Flight Test: Thai Airways

Thai Airways flight attendants.
Thai Airways flight attendants. 

Route Melbourne to Bangkok.

Aircraft Boeing 777-200.

Class Economy, seat 59B.

Flight time 9hr, 30mins.

Seat width and pitch Seat pitch and width: 34-inch pitch, 18 inches wide.

Seat configuration 3-3-3.

Luggage One carry-on bag up to 7kg plus one personal item. Checked baggage up to 20 kg in economy class.

Comfort As good as you'll get in economy class, despite the garish colour scheme. The generous 34-inch pitch may only be an inch or two than some other airlines' economy seats (and some other Thai aircraft offer only 32 inches), but you do feel the difference - even in a middle seat. My 185cm frame fits in nicely and I can stretch my legs beneath the seat in front. Shorter passengers may bemoan the lack of footrest, but it's a benefit for me as, when folded up, footrests normally dig into my shins. The 777s have high ceilings, big overhead bins and feel spacious, especially at the back of the plane. On my return flight, over night, I sleep most of the way - one of the first times I've ever been able to do so in economy class. The blanket and pillow, both of which feel more substantial than some economy offerings, also help.

Entertainment Good selection of recent and older films, with a reasonable offering of TV shows and a large seatback screen. Unfortunately, my system and those of my neighbours don't work properly - the picture distorts and the sound pops and drops out every 10 seconds, making it almost unwatchable. A reset fails to fix the problem. I choose to watch films I've already seen to make up for the regular gaps in the dialogue. The era of BYO entertainment via tablet computers beckons.

Service The crew have a good reputation but don't quite live up to it on this flight. No one shows up when I press the call button, and my second meal is unceremoniously dumped on my tray table without a word from the attendant (there is only one option for the second meal, so I guess there was no need to ask about choices). Our row has finished our meals well before we're offered something to drink with them.

Food and beverages Meals are served with metal cutlery - a rarity in economy in this era of security paranoia. The chicken curry is perfectly palatable, as are the stir fried prawns with noodles in the second meal serving. The fresh fruits served with the meals are bursting with flavour.

Flight frequency Thai Airways flies to Bangkok twice daily from Melbourne, 12 times a week from Sydney. Economy class return from from Melbourne costs $895 and from Sydney $913.

Online thaiairways.com.au

Tested by Craig Platt, who flew courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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