, being prepared for her flight back to Bangkok.





                          Photos of HS-TEG taken from airliners.net




Carrier: Thai Airways
Flight number: 414
Date: 7th August 2012
Routing: SIN-BKK
Singapore Changi Airport terminal 1
Seat number: 51A
Aircraft type: Airbus A330-321 (Equipment change) Scheduled aircraft: A340-600
Engine type: 2X PW4164 engines
Configuration: C42Y263
My 7th ride on this aircraft type and 3rd airline to have flown on
1st time on HS-TEG
Line number: 112
Plane delivered: 12th October 1995
Registration: HS-TEG
Flight duration: 2 hours 5 minutes
Schedule departure time: 1555
Actual departure time: 1558
Schedule arrival time: 1715
Actual arrival time: 1700
FL: 390
Load factor for Y class: 90%
Departure gate: D46
Arrival gate: C3
Departure runway: 20C
Arrival runway: 19R

I was still feeling disappointed that the aircraft was changed to the old configured A330, had a sudden thought of changing the flight to the following day, but in the end I chose to just continue with the trip. Besides, my outbound may not allow changes since this ticket was a discounted one.

Soon, boarding started and I made my way down the aero bridge and to my row near the back of the aircraft. Looking at the number of empty seats, there were very few left indeed. Comparing the A340-600 and A330-300's economy class, the latter can hold more Y class passengers that's why I think the aircraft change was done. My feeling was the loads which probably decide the aircraft type for that day.

The cabin photos of Thai's Airbus A330-300 Old cabin


The seat pitch is pretty tight and the seat is a bit hard, but its bearable for 2 hours. The lack of PTVs may be a concern for some especially on flights for more than 4 hours. I can live without PTV, thanks to the existence of Ipad or laptops.






The different colour seats are actually quite attractive, the cabin may look tired but its cleaned and well maintained by the airline.













If you are scheduled to fly on the A330 of TG, avoid the code 'A330-300' as this is the old cabin, the newer ones are nicer from what I heard. The codes are 'Airbus 330' or '33H'. Its quite confusing but after a while you will get it. The older A330s are powered by PW, while the newer ones are powered by Roll Royce Trent 700 engines, this is also another difference. Personally, I feel that the Roll Royce has done a great job on the A330s, my preferred engine choice for this aircraft type.

                            Thai's A330 with Pratt and Whitney engines



                                   Thai's A330 with Roll Royce engines



                 Can you see the difference between the engines?


What's inside the seat pocket?













This is the only source of entertainment, unless you have your own Ipad or gadgets to play with.For a two-hour flight, its not too bad. However, considering the price you are paying, you deserve much better than this. Well, its all depends on one's luck what aircraft is being assigned to that route. TG's plan is to have the new aircraft on order to be installed with IFE and will eventually replace the older aircraft without AVOD, this time take time though.


In-flight meal




Thai's sweet and sour chicken! At that point of time, I was so hungry that I ate the whole meal quickly, I think it was a personal record. In terms of taste,it didn't taste too bad but certainly not the best in-flight meal. I would give it a rating of 6/10.

                                             Photos: From SIN to BKK. 


































In-flight service

Now, this is the part which I was quite disappointed to be honest. The lack of smiles and service from the crews were shocking! While making my way to my seat from the entrance of the door, the crews were standing there looking like they wished to be somewhere else. No eye contact or smile from most of them. However, these remaining few were alright but they were serving in another section of the cabin. During meal service, this particular crew gave me a scary stare which I found it to be intimidating and I had to ask her what choices do I have for my meal, not the other way round! Grumpy crew like this should just look for another job. One of the worst batch of crews I have faced so far at least for this year, without doubt. After the flight, I was glad to be off the plane. Initially, I wanted to ask for a cockpit visit, but i decided not to.

Ratings: 3/10


In-flight experience

I have to say that the first half of the flight was quite turbulent. The in-flight service only started after half an hour of the flight, leaving the crews only an hour and a half to get their work done. Anyway, I was feeling kind of nervous especially with the up and down drifts that happened while passing through some nasty clouds! What comforted me was the sound of the engines and the strong wings which are built to withstand such forces. The Captain didn't mention anything about this nasty turbulence. Fortunately for us, after crossing the halfway mark, the weather improved and the ride wasn't too bad and landing in BKK was pretty smooth.




Videos of take-off and landing

Don't mind the poor quality and the shakes of the camera due to wind conditions shaking the aircraft.






Conclusion

I was deeply disappointed to get HS-TEG for my ride to Bangkok. The previous day, this flight was also operated by this same aircraft and was shocked to see the aircraft operating on this route again. Secondly, the service on board was definitely not what I expected from this airline, shockingly bad I must say. Lastly, we had to go through quite a bit of rough ride, didn't exactly enjoyed it but the good thing was we landed early. Turbulence part is definitely nothing to do with the airline, just mentioning how I feel about the experience. Overall, this flight depresses me. Will I be disappointed again on my return flight? Check out my next trip report coming up shortly.

Rating:

Service: 3/10
Food: 6/10
Aircraft: 9/10
Cleanliness : 9/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Comfort: 6/10

Overall: 43/60

Thank you for reading my trip report.



Best Regards,
Charles 

3 comments:

  1. Which app do you use to track the tail no. of the inbound flight?

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  2. Thai Airways Flights Booking USA-Thai Airways is the national carrier of the Thailand. The airline was formed as a joint venture between Thai Airways Company (TAC) and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). First flight of this airlines was start in the year 1960 that flights were inaugurated from Bangkok to 9 overseas destinations, all within Asia. The launch of intercontinental services took place in 1971 to Australia, followed by flights to Europe in 1972, and to North America in 1980.

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