Review: Thai Airways 629 Hong Kong to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

Introduction
Thai Airways 629 A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
Dusit Princess Srinakarin Bangkok
Thai Airways 638 A330-300 Economy Class Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Hong Kong


From the school, the nine of us headed on a 61-seater bus to the airport. It was fun, and we spread out around the bus. We made our way to Terminal 1 but then realised we were at the wrong terminal (stupid mistake as I knew that before, having taken Thai Airways before). We made our way to Terminal 2, and without any luggage with me, I was through in a couple of minutes.

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Hong Kong Airport Terminal 2

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Thai Airways Check-in Counter Hong Kong Airport

I assigned myself a window seat but gladly switched with Dex as I’d most likely be moving around or working throughout the flight.

While I was very surprised to how long the immigration queues were, we eventually got through and got on the (crowded) train back to Terminal 1, where all the gates are situated. While I really wanted a flight out of the midfield terminal, no such luck, as we got Thai’s “default” gate at Hong Kong Airport, gate 40 (right below the Thai lounge).

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Chinese New Year Decorations Hong Kong Airport

I had lunch at Pizza Express overlooking a Singapore Airlines A380.

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

I saw a few aircraft along the gates while plane spotting, including an American Airlines 777-300ER, a Dragonair A330, two Cathay Pacific A340s (I didn’t realise so many of the routes were still flown) and an El Al 777-200.

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American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

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Dragonair Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Hong Kong Airport

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El Al Boeing 777-200 Hong Kong Airport

Our bird was deplaning at the gate after its ride from Seoul Incheon. While I’ve been on quite a few A330s throughout the last few years, it’s been more than half a year since my last one, so it was pretty nice to get another A330 after a while. I like A330s, they look sleek and the 2-4-2 configuration in economy is pretty handy, compared to a 3-3-3 configuration – just don’t give me eleven A330s in a row.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

I sat down and got a few notes clipped onto Evernote so I could work on them inflight. My friends sat down and played Uno for the rest of the waiting time.

Boarding started on time at 14:20, and economy class passengers gradually made a line. An agent came and took all the transit tickets of those going all the way from Seoul Incheon. One of my friends was at the toilet when boarding was called, so naturally we were among the last onboard.

Thai Airways Flight 629
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 40 Dep: 15:00 (15:10)
Destination: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Gate: E6 Arr: 16:45
 (16:50)
Duration: 2 hr 45 min (2 hr 40 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 53B (Economy Class)

The seatmap of Thai’s A330 is as follows:

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seatmap

While the front cabin is almost always blocked entirely or given with an extra charge, I secured seats in a row along the back cabin. While I had better luck securing seats for everyone on the return flight, the only window pairs available on Thai were pretty far apart, so I just took up row 53.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class

While Thai has quite a few seating styles, the sub-four-year-old aircraft featured red and purple tones with pretty complex seatbacks. As far as I know, HS-TEJ to HS-TEP feature Thai’s older economy class product, HS-TEQ to HS-TES feature a different economy class seatback, HS-TET, HS-TEU and HS-TBA to HS-TBC feature the same economy class product as our flight except with the older colours, and HS-TBD to HS-TBG featured our economy class product. The plane, HS-TBD, was the first aircraft with this exact A330 product, and it was pretty much flawless.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

Both Dex and I were surprised by the amount of legroom. While 32 inches isn’t a lot, the seats were really slim, which helped.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Legroom

The seat panels were really complex, as noted. In addition to the screen and the remote, it featured a cupholder, a double-fold table, a USB port and a little recess where presumably you could fit a phone (though both Dex and I found our phones half-dangling and angled towards us).

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class USB Port

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seatback

Each seat featured a footrest, which is disappearing nowadays. While you probably can’t use it if you’re over 6′, at a mere 5’6″ I could use it pretty easily.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Footrest

The seat was really well maintained, too, and the only noticeable wear and tear was on the remote, which was mildly cracked.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Remote Control

We were given headphones, which were standard economy headphones. They didn’t kill but didn’t stand out either, as with normal economy headphones – however, the ear cushions had to be slotted in ourselves, which were a bit of a pain, and something I haven’t seen on other economy flights.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Headphones

We looked out the window, but there really wasn’t anything interesting.

