With so much comfort and entertainment, you’ll be almost sorry when it’s time to disembark
At any one time, hundreds of thousands of us are hurtling through the air in metal tubes, swapping one part of the planet for another. Now that air travel is run of the mill, airlines are constantly vying to provide an experience that is anything but commonplace, especially for the passengers who turn left at the first plane door.
Thailand, with its famed reputation for graceful hospitality, is surging ahead in the race with its award-winning national carrier, which in July collected two more honours: the prestigious Skytrax Award for The World’s Most Improved Airline and The Best Spa Lounge.
Thai Airways’ flights from Singapore to Paris operate daily, and first-class passengers can start with a relaxing visit to the Royal Orchid Lounge in Changi Airport, where there are food and snacks to enjoy while awaiting the flight. Watch TV, browse newspapers and magazines or wind down in a massage chair. For those who need to work, there is Wi-Fi, computers and fax facilities. Phones are available for both local calls (which are free) and long-distance calls.
The Paris flight transits in Bangkok, but one could spend an entire day luxuriating in the facilities at the 1,400-sqm Royal First Lounge, which is open from 5am to 1am. In addition to a Wi-Fi area with computers and a first-class check-in facility, it includes VIP rooms, private corners and an a-la-carte dining room. There are even slumber rooms should one’s schedule need them.
And the spa lounge? In the First Class Zone, passengers can enjoy a 30-minute neck and shoulder massage, foot massage, a 60-minute Royal Thai Massage by experts using acupressure techniques, or the Thai-style Touch of Silk full-body oil massage. There are also steam rooms, saunas and shower rooms. What could be better preparation for the flight ahead?
On board the 12-seat first-class section of the Airbus A380-800, the hospitality continues with a warm Sawasdee welcome in a decor of golds and browns with sumptuous fabrics that reflect Thailand’s cultural heritage. Each traveller enjoys a semi-private area with a leather seat that can be converted into a flat bed. At meal times, or for finalising that business presentation, a large dining-cum-work surface is at hand, complete with a 110 VAC PC power outlet. Wi-Fi connection is also available for a service fee.
When it’s time to relax, tune in to a choice of some 130 newly released and classic movies, 300 TV programmes and 500 music CDs. No, there won’t be time to catch more than a few, but there’s always the return flight. And for those who want to exercise their grey matter, there’s a variety of games and special features on the interactive flat-screen monitor.
Many an airline is judged on its food and Thai Airways’ restaurant in the sky is a gourmet journey in itself. It starts with a flute of vintage champagne, a glass of fine wine, cocktail or non-alcoholic drink, followed by the Thai Airways tradition of serving fine caviar. The meal proper opens with an amuse bouche, followed by a choice of light soups and salads and an array of mains, after which is a cheese course served with fruits and, finally, dessert. A selection of wines and spirits are served throughout the meal, and you may request for wine pairings to go with each dish. On flights departing from Bangkok, meals can be pre-ordered to cater to specific tastes and dietary requirements.
Thai Airways is holding a promotion from now until 31 August 2016. Simply book your tickets, and travel out of Singapore by 31 December 2016. Prices for an all-in trip to Paris on Business class starts from S$4,671.