Review: Thai Airways B747-4, Phuket – Bangkok

Sometimes, older is often better. Our domestic flight in Thailand was on an older Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The flight was just over an hour. This older equipment offered comfortable seating and was an “old school” way of getting around Thailand. I enjoyed every minute of it and it was a fun experience for such a short flight.

This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Thai Airways, Boeing 747-400, Phuket – Bangkok

After our time in the Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge Phuket, we wandered down to the gate.

There is nothing like airports in Thailand where they have reserved seating for monks. This turned out to be a frequent sighting in our travels through Thai airports and something that I haven’t ever seen anywhere else in the world.

Off Duty Monks

As in Shanghai, the boarding process on Thai again involved the display of a small computer printed board behind a white plexi glass display placard. There was no Vanna White walk this time though… As soon as the gate agents hold it up – almost like an auctioneer holding up the item number, there was the immediate stampede of a few followed by the stampede of many follow. 

Like many other Asian boarding processes, we squished our way on. The boarding took a bit of time as there were a lot of passengers to board, given the equipment type. The plane was double boarded with other international connecting passengers also boarding the plane via the international departures (immigration cleared) but using the same jetway. The international passengers were marked with stickers on their sweaters. 

Thai Airways
HKT-BKK (Phuket International Airport – Bangkok Survarnabhumi Airport)
TG 202 – Economy Class (Y)
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
May 13, 2012
Booked: Boeing 747-400
Flown: Boeing 747-400

Watching the world board, we noticed that that there was no one seated upstairs in the business class cabin. Peeking through the front, we were seated on the Domestic 747 aircraft, with the old business and old first with the two adjoining recliner seats. I did catch a glimpse of a few people seated together in F and J up front – despite this leg being sold as a two class aircraft. 

On Board a Thai Airways Boeing 747 Domestic:

I learned on this flight that newer equipment is not always better. I personally found the legroom on the Boeing 747 fabulous and that the old equipment was a neat experience as compared to our flight out on the Boeing 777. The legroom was exceptional on these “Recaro” seats. The trade off of more legroom and personal space in economy without in seat AVOD was preferable to that of lessor legroom of that of the 777-200 with AVOD. A flight map complimented the journey from the main screen maps. I’d pick this equipment type over the 777-200 any day for the extra room. 

Thai Airways Boeing 747 Domestic Seating
Recaro Seating

The Meal: An In Flight Snack

The in flight meal was another little snack, this time in the shape of a bun-wich. 

Thai Airways Domestic Mid Flight Snack

After a short hop, we were back at Survarnabhumi and the cool purple of Thai aircraft about the apron. The international passengers with their stickers were rounded up immediately outside the gate;with ground staff doing the searching for them. 

After a quick one hour cab ride through some immense South East Asian thundershowers, street flooding and rain, we checked in at the New Le Meridien Bangkok. The ride was 450 Baht with the airport surcharge and a “tip”.


The Thai Airways flight on the Domestic Boeing 747 was a pretty neat experience. It’s one of the older planes and a relic at that. Despite it being an older experience, it was also about ten times more comfortable thanks to the extra personal space it provided. Any day that you can fly on a wide body Boeing 747 over a narrow body Airbus 320 or a Boeing 737 is fine by me. This day was no exception.

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