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View Out Of Window Hong Kong Airport

After a while, the cabin filled up, and the safety video played. The video is as follows (this one’s for the A380 but the A330 video was very similar):

Thai Airways Airbus A380-800 Safety Video

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Safety Video

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Safety Video

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Safety Video

The entertainment system turned on after the safety video. I had a quick browse then turned on the airshow, as is the norm for myself nowadays.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Entertainment

There was an extensive range of movies and TV shows though usually I plan to relax/work on a flight, so didn’t watch anything.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Entertainment Selection

I did have a look at the menu. Thai did away with paper menus and went with digital menus – it’s a smart idea, but no one realised the menu was on the entertainment system, so just ended up going with what the flight attendants said they had.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Menu

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Menu

I then turned on the entertainment system. Thai has a quadrillion views of how to see the aircraft – though a nose camera isn’t one of them. Some of them are fun, though, especially the compass for “city spotting” like Dex and I did.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Compass View

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Flight Map

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Flight Map

To Dex’s disdain, my phone was in camera mode at the window by takeoff, though I tried not to take as many photos as I normally do.

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

It was a really foggy day, as you see, and the weather definitely wasn’t the best. The weather only got worse in Hong Kong during my time in Bangkok, but we can get to that later.

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

However, as always, it was a beautiful day up there in the sky.

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

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Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

Before the seatbelt sign turned off, a man stood up. The flight attendant walked as close to him as he could, and said, “Sit down please, sir, sit down please”. I’ve definitely seen less stellar ways to treat these incidents, so I thought it was rather well handled.

After the seatbelt sign was actually turned off, duty free announcements were made and landing cards were distributed.

I deployed my table and started working. First I was confused at why the table was black, but then I realised how “cheap” I normally find economy class tables in the original plastic colour. The black top made it look sleek and sexy, and it was also of a good size.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Table

Hot towels were passed out. While they were more like heated antiseptics than anything else, it was a really nice touch for economy.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Hot Towel

I had a quick visit to the lavatory, too. Thai chose to have a wooden floor. While I understand the intention for it to look classy, a wet wooden floor really doesn’t scream “class”…

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Lavatory

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Lavatory

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Lavatory Floor

After that, I asked for a quick picture of the (unusually big) galley, which was granted.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Galley

I then took a cabin picture from the back, which turned out nicely.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin

Meals were soon passed out. I chose the fish, which was flaky, moist and in a sauce that kind of overpowered it, but was fine. I don’t love black bean, but I don’t mind it either. What I was surprised with, though, was the dessert. Normally, on a plane, I expect ice cream, but the pudding was divine.

What confused me were the options – they were both Asian, served with rice, and spicy. What if someone wants a Western option?

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

I enjoyed my meal, and by the time I finished and they took away the trays, we were over Hainan.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Position After Meal Service

I pulled up Evernote and started working, occasionally looking out the window based on the compass with Dex. While it was really cloudy over Hainan, the views cleared up as we neared Vietnam.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Hainan

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Vietnam

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Vietnam

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Vietnam

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Surin

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Surin

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 View Over Surin

I wanted a pen to fill out my landing form, so pressed the call button. The flight attendant came, turned off the call button, but then assisted another flight attendant getting something from the overhead bin and then forgot about me and disappeared into the galley. When I asked for one again, though, he was very apologetic, and offered for me to keep the pen (I obliged, but unfortunately lost it during deplaning).

With permission of the father behind me, I reclined my seat for the last forty minutes or so and slept until the captain’s announcement twenty minutes before landing. The seat doesn’t recline that far but is comfortable enough for a short to mid-haul flight.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seat in Reclined Position

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Cabin After Landing Announcement

Thus began our descent into Bangkok, which was pretty swift. I’m not sure if it was just my first time or what, but Bangkok views were damn amazing.

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

The views got progressively more nucleated with houses, and soon we found ourselves descending above the city.

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Final Approach Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

We touched down so smoothly a round of applause rose across the cabin. After that, we made our way to the gate. Bangkok Airport is pretty nice, and it was nice to see the triangles I’d been seeing for so long in person.

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Taxiing Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

We pulled into gate E6 next to a Thai 787, an aircraft I hadn’t seen in person before. I feel like 787s look smaller in person than we think they are, which explains why 3-3-3 would feel so cramped on these poor birdies.

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Taxiing Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Taxiing Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Deplaning was a mess, as they had trouble opening door L2. The screens probably summed it up properly.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Deplaning Screen

I took one last picture of the seat, which turned out to be a good one.

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Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 Economy Class Seat 53A

After about fifteen minutes we were on our way out and hopped in one of the shuttles to the Dusit Princess in Srinakarin.

BOTTOM LINE ON THAI AIRWAYS A330-300 ECONOMY CLASS

Thai Airways really impressed me with this segment. The seats were modern, there were legrests, there were hot towels and the meal was pleasant. Especially with the call button incident, the service wasn’t amazing, but it definitely was well intentioned and not horribly executed.

Thai Airways definitely offers a comparable product to Cathay Pacific, at twice the cost. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Thai Airways again.

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