Thai Airways Airbus A330 Economy Class – First Impressions

Sawatdee khap from Bangkok! While it’s been a year and ~15 flights away, I’m happy to be back in Thailand. Last time in Phuket, I tried out Thai’s business class, so naturally I was excited to check out the back of the aircraft as well.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Old Economy Class

I knew that Thai had a few types of economy class seats though decided not to look into it too much (after all, I was thinking of going into the flight “blind” all until I realised we were taking Thai and not Cathay Pacific, so I still wanted to keep the suspense to some degree). So I was pretty bouncy lining up for departure on the flight and was somehow looking forward to it.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seat

Thai Airways’ economy class seat is damn slick. It’s not the most well padded in the world (that title still goes to Cathay Pacific/Dragonair), but the cabin colour scheme and the nooks and crannies on the seat are pretty much awesome. Each seat featured a pillow and a blanket, both of which were bigger than you’d normally expect in economy or even domestic business class.

While the old economy seats on Thai are pretty basic, these seats (the same as the A380 seats) look really good on an airplane cabin. Add that to the fact that the sub-4 year old aircraft is basically immaculate, and the whole experience feels modern.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seats

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

Apart from a USB port, there’s also a little nook which could store a phone (it could’ve been a little deeper, but worked for both my iPhone and my seatmate Dex’s Samsung). There was also a coat nook by the side of the seat.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seat Panel

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had an economy seat with a footrest, but Thai is one of them. While the footrest wasn’t adjustable, it was a nice touch, and worked for me (Dex is twice my size, so his legs were too long for the footrest – while I liked it, it could have been thought more upon, such as getting adjustable “bike pedal” legrests which surely couldn’t cost a lot more).

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Footrest

Legroom isn’t industry leading, but the seats are pretty slim, so even at 32″ Dex and I felt the extra room at the front of our legs. There are a few pockets down there – the obligatory seat pocket, and two more pockets which I found handy sometimes for smaller files – the flight was basically a huge work period.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Legroom

There was adequate recline, which I appreciated. It didn’t have the “cradle” effect, though, so reclining just takes up the space of the person behind you.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Reclined Seat vs. Non-Reclined Seat

Lastly, I also found the tray table really sleek. Most airlines just leave it in the colour it came in, so this came as an “expensive-feeling” surprise.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Tray Table

Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Headphones

Thai has okay headphones for economy class. Not that I’m sure what bad economy headphones are defined as, but these worked, and my ears didn’t scream after twenty seconds.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Headphones

Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Bathrooms

Economy class has one of those slick new Airbus bathrooms, which come with faux wood floors. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not – while it looks fancy, wet wood really creeps people out.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Bathroom

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Bathroom

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Bathroom

Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Meals

While business class has more-than-acceptable meals, I wasn’t looking forward to the economy meal experience. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was fine. I had a fish dish with chilli black bean sauce, and it was really flavourful, yet not way too spicy. However, I don’t like black bean – I just liked chilli and black bean rice more than curry rice, which were the only two things on offer.

The meal came with a divine mango sago pudding, though, which I enjoyed.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Sautéed Basa Fish Fillet in Black Bean Chili Sauce with Steamed Thai Hom Mali Rice, Stir-Fried Chinese Cabbage and Dried Bean Curd

Thai Airways AIrbus A330-300 Economy Class Service

Thai’s service mentality is good. I mean, only like the most top airlines in the class, they have hot towels in economy, and even though they looked like heated antiseptics to me, I still enjoyed the experience.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Hot Towel

As for the crew, I don’t know what to say about them. They were very courteous, and smiled whenever I talked to them, and when I gave my pen back after filling out my landing card, they said I could keep the pen. Also, when someone stood up when we were taking off, the flight attendant stood up, got as close to the guy as he could and said in a soft-ish voice, “sit down please, sir, sit down please”, which seemed like the smartest way he could do it. But when I needed a pen to fill out my landing form in the middle of the flight, I pushed the call button. A male flight attendant walking by pushed off the call button, then disappeared behind the galley before I said anything – what?

I guess I have the right to say it was well intentioned but poorly executed service, but I take that as a fluke and won’t just yet.

Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Wifi

I mean, I wasn’t expecting to pay for it, but…

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Bottom Line

Thai has a pretty impressive service and product for economy class, especially with these newer seats. They have some touches normally only seen in premium economy (or airlines priced at premium economy, like Singapore Airlines), such as legrests and hot towels. Their service is good, but, especially with the call button incident, not amazing.

Overall, it was one of the better flights I’ve taken (and not just this year…duh). While the WiFi didn’t work, I half-expected that anyway. I was able to get lots of work done on the flight, have a pretty tasty meal, sleep for half an hour and wake up to this –

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

All in all, I find Thai an awesome way to fly for a three hour flight, and being guaranteed their new seats may even try to fly them on longer economy flights in the future.

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